The Unclean Woman:
Hope for Healing
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
Jesus was on his way to help an important man who was in desperate need. While walking to his house, he was interrupted! Read how Jesus responded to a woman in Capernaum who was ceremonially unclean!
The Woman’s Hurt
A woman approached Jesus having had an issue of blood for twelve years! She had suffered much from an hemorrhage (continued bleeding). We are not told the cause of her ailment, but because she was a Jew, we understand the consequences under the Old Testament law. In the Book of Leviticus, the LORD God gave His Jewish people laws for their sanctification (separation), that they may be holy. The Israelite people were required to eat only clean animals for a good diet and follow laws for their physical purification.
According to Leviticus 12:2-5, a woman giving birth to a son would need to be separated from the public for 40 days and if she gave birth to a daughter, 80 days total of separation was necessary. After her time of purification was complete, she must bring a sacrifice to the Jewish priest who would make an atonement for her (verse 6). Only after this, may she again be considered clean and return to normal life in public! Consider the implications of this old Jewish practice.
1. An unclean woman could not touch any holy thing (verse 4) She had to be separated from others including the public worship of God at the holy meeting place.
Like this woman, we are all unclean in God’s eyes because of our sin. We are thus separated from our Holy God and cannot enter His presence. We are not able to properly worship God.
2. This woman needed to be purified…She had been separated much longer than 40 or 80 days: she had this issue for 12 years, which is 4,380 days!
All cultures feel the weight of their sin; this is why they turn to depend on their works and religion. They want to worship, but because they don’t know the true God, they make idols. They sense their need for help: hence, in every culture people attempt to pray, and make sacrifices to appease their gods. For example, the annual festival of Dachain in Nepal involves the bloodshed of goats to appease the bloodthirsty goddess of Kali (Shiva’s wife). Many years ago, humans were sacrificed! But even the sacrifice of another sinful man is insufficient to cleanse our sin. This is why Jesus had to be sinless, so he could be the perfect substitute dying in our place!
3. She needed a priest to make a sacrifice for her cleansing.
No matter how much we attempt to satisfy the demands of the Holy God in heaven, we cannot purify ourselves by our own works. Only through Jesus, our High Priest, may we receive forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Jesus gave His own blood to make us clean.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:24-28)
The Woman’s Helplessness
Religion is expensive. The pride of man demands to work for his own salvation. Even a church or religious leader is not able to clean the soul of man! Man-made rules and laws only keep sinners in captivity with no hope. Good deeds cannot earn eternal life. There is no one capable of being perfect.
Only God can give grace to the humble. God will help an honest sinner who confesses his need. Notice the woman’s honesty and humility. “But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth” (Mark 5:33).
I remember talking with an Hindu who told me there are 330 million gods, with three chief deities – Brahma (the giver of life), Vishnu (the sustainer of life), and Shiva (the destroyer of life). But sadly, with all of these gods believed to exist, not one is able to forgive his sin! He told me that he must try to achieve this impossible feat all alone. This is truly a helpless state for anyone.
The Woman Heard Good News
There came a time in this woman’s life when someone told her about Jesus. In Mark chapter 1, Jesus had been teaching in Capernaum and healed a man with an unclean spirit. He also healed a woman with a fever and others who were diseased. Now Jesus was in Capernaum again. The woman likely had heard of what Jesus had done for others. Now she needed Jesus to help her! She put aside her pride, and the fact that she was unclean. She just needed to go to Jesus!
Jesus told his disciples in John 16 that the Holy Spirit is working to convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We each must turn from our sin, and submit to Jesus by putting our faith in Him who is righteous. Instead of God’s judgment, we may receive His mercy!
The Woman’s Hope
Most people live with an empty hope and a baseless promise because they are blinded by Satan’s deceitful lies. But those who come to know Jesus are given an assuring hope both in life and after death. Consider the hope you may have when you have a relationship with God through Jesus!
The Woman’s Healing
After years of seeking help, this woman met the All-powerful physician. Immediately she had new life! This was instant deliverance, not gradual. Eternal life is a gift given only by Jesus Christ at the moment we put our faith and dependence on Him. He restores our soul.
Are you willing to humble yourself like this woman and say “I am dying with a sin-sickness and need help. I can’t please God and make myself pure. I have offended God, and I am truly sorry.” Get honest with God: he already knows the truth about your condition. But he will not heal your soul and forgive your sin until you turn to him and trust him completely. Recognize that Jesus alone is the way of eternal life. Call on him to save you today!
The Woman’s Happiness
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. (Mark 5: 30-34)
Jesus addressed this woman as “Daughter.” This woman, who had been isolated because of her impurity,
was now accepted by God and adopted into His family! This is the only time in Scripture where Jesus calls a woman “daughter”. Jesus saw that she depended upon Him! Because she had faith, she was healed. After years of separation, Jesus welcomed her into His family.
Jesus is the Great Physician who can heal our sin-sick soul. He is also our High Priest who alone can declare us clean and restore us back into the presence of God. This is reconciliation! Jesus is the only mediator between God and mankind. (I Timothy 2:5)
We have the promise that if we come by faith to Jesus, he will declare us righteous and make us his child. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12)
Conclusion: Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted. This is because Jesus has genuine compassion on the hurting and helpless. Only Jesus offers true hope: this is why it is important to hear about Jesus! If you are without hope of eternal life today, humble yourself and be honest with God. Admit your need and come to Jesus by faith.