THE WOMAN WITH THE INCURABLE DISEASE
Verse 25-34 says, .” 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, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 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? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 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. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
The healing of this nameless woman is recorded in three of the Gospels. Herbert Lockyer says, “This sick, anonymous woman must have been emaciated after a hemorrhage lasting twelve years, which rendered her legally unclean. She could not throw herself, therefore, at the feet of Christ and state her complaint. Her modesty, humility, uncleanness and pressure of the crowd made close contact well-nigh impossible, hence her eagerness to touch in some unnoticed way the hem of His garments. Who was this woman of faith? The primitive church, feeling she was entitled to a name, called her Veronica, who lived in Caesarea Philippi, but in the gospels she in enrolled in the list of anonymous female divines.”
Lockyer also says she has a place in Legend and tells this: “It is said that this woman who was healed of her plague walked with Jesus as He went to His cross, and that seeing His blood and sweat, she drew out her handkerchief and wiped His brow. Later on, as she reverently caressed the piece of linen, she found the image of the blood-stained face of Jesus imprinted on it. Face cloths for the Roman catacombs alleged to hold the impress of his features where called Veronicas. About A.D. 320, Eusebius Bishop of Caesarea and a dependable historian records that when he visited Caesarea Philippi, he heard that the woman healed of her issue of blood out of gratitude for her cure had erected two brazen figures at the gate of her house, one representing a woman bending on her knee in supplication—the other, fashioned in the likeness of Jesus, holding out His hand to help her.” Eusebius claims to have seen this with his own eyes.
We do know she is not named in the Scripture and her story was a popular study in the early church. I will follow a simple outline in comments on this event:
Mark says she “had an issue of blood twelve years.” The word “issue” translates “rhusis” and means, “a flowing issue.” The words “twelve years” indicates that this was not something that she was going to get rid of by the known cures of the day.
We are reminded of what Ezekiel said in Ezekiel 16:6, “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” This woman is typical of Israel who was in such a condition because of her sins. God in grace comes to her in her undeserving condition and cleanses her. All it took was faith and a willingness to come and touch Him. He had the power in Himself and that power issued out of Him like the blood issued out of her. She was healed after so many years.
This is brought out in the words of verse 26, “And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” The words “suffered many things” means to suffer badly. The “many things” means that the physicians tried everything they could think of. The words “and was nothing bettered” implies squandering or wasting her money. If you spend money on a cure and it doesn’t work, you have wasted your money no matter how sincere the person is who administers it. The words “nothing bettered” translate “opheleo” with the negative means, “not assisted, not to have been useful or advantageous, not profited.” It is a passive voice verb and it means that she had received no help from these cure attempts. She was very concerned about her condition. Concerned enough to go to many physicians for a cure even thought her hope of being cured would die each time.
This is amazing. After she had been to all these different physicians and had received no help at all, she was still in search of that miracle of healing. How did she gain such confidence in Jesus? Verse 28 says, For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” That is amazing considering the many failures she had experience with this disease. Maybe she knew someone who had been healed by Jesus. Maybe she had witnessed a healing. Whatever it was she had faith that simply touching the hem of His garment would be enough to cure her of an incurable disease.
This is the kind of faith that Jesus wants us to have. First we need faith for spiritual healing. Salvation is so much more important than physical healing. Salvation deals with destiny, physical healing just simply lengthens life in a miserable world. When we are saved, we get life that will never end (John 5:24), when we are healed physically it is temporary at best. We are in a dying condition and Jesus did not come to change this. This woman had a firm conviction that Jesus was the answer to her physical malady and He was. Next, we see,
This is brought out in verse 29: “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” means “immediately.” This plague that was impossible for man to cure was immediately healed by the Lord Jesus.
There is no human explanation for the miracles of God. When God created the world He spoke it into existence. Psa. 33:6, 9 says, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” When man starts trying to rationalize the things God does, it always ends up in unbelief. When Jesus was born, and the star guided the wise men to the home where Jesus was, it was a miracle. I have been amazed at men who claim to believe in God give some kind of astronomical explanation for this. They say that there was a certain star in the heavens at that time. Have you ever looked up at night at the stars? Have you noticed that a star millions of light years away is over the whole town, the whole state, and the whole country? To say that a regular star is over a single house is amusing. Why not take it like this. God sent an angel, He does call them stars, and this angel was illuminated like a star and he guided the wise men to the very house where Jesus was at the time. It was a miracle and it makes more sense to believe it literally than it does to rationalize.
When the woman touched Jesus she was healed before she could release the hem of His garment. It happened immediately. You say, “That’s scientifically impossible.” Yeah, right. You’ve got the idea. This is what Mark is saying. It is an on the spot instantaneous miracle. Next,
Verse 33 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 made a public confession of what had happened to her. What does “all the truth” mean? I have an idea that she told about her unfruitful attempts to secure healing. She told of the money she had spent in her attempts. Then she told of the way she came to find out about Jesus and what had just happened to her. I can imagine her testimony going something like this: “Some of you here know me. You know the difficulty I have had. I stand here before you today a completely well woman. This is the greatest day of my life. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for what has happened here today.”
Christians need to be this open about testifying of His saving power. Only recently one testified to me that he spent 21 years in church without any assurance that he was saved. Then the Lord opened his eyes to the truth of the New Birth and he trusted Him and now he is saved. He knows that now. If we are to have assurance, we must come to Jesus for the cure. Then finally,
Jesus said to her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” The word “Daughter” translates “thugater” and means according to Strong, “a daughter of God, one acceptable to God, rejoicing in God's peculiar care and protection.” Jesus said, “thy faith hath made thee whole.” God made man to fellowship with him on the basis of faith. Faith is the one means of perception that honors God. God is Spirit and he who worships Him must worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). That got messed up when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. Man since that day has been attempting to explain God in rationalistic terms and to get Him to reveal Himself to sight. This is not the way God has chosen for us to know Him. He wants our faith. Here was a woman who had the faith that it takes to reach out to God and find Him. Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole.” The words “hath made” translate “sozo” and means, “to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction.” This is the same word that is found in Matthew 1:21 where the angel spoke to Joseph in a dream and said, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The word save in this verse is “sozo.”
Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole.” The verb “sozo” is a perfect active indicative. The perfect tense means that she was made whole in the past, relative to the time Jesus was speaking to her, and she stands whole as a testimony to God’s power.
Then Jesus says, “go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Jesus says, “Go in tranquility of mind and enjoy being well.” She had been tormented with this plague for twelve years. She can now return to normal and enjoy release from this disease.
I believe one of the weaknesses of Christianity is that when Jesus saves us we do not go in peace and enjoy the peace of release. Have you ever noticed how that every once-in-a-while the Lord will save someone that is so filled with joy that he cannot contain himself? Have you ever noticed how tense he makes everyone else feel? The older Christians will do all they can to calm him down? We just can’t have anyone around here that happy; they are saved! Dead people just can’t stand life. They are so used to the smell of death, they just can’t tolerate the smell of health! It is like the two drunk men who staggered out of a smelly bar one night. One said to the other, “What’s that I smell?” The other replied, “Fresh air!” God give us some fresh air Christians who are not ashamed to have a good time in the Lord.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.