January 22, 2014
God Has Not Forgotten You
He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering' (Mark 5:34, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Oh how I love the story of Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood recorded in Mark 5:21-34. In my last devotion, we looked at the overall story. Today, let's take a closer look.
I can so relate to this woman. What woman among us hasn't felt the wretchedness of rejection, the shame of suffering, and the humility of hopelessness? What woman hasn't wondered, Would God care about the likes of me?
And here we have a story of just how much God values and esteems His female image bearers. He singles out one lone woman from a multitude of curious followers, heals her of her affliction with but a touch, and then shines the heavenly spotlight center stage for her to testify of the miraculous transformation.
The woman we meet in Mark, chapter five, has been called "the woman with the issue of blood." She was defined by what was wrong with her. For twelve long years, this woman had been bleeding; we can assume it was vaginally. When we meet her, she is physically, financially, socially and spiritually drained—bankrupt in every way.
In biblical days, certain situations and conditions rendered a person ceremonially unclean. Leprous people were separated from society and had to shout, "Unclean! Unclean!" when they walked among common folk. Anyone who touched a dead body was considered unclean. And women were considered unclean during their monthly period.
For seven days, considered the time of a normal female period, a woman was secluded. A woman hemorrhaging for twelve years would be considered permanently unclean. If unmarried, she would not be able to marry. If married, her condition would be grounds for divorce. She would be expelled from her home, cut off from her family, and ostracized by her community.
Each doctor's visit brought a surge of hope and expectation, only to be swept away when the red flow of despair reappeared. The joy of tender youth was now a vague memory, crushed by life's hardness and the weight of disappointment. The hammer of rejection drove the nails of isolation into the coffin of her tightly secured heart.
Unlike the lame man who was lowered through the roof by four friends and placed at Jesus' feet, this woman had no one to intercede for her. There was no father pleading for his daughter. There was no husband praying for his wife. There was no master employing Jesus' help to heal a servant. When we meet this woman, she is fearful and forgotten. She is all alone—or so it seemed to her.
Sometimes we can feel the same: abandoned by friends, deserted by a spouse, forgotten by family, unseen by society. But she was not forgotten. She was not alone. This daughter of Abraham was close to God's heart and foremost on His mind. So God the Father orchestrated His Son's journey to pass her way.
This woman understood that Jesus was radically different in his approach and appreciation of women. She knew full well that she was overstepping cultural and religious boundaries set out by pious men of her day, but it was a risk she was willing to take.
Two things happened when she touched Jesus. First she was healed. It was measurable. She felt the flow of blood had ceased. Jesus felt the power of God released.
Secondly, she was revealed. Her courage was cloaked in anonymity trembling in the fear of exposure, but Jesus was not going to allow her to "steal" her healing. He wanted to do more than stop the flow of blood. He wanted to start the flow of ministry. He called her forward to testify, to tell what had just happened to her so that others would believe.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering (Mark 5:34).
A rabbi did not speak to a woman in public, but once again, Jesus, the liberator, broke the man-made rules for the God-made woman. He did not call her out to embarrass or shame her in any way. He called her center stage to honor her honesty, to commend her courage, and to validate her valor. He did not reprimand her for breaking the religious rules, but praised her great faith.
Once again, Jesus called a woman out from the shadows and placed her center stage. No longer was she a woman in need of a healing touch, but now a believer who had received it and was called on to tell about it.
Dear LORD, I am so thankful that Jesus didn't let this woman slip away with her healing, but called her out to tell what happened. Help me to speak up about the wonderful things You have done, and are doing in my life, so others may hear and believe.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
The Bible doesn't tell us what happened to the woman after her healing. What do you think happened to her? What do you think she did with the rest of her life?
How do you think the crowd responded to her healing?
What does Revelation 12:11 tell us about the power of our personal testimonies?
If this had happened to you, what would you have done? Share your answer over on my Facebook page.
More from the Girlfriends
Today's devotion was taken from my book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered.We tend to read the Gospels with our twenty-first-century eyes. But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus' ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours. You'll fall in love with Jesus all over again. To watch a video or read a sample chapter, just click on the book title.
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