Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Julie Zine Coleman's Unexpected Love: God's Heart Revealed in Jesus' Converstations With Women.
Embarrassed or Expunged?
Jesus and the Hemorrhaging Woman
She was so, so tired. Twelve years of bleeding and the resulting anemia had left her weak and barely able to function. Her search for a cure had resulted in nothing but disappointment. Doctor after doctor attempted to staunch the life-ebbing flow. She was sick to death of their ineffective potions and cures. Their bumbling, clumsy attentions had only seemed to make matters worse. Yet while their ministrations were ineffective, they had not been ashamed to charge their exorbitant fees. She was out of resources and out of hope.
Until this morning. Word had spread quickly through the town that the man who had healed people with leprosy and people unable to walk, and even unbelievably raised a young man from the dead, was returning to town. Jesus was coming! With desperate hope once again cautiously blooming in her heart, the woman joined the many by the docks awaiting his arrival. The crowd may have prevented her from seeing his boat, but she knew he had arrived by the sound of the crowd.
Voices called out as Jesus approached. Heart thumping, she waited silently for a chance to ask for his help. The crowd pressed in, desperate for a chance just to be near him. The sound of pleading voices swelled as the Master neared. Maybe if she could just touch a piece of his clothing. If she could just get close enough...
At that moment, the crowd parted as Jairus, a well-known synagogue official, pushed his way through to Jesus. He fell at his feet with a desperate request of his own. His beautiful, precious daughter was dying. She was only twelve years old. Wouldn’t Jesus come to his house and heal her before it was too late?
The woman’s breath caught in her throat. For as long as she had been bleeding, this little girl had been alive. Twelve years. The entire time she had slowly felt the life flow from her body, this little girl had been thriving and growing under the loving hand of this dedicated father. Now both the thriving and the waning were in the same desperate need of healing.
Jesus agreed to follow Jairus to his house. He began to walk again, moving right past where she stood. Knowing her window of opportunity was quickly closing, she pressed herself into the throng that surrounded the Master. Thrusting her arm out, she managed to touch one of the four corner fringes of his square prayer shawl resting on his shoulders.
In that moment, the unbelievable happened. Power surged through her body. Strength she hadn’t known in twelve years suddenly filled her. The flow of blood, a dozen years long, just stopped cold. She was cured! As the crowd continued past her, she stood frozen in shock at what happened. Were her pain and suffering really over? After twelve long, painful years, had the affliction that had ostracized her from family and friends simply ceased to be?
Suddenly Jesus stopped. He turned and faced the crowd. “Who is the one who touched me?” he asked.
The disciples were amazed that he would ask such a question. He was surrounded by a host of people pressing up against him. How could he ask who touched him? A better question to ask was who didn’t touch him!
Yet Jesus stood still, scanning the crowd. Heart in her throat, wishing she could sink into the ground, the woman remained rooted in her spot. She watched his eyes move over the people until they came to rest on her. And stopped. She began to tremble. Was he angry that she had just contaminated him with her touch? Expecting her to publicly confess what she had just done? As his eyes held hers, she felt compelled forward. Step by step, she approached him. She, like Jairus, fell at his feet.
How could she explain herself? Humiliated, she lifted her eyes to Jesus. But rather than be subjected to the condemnation she expected, she was surprised to see kindness in his eyes. Haltingly she spoke through lips that would hardly work for her trembling. She explained as delicately as she could about her hemorrhaging. How her fingers had brushed the fringe. How she had been cured.
Jesus smiled into her eyes. She wanted to remain anonymous, just another woman in the crowd. Jesus wanted to make it personal. “Daughter,” he gently said, “your faith has made you well.” Daughter! Of all the ways to address her, this was the least expected. After twelve years of being an outcast, unclean, contaminating everything and everyone with the slightest touch, Jesus was calling her daughter?
Jesus continued. “Go in peace,” he told her. “And be healed of your affliction.”
For Today’s Woman
Just like the hemorrhaging woman, Christ offers the same kind of healing power to us today. It is the power of the Holy Spirit, who comes to dwell in us, infusing us with life and remaining in us as a guarantee of our future inheritance and redemption. It is a power that will “do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” Just as he did for the hemorrhaging woman, who set her sights too low and focused on a merely physical healing, Jesus wants to do so much more in us than we can even imagine.
God is the perfect Father, constantly pursuing an intimate relationship with his children. He is never too busy to hear our concerns; there is nothing too big or too small to bring before him. He wants us to approach him boldly, and he will respond to us with compassion, patience, and love. He is protective of our well-being and will supply all our needs. He continually works in us, molding us into the best people we can be. He disciplines us when we need it, always for our good, loving us too much to allow sin to lead us to our own destruction. He will remain faithful forever, promising never to abandon us. He truly is the perfect parent.
He calls us daughters. The truth of that and what it implies should overwhelm us as it did the hemorrhaging woman. His healing for us goes beyond what we could have even thought to ask. He has taken our guilt and washed us clean of its contamination. Our status has undergone a complete reversal. We are heirs to an amazing inheritance as adopted daughters of the King. Not one part of our lives remains unchanged.
After informing the woman of her new status, Jesus told her to “go in peace.” For the first time in her life, she could do just that. Meeting Jesus and believing in him had changed everything. The peace she gained was a profound sense of well-being that could come only from a new relationship with God. No longer was he the God she must fear in light of her inadequacies and sin. Her salvation gave her the restoration she needed to pursue an intimate relationship with her heavenly Father. Her healing was complete.
You can purchase Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women here.
Group study resources, including handouts, lesson plans, and supplemental articles can be downloaded for free here.
Author Julie Zine Coleman dedicates herself to helping others understand and know an unexpected God. You can learn more about Julie at www.unexpectedgod.com. Be sure to sign up for her free bi-weekly email newsletter, The Dogwood Digest!