Luke 8:42-48 (NIV) As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
This woman’s faith in Jesus’ ability to heal her was as strong as Jairus’ faith that Jesus could heal his daughter, but it manifested itself differently. Jairus’ faith led him boldly into Jesus’ presence to ask Him to come and heal the girl. This woman’s faith led her to touch just the edge of Jesus’ robe, believing that that touch would be enough to heal her (Mark 5:28).
The thing that caused her to touch Jesus secretly was the reason that she needed the healing: her twelve-year-long battle with hemorrhage. The constant flow of blood made her ceremonially unclean. And anything and anyone she touched became ceremonially unclean as well, and had to undergo a cleansing ritual to be made clean again.
If the woman had asked Jesus publicly to cleanse her, everyone in the crowd who had stood next to her or jostled her would have suddenly realized that this woman had made them unclean. And she didn’t want to face that kind of scorn and rejection.
In her mind, the plan was simple: creep up in the crowd, touch Jesus’ robe – He wouldn’t even notice – receive the healing, and go home whole. And everything went just as she planned, up to a point. As soon as she touched Jesus’ robe, she felt a rush of power that told her the healing had happened. But before she could move away from Jesus, He suddenly stopped and looked around asking, “Who touched Me?”
The woman froze, terrified that an accusing finger would be thrust into her face. But Jesus was still looking around. The crowd was still jostling Jesus, and Peter pointed out that dozens of people were pushing against Him and touching Him.
But Jesus said no, that the touch He was talking about was different. All of the people jostling around Jesus weren’t receiving anything in the process. But one touch, done in faith, had received a burst of power through Him. A healing had been done.
Jesus continued to look around, and the woman knew that it was only a matter of seconds before His eyes fell on her. So she took a breath, stepped forward, and declared, “It was me.”
All eyes focused on her as she briefly told her story, a story of twelve years of isolation and fear that had been transformed in an instant when she had touched Jesus. All eyes then turned to Jesus. This woman had intentionally touched Him when she knew that she was unclean! How would He react?
But Jesus’ face broke into a gentle smile as He said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Then He moved forward again to continue His journey to Jairus’ house.
Father, this woman’s desire was to receive a secret, private miracle that nobody would ever know about. But You don’t work that way. The miracles You choose to do are designed to bring You glory, and to reveal Your power and Your grace. But none of that can happen if the recipients of the miracle don’t tell anyone, but just keep it to themselves. It’s significant that Luke points out that the woman testified to the healing “in the presence of all the people.” All who heard could thus give You appropriate praise for the wonders You had done. Help me, Lord, to testify freely about all that You have done and continue to do in my life, so that Your name is glorified through me every day. Amen.