“For she said, “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well!”
Are you willing to go the extreme to be with Jesus? That is the question I brought with me this morning, and this question is not just for you, it is for each and every one of us. Are you willing to go the extra mile, knowing that the extra mile is never easy. I think this is the problem with some of us today; we want everything to be easy. No matter what circumstances life throws in our direction, we have to believe that we can handle it ourselves. And so it is really about our perception.
There’s no such thing as a bad circumstance. All those things we perceive as bad are actually a growing experience in life. You have to see that everything that happens to you has come into your life for a reason, an we are challenged in life because that’s what life is all about. Life is about how we deal with those challenges do we look up to the Lord in victory or do we go down with the devil in defeat?
What route do you take when life for you has become desperate? You’ve heard the old saying; “Desperate times call for desperate measure” I am sure, when in the desperate moments of our lives, the actions we decide to take that might have been rejected under normal circumstances may now have become the best choice for us. Here in our text is the story of a woman whose faith was born in desperation, a woman who bled for twelve long years, and to get to the point, this woman had a menstrual flow of blood. Can you even imagine what it would be like to have such a hemorrhage for twelve long years? And then, can you imagine what it would be like, on top of having a flow of blood for twelve long years, you are considered by everyone around you to be an unclean or an untouchable person? Can you imagine the desperation this poor woman must have felt?
For twelve long years this woman had some issues, she had a physical issue, a financial issue, a family and friends issue, and a faith issue. But, can I tell you this morning that everybody has an issue or issues? Nobody is perfect, and as long as you are not perfect and unless you are in denial, I guarantee that you have your very own problems, situations, circumstances, and issues.
We all have problems, and our problem is not there are problems. The problem for many of us is making the mistake of going through life without expecting there will be problems or thinking that because you have a problem—it is a problem that cannot be fixed. If you have a problem this morning there is Someone who is able, in fact, He is more than able to fix it.
1. She Went The Extra Mile
She had a condition that no one understood, no one wanted to be around her—because they just didn’t understand her, they didn’t understand her illness, they didn’t understand why she of all people she had this illness, they thought maybe it’s a curse or something they just didn’t know. And people are like that—people often fear what they don't understand and hate what they can't conquer. They really didn’t understand what she had; they only thing they knew is whatever it was they definitely did not want it and did not want to be within ten feet of it.
Not only did the people not understand her, most likely she didn’t understand her own self. I heard somebody say, “the most difficult phase of life is not when no one understands you, it is when you can’t even understand yourself” now how can you explain something that can’t understand yourself? This is the reason she went to “many physicians” maybe they could explain it? She must have thought, but going to these doctors ended up being a bad move for her—it was a waste time and money. In fact, “she spent all that she had” when you’re out of time and money—it can cause you to become extremely desperate.
Was there ever a time when your month was much larger than your paycheck? If so, how do you feel at the end of the month? Was there ever a time you wished that dollar bills were made out of rubber so you can stretch them a little further? This is why you’ve been reading about those payday loan companies so much lately. Their primary objective is to take advantage of your desperation. And there is an office on every corner, they will loan you the money but they are hoping that you are so desperate until you would willing to pay them back with high interest rates.
Somebody said, “Desperation is like stealing from the Mafia; because may cause you to attract the wrong people” but in this woman’s case she desperation led her to Jesus. All throughout the Gospels we will see incidents in which the people (the crowd) are hounding Jesus. They don’t give Him a moment’s rest, because they all—everyone in the crowd is desperate for one reason or another. God often sends situations and circumstances into our lives that cause us to feel desperate. Being desperate is often a blessing; many times desperation is the best thing that could happen to us. When we become desperate it usually means that we have used up all our resources.
When we have become desperate means we come to end up whatever we have authority over. When we are at the end of our rope and we just don’t know what to do—and the question within ourselves is—‘now what?’ Have you ever asked yourself that question? What am I going to do now? We may walk with the Lord—I know, but for some of us, our walk with Him only begins when come to the end of our rope! When our desperation sets in and there is no more rope in our hands for us to take a hold of, is when we finally decide to seek Jesus.
We lose the rope we’ve been holding on to for some time now, and take hold of the rope that we should have been holding on to in the first place and His name is Jesus. This poor woman met up with a string of doctors and Mark says that even with these learned professional’s skill and expertise, “she didn’t get better, (but) she grew worse”.
Twelve long years, she’s been to every doctor you can think of, Dr. Phil, Dr. Ruth, Dr. Pepper—and she’s still waiting to be healed.
2. She Had Imperfect Faith
The woman heard about Jesus, so she followed Him with the other people in the crowd and touched His coat. In the Gospel of Matthew tells us "she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole." And Dr. Luke was even more detailed, “…If I could touch the border (or hem) of His garment…” which ever she said this; it implies that although she had faith—it was imperfect faith. It was faith mixed with a little superstition. I find myself agreeing with Joseph Prince of Singapore when he says, “You don’t need perfect faith to receive from Jesus! Even if you have doubts, if you reach out to Him, He will forgive your doubts and reward whatever faith you come to Him with!”
Imperfect faith is still faith, in Mark 4: 35 – 41, there is an account of a windstorm that blew the ship that Jesus and His disciples were in. The boat was filling with water and was in danger of sinking. But through it all, Jesus was in the stern of the ship, fast asleep. They cried, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" It is easy for us to do identify with the disciples response or reaction to the storm—because we so often respond the same way when are confronted with the storms of life. We do have faith, but sometimes it is not as perfect as we may think or would like to think it is.
The disciples believed Jesus enough to wake him for help, but not enough to know that He was the Master of the storm. They had enough faith to come to Him in the time of trouble, but not enough to know that He was able to rebuke both the winds and the waves. This woman in our text had an imperfect faith; her problem was that she focused more on the healing than the Healer.
She approached Him from behind, she came trembling, and she mistakenly thought the healing was in the garment, not understanding or fully realizing that healing was in Him. But even with her imperfect faith, even with all the obstacles that were in her way she was able to get Jesus’ attention.
3. She Reached Out To Jesus
This woman even with her imperfect faith managed to get His attention. Not only did she say to herself ... "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well." ... but she also acted on her words and reached out to Jesus, she reached out to Jesus. She desperately wanted Him to heal her, but after all the rejection and mistreatment she had been receiving for twelve years He not allow her to come anywhere near Him. Some people have come to accept being rejected and mistreated, it is something that they expect because they have been this way for a long time. She might have believed that if you approached Jesus face to face He too would look upon in disgust just like everyone else has done.
And so, she must have reasoned that her only hope she possibly had would be to sneak up behind Jesus in the crowd; then and then could she touch the hem of His garment. She did not have confidence that Jesus would help her if she openly cried out to Him and so approached Him from behind. She wanted to be inconspicuous, and blend in with the crowd if that were possible. She was focused on just one single act—it seemed simple enough, just touch the hem of His garment. That’s all she had to do, and one will even notice. She was willing to place all her hope in Jesus.
She knew something we all should know today, when our hope is placed in Jesus—anything is possible. When our circumstances become dire sometimes the only thing we have left is hope. According to the Holman Dictionary, hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God's guidance, the confidence that what God has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what God will do in the future. What are you hoping for today? Jesus is our hope! The world hasn’t figured it out yet, but He is your answer. Somehow this woman knew He was the answer and so she reached out to Him. She just had to get to Jesus, but if she was to get to Jesus, she had to overcome the obstacle of the people.
The people (the world) were in her way, it has been well over 2,000 years now and the world still getting in the way. The world doesn’t want you and I to get to Jesus. It has no use for Him. Haven’t you noticed that every time you and I try to get to Jesus, the devil tries his best to place obstacles in our way? That’s right, he will place all that he can before you and cause you to focus on the difficulty, the storm, or the crowd. She had known great disappointment before. She had been shunned, rejected, and looked down upon for twelve long years; she spent all that she had on empty promises and no healing. But somehow this was different. She heard about Jesus—and thought to herself “if I can (just) touch the hem of His garment” no one would be the wiser.
But she was wrong! She had but touched the hem of His garment and immediately Jesus knew that someone had touched Him. “And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?” –Luke 8: 45 The disciples were confused with this question from the Lord, perhaps in their mind they were thinking with this large crowd what difference does it make as to who may have touched Him anyway.
Why is He so concerned about one particular touch? It could have been anybody who touched Him. Maybe someone even accidentally touched Him? Why is He making a point out of a single touch from someone? They were right if they thought this, it could have been anyone who touched Him—but what they didn’t know was this particular touch that Jesus felt was different.
It was a touch of faith; Jesus knew that someone had touched Him by faith. He knew that someone had believed in faith! Yes, imperfect but faith just the same. When you get close enough to touch the Lord by faith, I guarantee you that He will know and He will respond. Jesus looked round about to see the woman who done this thing.
Although the woman was “fearing and trembling” she made a public profession of what the Lord had done for her. She only hoped to slip in and go unnoticed, receive her healing, and just slip away. With man, that was possible to do, but she couldn’t do so with Jesus. You see Jesus works from the inside out and not from the outside in. He can tell the difference from a casual touch and touch of faith. A casual touch does not involve the heart; a casual touch shows no desperation, and a casual touch usually does not express love. But a touch of faith means, “…Lord, I do believe; but help thou mine unbelief.” A touch of faith means Lord I am leaning and depending on you. It means, Lord, if you can’t help me no one can! A touch of faith can make you whole.
“And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. Go in peace and be whole of thy plague.” Only those of us who seek the Lord will receive His touch. You can have what you desire, but you must seek Him. Have you tried this world and what it offers only brings you more disappointment and discouragement? Are there any rivers in your life that seem uncrossable? Are there any mountains that seem too high to climb? Why don’t you try Jesus and allow Him to transform your life? All power has been given unto Him and He can do what no other power can do. Amen.