Preaching to the Spiritually Sick Who Need to Be Healed
When I was a kid, we rode bikes. We played outside. And I know, most kids today would hear that and think, “Your parents must have been so mean! They made you play outside where the sun is shining and the air conditioning is non-existent.” It is mind boggling to think that playing outside is becoming a thing of the past, but it really is. Not for us though. We played outside.
Where I grew up, everyone in my neighborhood thought they were professional BMX Bikers. If you were to drive by my house after school let out, you would think you were at the X-Games farm club practice facility. The kids in our neighborhood were serious when it came to this stuff.
One day we put our heads together and decided to build a bike ramp. This wasn’t your everyday ramp by any means. We spent countless hours working in my neighbors shop. His dad had given us some scrap wood and some screws and then turned us loose. It was obvious that nobody in this group would grow up to be an engineer because the ramp was terrifying. It was about five feet off the ground, the legs were shaky, the angles were all wrong and if we had to do it all over again, it would’ve probably been smart to see if it was level before calling the project complete. But even as questionable as the craftsmanship may have been, we decided to put it up and placed it in the middle of the street.
Now the big question among us was, “Who would go first?” Everyone was excited about the ramp when it was in the garage, but now that it’s on the hot Texas pavement, the enthusiasm level seemed to have taken a tumble. I was tired of hearing the whining and the excuses, so I decided that I would go first.
It was intimidating as I sat on my bike, with one leg on the ground and the other shaking on the bike pedal. I envisioned the entire process. I would pedal strong for about forty yards, then evaluate my speed to make sure everything was just right, and then based off of my evaluation, I would make adjustments before hitting the ramp. In my mind I was anticipating what my first trick would look like off of this monster bike ramp and I thought what the reaction from all my buddies would be once I landed it.
I was mentally ready to make the jump. The time was right and I was ready. It was time to become a neighborhood legend.
The sequence of events looked a little different than I had imagined. It went something like this: I pedaled. I went too fast. I launched. I flew. I crashed. I bled. I cried like a baby.
Once I hit the ground, there was a huge GASP from my friends that came in unison and it was so loud that I could hear it clearly through my own screaming and wailing. Everyone knew what this wipeout meant. It meant that we were probably going to get in trouble and we weren’t going to be allowed to use the ramp anymore. Since nobody wanted to get in trouble, my friends tried to come to my aid. They began using their bottles of water and juice boxes to wash out my wounds and it wasn’t any help at all. They tried using their homework and random sheets of notebook paper to serve as a bandage and soak up the blood from my leg, but that didn’t work either.
I was in pain and my leg was bleeding. It was embarrassing to cry like that in front of everyone (ages 7-9) in my neighborhood, but the pain was overwhelming to the point that I didn’t have control of it anymore. I was left there, lying in the street, bleeding and hurting and then I heard a familiar voice. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw my Mom running to me. She had heard my cries and came out to help me.
Up that point it was nothing but pain, crying, misery and blood, but then she came out with a wet washrag and placed it on my leg. She whispered in my ear so that my friends couldn’t hear, “Everything is going to be alright” and she was right because as soon as she placed the washrag on my leg, it seemed like all the pain went away. For me that day, it was my Mom’s touch that changed everything.
There have been multiple times that I’ve found myself in that very same situation in life; times when I’ve crashed and burned, times where I’m cut up and bleeding, times where I’m hurting and miserable and times when it seems like all I can experience is pain.
And if I were a betting man, I’d bet that we’ve all been in a similar situation in our own lives. We know what that’s like, don’t we? We know what it’s like to need a touch in our life to take away the pain and change our circumstance.
Our churches are filled each week with men, women, boys and girls that are hurting and in need of that touch, and the good news is that God gives us everything we need in His Word to assist those in times of trouble.
One powerful passage that communicates this truth is Mark chapter 5. Beginning in Mark 5:21, we read where a man named Jairus, a desperate Dad, who came seeking Jesus in order to help his daughter who was sick and dying.
The Bible tells us that Jesus went with Jairus back to his house where his daughter remained and was near death. Now do you remember what happened along the way? They were interrupted. And do you remember who interrupted them and what happened? Well, we read about it beginning in verse 25:
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.”
This lady had undergone an incredible journey and had reached the point of desperation. Imagine the audacity of this woman, reaching out and grabbing ahold of the garment of Jesus. She was courageous, but we’ll discover that her courage was a step that led her to the life change she so desperately needed.
This lady had a condition and it was a serious problem. We can probably relate. Perhaps not to this specific problem, but we know what it’s like to be in a condition of suffering, pain and misery. We know what it’s like to hurt and we understand the devastation of knowing that the pain isn’t going away any time soon. This lady had a serious condition and she had suffered from it for quite some time.
In verse 25, we read about this lady’s condition and we see the extent of her suffering.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
Now here’s what that meant for her: a person in her condition was excommunicated from the Temple and the synagogue according to the Law of Moses (Lev 15). If that wasn’t bad enough, according to the law of the Rabbis, she was divorced from her husband and shut out from family life and ostracized by society.
For the past twelve years of her life, she had been living in total isolation with no family, no friends, no touch, no corporate worship and no hope for change.
But we need to notice not only the extent of her suffering, but the expense of her suffering as well.
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.
In Dr. Luke’s account of this story in Luke 8, he tells us in verse forty three that she had “spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any.” She not only had a health problem, but now she had a financial problem.
The length of her suffering was for twelve years and the loss of her suffering was that she had spent all of her money on doctors and “could not be healed by any.”
No man could change her condition. No doctor could change her condition. And Mark tells us in verse twenty-six that her condition “grew worse.” She wasn’t getting better, but on the contrary, she was becoming worse. She was deemed incurable. She could not be healed.
That was her condition. It was a hopeless condition and one that left her in isolation. It was a condition that left her broke and without any chance of a doctor or healer changing her life.
When your circumstances are as grim as this, it’s nearly impossible to have a confident spirit or attitude. When you’re in a hopeless condition, it’s nearly impossible to have hope. This lady found herself in a helpless and hopeless position and despite her condition she still had confidence. In verse twenty-seven it says, “She heard.” 27 When she heard about Jesus…
At first glance that doesn’t sound like much, but it really is a big deal. She heard about Jesus, which tells us that she would have never come to Jesus had she not heard about him first.
That tells us that somebody, somewhere talked to her about Jesus and planted that seed in her heart and because she had heard about Him, she began to believe in Him and have confidence that He could change her life.
But not only did she hear, it also says, “She touched.”
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.”
Now don’t think that she just lightly touched His garment. This word translated “touched” speaks of an action of force. You can say that she “clutched or grasped” His garment. In her desperation, she aggressively grabbed ahold of Jesus as if she would never let go.
She came from behind Jesus and grabbed onto those tassels and verse twenty-nine tells us that 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
We need to learn something about her touch before we continue because it would be misleading to believe that all we have to do is reach out and touch Jesus today and all our problems will disappear. For her, it wasn’t just an instantaneous touch. Her clutching of His garment was more than a touch; it was a touch of faith! It was her faith that directed her to Jesus and it was her faith that delivered her.
It requires faith to reach out to Jesus! She learned that day that reaching out to Jesus by faith can bring physical healing, but not only physical healing, is can also bring emotional healing. And not only can this faith bring you physical and emotional healing, but it can lead you to spiritual healing as well.
This lady was made whole that day after touching the hem of Jesus’ garment. She was made physically whole, emotionally whole and spiritually whole! Her healing, which was once incomprehensible was now complete. That which was once impossible was made possible because of the power of Jesus working in her life.
Many times we want to end the story here. We like to land on these incredible stories of faith and harbor on the physical healings and evidences brought by the miracles. But there’s another level of faithfulness that this lady experienced that went beyond the miracle she experienced. Her journey with Jesus didn’t end in her enjoying and being thankful for the physical blessing from God, even though was thankful for it. Her confidence in Jesus led to her becoming complete in Jesus and once she had experienced Him first hand, it led to her confession.
Have you ever tapped someone on the shoulder and acted like it wasn’t you? It makes them wonder, “Who touched me?” right? I do that to my kids all the time. I’ll tap them on the shoulder and walk away or look the other direction and every time they’ll respond by saying, “Who touched me?” When you’re the one getting touched, it gets frustrating.
Jesus wasn’t frustrated here. It says in verse thirty, 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
When we read that, it can almost seem like He was frustrated, but He wasn’t even asking the question because He was curious or didn’t know the answer. Jesus said, “Who touched me?” to give this lady an opportunity to confess. He asked the question in public to give her an opportunity to make a public statement of faith.
And this is pretty interesting because at the moment this lady was healed, Jesus required an open confession on the spot. There wasn’t any lag time. He didn’t give her time to make her list of pro’s and con’s for confessing Jesus. It was her time to decide who Jesus was going to be in her life and Jesus knew that what came out of her mouth was going to be a reflection of what was in her heart.
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.
Why would Jesus require an open confession on the spot like that? The reason was because He had a blessing for her and many times, in order for God to bless us, He first wants a confession from us.
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
He said, “Go in peace,” and when you look at this phrase in the original language it actually translates to mean, “Go INTO peace.” There’s a big difference in the two statements. In John 14:27 it says, 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
This lady had experienced the touch that changes everything and now she could “go into peace.” For the first time in twelve years, this lady was going to experience peace. After all of the hurt and all the pain she finally had the chance to do something that was once considered unthinkable.
She entered into peace knowing she was no longer excommunicated from the Temple. She was no longer ostracized from her family. She would no longer be considered unclean in society and no longer be in bondage to her past.
Jesus required an open confession because He had a special blessing for her. But also so that others might believe. When we are willing to confess what Jesus has done in our life, it helps others see Him more clearly and it helps others come to Him.
And the truth is that we don’t do this enough. We, as the church and the body of Christ don’t confess what Jesus has done in our life enough. But when we do, it helps others come to Jesus and it helps others have a greater faith in Him.
There’s another reason that Jesus required an open confession that day: To encourage Jairus! Remember him? This woman had caused Jesus to stop on His way to Jairus’s home where his sick and dying daughter was. Jesus hit the pause button on this desperate Dad in order to address the needs of this lady. And the entire time, Jairus stood by Jesus’ side and had the best seat in the house as he watched the Power of God at work.
There stood Jairus, anxiously waiting for Jesus to get to his house before it was too late. We read in verse thirty-three that she, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear told him the whole truth. Can’t you hear Jairus thinking to himself at first, “Come on!! Make it quick! We’ve got to get to my house NOW! My daughter is sick and dying”
And as Jairus heard the whole story about her having this “flow of blood” for twelve years I can imagine that his ears began to perk up. After hearing of how her touching the hem of the garment of Jesus healed her, I’m sure he started thinking, “If Jesus can heal this woman who has had this problem for twelve years, that means that He can heal my twelve year old daughter too.”
Her confession strengthened the faith of Jairus. Her confession also brought her a special blessing. “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”
Faith directed her to Jesus and faith delivered her! Hebrews 11.6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him…” Jesus saw her faith and told this lady, “Go in (into) peace and be freed from your suffering.”
What happened to this woman reminds me of what David tells us in Psalm 50.15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Reaching out to Jesus brings peace on the inside and praise on the outside.
This story reminded of what it was like to be lying there in the street that day; bleeding, crying, miserable, embarrassed, and in pain. It was excruciating but the misery ended once I experience the touch of my Mom.
That may describe in a sense where you find your own life today. When you look in a mirror today, you may see someone who is hurting and desperate for change. If so, understand that no matter what the pain you’re currently experiencing may be, there is a touch that changes everything. That’s not to say that we will never experience hardship because that is never promised. However, we are guaranteed that no matter what we go through or what circumstances we may endure, that they will never be too big for God. He’ll always walk through tough times with us. He’ll always give us the strength to endure. God will never put us through something that we aren’t capable of getting through with Him by our side.
Are you in need of that touch today? If so, be aggressive. Be assertive. Be willing to reach out and grab ahold of Jesus and once you do, never let go.
Jordan Easley is Senior Pastor of Englewood Baptist Church, Jackson, TN.