He Touched Me
HE TOUCHED ME
Mark 5: 21-34
In this passage we find the story of “The Woman with the Issue of Blood.”
- We use this title in reference to this woman because we don’t know her name.
- However, even though we don’t know her name, this nameless woman belongs in the category of “one of the most unique and special” people of all history…because this woman actually met…actually came face to face with Jesus.
- She actually saw with her own eyes the “Word of God” incarnate.
- She heard His voice, touched His garment, and she felt the power of God flow from His body into hers, curing her incurable disease.
She is one of a kind…and yet she remains nameless.
- Because she simply points to the ONE in whose name salvation is found.
So, this morning, from this story, let’s learn some very important things about this woman, about Jesus, about ourselves…and about faith and what it really is…and about what a disciple of Christ is supposed to do.
To begin, this woman in this story is about as far down on the Jewish social register as you can get.
- She is poor…she has no authority or power…and she is a woman.
- And to make things worse, she has a disease.
But it is not just a disease…it is a bleeding disease…and Leviticus 15 tells us that bleeding diseases made you “unclean.”
- For 12 years she has had this bleeding condition…and we don’t know for sure what it was.
- Whatever it was, she had not been able to find a cure.
- She had tried…she had gone to all the doctors.
- She had spent all her money…but nothing had worked.
And keep in mind, this is an “unclean disease.”
- That means she can’t go to the temple.
- That means every Sabbath, when everyone else goes to the synagogue; she has to stay at home.
- That means she can’t get married.
- That means that she can’t have children…she can’t go to weddings…or parties…or funerals.
- That means that no one can sleep in the bed she sleeps in, that no one can sit in the chair that she sits in.
- That means she is cut off from every social and religious function in her society which lives for social and religious functions.
- It means that the pain of her loneliness is probably greater than the pain of her illness.
But now look at verse 27.
- Verse 27 makes a special connection between us today and this woman.
- Notice, she hears about Jesus.
- She hadn’t seen the things that Jesus had done or what He had been doing.
- She only heard about them.
- And that applies to us…we haven’t seen what He did either…we have only heard of them.
- But, just like this woman, hearing is all we need in order for us to believe
This woman hears about Jesus…and apparently from what she has heard she believes that Jesus can help!
- And faith that is real always acts.
- So, she decides she will go to Jesus.
She goes to where the crowd is…and then she slips into the crowd.
- And she pushes her way through the crowd…and she comes up behind Jesus…and she reaches out and touches His cloak as He goes past.
- And immediately, two things happen.
- The flow of blood she had for 12 years dries up…and she felt healed in her body.
- And Jesus felt power going out of His body.
And when Jesus feels this power leave His body…He stops and says, “Who touched My garments?”
Now, why does He want to know? Why is it so important? Why is it so important that He would stop and scan the crowd?
- After all, in verse 23 there is a little girl who is dying and Jesus needs to get to where she is.
- Why does He want to know who it was that touched Him?
Well, let me suggest to you that there are at least three reasons.
One, He wants to give this woman an opportunity to demonstrate what real faith is.
- You see, it is not enough to just believe in your heart.
- Faith that is real is faith that is not only manifested by one’s actions, but is also manifested in what you say.
- A faith that is real is manifested in all aspects of a person’s life.
- And it is manifested in all situations.
This woman is in the midst of a crowd.
- People were all around…including some who didn’t like Jesus…and some who thought He was in league with the devil.
- But real faith is going to manifest itself in both actions…and in what you say…regardless of the danger…regardless of the risk…regardless of the crowd and who is in the crowd…regardless of the circumstances.
- Real faith isn’t hot and cold…it doesn’t manifest itself only when it is beneficial…when you want people to see you as “good and moral and spiritual”…so you might impress someone…and then it disappears when it doesn’t fit in with another group.
- Real faith manifests itself in all aspects…in all circumstances.
So, Jesus asks, “Who touched my garments?”
- And she comes and verse 33 says that “she fell down before Him and told the whole truth.”
- So, one reason why He stops is so she can demonstrate to us what real faith is.
A second reason why Jesus stops is to, once again, try and get these people in this crowd…as well as some of us to realize who He is.
- Look at John 20: 30-31 again.
Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
If Jesus would have just kept going and not said anything…the only one who would have known about this miracle would have been this woman.
- But Jesus didn’t come to heal just one woman…He came to save all men.
- And He stopped and asked “Who touched my garments?”…just His garments…so that these people…as well as all of us…even though we didn’t see it…but have only heard it…will believe that He is truly the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name.
Notice vs. 33 again, that she,” fell down before Him and told the whole truth.”
- Jesus often tried to tell people who He was…and people wouldn’t listen.
- And it is the same today.
- If you won’t listen to Jesus…will you listen to this woman?
- Perhaps that is another reason why Jesus stopped…so that she could tell some of us who won’t listen to Him…who He really is.
And I think there is a fourth reason why Jesus stopped and wanted to know who touched Him…perhaps the most important reason.
- Jesus stopped to let the woman know that He cared.
You know, politicians will often abuse individuals in an attempt to impress crowds.
- Jesus could have acted like He was on to important of a mission to stop and be bothered by this weak, sickly, tired woman.
- He could have said, “How dare you to come here and break the law by touching Me in your uncleanness…and interrupt Me when I am on an important task.”
- He could have said that and nobody would have blamed Him.
- The whole crowd would have said, “You’re right Jesus. She has been a blight on our community for 12 years. Tell her!”
But you see, Jesus didn’t do people that way.
- He wanted to be something more to her than just a healer.
- She came that day thinking she needed something and He wanted her to know that she needed
So, when He looked at this woman, the crowd ceased to exist.
- And notice in verse 34 that Jesus calls her “daughter.”
- She is the only woman in the gospels that Jesus calls “daughter.”
- And what that means is, perhaps for the first time in a long time, she matters to someone.
Jesus was that way.
- He was constantly being interrupted and talking to people that you and I would walk past.
- Once He was in a parade and He stopped and spoke to a man that no one else liked…a short man…a rich man…a tax collector, and He said, “Hey, you, up in that tree, come down for I am coming to your house today.”
- And the whole crowd was shocked because they were constantly avoiding Zacheus.
- But not Jesus.
And one day Jesus was outside of Jericho and there was a blind man, a beggar, saying, “Son of David, come and have mercy on me.”
- And the crowd said, “Be quiet, He is too busy to talk to you.”
- But Jesus said, “Call Him here.”
- And Jesus restored the man’s sight.
You see, Jesus was always stopping to make people who never mattered…matter.
- As His disciples shouldn’t we do the same?
So, what are you going to do with a story like this?
- There are two conclusions that I hope that we have reached.
Number one: This story is a challenge to us to get in touch with Jesus.
- So many are just content to hang around Jesus.
- And this story says that it is one thing to just hang around, and it is quite another thing to touch Him.
You know, you can get up a crowd for Jesus…it is not hard.
- It is not hard to get a crowd together that will say good things about Jesus…that will claim to be disciples of Jesus…that want to feel good about themselves…and who want others to think they are good.
But not many will actually have a faith that will manifest itself in their actions and in their speech…no matter the circumstances…and no matter who else might be in the crowd.
- Those who have a real faith will all be people who reached out and grabbed Jesus, and fell down before Him…and told Him the whole truth.
So, this story is calling you today to get in touch personally with Jesus before He walks away.
But, it is more than that. It is also a call for us, as His disciples, to stay in touch with human need.
- We sometimes allow our religion to separate us from people.
- And they did that in the days of Jesus.
Who were the three most religious groups in the days of Jesus?
- There were the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes.
What did all three of these groups do?
- The Sadducees got rich off of the temple profits so they built big houses and went to parties…and never ever touched the common folk.
- The Pharisees built up a huge, long list of laws that made them special and separate so they didn’t have to touch the common folk.
- And what about the Essenes? Well, they just picked up and moved into monasteries and said, “We can’t have anything to do with others. We must stay to ourselves.”
- They all used their religion to isolate themselves from people.
And that seems to creep into the church.
- Why do you think new Christians tend to be more evangelistic than old Christians?
- Because new Christians still stay in touch with people in the world that they know.
- And those of us that have been in the church for a long time get so “into the church” that we lose touch with people that the church is supposed to reach.
Even in church isn’t it easy to get into the habit every Sunday of brushing up against people and never stopping to make anyone feel like they matter?
What does it mean to be like Jesus?
- It means you are available, accessible, and flexible.
- It means that you are more focused on His task than on yours.
- It means that you understand that the gospel is a touching story in more ways than one.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023