Summary: This sermon features the woman with the bleeding diease. It has interesting insights as to why she wanted to touch the hem or the tassles of His garment.
Dr. Marty Baker / Mark 5:24-28 / October 30, 2005
Do you like being in a crowd? Sometimes I do, especially on a Saturday afternoon in the fall. I love the excitement of eighty thousand people gathered to cheer on their team. I love sitting in Williams Brice Stadium watching the teams of the SEC battle it out. Not only that, but I love to go to Sanford Stadium or Death Valley or even Neyland Stadium.
This past Thursday I had dinner with our oldest son, Stuart in Tennessee. We started reminiscing about some of things that we had done together while he was at home. One of his highlights was going to a game at Neyland Stadium a few years back. He remembered the details of the game, the score, the time that was left on the clock when we left. He remembered it all. All I could remember was that it was a Saturday night game in Knoxville and I had to preach on Sunday morning in Augusta. I did remember the electricity in that crowd. We were in a sea of orange. It was like every deer hunter in America showed up for the game. It was exciting. As I watched the game last night I thought about being in that crowd. Stuart called us about midlight last night from Neyland Stadium, stuck in traffic, but having the time of his life.
Crowds have energy; some negative, some positive. A few weeks from now we will celebrate Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Patty loves being a crowd at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. In the early days of our marriage, I would go with her. I ended up having to press through the crowd to get to the electronic section of the store so I could watch the ball game. Nowadays, I just give her my blessing and I stay at home.
In the New Testament section of the Bible in the book of Mark, there is a story about a large crowd that gathered to see Jesus. People came from all over to get a glimpse of this man. They had heard of his miracle working power. They had heard of the signs and wonders that flowed from his ministry and they wanted to see it first hand.
Thousands of people pressed in to see him. In that crowd was a woman who had been sick for twelve years. She wanted to be healed, so she pressed through the crowd. We pick up the story in Mark 5:24b-35.
24b A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
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."
What’s going on here? There are several things that important to the story. This no doubt is a Jewish woman. In those days, women were not given the respect that they deserved in society. Jesus gave his life to change that system, but at this particular time, women were considered secondary in the culture.
Not only that, but this woman was sick. She had a bleeding disease that continued for twelve long years. In those days, blood was a symbol for life and bleeding was a symbol for death. As a result anyone who had a flow of blood was considered unclean. To be unclean was to be cut off from the community. A person who was unclean had to announce their presence before entering a crowd by yelling "unclean."
For twelve years this woman has battled with a disease that caused her to be cut off from the world. She could not worship, she could not get married, she could not have children, she could not socialize and she could not do any of the things that make life worth living. She was diseased and because of that she lived her life in seclusion. Not only was this woman suffering physically, but she suffered financially.
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.
For twelve years she tried everything in her power to overcome her illness but nothing worked. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how many doctors she visited, no matter how much money she spent â€“ nothing could take away the pain. Out of desperation, she turned to Jesus.