Phil Cox

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If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed

21st January 2009

We're looking this week at Mark 5, verses 24-34.

Verses 24-28
So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."

Jesus was on a mission – he had been asked to save the life of a synagogue leader’s daughter. Everybody wanted to see what would happen, and so they crowded around Jesus.

The woman had been unwell for 12 years. Because of the nature her illness, she was a social outcast – banned from the synagogue and alone. People had tried to help – and taken her money in the process – but no-one could help. She had nothing left, except the idea that if she could just touch Jesus’s clothes, she would be healed.

Many people are in a situation where no-one but Jesus can help. Some, like this woman, have been in that situation for many years. This is not necessarily a physical condition (as in this case) but can be a relationship problem, or a spiritual or emotional one. By God’s grace, we can somehow know – either suddenly or as an awareness that grows over a period – that if we can just touch Jesus’s clothes, we will be healed.

But we need to make an effort. In this woman’s case, she had to overcome the social stigma that her society gave to those with her affliction, she had to push through the crowd, and she had to hope that Jesus would be nerciful to her.

Verses 30-34
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’" But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

She had put her trust in Jesus, and she had done something about it – she had done whatever it took for her to touch Jesus’s clothes – and she was healed!

Jesus knew that something had happened. He could feel it - but he didn’t know what, or to whom. He had to ask. The disciples didn’t understand, and they gave Jesus a rather disrespectful answer. How often do we – His church – fail to understand what’s happening, and fail to give God the respect He deserves?

Jesus kept on asking, and the woman – because she did respect Jesus – answered His question. She fell at His feet in adoration and submission, as the church so often does not. She trembled with fear because she knew something of God’s power, as the church so often forgets to do. She told Him the whole truth, which so many Christians refuse to do in prayer.

And she received God’s blessing, as the church so often fails to do.

We can be so busy being the church that we forget to reach out and touch Jesus Christ.

This woman reached for HIM – not for anyone else. And so can you, and so can I. And the power of God in Jesus Christ can heal us, and the love of God in Jesus Christ will bless us.