This is the first devo in a “Come Alive” series.
The book of Mark shows us how Jesus lived his life.
In Mark 5, we walk through a day in the life of Jesus – as he walks through the town and talks to the people. In the midst of the day, we meet two women. Different women, different backgrounds, but they have something in common on this day. They both meet Jesus.
The first woman has been sick for a long time. We don’t know her name but we do know she has been bleeding for 12 years – in addition to the weakness in her body, her disease has made her unclean in the eyes of the community and her family. Verse 26 says, “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” She is desperate for a change in her life and had heard about this man going around town healing people. She believed if she could just touch him, it might bring the healing she’d searched for. She didn’t want to talk to him or sit with him, she just wanted to touch his clothes. She had tried everything else, so why not try this?
The people in town that day wanted to get close to Jesus – close enough to hear what he had to say, close enough to see, just in case he did something extraordinary. As Jesus moved through the crowd, so did this woman. She couldn’t help but touch people on her way to Jesus. Her desperation drove her to risk working her way through the crowd that had always rejected her to get to the man she hoped held healing.
She finally got close enough to reach out and touch the edge of his shawl. As soon as she did, she knew she was healed. And Jesus knew he’d been touched. He could have just kept walking – he and the woman both knew he’d healed her. That could have been enough, but that’s not how Jesus works. So he stopped.
Maybe he wanted thedisciples to know what had happened. When Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” I can just imagine the look on the disciples’ faces. They were young men, not far out of their teenage years, and they responded, “You see all these people? And you ask ‘Who touched me?’” They didn’t understand the difference between the casual contact of the crowd and the faith-filled touch of someone desperate for healing. But Jesus did.
Maybe he wanted the crowd to know this woman they’d always seen as unclean wasn’t sick anymore. There were probably others in the crowd that day that were ill. When they saw her healing, they may have wondered, “Well, I bumped into Jesus and I wasn’t healed.” But there is a huge difference between bumping into Jesus and reaching out to him.
But maybe he stopped and pointed her out because he wanted herto know that it wasn’t her touch that had healed her. It was her faith. We can find a lot of things wrong with her faith – it was slow in coming (she’d tried everything else first); it was a little superstitious (if I just touch his garment, I’ll be healed); she was secretive about it (she didn’t want anyone to know about the hope she was placing in this simple touch). But here is the key – she had finally placed her faith in Jesus. Her desperate faith, fueled by losing everything and coming to the end of her own resources. The desperate faith that had pushed her past every obstacle and every fear to reach out and touch the only one who could help her.
When the woman heard Jesus ask, “Who touched me?” She stepped forward and fell at his feet. When he spoke to her, he could have used her name, or he could have called her “woman” – but instead he looked her in the eyes and said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Jesus didn’t want to just step into her life for a moment, give her what he knew she needed, and then walk back out. That’s not the kind of relationship Jesus wants – he wants a relationship that allows us to be strong and healthy and one where he calls us “daughter.”
As you read about this woman, think about your own story. Consider these lessons and what you can learn from them.
This woman needed Jesus. Just like me. Just like you. Just like the woman who will walk into your group for the first time next week.
When did you first realize your need for Jesus?
Focus on the healer. As Jesus moved through the crowd that day, he changed one person at a time. If Jesus wouldn’t have called the woman out of the crowd and made sure she knew that her faith made her well, she may have always believed that the tassel on Jesus’ prayer shawl held some healing power. But after speaking to Jesus, she would never talk about that tassel. She would always talk about how Jesus made her whole. That is the story she would tell because she had been transformed.
What have you focused on in the past that didn’t fulfill you? How did you discover that Jesus was the only one that can make you whole?
When Jesus steps into the story, things change. Maybe not immediately but eventually and eternally. Because that’s what Jesus does. He move things from death to life, literally. He did it for this woman – he changed her present and he changed her future.
How did Jesus change you? What were you like before you met him? How are you different now?
When Jesus steps into our story, he doesn’t want to just pass through. He wants to stay. He wants to form a bond that calls you “daughter.”
What does Jesus’ desire for a father-child relationship mean to you? How does that relationship impact your decisions?