Have you ever felt like God was far away? Have you ever felt too unworthy to pray or even read your bible? We all know this feeling. We have all sinned and repented, only to commit the same sin over and over again. We begin to wonder how we’ll ever find our way back to God. Even worse, we wonder if God will even hear us.
There is a story in Mark 5: 24-34 and Luke 8: 43-48 that may be able to help us in times like this. This story concerns an unnamed woman with a bleeding disorder. Although she had spent all that she had on doctors, no one was able to help her. But there was another painful side to her condition. Because the bleeding disorder rendered her “ceremonial unclean”, she would have been unable to attend synagogue services, worship at the temple, or even have marital relations with her husband. After all, anything or anyone she touched or came into contact with would also become unclean. She lived with the stigma of this condition for twelve long years.
Then one day, this woman learned about Jesus. How she learned of Him we do not know. All we know for sure is that she believed with all of her heart that Jesus could heal her. So, as Jesus made his way through a large crowd, this woman began making her way towards Him. Although she felt too unworthy to ask Jesus for healing, she thought to herself, “If I can but touch his clothes, I will be well”. As she approached Jesus from behind, she discreetly reached for Him touching only the border of His garment. Then, something amazing happened! There was an immediate, overwhelming sensation within her body. Her bleeding had stopped; she was healed!
What a joy this must have been! By merely touching Jesus’ garment, she was healed. Her suffering was finally over. But if her healing wasn’t miraculous enough, something else unexpected happened. Jesus stopped walking, turned around, and firmly asked, “Who touched me?” This question puzzled everyone. After all, Jesus was in the middle of a large, thick crowd that was almost crushing against Him.
When all denied touching Him, Peter spoke up, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you. How can you ask such a question?” Jesus responded, “Someone touched me. I know that power has gone out from me!” Now, this is fascinating. This woman had simply touched the edge of Jesus’ garment, and Jesus knew it because He felt power – the holy spirit – leave His body. This kind of a miraculous event doesn’t happen by casually bumping in a crowd. A miracle such as this can only occur when there is faith!
At this point, the woman realized that she could not hide from Jesus any longer. Trembling with fear, she came forward and fell at Jesus’ feet. Then, in the presence of all, she humbly explained why she touched Him and how she was instantly healed.
Why was this woman so afraid? Did she fear a rebuke from Jesus for daring to touch Him while she was ceremonial unclean? Perhaps, the scriptures do not say. But we do know this. Jesus did not fear the touch of either the ceremonially unclean or the despondent sinner. He welcomed it! After all, Jesus came into the world to seek and save those who were lost and afflicted. So, instead of rebuking this woman, Jesus kindly reassured her. Looking into her eyes, Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Sin with its guilt and shame can leave us feeling spiritually isolated and alone. In this condition, we often feel too unworthy to face God. Yet, this is just what we must do! After all, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father as our Savior and High Priest. He is there to bear our burdens and wash away our sin and guilt. So, we can call upon Him at any time. We can reach through the heavens and touch Him. And when we touch Him, Jesus will feel the hand of faith upon Him. Then at last, we will know that we are forgiven as we hear the words: “Go in peace. Your faith has saved you!”