I was reminded again of my favorite verse regarding faith last night at a women's Bible study. Luke 8:42-48. Jesus is walking through a large crowd. People are pressing in on every side. The disciples are all around him, trying to keep the people from knocking him over. When all of a sudden he feels power being released from him. Someone touched him and his power was released. I wonder how many were pressed against him. It could have been any of them touching him. But why was the power released to only one out of the entire crowd?
The "one" who touched him, the woman, had been sick for 12 years. She had a bleeding disorder. In those days, women were made to stay in separate living quarters during their time of menstruation. They were seen as unclean. This woman had been separated from her family and friends for TWELVE YEARS! If she had children, they grew up without their mother. Her children must have heard about their mother and may have caught glimpses of her, but never gotten to know her. How lonely she must have been! She was ostracized from her family and community. She had a white hot desire to be healed!
I imagine the scene happening something like this...Jesus is walking through the crowd. His disciples are playing body guard. It's noisy with so many people trying to get a glimpse of him, touch him and talk to him. In their eyes, he is something of a celebrity, a miracle worker. He smiles at all of them, even touching some of them as he passes. And then to his surprise, he feels the power of his Father surge through him and go out to someone. But who? He stops and looks around. The disciples just want to get through this crowd. But Jesus stops and looks around with joy and a little bewilderment on his face. "Who just touched me?" he asks.
Upon touching Jesus, the woman stops moving. The crowd goes past her. She looks down into her open palms. She felt it! She felt the energy surge into her body, through her hands and down into her womb. She knows in that instant that she is different. Dare she hope that she is clean again? Dare she hope that she can go home? She knows she is healed, but still can't quite believe it!
She had heard rumors about a teacher and healer named Jesus. Her most heartfelt desire was to be healed. She had been labeled as "unclean" 12 years ago. Twelve years is a long time to be ostracised. She wanted so desperately to be clean again. She dreaded going out in public though. Someone might say something mean to her. They might call her names and yell at her. If it was true that he could heal her, then she had to take the chance! She had to go to him. She had to risk public humiliation. Her hope and desire overcame her fear.
The crowd was huge. But she could see him in the distance. She stood on the edge of the crowd, not wanting to be noticed. She was afraid...afraid of the people, afraid that she might make a fool out of herself, afraid that she might have to live with the disorder for many more years. But she also had an inkling of hope. Hope that he could heal her. Hope that she would be made clean. Hope that she could go home to her husband and children. So she went for it! She pushed her way into the fray. She got close to him, but not close enough. She could only reach the hem of his robe. And as she touched it, a shock wave went through her!
A gasp left her mouth and then a small smile crept upon her face. She looked up in amazement and noticed that Jesus had stopped. He was looking around him. She hid her face and turned around. But he continued to look for the one who had touched him. She didn't want him to know it was her. She had always been known as the "unclean" one. She felt small and insignificant. Who am I that He would choose to heal me? She knew he knew it was her. She went to him, out of obedience and with humility.
He looked at her with her head bowed. He lifted her chin to look at him. She gazed into the most loving eyes she had ever seen and felt a warmth come over her. Such love poured out from him as she had never known before. And then he said, "Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace." (NIV) She paused for only a second and then turned, pushed her way through the crowd and ran as fast as she could run, skip, jump and twirl all the way home. HOME! She could go home! She could not wipe the smile off of her face or the joy from her heart.
When we come face to face with Jesus, we come to him broken and unclean, in thoughts and deeds. But, when we come to Him in obedience and with BELIEF, he rewards us with forgiveness and healing. He makes us clean again! When we ask, "Who am I that God would choose to work a miracle? I am small and insignificant." But God says, "Who are you NOT to be worthy of my workings through you?" He uses each of us according to our faith! Do we have the faith and the guts to reach out for his robe? I want to go home laughing, skipping and jumping with a huge smile on my face. I am going for it! I am going to touch his robe!
Glory and honor to God for the miracles that happen every day in our lives!