Jesus healing women

The hemorrhaging woman (Luke 8:50-56)

During the height of Jesus’ ministry He was regularly surrounded by great throngs of people, eager to hear His teaching and – probably even more so – to be touched by His powerful healing hand. In the events immediately preceding the healing of Jairus’ daughter, and the woman with a bleeding disorder, Jesus had been to Gadara and sent some demons into a whole herd of pigs, which then ran off a cliff and into the sea. The townspeople, alarmed and distressed over the shocking loss of their income, asked Jesus to leave, which He did.

His next destination was Nazareth, which one might (erroneously) think of as Jesus’ own city, since that’s where He grew up. But the people of Nazareth hated Jesus so much they’d already tried to push Him off a cliff. After that episode the Lord went to live in Capernaum, where He had begun His ministry, and called His first four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James, and John. In fact, Peter’s home acted as Jesus’ ‘home base’ where He often stayed as He taught throughout this region.

Several people feature in this tumultuous day in Jesus’ life: 

Jairus: Synagogue rulers were laymen who looked after the building, supervised the worship and maintained order. He would be the one to make sure no tax collectors or other unclean people entered the synagogue, and chose who could read from the scripture scrolls. As a ruler of the synagogues, Jairus was part of the religious establishment which was soundly against Jesus.

A bleeding woman: According to Levitical law, a woman was considered unclean for the length of her monthly flow—and for any other days in which there would be a flow. Anything, or anyone, she touched, or touched her, would also be considered unclean. Everything, and everyone, would have to be thoroughly cleansed with water, and be set aside until sundown.

Effectively, this barred the woman from leaving her home, or being with anyone, during the time of her uncleanness. Hence, in ancient times, the “red tent” became a part of every woman’s life, a place where all the women of the household would stay for their monthly periods.

That she had been hemorrhaging for twelve years hints at the staggering toll this ailment had taken on the woman’s life—out of money, no options left, dying from blood loss, and bereft of friends and family, not permitted to be in public, to touch anyone, or anything, including Jesus and His robes. 

Jairus’ daughter: A young girl just entering puberty, and now dying.

The professional mourners: Paid performers who made a great religious show without having the spiritual reality.

Jesus’ disciples: Most notably Peter, James and John who would come to witness the most intimate, glorious, and powerful events of Jesus’ ministry.

Just as Jesus was teaching all this to John's disciples, Jairus, ruler of the local synagogue, came hurrying up to Jesus and knelt before Him in a gesture of deep courtesy and “pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.” In his own gospel, Matthew recorded Jairus as saying, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.

Because Jairus had waited until his daughter was so near death, going to Jesus was probably his absolute last resort. As far as his religious career was concerned, kneeling before Jesus would end it. But Jairus believed that Jesus' touch would heal his daughter. He was willing to risk everything, and Jesus responded to Jairus' faith with tender compassion.

A large crowd followed Jesus and was pressed all around Him. In the middle of the mob, an unknown woman privately and quietly came up behind Jesus. She was desperate. Because of the blood, she had spent 12 years as an unclean person, untouchable person, not allowed into the temple services, a social outcast, shunned by everyone around her—she really shouldn't have even been there, in the crowd, because everyone who touched her become ceremonially unclean, according to Mosaic Law, even the holy man she wanted to heal her.

Right next to Jesus was Jairus, the synagogue ruler. Think how frightening that had to have been for her to be found out, and how conflicted she felt, wanting to be healed, but not wanting Jesus to know how unclean she was, and how unclean He would be if she touched Him.

God had graciously determined to heal this woman through His Son. As her faith overcame her fear, she quietly touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak, saying to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

Immediately, Jesus felt the power go out of Him, so He asked who had touched Him. Imagine the disciples’ dismay, as they reminded Jesus about the crush of people all around Him. But Jesus had recognized this woman's faith, she stood out from the crowd because she believed. He refused to take another step until His question had been answered. His voice rang out among the people. “Who touched Me? Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.”

When she realized there was no getting out of it, the now healed women came before Him “trembling, and fell at his feet.” With Jairus standing there, in all his power, and great alarm for the day, in front of all the people crushed around Jesus, who would have been aghast at her effrontery n putting them at risk for uncleanness, in great shame and embarrassment to pour out her story.

But look at the sweetness of Jesus' response, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” He gave her His deep and abiding peace, saying that it was by her faith (and not by His cloak) that she was healed. The word Jesus used for "healed" gave permanent assurance, and in the Greek it actually means "saved," so that from that hour she was freed both from her physical suffering and also was given spiritual salvation.

Jesus recognizes us and wants to have a personal relationship with us. To Him you are not an unclean person, you are beautiful, His beloved one. It is not enough for Him to answer your prayers, no matter how faith‑filled. He wants more: He wants you, and He wants me.

All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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