During Jesus' ministry, he heals a lot of people. You could randomly open to a page in any of the four gospels and find at least one story about how Jesus heals those who are blind, paralyzed, or suffering great illness. So let me set the scene for us in one of the most iconic acts of healing we see in scripture.
In Mark 5 we read about a woman who had "a discharge of blood for 12 years". Now for anyone not picking up on what this is saying, I’ll give it to you straight: our main character has been on her period for 12 years. For anyone lacking a uterus that still isn't picking up what I'm saying, 12 years of menstruating might actually be hell on earth.
The interesting part about this is that this woman is not only being set back physically by her sickness, but maybe even more so, socially. Back in the day, they didn't exactly have the resources us women have now that keep it easy to conceal our time of the month. So when it did happen, women were required to separate from their husbands, families, and communities. So this community of people knew this was going on, knew it had been going on for 12 whole years and as a result and labeled the bleeding woman as unclean in society. This has made her an outcast, separated socially for 12 years!
Our story picks up right in the middle of Jesus' stardom. To put this into perspective the best way I know how, he is Beyonce. Jesus is walking through this crowd, on his way to heal a dying girl (super casual) and there's a whole crowd of people following him, because he's Beyonce.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 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. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Questions to Consider
Knowing that society has labeled this woman an unclean outcast, how do you think the crowd reacted to her touching Jesus?
Reread verses 27 and 28, what strikes you about this woman’s faith in Jesus in this scene?
What can we learn about Jesus’ character from the way he reacts to the bleeding woman?
Verse 29 states that immediately after touching Jesus, the bleeding stopped and she was “freed from her suffering” . Unpack this for a minute. How will this woman's life be different from this moment forward?
What inspires you about this woman’s faith and the way Jesus moves because of it?
Is there an area of your life that you need freedom and healing the way the bleeding woman did? What would it take to approach Jesus for healing and freedom with a faith like hers?
Similar to the crowd in this passage, our society often tells us that there’s one way to deal with our pain, grief, and doubts: bury it, forget about it, or cover it up. We often see that these ways lead to more pain and a whole lot of shame. But Jesus invites into something different. Radical, vulnerable faith, as we see so many times in scripture, is the place where he meets us with freedom and healing.
Easier said than done, right? Faith like this doesn’t need to be anything flashy. God’s not looking for a well rehearsed prayer or for you to come to him processed and polished. He simply wants to meet you where you are. A good way to start is by simply giving the Lord space to speak into how you’re feeling. Begin by saying “Jesus, I need your healing/freedom for______,” and sit in silence for a few moments. Maybe he has a word, imagine, scripture, or actual physical healing to share. Maybe he just wants you to receive moments of peace and feeling loved by him.
To stay on theme, I want to leave you with the wise words of Leona Lewis from her Iconic song, Bleeding Love. “There’s nothing greater than the rush that comes with your embrace” And although I’m fairly certain Leona isn’t talking about Jesus here, it’s still true. There is no greater place to find healing and freedom than in His embrace.