Today’s Reading: Mark 5:21-43 (additional reading: Psalm 38:1-22 & Proverbs 10:8-9 )
In today’s reading, people were already waiting for Jesus before He even stepped off the ship. Right away there was an emergency. His first request was from a man, Jarius, a ruler of the synagogue, to go lay hands on his only daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus said that He would go. As He was making His way through the crowd, He was interrupted. Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The disciples were a little bit irritated by this question because there were so many people in the crowd that any number of people could have touched him. And besides, they were on their way to a “real” emergency. They were going to pray for the daughter of an “important” person. They didn’t have time to stop for this. But Jesus said, “No, I felt healing power (virtue) go out of me to someone.” The woman, trembling with fear, came forward and told Jesus everything.
The account in Luke 8:44 tells us that the woman walked up behind Jesus and touched the border of his garment. Why did she do this? She did not want to be detected for two reasons:
- She was probably embarrassed by her problem
- She was considered ceremonially unclean according to Leviticus 15:25. She was not to touch anyone. She thought she could be undetected in such a large crowd, she could touch the hem, and she could go away healed.
Although Jesus was in town, this woman had to overcome several hindrances before she actually got to Jesus.
- Lack of Money: She was financially a poor woman by now. She had spent all she had on doctors.
- Giving up on her problem: This woman had to overcome a hindrance that could be more powerful than a lack of money. She had already done all she could do, and she still wasn’t well. She could have been to the point where she was ready to give up and just say, “I don’t think anything will help, and I’m not going to try anymore. I don’t think there is an answer to my problem.”
- Psychological Isolation: Another hindrance was that she was in a crowd of people who were pressing in. It was not easy to get to Jesus. She had to inch her way along. People were in front of her, behind her, and on each side of her. She could have thought, “This takes too much effort to go to Jesus. I’m sick, I’m weak, and I’m just exhausted. Besides that, crowds make me nervous. I just can’t do it.” But she overcame this also.
- Procrastination: She could have said, “I’ll go to Jesus when the timing is better. Next week may be a better time or maybe when He comes back in the spring the weather will be better. But this woman had a sense of urgency. She was not going to be hindered by procrastination and of a “Maybe sometime later” mentality. Today was the day for her.
What is hindering you? What is pressing in on you from every side? We are all needy in some area of life just like this woman was. Just as this woman was so focused that she could say, “If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed,” we must be close enough to Him in order to touch Him. We can’t be following Him from afar off. There is a cost to pressing in, but the woman in our story found it well worth any price she had to pay.
What are your feelings about what can or can’t happen in your life? Has that become a hindrance for you?