Christian Short Stories

Touching Jesus In You
Mark 5:21-34
By John Miller

It happened on a stone-pebbled and narrow street in Capernaum on the western shore of Galilee. Jesus has just agreed to go and heal a dying young girl, the daughter of Jairus. He was always about His Father’s work; He would perform yet another miracle to show the divine love of His Father for humankind; His work would further demonstrate the power and purpose of His Father’s will over all Creation. This was his mission for the moment. All the while, His mind was his greatest mission, His Cross. He was always about glorifying His father.

Jesus moved out along the narrow street with purpose, pressed closely on all sides by the crowd that followed Him these days. These were mostly Greeks, some Jews and immigrants, all of them curious about Jesus. Some had witnessed Jesus perform miracles in the region and the others, hearing their tales, were eager for such a show. Some had heard Him speak in the synagogues and on the hillsides. Most denied Him as the Messiah and some even hated Him. He moved on, being bumped and pressed by the crowd. Their physical nearness to Jesus meant little or nothing to them. Theirs was a rude, unthinking and impersonal touch. They didn’t trust Him. Only His disciples were close to Him in their hearts and trusted Him. Yet we see in by their question to Him in verse 31 that they still had a limited understanding of His capacity to know and respond to His Creation.

She was desperate, suffering from a constant bleeding condition. She was an outcast in her society, probably abandoned by her family, was left to struggle alone. She was likely to die soon. The doctors had taken her money and left her without hope of a cure. Her failing health concealed her true age in a garment of pale, wrinkled flesh. Her thin clothes were ragged and filthy. She was hunched, with her back against a wall, warming her body by the stones that had soaked in the sun’s heat. Sleep was scarce but blessed when it came. The noise of the passing crowd awakened her and she heard people shouting that Jesus was near. The stories of His healing miracles had reached her as well. The poor and wretched people of the street shared campfire stories, and talk of Jesus was popular, although most misunderstood Him.

As He neared her place of rest, the mere presence of Jesus permeated her being. She felt an awakening of hope that raised her to her feet and she stumbled out to see Him. “I need to touch Him,” she thought. As she moved into the crowd, her mind was racked with conflicting thoughts. She knew that by Jewish law, Jesus would be declared “unclean” if she touched Him. She knew that people openly ridiculed and accused her of grievous past sins that surely must have caused her a prolonged bleeding problem. As a sinner, she might be stoned to death on the spot for her sins, especially if she angered the crowd that pushed this Jesus toward yet another show. They were not to be interrupted. Still, she would find Jesus. She would trust Him with her last hope. She would touch Him.

“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “if I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:.27-28)

Making her way through the crowd, she bumped against one man. “Hey, watch it old woman! You’re filthy and you stink! Get away from me,” he demanded. She fell back a few steps to escape his anger and moved forward around another man who glared at her. His woman tossed her shawl and gave her a disgusted smirk as she pressed passed them. She turned her eyes down and away from them and continued moving toward Jesus. Her mind flooded with concerns. “What will he think of me if I interrupt him?” she wondered. “What if the crowd sees me touch him? Will they turn to kill me before I can be healed? What will become of Jesus if the crowd declares him to be unclean because I touched him? What am I doing?!”

Her desperation drove her past her concerns as she struggled to walk toward Jesus. She briefly raised her eyes, only to see more glares from those around her, smelling her filthy body and shaking their heads in disgust. But she would not be deterred from her hope.

When she was just behind Jesus, she softly touched His cloak with a trembling hand and quietly turned away. “He need not know that I touched him,” she thought. She moved quietly so as not to draw attention of the crowd to herself or to Jesus. At once, she felt a calming warmth spread throughout her entire body, and she was completely healed.

“What incredible joy I feel,” she exclaimed to herself. “My strength is fully restored and I feel completely well again. But there is more….something much more….oh, my Jesus, thank you!” Tears of joy streamed down her face. Her heart pounded as she walked away in blessed but restrained silence. This would be their secret. She exclaimed, “Oh my Jesus…you touched me!”

“Who touched my clothes?” Jesus loudly asked the crowd. He wanted their attention on the moment. He knew all about the woman who had touched Him. He had seen her hunched against the wall unaware of Him. He was neither annoyed nor disturbed by her faithful act. For, He knew she had been called to Him. He knew that she took a personal risk entering the crowd in her wretched condition. He knew their carnal minds and despised their disgust of her. He knew that she was approaching Him with great fear and trembling. He knew her desperate need and that she placed her total trust and last hope in Him. He had felt the outflow of His Father’s divine power when she softly touched Him. He would not let her miss out on the blessing of her publicly acknowledging Him as her Savior and Lord, and the glory would be that of His Father’s. He smiled to Himself and silently thanked His Father. This too was His mission.

“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” We are left to wonder what whole truth that she shared with her Jesus…that remains their secret.

I like to imagine that beyond His allowing the crowd to hear her speak of her long suffering and her trust in Him as her Savior, Jesus had momentarily deafened the curious crowd so that they heard nothing of her sins that she might have openly confessed. After all, that is the compassionate and loving nature of our Lord.

Jesus’ words then flooded her soul with assurance of her faith. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” No doubt, His blessing included the greater blessing of her salvation by faith. For, He had acknowledged her faith; he granted her spiritual peace as well as physical healing. True to His Father’s forgiving grace and nature, Jesus made no mention of her past sins. We are left to imagine what added and inexpressible joy she surely experienced, having been physically cured and now spiritually healed by Jesus. She went away to find her family who must have been astonished to find her looking so well and in good health. She spent the long day and night telling them of her miraculous encounter with Christ Jesus. She had touched Him. He had touched her very soul!

In all of scripture, Mark’s account of this woman’s experience with Jesus is among the most profound in an expression of faith in action. It demonstrates that the woman was called to touch and be touched by our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In it we see her plight of human need acted out in a leap of desperate faith, trust and hope. And we see that Jesus rewarded her for that action by faith with a divine, embracing, forgiving love and compassion for which every human heart unknowingly craves. Mark tells us of this true nature of our Almighty God and Father, as revealed in Christ Jesus.

Today, we have access to the same Living Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit who always points us to our Lord. God constantly calls each of us to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. We have only to be willing to hear and choose to answer His call. We too can reverently touch Jesus and be touched by Him, so to become spiritually changed in our heart by the divine and perfect will of God the Father. When we acknowledge the desperate condition of our soul and make an open confession of Christ as our Savior and Lord, we get to touch Jesus with our fervent prayer…He listens!

There’s a difference between the touch of physical nearness and the touch of desperate faith. It is possible to be ever so near Jesus without trusting Him, but impossible to touch Him by faith without His knowing it and without being healed. [1]

1. Believer’s Bible Commentary, William MacDonald, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995, p.1333

(© 2009 John Miller – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)

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