The Woman Who Touched Jesus
by David Matranga
Imagine trying to shake hands with the President of the United States or a famous rock star – easy or difficult?
It’s a lot easier said than done. Famous and important people are generally surrounded by crowds when in public, not to mention their close confidants and perhaps security guards ringed around them. And, as important people, they’re hard to get a hold of. You can’t just pick up the phone and call Robert Downey Junior, right? That’s a difficult number to come by. (Side note – if you have his number, I know of a six-year-old who would love to talk to Iron Man.)
During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He was a celebrity. Huge crowds surrounded Him, and everyone, it seems, wanted to ask Him questions, have Him heal them, or see if He’d make food appear. Well, there was one woman who was determined to get close enough to Jesus to touch His robe – not an easy feat.
But as [Jesus] went, the crowds were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak…
- Luke 8:42-44a
Another account gives us additional information:
A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse.
- Mark 5:25-26
In a literal, physical sense, the crowd blocked this woman from Jesus, so I imagine she would have had to shoulder down and push through. But at a deeper level, there were other obstacles to overcome as well.
Firstly, I would think after twelve years, going bankrupt, and still suffering constantly, it would be tempting to give into defeatism, hopelessness, thinking that nothing will ever change. Secondly, since this woman lived under the Jewish Law, it was actually unlawful for her to touch Jesus or be in a crowd anyway, since she had an issue of blood. It made her unclean, and by rights she had to be separated from society. So shame, which leads to isolation, also could have stood in her way.
So what happened?
Pressing Into Jesus
…and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
- Luke 8:44b-48
Don’t miss the significance of this: a lot of people touched Jesus’ clothes that day. The crowd was pressing in on Him, and even Peter points this out when Jesus asks, “Who is the one who touched Me?” But as Douglas Wilson says, “Not everyone who touches Jesus, touches Jesus.” Not everyone went away that day healed or having a new life.
This woman, despite the customs and culture of her day which told her to stay away, despite the physical difficulty of getting through the crowd, despite the shame and always-tempting hopelessness, she pushed through to Jesus because she believed in Him – and she was healed. Instead of calling her unclean, Jesus called her “daughter.”
So today, I want to encourage you to ask yourself, are you this desperate to get to Jesus? Have you even considered Him in regards to your trials and difficulties in life? Do you really believe that He is who He says He is and is worthy of your time and effort?
For that matter, what obstacles stand between you and Jesus? Is it the culture and customs around you? Do friends and family stand in your way? Do you feel ashamed, hopeless, or like God could never accept you because you’re unclean?
This woman touched Jesus, and everything changed, because you cannot truly touch Jesus and remain the same.
So as you look toward your own life, I have just one final question for you:
Are you willing to run to Jesus?