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THE AMAZING POWER
OF SIMPLE FAITH
Intro: This section of Mark’s Gospel is filled with impossible cases. It has been called the Home Of The Hopeless. There are four impossible, hopeless situations recounted in Mark 4:35-5:43. There is the Troubled Sea, the Tormented Sinner, the Traumatized Sufferer, and the Tragedy of the Schoolgirl.
Each case is hopeless! The disciples thought they were going to die in the storm, Mark 4:38, but Jesus was able to calm the storm with a simple command. No one could tame the demoniac, but Jesus set him free from his bondage with a simple command.
As we move through the rest of the events in this chapter we will soon discover that Jesus is more than adequate for every situation. There are no incurables with Him. There are no hopeless situations with the Lord! Your situation is not hopeless! Your loved ones are not hopeless!
Today we will consider the account of the healing of diseased woman. This portion of Scripture is a parenthesis in the action. Jesus is on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus and He is interrupted as He goes by this woman who comes and touches the hem of His garment.
As Jesus was walking this day, He was thronged by a crowd. The people were pressing in on Him. In the crowd that day there was a weak, timid, dying woman who reached out and touched Jesus Christ. When she did, her life was instantly, completely and permanently transformed.
There are those here today who need a transformation. You need your life to be radically changed. That transformation can happen, if you can just touch Jesus! Let’s take a few minutes to consider this poor, diseased woman’s condition. I want to talk point out the elements of her story as I preach about The Amazing Power Of Simple Faith.
I. v. 24-26 A WOMAN’S DISEASE
A. v. 25 Her Ailment - We are told that she suffered from “an issue of blood”. This literally means that she was hemorrhaging, or bleeding, from some part of her body. The word “issue” means “a flowing of blood”. Whatever may have caused this internal hemorrhage, she was a very sick woman. The verb tense indicates that it was a continual flow of blood.
B. v. 26 Her Agonies - A constant flow of blood, such as this, would have caused this woman untold suffering. Let’s take a moment to examine some of the areas in which she suffered.
1. She Suffered Physically - From the constant blood loss, this poor woman would have been weak and anemic. She would have been pale. She would have had no energy at all. The least of efforts would have worn her out. The word “plague” is the same word that is translated “whip” elsewhere. Her disease was like a scourge, constantly beating her down, day by day!
2. She Suffered Medically - We are also told that she had tried all the remedies of all the physicians of her day. We are told that she “suffered” under their care.
An example of their “medical” techniques can be found in the Talmud. There are eleven remedies prescribed in the Talmud. Some are potions, most are simply superstitious nonsense.
Everything from carrying various concoctions of herbs; to frightening the sufferer; to having her stand over a ditch while someone says “Arise from thy flux” was suggested as a possible cure.
One remedy even called for the woman to carry an ear of corn taken from the dung of a white donkey. It is hard for us to imagine the kinds of indignities those doctors put her through.
3. She Had Suffered Socially - She almost certainly was not married, because through physical contact, she would defile her husband. If she had ever been married, her husband would have been probably divorced her. She could not work around others because of the danger of defilement. This reduced her to a life of begging scraps of food from a distance. Her condition left her on the fringes of society.
4. She Had Suffered Emotionally - Since the Bible says that she had been this way for 12 years, and considering the average life span in those days, it is safe to assume that she has probably been this way since just after puberty. She has lived her life moving from one rejection to another. She is lonely, isolated and desperate!
5. She Had Suffered Religiously - Under the Law, Lev. 15:19; 25-27, this woman was to be considered unclean. Anything or anyone that she touched was also considered unclean. As a result, she could not mingle with people in public, lest she cause them to be defiled. She could not go to the Women’s Court of the Temple, because she was unclean.
6. She Had Suffered Financially - The Bible tells us that she had “spent all she had”. The doctors and their useless remedies had not helped her. All they had done was drain her bank account dry. She has been left penniless and destitute.
C. v. 26 Her Anguish - After all the years, all the doctors, all the times she had hoped this remedy would be the one that would work for her, she has come to the place where she knows she is living under a death sentence. She will not get better, but she will die from this disease. What she has will kill her. Her life is literally draining out of her body little by little, day by day, Lev. 19:11.
(Note: I wonder how many people can identify with this poor woman. Maybe you don’t have her illness, but like her, you are filled with suffering and sorrow. She does picture two types of people:
1. This woman paints a clear picture of every person who does not know Jesus Christ as Savior. The lost are also defiled by a blood disease. They inherited this disease from Adam, Rom. 5:12. This is a condition that has plagued the lost person since he or she entered this world, Rom. 3:10; 23; Gal. 3:22. It is a condition made no better despite all the efforts of the sinner.
Many lost people spend their entire lives searching for meaning and help for their condition, but instead of getting better they only get worse; they only get harder in their hearts and more deeply rooted in their sins. All the efforts at self-improvement and religion will not help your condition!
This poor woman was in a sad shape, but she wasn’t nearly as bad off as that person who is not saved. She was merely headed to the grave; they are headed to an eternity in Hell, Psa. 9:17; Rom. 6:23!
2. She is also a picture of that believer who is laboring under a heavy burden. Many of God’s children are discouraged and defeated today. You have tried everything in your power to get better. You have tried everything you know to handle your problems. You’ve read all the books, listened to all the preachers, and gotten advice from the best of sources, but you are no better. Your life is just as messed up as it ever was. Well, if that describes your life today, keep on listening; because as we watch this poor woman get the help she needs, we are going to find out about the help we need as well.)
II. v. 27-28 A WOMAN’S DESIRE
A. v. 27 The Witness She Heard - Somewhere, this poor woman heard about Jesus. Maybe she had heard how He had healed that leper, Mark 1:40-42. Maybe she had heard about that wild man just across the lake that Jesus had helped, Mark 5:1-20. Or, maybe some other poor soul, who lived on the fringes of society due to an uncleanness of some sort, had been healed by Jesus and came in and told her about Him. No doubt she had heard that there was power in His touch.
B. v. 28 The Will She Held - Regardless of where she heard about Him, she knew she had to get to Him. She had come to realize that Jesus was her only hope! She believed with all her heart that if she could just get to Him, she would be healed.
She displayed her determination to get to Jesus by approaching Him in that crowd. As she elbowed her way through the people, she was causing ceremonial defilement for everyone she touched.
She was taking a great risk, for if she had been recognized, she would have been subjected to public humiliation and ridicule. A crowd like that might have gotten worked up and beat her or stoned her to death. For her, it was a risk worth taking. She believed Jesus would heal her!
She had to be determined, because by the very nature of her disease, it would have taken all the energy she had to drag herself out of her bed to struggle through that crowd to get to Jesus. She was desperate!
(Note: Have you reached that place in your life yet? Have you come to understand that Jesus is the only hope you have? If you are in this building lost today, you need to get to Jesus! He is the only source of salvation for you, Acts 4:12; John 14:6. If you have never trusted Him for salvation, then you need to come to Him. Jesus is your only hope. You need to touch Him by faith!
There are some who are saved, but like this woman are burdened and defeated, need to touch Him as well. The sooner you come to realize that Jesus is the only person Who can help you, the sooner you can get the help you need! Listen what He says to you: Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Pet. 5:7. Why should you carry that burden one more step? Why should you fight your battle even for one more minute? Why should you live defeated for another day? You don’t have to! Get to Jesus, He can and will help you!)
III. v. 29-34 A WOMAN’S DELIVERANCE
A. v. 29 Her Deliverance Was Powerful - When she was near enough to Him, she reached out a trembling hand and touched His garment. She probably touched one of the long tassels hanging from the corners of His prayer shawl, Matt. 9:20.
Then, in that very instant, she received what none of the doctors or their costly and painful remedies could give her; she was healed! Instantly, she felt the change in her body. She knew she was a different woman!
B. v. 30-33 Her Deliverance Was Personal - As soon as this woman touches Him, Jesus knows what has happened. Just for the record, He knew about it before it happened! He willed it! He knows that “virtue” has gone out of Him. This is a word that means “power”. We get our modern words “dynamite” and “dynamic” from it. Jesus knows what has happened and He asks the question in verse 30, “Who touched My clothes?”
Of course, there were dozens of people touching Him and bumping into Him that day, a fact pointed out by the disciples, v. 31, but her touch was different, it was a touch accompanied by faith. Many touched Him, but only one touched Him with the fingers of faith!
Jesus sought her out because He wanted to give her more than mere physical healing. He wanted to move her beyond her superstitious faith. He wanted to bring her to the place of salvation.
When Jesus spoke to this woman, you will notice that she fell before Him in fear. Here is the very reason she came silently from behind Him to touch Him, instead of coming to Him openly. She was afraid of rejection! She must have expected Jesus to lash out at her for touching Him. Her touch would have made Him ceremonially unclean until sundown.
She needn’t have feared that! Jesus was not interested in humiliating her. He was not interested in driving her away from His presence. He was not interested in preaching her a sermon on uncleanness from the Law. He was merely interested in helping her with her problem!
But, Jesus got the response from her He had wanted and anticipated. She came before Him, and bowed at His feet and confessed everything to Him. This was a public acknowledgment of what had happened in her heart. She was different and she wasn’t ashamed to tell others about it! Jesus wanted to move her past a small, superstitious faith to a greater, soul-converting faith.
Note: Jesus was on His way to heal the young daughter of a man named Jairus, v. 22-24. This little girl is at the point of death! As Jesus makes His way to this man’s house, He is surrounded by the surging crowd. Yet, in spite of the seriousness of His mission, Jesus takes the time to stop for this woman!
At this moment, the crowd might as well not even be there. It has come down to just Jesus and this woman. To Him, the woman and her need were more important than anything else. She was, for that moment of time, the focus and center of His world and attention! This woman, cast out, uncared for and unwanted had caught the eye of God because she exercised simple, childlike faith!
Isn’t that a blessing? I believe that God, Who controls the path of every atom in every molecule in this universe, has time for you when you call on Him in faith.
Never fear that He doesn’t care. Never fear that He won’t receive you. Do you realize that this woman could have never touched Him had He not become flesh? You see, God became a man, in the first place, so He could die on the cross, Phil. 2:5-8. But, He also became a man so that He could be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Heb. 4:15-16. He also became flesh so that we could touch Him! No man could touch deity.
Jesus became a man so that He could identify with us and us with Him. He became a man so that we could touch Him! If you ever come to the place where you can summon the faith the get to Him and touch Him, you will get the help you need too!)
C. v. 34 Her Deliverance Was Profound - His words confirmed what she already knew had happened! Notice that He calls her “daughter”. This is the only time Jesus ever calls a female by this name. The word signifies the fact that they are in a different relationship now. It is a word of tenderness; a word of peace; a word of acceptance.
You see, she got more than physical healing that day. All her adult life, she has been an outcast, a nobody, dwelling in isolation and loneliness, but now, she hears that she has been taken in by God! Her faith brought her into a soul saving relationship with Jesus Christ. One minute she was an outcast, the nest moment she was in the family of God!
The word “whole” is the same word translated “saved” throughout the New Testament. It means “to be rescued from all harm and danger. To be kept safe and sound”. Yes, she got a whole lot more than she bargained for that day!
Ill. Just like this woman, all those who come to Jesus get far more than they ever bargained for. Many come to Him because they are afraid of Hell. When we come to Him, our faith is so small. We don’t understand the deep things of the Word of God. We don’t understand the complexities and nuances of theology. But, when our little faith reaches out to Him, He responds by giving us everything Heaven has. Then, we begin the exciting journey of finding out about our riches in Jesus. We soon discover that we got far more than just a fire insurance policy.
· We are children of God, 1 John 3:1-2.
· We have a home in Heaven, John 14:1-3.
· We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus, Rom. 8:17.
· We have a new life, 2 Cor. 5:17.
· We are free from the power of sin to control and dominate them, Rom. 6:14.
· We are no longer God’s enemies, Rom. 8:7.We have been reconciled to Him, Eph. 2:12-19. We have been fully and forever forgiven, Col. 2:13-14.)
D. v. 34 Her Deliverance Was Permanent - He tells her to “go in peace”. His words let her know that she has done the right thing in coming to Him and touching Him. Any other man in that crowd would have been offended and angered had this diseased woman intentionally touched him, but not Jesus!
He was not afraid of ceremonial defilement, it could not touch Him! All He knew was that a woman in trouble had exercised a grain of faith the size of a mustard seed, and He only cared for her healing! You will also notice that Jesus did not ask for money for His services. What He did He did freely out of love and grace!
She had already been healed and she knew it, but these final words of Jesus, “thy faith hath made thee whole”, drive home the fact that she was finally and fully free from her plague. She was healed and life would never be the same ever again! Her battle with this dread disease was forever finished! She had received a brand new life from the hand of the Master.
Conc: This woman experienced healing that day, not because she touched His garment, but because she exercised faith in Jesus and His power. When her faith touched His power, His power changed her life.
Do you need to get to Jesus today? There is help in getting to Him! Whether you are lost in sin, or whether you are battling difficulty, Jesus is your answer? If you have reached the place where all other remedies have failed, all other means have exhausted themselves and you need help right now, I want to invite you to come to Jesus!
You know, in that crowd that day, there were dozens of people with physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. But, only one lady got any help. Dozens touched Jesus, but only one was transformed.
Why? Only one person looked at Jesus through the eyes of faith. She believed He could help her and she did whatever she had to do to touch Him. When she touched Him, she was made whole!
Don’t be one of those people who simply brush up against Jesus and leave unchanged. If you need help, come to Him. He has the power to change your situation. If you need help, get to Him and touch Him by faith.