This will be my last post until after the new year. Until then, all praise and thanks to the mighty God Whose birth we celebrate at Christmas!
My previous post put it into my mind to examine one of the healings I mentioned in my prayer - that of the woman who was healed by touching Jesus's garment. We find the detailed account in Mark 5:21-34. There is a less detailed account in Luke 8.
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. 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 fell 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.”
Now there's a few things I find interesting about this story. The first thing is that, to my knowledge, this is the only time Jesus reveals something physical about Himself during healing. At least in this instance of healing, Jesus felt something. Perhaps He always felt something in His body when He healed someone and thus recognized the feeling for what it was, but the fact remains that something physical occured in Jesus's body to let Him know that something unusual happened. Just as the woman felt something in her body and knew, Jesus felt something in His body and knew.
What did He feel? He felt power going out from Him. Now I haven't yet researched the language behind that statement to discover exactly what was meant, but if it is accurate, we can surmise that power to heal was housed in Jesus's body in some way. Notice in Luke 8, He did not say that He felt power flowing through Him. No, the power was already in Him and some of it left Him. It's for better minds than mine to determine how the power got there in the first place. At this stage in my belief, I'm content with "Jesus is God" as an answer.
But here is the REALLY interesting thing about this story: apparently, the power left Jesus without His permission. In all other healings, Jesus physically touches or speaks words and gives the healing, but in this instance, the woman actually takes the healing from Jesus...or perhaps there exists some spiritual law like the physical law of gravity, whereby the healing power in Christ was drawn to the woman's faith in Christ, and it could be no other way, like a ball falls when it is dropped. Or maybe it was the women's faith that enabled the power to flow, like completing some kind of spiritual circuitry. Maybe the power in Christ was all potential, like a full jug tipped, waiting for anyone's faith to pull the cork. Whatever the case, it appears the event was entirely unexpected to Christ, and the woman's faith was of such a quality as to command healing from Him.
Often, Christ asked people who requested healing, "Do you believe I can do this?" When they affirmed, they were healed. But when Jesus went to His hometown, the Bible says He could not perform many miracles because of the unbelief of the inhabitants. Is it really the state of things that our unbelief, my unbelief, binds the hands of God?
The disciples often exasperated Jesus with their lack of faith. These men lived with Him and loved Him, yet so often they did not believe in Him. They lived their lives afraid to expect too much, and He berated them for expecting too little. It pains me, in light of the death of my friend, that I identify so easily with the disciples, and not with Christ.
I marvel at the strength of that woman's faith, the suredness of it. She had no doubt. The Bible says the crowd pressed Christ on all sides. What a faith to propel a sick woman through a crowd like that! A faith that will not be denied, driven by desire. To say the least, she expected a lot. Would that I had a faith like that. Perhaps my friend would be alive and well. But my faith is like that of the man who said to Jesus, "I believe, Lord. Help thou my unbelief."
I look forward to the day when the Author of my faith finishes it.