One of the more familiar records of a healing by Jesus, is the woman with the issue of blood. This story is remarkable for several reasons, yet contained within it are several pearls of wisdom that most people do not even realize are there. As you may have heard me say before, there are no insignificant details in the Bible; every detail recorded in scripture is there for a reason. And so today what we will be studying are the details of this account of the woman with the blood issue being healed by Jesus, and how they can be applied to us today.
Many people when they read the accounts of Jesus performing miracles (and especially healing) they read the story and then say “I wish that would happen for me”, but then it never progresses beyond that point. However the Bible is clear that every thing that happened and was recorded, was done so for our benefit, so that we could learn the mercy and the grace and the love of God for us (Romans 15:4). So let’s now examine the scriptures, and see what they show us about Jesus and His healing.
Let’s begin by reading Mark 5:25, just this one verse because I want to touch on an important detail right from the start:
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years”
A lot of people don’t see the significance of this single statement… but there are several things being said right here. Firstly, that this was a woman that actually existed, this event really happened. That may sound simplistic, but it is beneficial to realize that the scenario being recorded for us here is not merely a parable. This is not just a made-up story – This woman actually had this blood condition, and as we will see, it was also really healed miraculously by Jesus. Why is it important to know that this is a real event and not just a parable? Because when we actually take a moment to consider this fact, it strengthens our faith when we see that this is not just something made-up… we actually have a God who heals diseases.
Secondly, we see the span of time that this woman was suffering: twelve years. This helps us to understand the situation more. Consider that this was a prolonged condition, and when you have a condition that you have endured for such a long length of time, the temptation to give-up,give-in and just accept it becomes strong. We see in the following verse that she had gone to many doctors and spent all that she had, and actually grew worse instead of better, so that coupled with twelve years of suffering this condition would be enough to make most people admit defeat.
Yet another thing that we can see from this single verse, is a detail that not many people consider: this woman was unclean under Mosaic Law. Now to better understand what this means, hold your place here in Mark chapter 5, and turn with me for a moment to Leviticus 15:19-20:
“And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the even.
And every thing that she lies on in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sits on shall be unclean.”
These were the rules for any woman who had an issue of blood. Verse 19 says that such a woman should be “put apart” for seven days. In Hebrew this was her niddah, her separation due to her monthly cycle. This right here tells us that anyone who comes into physical contact with her would also be made unclean. Furthermore verse 20 extends that by stating whatever she sits or lays on will also be unclean. So this was the normal routine for any woman who had a blood discharge from her cycle. During this time, if the woman in question was married, she was not allowed to sleep in the same bed as her husband, engage in any sexual activity, and in many cases, she could not directly hand objects to other people or have them directly handed to her because of her unclean status. Even certain types of conversation was forbidden. And this was normal while being unclean during a woman’s normal time of the month.
Now drop down to verses 25-27:
“And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
Every bed where on she lies all the days of her issue shall be to her as the bed of her separation: and whatever she sits on shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
And whoever touches those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.”
This was the category that our specific woman was in. What we can see here is that the entire time of the discharge, the woman is to be considered unclean. Even anyone who touches her will be made unclean. Remember that this includes her husband and children if she had any. This is no longer simply her usual niddah separation – this is now her zavah, an irregular flow of blood that meant she would remain unclean until it is cured, and then count seven clean days after it has ended before beginning ritual purification.
This was the state that this woman was in, and as we return to our text in Mark 5:25, we are reminded that she has endured this suffering for twelve years. So let’s not take this lightly.
Now let’s move down to verse 27 of Mark 5:
“When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.”
Please take a moment and meditate on the awesomeness of this verse. This woman, who was basically a social pariah, and outcast and had been for twelve years, who spent everything she had on the physicians and actually got worse, the one who is now left with no contact, no money and no hope – she heard about Jesus!
Now what do you think that she heard about Jesus? It wasn’t what most pastors and leaders say about Jesus today, I can assure you! She did not hear that you have to clean yourself up first before approaching Jesus. If that were the case, she still would’ve had no hope because there was no way for her to clean herself up. There was no way for her to make herself clean.
She didn’t hear that there was a long list of requirements that had to be met before she could receive healing. Nor did she hear that Jesus was unwilling to heal her, or that it was a real long-shot.
Whatever she heard about Jesus made her pick herself up, and push her way through an entire crowd, disregarding all the Levitical laws, just to touch the garment of Jesus. That must’ have been some really powerful information that she heard! Would you like to know what she heard? Malachi 4:2 says that the Sun of righteousness, will rise with healing in His wings. The word for wings used there (k’napheyah) means the corners of a garment.
But wait! There were some 400 years between when Malachi was written and Jesus walked the earth. Surely what was written back then couldn’t still be relevant and active for this woman living in her modern day could it? She seemed to think so, because it got her to push through the crowds, ignoring the shame and the scorn, not thinking anymore about the laws, but totally focused on reaching Jesus… why? Look at the next verse, Mark 5:28:
“For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”
Just as with the other verses, this verse is powerful, and tells us a lot. What is this woman doing? To outsiders, it would look completely foolish, even insane… but to anyone who truly believes in Jesus it makes perfect sense. This woman has latched onto a promise of God. She has grabbed hold of a promise that she knew only the true Savior could fulfill, and she is not letting it go. Her situation, which looked utterly hopeless before, now has a clear solution: Jesus.
Now the English translation doesn’t give the full sense of her saying here. Because this is actually a continual saying. She didn’t just say to herself that she would be healed one time only and then go “Well, I guess it’s not going to work.” “Or maybe this was just a promise for a certain time or a certain place or a certain people.” – No, she kept reminding herself of God’s promises, she kept telling herself that Jesus was the answer to her problem, she kept claiming her healing in Jesus. And let’s not forget, she still experienced symptoms during all of her proclaiming! Imagine how weak she still felt, imagine all of the pain she felt, both physical and mental; emotional pain. But in the face of it all, she kept speaking life, she kept speaking healing. Then 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.”
She received exactly what she had believed. Now drop down to verse 34:
“And he said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you whole; go in peace, and be whole of your plague.”
This is the only woman that Jesus addressed as a daughter, and He says something very enlightening to her. Jesus tells her your faith has made you whole; go in peace and be whole of your plague.
This doesn’t seem like much until we start to meditate on it some. The woman has experienced her healing. Jesus told her that her faith has made her whole, but then He says, go in peace and be whole of your plague. Very interesting. Jesus was not just being redundant here, because in the Greek text the first word for “whole” and the second word for “whole” are two entirely different words with entirely different meanings.
The first word, for when Jesus said “your faith has made you whole” is sodzo in Greek, which means “to be made well”.
The second word for when Jesus said “Go in peace and be whole” is hugias in Greek, which means “to be made completely whole”, including in body. It is used for example in Matthew 15:31 when the maimed where laid at the feet of Jesus and they were “made whole” and received their body parts and limbs back. That is the sheer awesome miracle power of Jesus, and that is what is being shown here.
Now there is one more bit here… that tiny little word “in” means a lot more than what we generally think. When we look at the phrase “go in peace” we tend to read it and understand it as simply a “farewell”, a goodbye. However the Greek word that would be used for such a greeting would be en. That is not the word used here. The Greek word used here is eis, which actually means “into”.
So with this understanding, this is what Jesus said to her: Daughter, your faith has made you well. Now go into peace, and be completely healed.
Literally in Hebrew, Jesus would’ve said לכי בשלום, Go inside Shalom, go into or inside Peace. Let My peace be your sanctuary. Your faith has made you well, your hemorrhaging has stopped, now go into My peace – live in My peace, and be made complete and receive back all that you have lost. What an amazing statement by Jesus!
Now I know that some of you may be thinking that this is simply too good to be true. Maybe this amazing healing was only for this one woman that He addressed as daughter. Maybe she was just special… well, in closing today, let’s take a look at Matthew 14:34-36:
“And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought to him all that were diseased;
And sought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”
The people of Gennesaret heard of what happened with this woman, and like her, with the same spirit of faith, they did not let doubt or fear dissuade them. They sought to touch him in the same way as the woman, and take a look at the end of verse 36… as many as touched were made perfectly whole. How many? As many as touched.
So I encourage you today. Jesus is the same healer today as He was back then. And His healing is not just for the elite. His power is not just for the privileged few, and His Grace is for all who will just reach out to receive.