Matthew 9:20-22 (NIV) Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
This woman was really hoping that her touch on Jesus’ cloak would go unnoticed, and for good reason. Her bleeding disorder, which she had had for twelve years, had caused her to be ceremonial unclean that whole time (cf. Leviticus 15:25-27). Anyone or anything that she touched, or that touched her, would also become ceremonially unclean until sunset, and would then have to be washed in order to be clean again. So touching another person, especially a holy man like Jesus, could easily bring withering condemnation down on her head.
But the woman was desperate. For twelve years, no one had been willing to even touch her, and there was no end in sight. Mark tells us that the medical treatments that she had spent all her money on had only made the condition worse (Mark 5:25-28). As Jesus passed by, close enough for her to touch, she decided on the spot to risk it. This was no theological decision, but the last gasp of a drowning soul, reaching out for what looked like a life-saving hand.
The touch itself lasted for less than a second. Surely in that jostling crowd Jesus would never notice a single light brush of a woman’s fingers. But in that moment, a flash of power moved through Jesus and into her broken body. In that moment, she knew that she had been healed!
But in that moment, Jesus also knew that power had flowed out of Him, and He turned to face the woman, now made whole. When Jesus saw her terrified face, and felt the fear in her heart, He smiled. He understood the fears that had made her attempt to take what she feared would have been denied her. But He would not have withheld healing from this woman if she had asked. Her touch of faith hadn’t dirtied Him, but had made her completely clean. So He just looked straight into the face of the woman with that smile of His and spoke His words of encouragement. Her healing had restored her body and had brought glory to the Father. Those were the most important things.
Father, Jesus was so consumed with doing good, teaching about the kingdom , and bringing glory to You, that no other fears or concerns entered His mind. Even on the way to raise a dead child, He made time to ensure that You were glorified in the good that had been done in this woman’s life. Help me to have these same priorities in all that I do today. Amen.