In this past week’s GRIT course, a very familiar Bible story absolutely rocked me in a new way. Let’s dig into Mark 5 together:
And a great crowd followed him [Jesus] and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
First, I want to bring out what Todd taught in Tuesday’s GRIT lesson. Jesus sets himself apart from the religious leaders of the day because he was compassionate to those who are hurting. (We read in verses surrounding this passage that the Jewish religious leaders witnessed Jesus’ miracles, but were still hard of heart.) Not only was Jesus compassionate to the hurting, he had power and authority to heal completely.
Think with me more about these verses of Scripture. Let’s replay the scene. The woman we meet, having a discharge of blood for over 12 years, is in a very impossible situation. Mark records for us that the woman had spent all of her money on physicians, but never got better – only worse. Another important detail about her situation we need to understand is that, according to Levitical law, she would have been considered unclean for over a decade of her life (Leviticus 15:25). Persons determined unclean were required to live outside of the camp, removed from the daily grind, during their time of impurity.
The beauty of the miracle goes deeper the more we dig. Because this lady was ceremonially unclean, she would not have been permitted to enter the temple let alone in public. Anything she touched, by law, would have also been unclean. By touching Jesus’ garments, technically she would have rendered him unclean as well. BUT that’s not how the story goes, does it? Jesus, instead of being made unclean, makes the woman clean. Jesus gives the woman his purity, without being made impure himself. Jesus is more than enough to meet our greatest needs. How beautiful!
Are you ashamed of something you’ve done? Do you feel like you can never be loved or accepted? Do you have a wound that won’t heal? Pain that you can’t get rid of? Come to Jesus. Like the woman in Mark 5, reach out your hand and grasp his garment; Jesus is eager to receive you, to heal your brokenness, and call you his own.