Who Touched Me?

Introduction: Jesus was a busy man. Many times being busy becomes as excuse for neglect. But Jesus used the busiest times to point out the importance of the little things. He teaches me a lesson here.

Turn to Mark 5:21-34 Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. 22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” (also found in Luke 8, Matt.9)

Let’s recreate this scene and notice the event from several perspectives (angles).

I. Mark 5:24 – “a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.” – Jesus’ reputation precedes Him as He walks among the crowd. Even the social outcasts in the city can tell you about Him, as well as the elite members of the Sanhedrin. Jesus was approached by a very influential and important man in the community concerning his 12 year old daughter. His daughter was sick and it was urgent that Jesus come to his house immediately. The crowd follows (Mark says they “thronged Him” – which indicates that the people were so tight around Him that it was difficult to breathe – no breathing room).As the crowd moves through the city we are introduced to the next character in this event.

II. Mark 5:25-26 – Now a certain woman…had suffered many things from many physicians. – (She is unnamed). We know nothing of her heritage or background (it doesn’t matter). What we do know is that she was suffering, and had been for 12 long years. The KJV says she had an “issue of blood” (NIV – had been subject to bleeding). Her suffering most assuredly went far beyond her physical condition.

A. 12 years of misery: The background of her pain is from the Old Testament. (Lev 15:25 NKJV) ‘If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean.

1. The length of her problem may have led to questions about herself: “What is it about me that makes me the object of such unending struggle? Where is God, and why doesn’t he answer my prayers? Why am I forced away from him, forbidden to go into the temple for refreshment of public worship?”

2. For fear that she might make others unclean she was socially isolated.

3. Mark tells us that shehad spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” (NIV) Are there any here today who can sympathize with this woman? This reminds us of Plato’s analysis 400 years earlier that is still pertinent today- doctors train diseases instead of curing people.

a. Edersheim notes the kinds of superstitions that this woman would have been offered as cures “…The ashes of an Ostrich-Egg, carried in the summer in a linen, in winter in a cotton rag; or barley-corn found in the dung of a white she-donkey, etc.” Her emotional condition must have been desperate by now.

b. John MacArthur describes this woman’s predicament like this: But the woman who approached Jesus at Capernaum had had no remission of bleeding for twelve years and was therefore perpetually in a state of ceremonial uncleanness. Her condition caused her to be excluded from the synagogue and Temple, because she would contaminate anyone and everything she touched and render them unable to participate in worship. Even her associations with her own family, including her husband if she was married, had to be carried on from a distance. In addition to her social and religious isolation she was also penniless, having spent all her resources on ineffective treatments and probably a few charlatans. (from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

B. What did she do? Mark 5:27-28 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (NIV)

        • She believed that if she could just touch Him, she would be cured. (Imperfect tense. She was or kept saying as she pressed through the crowd, either to herself or to others. – from Vincent’s Word Studies) This was a daring move. To touch the beloved Rabbi would certainly bring a reprimand. How would others react. She would work her plan incognito.

1. Mark 5:29-30 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

            • Luke tells us that she was healed before Jesus spoke. As soon as she touched His cloak, “immediately the flow of her blood was dried up;
            • The word “felt” indicates knowledge. She knew immediately that she was healed. Robertson’s says it was a “vivid moment of joy for her.”

2. But Jesus also recognized what had happened and immediately stopped in His tracks. Both Mark and Luke say that Jesus felt the power (virtue) go forth from Him. Jameison says… “He was conscious of the forthgoing of His healing power, which was not-as in prophets and apostles-something foreign to Himself and imparted merely, but what He had dwelling within Him as “His own fullness.” So He asked the general question, Who touched Me?

III. The Imperceptive Disciples: Mark 5:31 – 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'” There are several times when it seems the disciples are too far behind Jesus to ever catch up. “What do you mean, who touched you? Everybody is touching you.” They were probably wanting Jesus to get on with the business at hand and heal the ruler’s daughter. What can we learn from the disciple’s dullness here?

A. We should learn to be more sensitive. We can learn to think as the Lord does. There are people everywhere who want Him more than they are able to articulate, who are reaching out on some level for the life-restoring power of God. They don’t know how to ask for help. They may ask for the “pastor” or talk about “joining our church” or use some other doctrinally wrong phrase or idea but still they are creeping through the crowd trying to get to Jesus. As His disciples we ought to help them find Him, not send them away. They may not know what to say, what to do, or where to go, but they desperately need God. We should learn to see what’s going on in people’s hearts and lives. We should be more tender, more caring, more expectant, more compassionate. We’re supposed to be like our Lord.

IV. Jesus Stopped: What does He teach us about Himself here? What Did Jesus Do? Mark 5:32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.

A. Every honest cry for help receives God’s full attention. He stopped His urgent errand at a touch of an unimportant, insignificant woman. The high-status man was not preferred over the marginalized woman.

1. The story of the one hundred sheep (Matthew 18:12). The shepherd left behind ninety-nine sheep that weren’t lost so that he could find the one that needed him. Each one of us is the object of his searching love.

2. Jesus recognizes the touch of genuine faith. There were many who were touching Jesus as he walked along, but this woman’s touch stopped Him. The touch of a human hand had the power to arrest God in the streets.

            • Throughout His earthly ministry thousands of people came in contact with Jesus, and many hundreds of them talked with Him and touched Him; but many of them were not touched by Him. Throughout the history of the church, countless others have also come in close contact with Jesus; and many of them, too, have remained untouched by Him. He knows the difference between the person who approaches Him out of mere religious curiosity or a sense of adventure and the one who comes to Him in desperation and genuine faith.

V. The Woman Stepped Forward: Mark 5:33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. Jesus called for the woman to identify herself. Perhaps she was already turning to go home. Why did He call her out of the crowd? (He allowed her to come on her own – He could have pointed her out.) He gave her the chance to know Him more intimately, more than she anticipated, but she had to tell the whole truth before others.

A. The great act of faith in this story was not touching his robe silently and unnoticed, but coming forward and falling at his feet and telling her whole story in front of that entire crowd. Might have been embarrassing, but Jesus calls us out as well.

1. True faith is willing to speak up and act openly.

            • Those that gladly received His word were baptized in Acts 2.
            • Despite severe persecution, the disciples went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8).
            • The Ephesians confessed their deeds and burned their books (Acts 19)
            • James 5:16 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. 2 Tim 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

VI. “Your Faith has made you whole” – Luke 8:48 48 And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

  • The common Greek word for physical healing was iaomai , the term used by Mark when he explains that this woman “was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:29, cf. 34). In saying that she “could not be healed by anyone,” Luke used another word for physical healing, therapeuo (Luke 8:43), from which we get therapeutic. But in all three accounts of Jesus’ words to her (Mark, Matt. and Luke) the word translated as made whole is sozo, the usual New Testament term for being saved from sin. The world of physical sickness provided a venue for the picture of Jesus’ ability to heal the spiritual soul of men. Jesus can make us whole again.

A. In the account of the ten lepers who pleaded with Jesus to cure them, Luke reports that all ten “were cleansed” (from kathariza – another word for healed.) but that it was only to the one man who glorified God and returned to give thanks that Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” Jesus has more to offer than just the physical. He can make us whole if we are willing to act upon our faith.

Conclusion:

  • Jesus was as willing to heal the ostracized woman as the leading elder of the synagogue. No one in need ever interfered with Jesus’ agenda because “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). And as He had just declared to the self-righteous Pharisees, He “did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt 9:13). He came to seek and save sinners who knew they were sinners — and such persons have always been more likely to be the poor and insignificant of the world.
  • Thronging saves no one. Coming near Jesus will not heal you. We have to come all the way for Jesus by submitting to His authority in all things. True obedience is full obedience. He that believes and is baptized will be saved.