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.”
We may want to think that our culture isn’t filled with people that are marginalized and cast out, but if look with an honest eye, we will find that we live in a world where people are surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of others, and yet feel completely alone. We live in a world where you can have 2,000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers, but at the end of the day, you are isolated with nobody that really knows who you are. We live in a culture where there is no shortage of people, but there is a crushing shortage of people who know that they are loved for who they are. We may want to think that there aren’t invisible people in our society or in our culture, but the reality n the United States of America alone, there are whole groups of people that have become invisible. While some look like me, white, middle-class males, may be inclined to believe that in the U.S. of A., racism and bigotry aren’t at issue, the reality is, in the land of the foreigner, where people come from all over the world, there are groups of people that have learned that, “The best thing I can do is to just be invisible in society, so that nobody sees me.” Every day they live in that world, a piece of their humanity is rubbed from them. I want you to see in Jesus’ response to the desperate woman in Luke, chapter 8, is a picture of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing picture of how God responds to you in your aloneness. Let’s look at three distinct things that take place when this woman comes into contact with Jesus.
He isn’t just concerned with part of you; he’s concerned with all of you. He’s not just concerned with your body being made whole, but he’s concerned with your whole person being made whole by the whole Gospel.
When she first comes in to contact with Jesus, she denies it. Throngs of people are surrounding him and touching him, but He still knows that someone has touched him and that something special has taken place. I’ll tell you, I think that the reason that she would deny coming into contact with Jesus is because for a woman in her state of uncleanness, it’s an unthinkable thing to do to touch a teacher and a respectable leader in that community. And although physically she’s been healed, she is still shrouded by the same shame that has kept her disassociated from society for the last 12 years. She still sees herself as a broken outcast, even though she’s been physically healed, and that’s what’s so beautiful about Jesus. In that moment, if Jesus’ words had been something like, “You filthy woman – how dare you touch me in your state of uncleanness? Be gone from my presence.” Her life would have been experienced condemnation, even though her body was healed. But that isn’t what Jesus does. She confesses what she’s done, and that she had been healed, and in that, vulnerable moment, in the midst of those throngs of people she confesses that is was she who touched Him. And then she waited, and I don’t think there’s any way to do justice to the weight of the word that Jesus spoke next. In all the words in the human vocabulary, in any culture, in any day, is there anything more powerful than in the moment when you feel the most vulnerable, and the most afraid, and recognize that you are worthy of punishment, to hear the word come out of the mouth of the one who holds the power of life and death over your life, not to speak with criticism or anger, to call out, “Daughter.” Jesus didn’t just say, “It’s okay, now you’re better.” Jesus, in that moment, said, “No – you’re a part of my family. You’re worthy of daughtership.” And in that moment, not only had she been restored physically, but now in the midst of her whole community, she had value as a person. Let’s be careful not to become complacent as a church, satisfied with simply taking care of the needs of the people around us. It’s one thing to meet the physical need. It’s another thing to get into the life of someone who has been shamed by society, and say, “There’s value in your life because you are created in the image of God, and I will not be satisfied by just handing you a loaf of bread, but leaving your soul as starving as it was before I met you.” And the church should never be satisfied doing social justice alone, because social justice without the gospel may meet people’s physical needs, but it leaves them fractured as human beings. He isn’t just concerned with part of you; he’s concerned with all of you. He’s not just concerned with your body being made whole, but he’s concerned with your whole person being made whole by the whole Gospel.