How desperate are you? Some people are desperate for a relationship, a job, or a fresh start in life. ABC introduced us to a bunch of “Desperate Housewives” several years back. The Bible also reveals men and women who are desperate. They are desperate for an encounter with God. There is one woman whose story has always been an inspiration to me (Mark 5:25 -34). In this passage, there is a woman who was subject to bleeding for 12 years. She had a problem with her monthly cycle and could find no relief in spite of seeking medical attention. Due to her problem, she would have been considered unclean according to the Old Testament standards. She could not go into the temple or have any physical contact with another human. She was basically all-alone, cut off from God and man. She was desperate for God to touch and heal her.
This woman wanted to get well. She wanted to be whole. She wasn’t going to give up hope that God had a better life for her. This is important because I meet people all the time who don’t want to get well. They are unwilling to change. They remain a victim for the rest of their lives holding onto their misery, bitterness, or pain. They aren’t willing to take any steps in order to get well.
This woman had heard about Jesus though (Mark 5:27). Perhaps she had heard about how Jesus had touched a group of lepers. They were considered unclean too, but Jesus healed them. Whatever she had heard about him, there was a little seed of faith in her heart. She was desperate to find out if Jesus could heal her. As an unclean woman in that day and time, she would not have dared to approach Jesus face to face. Apparently she decided she would try and sneak a touch from him. She wanted to do a “drive by touch” on Jesus.
The story says, “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.’” I love the fact that this woman decided to go after Jesus. She was going to press in and go after him. She was desperate to touch Jesus in hopes that he would somehow touch her. If her broken body and soul could somehow come in contact with the essence of this man Jesus, perhaps his very nature would change her.
She could have sat at home and played it safe. She could have thought, “Well if he is really God, then he can come find me. If God wants to heal me, then he knows where I am.” Some people are like that. They just sit there and wait for God to come to them — not this lady though. She went to touch Jesus. It was a great risk and a great step of faith. She risked the social embarrassment from those in the community. She risked rejection if anyone saw this “unclean” woman stepping beyond her allowed social boundaries. She could have been scolded by a Pharisee, or rejected again by the rest of the crowd.
What about you? Are you willing to go after Jesus no matter what someone else says or thinks? How desperate are you to get a hold of Jesus? Do you want to get well, or do you want to hang on to your bitterness, your anger, your fear? Are you waiting on God to pick you out of the crowd, or give you a holy zap? Or are you ready to press in to Him, and go after him?
This woman pressed in to Jesus, and she wasn’t disappointed. Regardless of the cost, regardless of the risk, she was desperate to touch Jesus. She did, and she would never be the same again. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 634-2960.