It’s human nature to want to connect with God. Even before you came to know Jesus, maybe you prayed into the void, hoping for a response from anyone. This visceral desire has existed for thousands of years, and during Jesus’ ministry on earth, He attracted huge crowds who felt that same draw towards a Savior.

In Mark chapter 5, one woman who had been suffering over 12 years overcame physical pain, embarrassment, societal expectations, and religious limitations because she knew that, if she could just get close enough to Him, she could be free. This passage is a masterclass in grace-centered ministry and leadership in the midst of moral outrage.

Mark 5:24b-34

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 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. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Mark 5:24b-34

While this may not be a particularly mysterious or puzzling passage of Scripture, by studying the background and wording, we can pick up on the same meanings, subtleties, and implications that the original audience did.

The following content is from the New American Commentary

Jesus Heals the Woman with a Hemorrhage (Mark 5:24b-34)

5:24b-25 Mark gave no description of the bleeding, but it was probably uterine. If so, it was not only debilitating but rendered the woman religiously unclean so that no pious Jew would have any contact with her (Lev 15:25-30). She had lived as an outcast for 12 years. No doubt Mark recorded the incident to dramatize Jesus’ rejection of the concept of ritual uncleanness and to affirm his acceptance of all persons no matter what their status in society.

5:26 The woman probably could not have lived much longer. Therefore Jesus rescued her from approaching death. Mark likely saw in her healing an anticipation of the resurrection of Jairus’s daughter. The description of the medical professionals was to show how the power of Jesus transcends human limitations.

5:27-28 The woman’s determination to touch Jesus’ clothing reflects the ancient idea that the power of a person extended to one’s clothing (cf. 6:56; Acts 19:11-12) or one’s shadow (Acts 5:15).

5:29 Mark’s use of tenses is significant. The verbs translated “stopped’ and “felt” are aorists, which tense usually reflects a completed action. The verb translated “was freed” (literally “healed”) is a perfect, which usually depicts the lasting effects of the action.

5:30 The miracle is extraordinary because it was performed without conscious effort on Jesus’ part, although he immediately realized what had taken place. On the one hand, Mark may have seen in Jesus’ awareness a sign of his deity; on the other, he candidly described the limitations of Jesus’ humanity (also v. 32). Although some think Jesus knew all the while who had touched him and asked only to induce the woman to confess publicly her deed, more likely he needed to learn the person’s identity. Self-limitation of the earthly Jesus is not incompatible with omniscience of the risen Christ. Mark, perhaps better than any other New Testament writer, realized that. Another purpose of Jesus’ question may have been to begin to lead the person to a confession of faith.

5:31 The disciples’ sarcastic reply is an example of Markan candor that is omitted by Matthew (9:20-22) and toned down in Luke (8:45).

5:32-33 The woman may have feared the consequences of defiling a holy man by touching him in her unclean state. She may have feared a rebuke for having delayed Jesus while he was on an important mission. Or she may have been overcome with awe and emotion as a result of all that had happened so quickly. Mark may have set forth her confession as an example of the confession all who have encountered Jesus should make.

5:34 Jesus explained to the woman that she had been healed not through physical touch or any kind of magic but by faith. Again Mark or those before him who transmitted the story chose the perfect tense of the Greek verb meaning to save (sōzō) to translate Jesus’ Aramaic word. That Jesus affirmed not only the woman’s healing but her spiritual salvation as well is highly probable. He affirmed the permanence of both. He further pronounced the peace of God upon her. The biblical concept of peace does not refer to the absence of war and other kinds of trouble; to the contrary, it is something that can exist even in the midst of a conflict. It is a status of wholeness and well-being because of a right relationship with God.

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