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10/31/19

Desperate for Help

Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace (Luke 8.48).

In Luke 8.43, we are introduced to an unnamed woman.

This is intentional, because from a social, economic, and religious viewpoint, she is a nobody. But she was desperate for Jesus’ help.

This woman was suffering for 12 years from what we would call uterine bleeding. This condition was not only physically painful, but it also isolated her.  

We don’t know if she was married or not, but her condition would most likely mean that she would not be able to get pregnant. And depending on what her husband was like, he could try and use this as a ground for divorce.  

But we do know that according to the Jewish Law, any kind of bleeding, would render the woman ritually unclean (Leviticus 15.19), and unable to participate fully in her local synagogue.  

She also had to be careful what she touched. She was considered unclean. Whatever the unclean touched became unclean. So, she lived with a profound sense of shame and isolation on top of the physical discomfort.

And just like today, when health care costs can put us into difficult financial situations, she experienced that as well: Luke tells us, “And though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone” (v 43).

There was nothing more that the doctors could do for her.

But just because no one else could do anything to help, that didn’t mean that Jesus couldn’t do anything.  

The woman believed Jesus could still do something. So, as Jesus pressed through the crowds, she discreetly came up behind Jesus and touched just a fringe of his garment and Luke tells us: “Immediately her discharge of blood ceased” (v 44).

When no one else can do anything, Jesus can still do something! Jesus knew that he was touched in a way that was different from all the other people pressing in on him.  Jesus wanted to highlight what had just happened. He wanted people to know about this woman’s faith in him and how he healed her.

So, Jesus asked, “Who was it that touched me” (v 45)?

Everyone denied touching Jesus, but he pressed to highlight what happened. Eventually, knowing that she was not hidden from Jesus, she came forward. She told Jesus all that had happened.

Caring for her, and letting the crowd know that she was healed and why she was healed, he said: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (v 48).

Not only did Jesus heal her physically, but he was also restoring her socially and religiously. He publicly pronounced her clean, restoring her to participate in the synagogue. No one should isolate her anymore. The shame was gone.

Jesus met this woman where she was, but he didn’t leave her the same—he cared for her.

She may have been a nobody to everybody, but to him she was a somebody—he called her daughter.

The time and care Jesus gave to this woman shows us that no matter who you are, what you have done, or what’s been done to you, or what struggle you have right now, you matter to God.  

Let your heart rest in his care for you.

Tim Porter

Lead Pastor for the Mission

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