Where were you twelve years ago? December 2009? Twelve years ago, I had no thought of pastoring South Georgia Baptist Church. I wasn’t a grandpa yet. I had a daughter still in college, and I had one less son-in-law. That seems like ages ago. Where were you?
Can you imagine being sick for twelve years, for four-thousand, three-hundred, eighty days?
In Mark’s fifth chapter, we find the story of the miracle on the way to a miracle. While Jesus was walking toward the home of the synagogue’s leader, His journey was interrupted. Before He could restore life to Jairus’s daughter, he met the weary woman who had been ailing for twelve interminable years.
The woman wasn’t just sick. She was suffering. The “woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse” (Mark 5:25-26).
She was bleeding, probably menstruating. The Levitical law said, “when a woman has a discharge of her blood for many days, though it is not the time of her menstruation, or if she has a discharge beyond her period, she will be unclean all the days of her unclean discharge, as she is during the days of her menstruation” (Leviticus 15:25). To be unclean meant that you couldn’t go to the temple to worship, and anyone who touched you was also rendered unclean.
She was ceremonially unclean, broke, anemic, weak, hopeless, alone... and getting worse. But “having heard about Jesus” (Mark 5:27), hope swelled within her. Jesus healed the leper, the blind, the lame. She believed that Jesus could heal her too. “She said, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well’ ” (Mark 5:28).
As the throng of people followed Jesus, “the crowds were nearly crushing him” (Luke 8:42). Faithful and determined, the poor woman pressed on, elbowing her way, trying hard to get close to Jesus. As she approached, she reached out, stretching to barely touch the hem of His coat. “Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” (Mark 5:29-31). I can almost hear Peter giggle, saying, “What do you mean? Forty-eleven people just touched you!” But Jesus knew. And the woman knew.
“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Have courage, daughter,’ he said. ‘Your faith has saved you.’And the woman was made well from that moment” (Matthew 9:22). “Daughter... Go in peace” (Mark 5:34).
Jesus specializes in giving hope to the hopeless and help for the helpless... even those who lost hope twelve years ago!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.