Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48
Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.
– Matthew 9:22
The twelve-year-old daughter of an important synagogue ruler named Jairus lay dying.
Jairus entreated Jesus to come and heal her. As Jesus walked to the man’s house, the crowds pressed against him on every side. The word used in the Scriptures here for “pressed” is more literally translated “choked.” The people who needed healing were so desperate they nearly choked Jesus in their eagerness to get His attention.
In the crowd was a woman who, ironically, had been ill with a bloody hemorrhage the entire twelve years Jairus’ daughter had been alive. More than mere inconvenience, a discharge of this length of time had surely made her weak and sickly. Considered ritually unclean and unable to enter the Temple to worship the Lord according to Levitical law (Leviticus 15:25-27), anything she sat on or lay on was unclean, and anyone who touched her would also be unclean.
Desperate to be well, she tried many physicians over the years. They only made her worse and took all her money.
On the day she encountered Jesus on the way to the house of Jairus, this woman was completely broken. She was sick, outcast, and destitute.
Then she found Jesus.
Israelites were instructed in Deuteronomy 22:12 to make tassels, or tzitziyot, and sew them into the corners of their garments. Numbers 15:38-40 explained the purpose of these tassels:
To look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes…so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.
In Jesus’ day, the tassels were sewn into the corners of their prayer shawls. They represented the authority of God and His holiness. The sick woman knew touching Jesus would make Him unclean under Levitical law. But she reasoned if she only touched the fringe or tassels on His outer garment, she would be made whole.
The crowd around her pressed against Jesus with their demands, unmoved by His majesty, untouched by His claims upon their lives. She alone, the unclean outcast, reached out to touch the symbol of God’s holiness and authority for her healing.
She was immediately and completely healed at that moment.
Jesus did not see her touch His garment, but He felt power flow from Him. He did not chastise her for touching Him, for she could not possibly make the Lamb unclean. Instead, He called her “daughter” and sent her on her way restored.
Then Jesus went on to Jairus’ house to cure his daughter.
A crowd needed miracles.
But just two fell before the Lord in entreaty.
One a man of stature. And one an outcast.
Just two people reached Jesus.
The Bible account sends a poignant message about our attitudes toward the Lord.
May we always remember we can’t simply descend upon God with our demands and expect the response we want. He requires us to remember His majesty and reach for His holiness and authority over our lives, entreating Him in our prayers with reverence.
When we seek Jesus for who He is and not merely for what He can do for us, we reach Him. Even today, Jesus’ words speak above our desperation with the words we long to hear:
Take courage, your faith has made you well.