Mark 5:34 “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
A week with the flu gets us down. Six weeks with a sprain or broken bone may drive us crazy. But 12 years of chronic illness? Most of us have little sense of what that would feel like.
An unnamed woman in Mark 5 knew the feeling all too well. For 12 years she had battled a health affliction, and it affected her far more deeply than an extended bout of asthma. She had a bleeding problem. And, it seems, everyone knew about it. Which meant she also had a shame problem and an outcast problem.
In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, an old slice of cheese lies on the blacktop in the school playground. All the kids know that if anyone touches the cheese they will have “the cheese touch.” It makes them unclean. And everyone scrambles to avoid that person so that they don’t get the dreaded “cheese touch” too.
The woman in the crowd that surrounded Jesus that day had the proverbial “cheese touch.” She had seen doctor after doctor, without progress. She had spent every penny she had, trying to get help, without success. Now she faced both sickness and poverty.
That day, in desperation, she crept up close to Jesus in the crowd. Gingerly, she reached out to touch Him, hoping — believing — for a miracle. When she touched the edge of Jesus’ robe, power flowed through Him and from Him and she felt instantly healed. She knew something had happened. Jesus knew it too. “Who touched me?”
The woman, afraid and over-awed by what had just happened, stepped forward and confessed. You can almost hear the crowd gasp. They know her. They’re horrified at what she has done. Whispers begin behind cupped hands.
But, in a twist that nobody saw coming, Jesus extends an extraordinarily tender response. He does not berate her for jeopardizing his role as a rabbi. Neither does He criticize her for being presumptuous and taking something from Him without asking.
On the contrary, Jesus addresses her with tenderness — “Daughter” — and affirms her faith. Then He blesses her. “Go in peace.” Perhaps it had been years since anyone had blessed her like that.
Jesus not only restored her body. In a moment, He restored her dignity, her worth, and her status in the community. He still does that. Far beyond healing the physical, Jesus heals the soul. He welcomes all of us who are sufficiently faith-filled to walk to Him and touch His robe.
Push through the crowd today. Reach out. Touch Him. Be blessed.