Summary: This sermon speaks of Christ’s power after every resource has been exhausted and shows how that profession must lead to confession.
Reach Out And Touch The Lord
Text: Mark 5:25-34.
Introduction: Once again we find ourselves in the fifth chapter of Mark’s gospel and you will recall that this section of the Gospel is filled with impossible cases, and is often referred to as the Home Of The Hopeless. Here Jesus shows that He has power over demons, over disease and over death. Here we find His arm is not shortened that he cannot save as He touches the lives of a man, a woman and a child. So far in our studies we have considered the deliverance of the man, the demoniac of Gadara, and then last time we were here we thought about the deliverance of the child, Jairus’ daughter, but now we come to the third victory in this chapter and that revolves around this woman, who the King James Version gently and tactfully describes as having an issue of blood.
In some ways this woman’s case is an incidental to the raising of Jairus’ daughter. As Jesus was making His way to Jairus’ home, this woman stole through the crowd and touched the Lord Jesus in pursuit of healing. That might have been the end of the matter, but for the fact that Jesus stopped en route to uncover her identity. What a frustrating few minutes these must have been for Jairus, and of course frustration gave way to despair when his servant arrived to tell him his daughter was dead. I wonder what he thought of this woman at that instant? Yet, this short dialogue was really designed to be a lesson in faith to the ruler of the synagogue.
I. Her Miserable Disease – vss 25-26
A. Mark describes three elements of this poor lady’s state to us.
1. He tells us of her ailment – she “had an issue of blood twelve years.”
2. He tells us of her treatment – she “had suffered many things of many physicians.”
3. He tells us of her detriment – she “had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.”
B. Her ailment.
1. She “had an issue of blood twelve years.”
2. That is significant on two accounts – first of all the time period of her suffering equated with the age of Jairus’ daughter.
3. Whilst this poor woman had been in despair all those years, Jairus had been delighting in watching his daughter grow up.
4. His pain was relatively short lived in comparison to hers – and his patience was called upon because she equally in need of the Lord’s attention.
5. Secondly, and this is of greater relevance, her condition rendered her unclean under the law.
a. See Leviticus 15:19-33
b. The recurring word of this passage is “unclean” – she was unclean, anything she touched was unclean, anyone who touched her was unclean – she couldn’t enter the synagogue, she couldn’t worship, work, she couldn’t maintain a marriage – effectively she was an outcast, cut off from family, friends and society.
C. Her treatment
1. Of course, she had sought healing. She had visited every doctor, considered every remedy, and tried every cure – she “had suffered many things of many physicians.”
a. The ancient Jewish writings gave a number of different cures for bleeding.
(i) Beside tonics and other remedies, one cure was for the inflicted to carry the ashes of an ostrich egg in a linen bag in the summer, and in a cotton bag in the winter.
(ii) Another cure was to carry around a barleycorn that was found in the dung of a white she-ass.
(iii) If that failed one could try eating grasshopper eggs, or carrying around the tooth of a fox,.
(iv) My favourite remedy, and certainly the most macabre was carrying around the fingernail of a person who has been hanged!
(v) Common remedies also included cutting and burning of the infected area, which perhaps explains why Mark says she had, “suffered many things”.
b. But for all their efforts her condition never improved, in fact it got worse!
D. Her detriment.
1. Her state had impacted her in two ways:
a. It had eaten into her wealth – “had spent all that she had.”
(i) Then, as now, medical care did not come cheaply, and this poor lady had emptied her coffers in an effort to get well.
(ii). I think it is fair to say that most people value their health above their wealth, that those who are seriously or long term ill would gladly give up the luxuries of this life if they could be relieved of their pain and discomfort.
(iii) But these doctors she had been frequenting had not only hurt her bank account they had injured her body.
b. Their cures had affected her health – she, “was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.”