WHEN THE IMPOSSIBLE BECAME POSSIBLE
Verses 25-26 “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse”
This is an unnamed woman. She is called “a certain woman.” There are some things about her that we can know. Her case was important enough that it is mentioned in Scripture. There is always the primary application of Scripture. Then there are secondary applications. I believe that every case of a miracle in the Bible has lessons in it for us. How we interpret and make these applications should always be governed by the Scriptures. Otherwise we will have a passage saying something that contradicts a teaching in another place. And the Bible does not contradict itself.
This event is recorded in Matthew and Luke, and all three mention that this woman had this disease twelve years. God wants us to know that the disease was serious and incurable so far as man is concerned.
Another thing that stands out is that she “spent all that she had.” This may suggest that she was a woman of means. She started out with money and ended in poverty, all in an attempt to regain her health. I would like to interject at this point, it would not take twelve years to spend her fortune today! What is more important than your health? Money may buy a beach cottage, a fine vacation home in the mountains or many other things that people dream of. But what if, when you got to your favorite spot, you had “an issue of blood” and the pain was so great that you enjoyed nothing? This woman had spent all.
Then Mark adds, “And was nothing better, but rather grew worse.” The physicians could not help her. They did not have a cure for her disease. I feel for the physicians. The physicians I have known personally have been compassionate men who really were touched with the pain of others and wanted to help. But no matter how hard they tried, they could not stop the course of this disease. It had a grip on the woman, and after twelve years, she was nothing better but rather grew worse. I think we can safely say that she had a terminal illness. Her condition was hopeless so far as man is concerned.
Next we have the words “When she had heard of Jesus . . . ” This is always the way for those who get help from the Lord. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” This woman had “suffered many things of many physicians” and it had left her in a hopeless condition. How did she know that Jesus would be any different that all the others she had been to? Had she met someone who had been personally healed by Jesus? Maybe someone she had known to be a terminal case like herself? It always helps to hear the testimonies of those who have been helped. Maybe the thing that stirred in her began with the testimony of another.
Verse 28 says that when she HEARD of Jesus she, “came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be made whole.” This is a statement of faith before the healing. The word “touch” translates “haptomai” and means “to fasten one’s self to, to cling to.” She is not talking about a slight touch. She is talking about a firm grip. One of the things this teaches me is that if we are going to get help, we don’t need to be playing around or casual. We need to touch him with the touch of desperation. We have too many casual Christians who SAY prayers and know nothing about FEVERENT praying.
What the woman said, “I shall be made whole,” is a statement of absolute confidence before she received the blessing from the Lord. This element is not true in every case of healing. John chapter nine records the healing of a man who was unsaved at the time of healing (See John 9:35-39). I think I can safely say that this is the normal way we get help from God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). God may make exceptions to the rule in certain cases, but if we Christians want help from God we must walk by faith. We must believe to get an answer to our prayers.
What happened when the woman touched (gripped with the grip of desperation) the hem of His garment? Verse 29 says, “And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” The word “straightway” translates “eutheos” and means “immediately.” The twelve year journey through “many toils and snares” ended in a press with Jesus in the midst, and a woman squeezing her way though the press to get a firm grip on the hem of Jesus’ garment. Suddenly, the woman knew that her hopes had been realized. Before you could snap your finger, she was perfectly whole. What had been impossible, was not only possible, but it had happened. That was not the end.
Jesus knew what had happened. This is how it is stated: verse 30 says, “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” The word “virtue” translates “dunamis” which means “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” Jesus knew, even though many were thronging him. Many were touching Him. The woman’s touch was different. We need to learn to touch Him the way the woman did. The “dunamis” is still there and leaves Him to do an immediate work when the touch is the touch of faith. He has PREAUTHORIZED the “dunamis” to leave Him when He is touched with the touch of faith!
When Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?” it calls for an admission, a confession. Verses 32-33 says, “And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” It is not like Jesus is saying, “There is a woman here who has stolen some of my power to relieve her physical malady.” You can’t steal grace. It is free! But grace is spread through testimony. Jesus wanted the woman to publicly identify herself with what had happened. So the Scripture says, “But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.” She knew immediately what had happened. When God does something for us, we will know it. We don’t have to go to Him and pray, “Lord, I just had something good happen to me. In case you did it I want to thank you.” No, if He does it we will know and we will be able to give public testimony. She told Him “all the truth.” I doubt if she did this in five minutes. And I doubt if anyone was bored in that service. I don’t know how she got the plague (v 34) to start with. It could have been through sin. She did tell Him all the truth, what ever it was. It is the truth that sets us free. John 8:32 says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The impossible becomes possible when Jesus is in the picture and there is someone there with faith who will say, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” and will squeeze through the press and grasp His garment. I am afraid that when we look at the press, we turn back and say, “it is not worth fighting my way through that crowd,” and we quit when we could have the blessing.
May God bless each of you.