Summary: A sermon on the Old Testament teaching of the Sanctuary from the story of the woman with the issue of blood touching Jesus.
This is my adaptation of a sermon by Pastor Henry Wright
If you have your Bibles, turn with me please to Mark 5:25-34. In case you think I’m not preaching on the Sanctuary, I am. It’s all in Mark 5; you just missed it the last time you read it. Mark 5:25-34. “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” I want to use for my subject, Heaven Came Down.
There is this woman, and her story is told in these verses that we just read. She carries that title that is given to certain special characters in the Bible. Although I normally preach from the New American Standard Bible, I’m going to use the King James today because I like how this passage is worded in KJV. It calls her “a certain woman.” That’s all the Bible ever calls her. Sometimes it’s a certain man; other times it’s a certain lad. That’s all we know about these special people, the unnamed faith heroes of the Bible. We don’t know who they are, but we know what God did with them and through them. We don’t need their names; we just need their experience.
Verses 25 and 26 tell us everything we know about her life up until this point. It says, “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” The first thing we know about her is that she had been bleeding continuously for 12 years; that she had been sick for 12 long years. Secondly, we know that she had gone to many different doctors during this 12-year period, and the doctors had done nothing at all to help her.
In researching this, I found something interesting in Adam Clarke’s commentary. You see, nobody should be surprised at the fact that the doctors couldn’t help her, when you consider the treatments of the Jewish physicians in reference to hemorrhages, especially of the kind with which this woman was afflicted. Today we would call them quacks. Clarke quotes a Jewish historian, Rabbi Jochanan, who says: "Take of gum Alexandria, of alum, and of crocus hortensis, the weight of a zuzee each; let them be bruised together, and given in wine to the woman that hath an issue of blood. But if this fail, take of Persian onions nine logs, boil them in wine, and give it to her to drink: and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this fail, set her in a place where two ways meet, and let her hold a cup of wine in her hand; and let somebody come behind and affright her, and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this do no good, take a handful of cumin and a handful of crocus, and a handful of fenugreek; let these be boiled, and given her to drink, and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this also fail, dig seven trenches, and burn in them some cuttings of vines not yet circumcised (vines not four years old;) and let her take in her hand a cup of wine, and let her be led from this trench and set down over that; and let her be removed from that, and set down over another: and in each removal say unto her, Arise from thy flux?”
So we see that this woman had been a victim of bad doctors, but thirdly we see that she had spent all the money she had on treatments from these bad doctors. Fourth, after spending all of her money for these useless treatments, we see that she kept getting worse. For all practical purposes, after all this woman had gone through, we could easily say that she had a hopeless case. I’m thankful to tell you today, however, that Jesus specializes in hopeless cases. You see, the Bible just calls her “a certain woman”, and I’m glad for that. In her society she was an outcast, a reject from society. But that just makes me rejoice today because it shows us that the nobodies of this world are focused on by heaven. I don’t have to be a doctor or president. I can just be plain, ordinary Ethan, and God watches over me like He watches the fall of a sparrow. Jesus watches over all of us with the most incredible love. Praise God!