In preparation for Easter, I’ve been reading through the Gospel of Luke. Slowly. Reading a chapter a day. Reading the chapter over and over and over. Out loud and to myself. Certain things pop out, certain stories hit deep. One in particular struck a chord with me. Luke 8:43-48. Just 5 verses but it’s a powerful story.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him… We’ll come back to this in a second, but just put yourself in each person’s shoes, Jesus…the disciples…a person in the crowd. What do you hear? Are your feet getting stepped on? Imagine the heat, with all the bodies and then the hot temperatures. People pushing and shoving, standing up on tip toes trying to catch a glimpse of Jesus.
Let’s continue… And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately the bleeding stopped.
When someone had a chronic illness like the bleeding, they were outcasts. She spent 12 years alone. Completely alone. Her only human interaction was with doctors who again and again just shook their head and said “sorry, we can’t fix this.” Let’s rewind 12 years of your life, for example, I was eleven years old. Now think over the last 12 years and take out every person, every social event, every positive interaction with a human being. This was what the woman’s life was like. This woman had had zero positive interactions with humans for 12 whole years. Then she catches wind of a guy, people aren’t quite sure who he is, but he’s performing miracles. And that’s exactly what she needed. So she decides to go find Jesus, and notices a huge crowd. She was already well adjusted to being ignored in crowds, accustomed to being pushed and shoved aside, she would surely be able to squeeze through the people unnoticed. She just had to touch him, maybe even just his cloak, and she could be healed.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Got to love Peter. “Um Jesus, YOU’RE LITERALLY SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE. So of course people are going to touch you.” But no, Jesus knew the difference. He had been in crowds before. There’s a difference between an accidental bump into someone, and someone intentionally reaching out and touching you. Did he hear her thoughts? Did her heart cries of desperation scream louder than the noise of the crowd? When Jesus said those words, did the crowd get quiet and start looking around? We don’t know why every person in the crowd was there, maybe they were just looking to see what the buzz was about. I’d say a majority of them weren’t suffering from a bleeding that wouldn’t stop, that had left them outcast, alone and without hope. So they just shuffled around Jesus, were content to be near Him. “I bumped into Jesus, but it wasn’t on purpose.” said someone in the crowd. No one owned up to touching Jesus until…
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
I only tremble when I’m really frightened or really excited. I can imagine this woman was feeling both at the same time. Ecstatic that she had just been healed, but terrified even though she had been healed of her sickness, the emotional scars of being exiled still lingered What would they say? What would Jesus say? Her knees buckle and she falls near His feet. Did she look Him in the eyes or did she stare at the ground? The word “Daughter” soothed her lonely soul like aloe vera on a blistering sunburn. It had been years since she had been called any name, let alone, daughter. As she stood there without family, Jesus was sure to claim what was His, She was his daughter, a loved, cherished and precious human being. Her faith in Christ healed her. And she went in peace.
- Is there a time in your life where you desperately reached out for Christ and He answered your cries?
- Is there a time in your life when you felt more like a person in the crowd in regards to your relationship with Christ, just shuffling around and accidentally bumping into HIm every now and then?