Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734 February 6, 2022
Jesus came, from Heaven to earth, to glorify His Father and to do us good. He came preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel,” (Mark 1:15)—and he came preaching for a favorable verdict: acceptance of the Gospel message and compliance with it. Jesus also came teaching. His words in the Gospels—plus in Acts 1:4-11 and in Acts 20:35—speak truth to our souls, and His various teaching techniques drill that truth home deep within our souls. Today, as we note Jesus’ encounter with a woman amid the throng, we also note that He came healing. Let’s hear once again the Word of the Lord read and proclaimed in this place.
(HERE READ THE TEXT)
First, let’s see Jesus amid the throng—a throng waiting on Him to return from east of the Sea of Galilee. That great crowd presses around Him and into Him from His first step from the boat onto dry land. Among those meeting Jesus there is Jairus, the synagogue ruler, who appeals to Jesus to heal his very sick daughter, that she may live. Jesus, upon hearing his appeal, walks with Jairus toward his home—and, apparently, the large crowd comes with them and continues to press closely upon them.
Second, let’s see a certain woman amid the throng. She endures a physical ailment of long standing—a discharge of blood of twelve years’ duration. This left her, at the end of twelve years, in lamentable condition. Note her physical state: weakened and paled by blood loss, perhaps pained in her body, and maybe even nigh unto physical death due to the length and possible severity of her condition. Consider also her financial state: bankruptcy—and that at the hand of physicians attempting to heal her for over a decade. Yet, at the end of all regimens, she is both physically and financially worse than before they started. Note furthermore her religious standing: unclean (Leviticus 15:25), and, hence, deprived both of the benefit of public worship and the society of the ceremonially clean (not to mention perhaps their good esteem of her). Again, this woman is in lamentable condition, without much apparent hope—yet she has one hope, and that hope propels her to action.
She heard the reports about Jesus—about His power to heal. Hence, she aims to touch His garment. She aims to do this—and surreptitiously, from behind, at that—for several reasons. Her mode of operation will help her avoid the public shame of asking for healing—particularly if Jesus asks, “What is your problem?” Her way of working her will also will help her avoid contaminating anyone else by her touch, thus rendering them unclean. Above all, this woman works this way in order to obtain her desired healing, for she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.”
The plan thus formed, she now executes. She, thus fortified to dare the attempt, touches Him. Immediately she gains full healing. The flow of her blood dries up. Furthermore, she knows she gains full healing, for she feels in her body that she was healed of her disease. Twelve years of suffering are gone in an instant. What joy must flood her soul. Yet she is not at perfect ease yet, and we turn now to examine why.
Third, let’s see Jesus perception amid the throng. Jesus, knowing the whole from the beginning, knows both that someone touched Him and that power went out from Him. Jesus asks, “Who touched Me?” The disciples express their incredulity as such a question. They exclaim, in effect, that it is not possible to know who touched Him. In some sense, everyone there is touching Him, for the crowd presses against Him (and them). Yet Jesus persists. He looks through the crowd for who touched Him—again, knowing full well who touched Him, and why.
Jesus need not wait too long for the answer to his question, for the woman releases her unease by revealing herself to the throng—and to Jesus. She comes to Him with fear and trembling, falling at His feet and declaring the whole truth. This whole truth likely includes what she did, why she did it, and what happened after she did it—namely, the glorious healing she received from on high. Jesus, hearing everything from the woman, now pronounces finally upon the matter. He calls her, “Daughter,”—likely a most welcome term of endearment to her ears (How long has it been since she has heard this word lovingly applied to herself, if ever?), though, as to His humanity, He is nowhere near old enough to be a father or father-figure to her. Then He declares her healed (with nuance of rescue or salvation: Greek sozo [σωζω]). She is made well, by faith in Him. His final commands fill the air, and her ears, as He turns to another pressing matter, “Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
How grateful we are that Jesus healed in New Testament times. How grateful we remain that He heals in this day as well. We considered Jesus’ physical healing today, but we begin concluding today by noting that physical healing is not the only form of healing that Jesus works. Let’s consider other forms.
Jesus heals our souls from sin by bearing our sin in our place. He takes the sin of every elect soul in every age, and He bears that sin in His Person to dark Calvary—and His death there atones for it. This is the fundamental healing that concerns us (cf. the healing of the paralytic in Mark 2:1-12 par.). Jesus further heals our souls, post-conversion, by mortifying our flesh and vivifying our souls by His Spirit. That is, He kills our desire for sinning as we use His appointed helps (such as Scripture, prayer, church attendance, participation in the Lord’s Supper, and the like), and He makes life His risen life in us through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus also heals us from various inner torments (emotional upsets, psychological difficulties, and the like). He lifts our heads when we are sad, and He comforts us in (and, often, delivers us from) depression. He eases our anxieties and banishes our worries as we look to Him. Hence, Jesus heals not just our outer man, but our inner man as well. Jesus heals us, in addition to the foregoing, from inner wounds inflicted upon us. He heals—sometimes dramatically and completely, but sometimes bit-by-bit, though no less completely) both from what happened to us and from what people did unto us. All of these inner hurts hurt—sometimes to excruciating degree—yet we, like the woman in today’s narrative, may reach out to Jesus for healing and relief.
Jesus came healing. Ask for it, in faith, believing—for yourself and for others. Then receive that healing in whatever form it comes—and praise Him for it.