News of Jesus’ return from the Decapolis spreads among Jews living on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. Likely many have heard that during the recent storm, Jesus calmed the wind and the waters, and some may know that he cured the demon-possessed men. Hence, “a large crowd” gather by the sea, likely in the area of Capernaum, to welcome Jesus back. (Mark 5:21) As he steps ashore, they are eager and expectant.
One of those anxious to see Jesus is Jairus, a presiding officer of the synagogue, perhaps the one in Capernaum. He falls at Jesus’ feet and begs again and again: “My little daughter is extremely ill. Please come and put your hands on her so that she may get well and live.” (Mark 5:23) How will Jesus respond to Jairus’ fervent plea to help his only daughter, who is just 12 years old and very precious to him?
On his way to Jairus’ house, Jesus is confronted with another emotion-filled situation. Many of the people accompanying Jesus are excited, wondering whether they will be able to see him perform another miracle. However, one woman in the crowd is focused on her own severe health problem.
For 12 long years, this Jewish woman has been suffering from a flow of blood. She has sought help from one doctor after another, using up all her money on treatments they have recommended. But she has not been helped. In fact, her problem has “become worse.”
You can likely appreciate that her ailment, besides weakening her, is embarrassing and humiliating. One generally does not speak openly about such a condition. Moreover, under the Mosaic Law, a discharge of blood makes a woman ceremonially unclean. Anyone touching her or her blood-stained garments needs to wash and is unclean until the evening.
This woman has “heard the reports about Jesus,” and she now seeks him out. Because of her uncleanness, she makes her way through the crowd as inconspicuously as possible, saying to herself: “If I touch just his outer garments, I will get well.” When she does touch the fringe of his garment, she immediately senses that her flow of blood has stopped! She has “been healed of the grievous sickness.”
Jesus then says: “Who touched me?” How do you think the woman feels at hearing those words? Peter protests with an implied reproof of Jesus: “The crowds are hemming you in and pressing against you.” So why did Jesus ask, “Who touched me?” Jesus explains: “Someone touched me, for I know that power went out of me.” (Luke 8:45, 46) Yes, the healing that occurred has drawn on Jesus’ vitality.
Realizing that she has not escaped notice, the woman falls down before Jesus, frightened and trembling. In front of all, she tells the truth about her illness and that she has just been cured. Jesus kindly comforts her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed from your grievous sickness.”
Clearly, the One whom God has chosen to rule the earth is a warm, compassionate person who not only cares for people but also has the power to help them!