We all have those secret sins that don’t seem to go away. We pray for resistance and ask for forgiveness, over and over again. How do we obtain miraculous and permanent relief?
Consider the miracle of the Bleeding Woman
Luke 8:42b-48 As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her,” ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
What can these few verses teach us about relief from our uncleanliness before God?
- Are there different ways to touch Jesus?
- Why did the woman wish to stay hidden?
- Why was the woman trembling after being miraculously healed?
- What faith was Jesus referring to?
- What did Jesus mean “go in peace”?
Are there different ways to touch Jesus?
What does it mean to “touch Jesus”? This woman did not even touch Him directly. She just touched the very edge of His garment. Yet, with everyone else crowded around Jesus, rubbing up against Him, there was a difference, a miraculous difference.
“…when the woman saw that she was not hidden…”
Why did the woman wish to stay hidden?
This woman had been bleeding for 12 years. By the customs at the time, she was “unclean” or “impure”, and therefore had to avoid anything holy. She could not get near the synagogue (tabernacle, Num 5:3) and was in a constant state of fear of retribution (Lev 15:31). She likely wanted to stay hidden in her condition to avoid the pain of retribution, from the crowd and from Jesus.
“…she came trembling…”
Why was the woman trembling after being miraculously healed?
It could have been that she was fearful of what a judge, powerful enough to heal her, would do to her for touching Him. Or, perhaps she was just awestruck from the immediate relief she felt when her bleeding stopped.
“Daughter, your faith…”
What faith was Jesus referring to?
The woman had enough faith to believe that just touching the hem of his garment might heal her. Was that what He was referring to?
“…go in peace.”
What did Jesus mean by, “go in peace”?
This could have been simply a standard phrase of the Jews at the time. But more likely, Jesus was letting the woman know that He held no malice toward her for her actions. In fact, He was perhaps suggesting that the peace she was now feeling was to be eternal, due to her faith.
Many “touched”, yet Only One was Healed
Consider all that the woman went through over the previous 12 years, of being ostracized and isolated due to her condition. She had spent all she had on medical treatment to no avail. She likely spent time in prayer and petition to the local priests, asking for relief. Yet none of that worked until she touched Jesus.
What does it mean to “touch Jesus” or His garment? Why was that so successful and what kind of faith is it that offers a miraculous outcome? Hundreds of people touched Christ that day, yet this woman was healed, as power went out of Him.
Application for Us
In Small Group, our teacher observed that it was not until the woman had enough faith to reach out and touch Jesus’ garment that she was healed. It was an action step, not merely a wish or a prayer or a hope for an expected outcome. She had to squeeze into the crowd (in her condition) and get close enough to reach Him. That took courage and a willingness to be exposed for who she was. Is that something we dare to do as a condition for relief from our sin?
Further, her fear of exposure was justified. Rather than being able to slink back into hiding after being healed, she had to openly acknowledge her past uncleanness. Not just before God (Jesus), but the judgmental crowd as well. Is it possible that the reason the woman wished to stay hidden and was trembling even after she was healed, was that her uncleanness was being openly discussed with the one who healed her, in the hearing of the crowd?
Perhaps we desire to eliminate that secret sin we struggle with regularly. We try prayer, but with no success. Is it possible that we need to take action and make a public profession of our desire to stop in order to receive God’s miraculous relief from our secret sin?
Is it worth no longer staying hidden in our sin, to experience some fear and trembling and potential rebuke and human judgment in order to know the faith necessary to obtain relief from our secret sin, and to go forward from that point in peace? Do we have the courage to take that step forward in order to receive our miraculous relief?