Women of the Bible - The Woman with the Issue of Blood
A Woman Who had a Faith Born in Desperation (Mat 9:20-22; Mar 5:25-34; Luk 8:43-47)
by Kathryn Capoccia
Young Adults Sunday School Class
All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW
INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by
permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
© Copyright Kathy Capoccia 2000. This file may be freely copied, printed out,
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and that it is not sold.
“A large crowd followed and pressed around Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ His disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched Me?”’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and knelt at His feet, and trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’” (MAR 5:25-34).
“As Jesus was on His way, the crowds almost crushed Him. And there was a woman there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched Me?’ Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.’ The woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace’” (LUK 8:43-47).
“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her, ‘Take heart, daughter,’ He said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed from that moment” (MAT 9:20-22).
A. Who was she?
1. When did she live? 1st century A.D.; this probably occurred in the late 20’s.
2. Where did she live?
a. In the Galilee region of Israel (LUK 8:26; MAR 5:1).
b. Near the shore of the Sea of Galilee (MAR 5:21).
c. Probably in Capernaum:
1) Mark 2:1, “Jesus entered Capernaum…” and, “went out beside the lake…” (MAR 2:13).
2) “Jesus left there and went to his hometown” [of Nazareth] (MAR 6:1).
3. Who were her people?
a. The Jews: Jesus was sent to “the lost sheep of Israel” (MAT 15:24).
b. Family, unknown.
4. How old was she? Unknown: old enough to be a wife, but not elderly (“woman,” gune (GR., goonay) = a woman or wife).
B. What did she do?
1. She Was Desperate:
a. She suffered:
1) She had been bleeding for 12 years.
a) This was a chronic, abnormal condition (possibly a fibroid tumor of the uterus?), a “spring of blood,” that must have been, at the least, an embarrassment for her.
b) This was an affliction that she could “feel,” and which made her suffer, though whether physically or emotionally is not clear (vs. 29, Mark 5).
c) Chronic loss of blood probably meant anemia and physical weakness for her.
2) She had endured medical “cures” (vs. 26).
a) She had suffered under medical treatments.
b) She had consulted many doctors.
b. She was hopelessly incurable: she had only grown worse under the doctors’ care.
c. She was destitute: she had spent all she had.
2. She Was Earnest:
a. She had “heard” about Jesus (MAR 5: 27).
1) She was there when Jesus returned from healing the demoniacs of the Gerasenes (MAR 5:21, 25).
2) She must have heard that Jairus, an official at the synagogue, had beseeched Jesus to heal his daughter (vs. 23).
3) She had heard from the crowd “about Jesus” (vs. 27).
4) The Galilee area had previously seen Jesus heal a paralytic (MAR 2), a man with a shriveled hand (MAR 3), large crowds of their diseases and evil spirits (MAR 3), raise a centurion’s servant from the dead (LUK 7), raise a widow’s son from the dead (LUK 7:14,15).
5) Others had been healed by Jesus in Galilee through touching Him (LUK 6:19).
b. She believed that Jesus could heal her: she said over and over,
1) “If I only touch His cloak I’ll be healed” (MAT 9:20).
2) “If I just touch His clothes, I’ll be healed” (MAR 5:28).
c. She was willing to break social taboos.
1) As an “unclean” woman she was unwelcome in society (LEV 15:19-30), i.e. socially isolated.
a) Everything and everyone she touched became ceremonially unclean, so she would have been shunned by everyone, even family.
b) Sexual relations would have been unclean, her bed and even her husband would have been ceremonially unclean, so she probably would have been divorced by her husband (DEU 24:1).
c) Worship in the synagogue would have been barred to her since she could not make atonement for her blood flow (LEV 15:28-30).
2) As an “unclean” woman if she touched Jesus, under normal circumstances, she would make Him ceremonially “unclean.”
3) As a woman she was restricted from touching a man in public.
d. She was willing to hope in Jesus:
1) She was not intimidated by the large, dangerous crowd.
a) “Large,” polys = super large crowd—“a large crowd followed [Him]” (MAR 5:24).
b) “Crush,” sympnigo = choke or crush—“the crowds almost crushed Him” (LUK 8:42).
c) “Crowding,” synecho = hemming in—“the people are crowding and pressing against You” (LUK 8:45).
d) “Pressing,” apothlibo = press up against—“ the people are…pressing against You” (LUK 8:45).
2) She believed Jesus would help her, even though she interrupted Him as He on His way to heal the mortally ill daughter of Jairus, a synagogue leader and man of social prominence.
3) She reached out to Him:
a) “She came up…” (Perhaps she had to force her way through the crowd after she heard about Him?)
b) “She came up behind Jesus…” (Perhaps she could only reach His back? Or was she too shy to face Him?)
c) She “touched the edge of His cloak...”possibly to one of the two tassels on the corners of the shimla hanging down His back. (Perhaps she almost missed Him?)
d) She touched Jesus’ cloak—“touch,” Greek, haptomai (hap-tom-ahee) means to fasten onto or grab; so, she clung to His shimla, the large square cloth that comprised His outer robe. (See JOH 10, Mary Magdalene, for another instance of “haptomai”.)
3. She Was Satisfied:
a. Jesus received her:
1) Jesus knew “in His spirit” (MAR 2:8) both her need and her touch. (Luke says Jesus “noticed” her, Mark that He saw her.)
a) Jesus did not heal all who touched Him in the crowd.
b) Jesus perceived her secret touch.
2) Jesus was willing to heal her:
a) Jesus controlled His power—power did not automatically flow from Him or from His clothing—and He “responded by letting His power go out to heal her” (Lenski, Interpretation of St. Mark’s Gospel, Mark 5:30, pg. 223).
b) Jesus allowed touch to produce the healing, though He did not need to touch anyone or to be touched by anyone to effect a healing.
b. Jesus saved her from her affliction:
1) Jesus healed her body by His power immediately and completely:
a) “And the woman was healed from that moment” (MAT 9:22).
b) “Immediately her bleeding stopped …” (MAR 5:29).
c) “…and immediately her bleeding stopped” (LUK 8:48).
d) “She felt in her body that she had was free from her suffering” (MAR 5:29).
e) She knew “what had happened to her” (MAR 5:33).
2) Jesus restored her social standing:
a) He made a public declaration that power had gone out for healing--
* “Jesus said, ‘Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me’” (LUK 8:46).
* “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched My clothes?’ …But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it” (MAR 5:30,32).
b) He made her publicly confess her healing:
*“In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed” (LUK 8:47).
* “Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth” (MAR 5:33).
c) He made a public declaration of that she was healed:
* “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (MAR 5:34).
3) Jesus cared for her feelings:
a) Jesus relieved her fears: “Then the woman…came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear…” (MAR 5:33).
WHY WOULD SHE BE AFRAID?
She recognized that she was in the presence of God?
She was afraid of rebuke?
She was afraid that her previously embarrassing condition would be made public?
* Jesus reassured her with the words, “Take heart” (MAT 9:22).
* Jesus addressed her as “daughter,” (MAT 9:22; MAR 5:34), an expression of “love and concern” (Lenski).
b) Jesus blessed her, “Go in peace” (eirene, “lack of strife”) (MAR 5:34; LUK 8:48).
c) Jesus assured her that the affliction would not return with the words, “Be freed from your suffering” (MAR 5:34).
c. Jesus saved her from her sins:
1) She expressed faith:
a) She worshiped: she “came trembling and fell at His feet” (LUK 8:47)…. “came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear…” (MAR 5:33).
b) She made a profession of faith:
“She told Him the whole truth” (MAR 5:33)…”In the presence of all the people, she told why she touched Him and how she had been instantly healed” (LUK 9:47).
* God made Adam and Eve confess the truth so that they could be saved (GEN 3).
* The Philippian jailer and his household believed in Jesus and were saved (ACT 16:31,32).
2) He granted redemption to her: “Your faith has made you well” (MAT 9:22; MAR 5:34; LUK 8:48).
a) “Well,” sozo = redeemed; i.e. a right relationship with God. (Contrasted with iaomai, the usual word for healing.)
b) “Faith,” pistis = faith or trust; i.e. saving faith.
This woman had a great need and had the faith to come to Jesus for its resolution. The woman’s healing was a demonstration of Jesus’ power and His deity, and the woman recognized this. In turn, Jesus recognized her saving faith and gifted her with total healing—both in body and soul. Like the man blind from birth who came to Jesus for healing and found both healing and redemption (JOH 9:2-25) this woman found all that her heart desired in Jesus.
C. What can we learn from her?
1. Jesus honors our faith, however small.
2. Jesus is approachable in every circumstance.
3. Jesus has compassion on the needy who come to Him in faith.
4. Jesus sometimes allows circumstances to enter our lives that reduce us to desperation so that we will reach out for Him.
Memory verse: “If look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God “(PRO 2:4,5).
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