These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
Sometimes God does not change your situation because He is trying to change your heart. God will allow some things to go on for a long time in order for it to bring you to the point where you realize that all you have left is God. It’s at that moment that God can do something incredible.
Today we are going to see a woman who suffered for 12 years before Jesus healed her. But it was the right time and the right place. Let’s just dive into this and see what God has for us today.
Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, 23 pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”
24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” 31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.
33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
35 While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” 36 But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” 37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” 40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat. (NLT)
Today, we are going to focus on the woman. We see several lessons about Jesus and about life.
You are in need of Jesus
The first lesson we learn from this woman is, you and I are in need of Jesus. Just like the demon-possessed man in the tombs, Jairus and his daughter, and this woman we all start out in need of Jesus. Mark tells us in verse 25, A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse.
Everybody has issues. The trouble with issues is that they not only affect us, but everybody we come in contact with. For this woman, her “constant bleeding” had become a major problem and it dominated her life. We can place ourselves in the place of this woman because all the issues she had are the same issues we have. Let me show you.
Number one, she had a physical issue. Mark says in verse 25, A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. The cause of the bleeding is not stated. For twelve years she had been slowly bleeding. Her body barely able to keep up with reproducing the blood she was losing. She probably felt weak, tired, and anemic all the time. Later we are told that she would feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. This indicates there was some type of physical discomfort and pain associated with her condition.
Number two, she had a financial issue. Mark says in verse 26, over the years she had spent everything she had to pay the doctors. Today, we would say she ran up the credit cards, empty the savings account, sold some furniture, borrowed money from friends and family. Mark makes it clear that she “spent everything she had.” She had no money left. She had nothing she could sale. She had nothing. Because of this, her life was in financial ruin.
Number three, she had a relational issue. Marks says in verse 25, the woman has suffered from “constant bleeding.” There were a lot of religious rules during Jesus’ day. Jesus came to change all that, but for this woman and because of her bleeding she would have been declared unclean according to Leviticus 15 (vs.25-27). Women had to wait seven days after any bleeding stopped before they were permitted to offer sacrifices (vs.28-29). For over a decade she was unable to participate in temple or synagouge worship. She would have also been very limited in being around people, friends, and family because she was considered unclean. Socially, she was a little better off than a leper.
Number four, there is a spiritual issue. People of her day viewed people like her as cursed by God. They would assume she was sick because of some sin in her life. They had this view that people who suffered from illness or misfortune must be guilty of some sin and God was punishing them. When Job had all his disasters happened he ran up against this belief in his friends. In John 9, the disciples of Jesus asked Jesus about a blind man. They asked Jesus, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sin?” (John 9:2, NLT).
When you start adding all this up you can understand why she attempted to sneak her healing without being noticed.
Number five, this is a hopeless issue. Mark makes a point to say at the end of verse 26, she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. The bleeding was worse, the pain was worse, and she was becoming more weak and more tired because of this. It had “gotten worse.” I’m sure she had asked God to heal her. I’m sure she asked others to pray for her, but no healing. She had been to doctors and spent all that she had, but no healing. The time had not been right. However, the time had come, her heart was ready, and Jesus was ready and her healing and restoration was about to happen. Her life was about to change.
You are to place your faith in Jesus
The second lesson we learn is, you are to place your faith in Jesus. I know that sounds basic, but I want you to notice something about this woman that would be helpful to you. Mark tells us in verse 27, She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
Mark tells us, “She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe.” She had already “heard about Jesus.” Jesus was not new to her. By this time Jesus had already healed hundreds, if not thousands of people by now. As she was hearing about Jesus something significant was taking place in the heart and mind of this woman. She started believing what she was hearing. She is an illustration of Romans 10:17 which says, “Faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (NLT). By the time Jesus comes to town she had already heard enough and believed enough to approach Jesus for help.
Now watch this, because we go from hearing to hoping. Mark tells us in verse 28, For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” She didn’t know what exactly would happen, but she had hope and faith that if she could get to Jesus and “touch his robe” she would “be healed.”
I have a question about this, why did she think that by touching his robe she would somehow have access to Jesus’ healing power? Where did this idea come from? We are not told exactly, but we do have some indications. Back in Mark 3:10 we are told, “[Jesus] had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him” (NLT, see also Mark 6:56). There seems to be a connection between having faith in Jesus and touching Jesus that resulted in healing by Jesus. I’m sure she heard some of these stories about people touching Jesus and being healed. So she thought to herself, “If that is true for them, maybe it could be true for me. I will fight my way through the crowd and touch His robe and then I will be healed.”
Where did all these people, including the woman, actually get the idea of touching his clothes in order to receive healing? Stay with me for a minute, this was a superstition that was commonly applied during that time. People believed that rulers possessed power to bless those who touched them. For example, Alexander the Great was often mobbed by crowds who tried to touch his clothes, hands, or feet with the hopes of being blessed by his power. This is like rubbing a rabbit’s foot for good luck. For this woman, she believed Jesus could heal her but because of her superstition she thought she had to also touch Jesus to receive the blessing. You and I already know that you didn’t have to touch Jesus, He could simply say the word and the person would be healed.
Why is this important? Mark, writing about this, and Jesus made no judgment about how she approached Him. Her faith may have been still mixed with some superstition and poor theology, but she still had faith in Jesus. You don’t have to have perfect faith or great faith to come to Jesus, you simply have to have faith. Jesus starts where you are in your faith not where you will end up. In some ways her faith was weak and mixed with superstition, but she had enough faith. I’m convinced that overtime her faith that started here would improve and become a healthier faith over time.
Now watch this again because we go from hearing to hoping to healing. Mark says in verse 29, Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. The very moment she touched His robe, her body was restored. The power of God healed her in an instant. Whatever pain she had was gone, “immediately.” Whatever discomfort she had was gone, “immediately.” Her energy was restored, “immediately.” She was “healed of her terrible condition.”
You are to be open about Jesus
This brings us to the third lesson we learn from this woman: you and I are to be open about Jesus. We can’t hide from Jesus and we shouldn’t hide what He has done for us either. There will be times when Jesus will draw you out of the crowd to declare your faith in Him. Mark tells us in verse 30, Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” 31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. We see several things about Jesus from this.
The power of Jesus
Mark tells us in verse 30, Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him. This reveals an important truth about the nature of God. Divine power is not an impersonal cosmic force somehow detached from God. Rather, God is personally engaged in every act of power – from creation to redemption to sustaining the universe (see Heb. 1:3). God’s power is part of who He is. You cannot separate God’s power from His nature and character. Just as you cannot separate God’s love from who He is and how personal that love is the same is true about God’s power. When you encounter God’s love you are encountering Him. When you encounter God’s power you are encountering Him.
Mark goes on to say that Jesus turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” Jesus had a purpose for this woman. He could have kept on going knowing His power had come in contact with a woman’s faith and she was healed. He could have said nothing. He could have simply moved on and let her be blessed with a private healing. But not this woman, Jesus had a plan for her. Even though she had tried to stay under the radar of everyone and to go unnoticed through the crowd, Jesus decided to bring her out of the shadows and into the light and to draw her to Himself.
So Jesus asked, “Who touched my robe?” His question was not asked out of ignorance. He knew who touched His robe. His question was Jesus’ way of reaching out to a woman who desperately wanted to remain anonymous. It is similar to when God asked Adam and Even, “Where are you?” after they had eaten from the forbidden tree. Nevertheless, Jesus wanted to establish a personal relationship with her. He wanted to give her more than physical healing, He wanted to give your spiritual and eternal healing.
The question by Jesus
Mark says in verse 31, His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” The word “pressing” (sunthlibo) means to compress or jam. It indicates Jesus was crammed in by the crowd, being touched and enclosed by the people on all sides. From a human point of view, the disciples asked an obvious question. There were so many people in close proximity to Jesus that it seemed impossible to single out just one. From the Lord’s perspective, Jesus knew precisely who He was talking about.
This reminds me that Jesus always knows more than we do and sees more than we do. This is why we need to trust Him and this is also why what He does or doesn’t do doesn’t always make sense to us. He sees more, He knows more, He understands more, and we should trust Him more.
You are loved by Jesus
A final lesson we learn from this woman is, you and I are loved by Jesus. Mark tells us in verse 32, But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Let’s take a close look at what Jesus said to this woman.
The Lord’s love
In verse 34 Jesus called her “Daughter.” This is significant because the custom was to call her “woman.” Which at the time was the equivalent of “ma’am.” Instead Jesus used a family term, a tender expression. Her faith in Jesus went beyond Jesus being a healer, but a redeemer and Savior.
Her faith was a saving faith. She had become a child of God, a daughter of God. John 1:12 says, “To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (NLT).
The Lord’s encouragement
To emphsize His point Jesus when on to tell this woman, your faith has made you well. The phrase “made you well” comes from one Greek word, sozo. Sozo is a term usually used in the New Testament to refer to being made spiritually well or whole or being saved from sin (cf. Matt. 9:21-22; Luke 8:48).
The Gospels often use sozo to demonstrate a connection between a person’s faith and their salvation. For example, when a repenting prostitute washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, he told her the same thing he told this woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50; cf. Mark 10:52; Luke 17:19). The Greek in both places is identical, though most English translations do not render them in the same way. In both cases, Jesus said, “Your faith has sozo you; go in peace.” While Jesus healed many people who did not exhibit genuine faith (and thus were made well only in a physical sense), there were also those who expressed saving faith in Him. In such cases, their bodies were not only delivered but also their souls. Jesus’ response to this woman, connecting the word sozo with her faith, strongly suggest she was healed of more than just a physical affliction. Because she had been saved, she could now truly “go in peace.” Her bodily healing enabled her to be reunited with her family and restored to the synagogue. More importantly, her salvation meant she was now reconciled to God.
The Lord’s peace
After Jesus identified her as a daughter in His family and declared that her faith has made her well, Jesus then tells her to “go in peace.” Her life finally would calm down. She could get back to living a normal life. Peace had been restored. More importantly, she now had peace with God. Romans 5:1 says, “Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (NLT).
The Lord’s final
The last thing Jesus says to her is, Your suffering is over. Some day we will hear something similar from our Heavenly Father when we arrive in heaven. Your suffering is over. What a wonderful statement to the woman and to us.
Sometimes God does not change your situation because He is trying to change your heart. Sometimes He changes both. If you are in the middle of something difficult keep moving toward Jesus, reach out to touch Him and see what He does.