Summary: Jesus could have simply walked on once this woman had been healed. There were more important things to do... but that’s not how Jesus saw it. Why did Jesus do what He did for this woman?
OPEN: The Bible tells us many stories about people who suffered. The most famous is the story of Job and pain and heartache he endured for a period of his life. In addition to the sufferings of Job there are the hardships men like Joseph and Jeremiah and others experienced.
And down thru the ages some of the greatest leaders and artists overcame terrible tragedies:
· Florence Nightingale reorganized England’s hospitals while too ill to move from her bed.
· Great books like Pilgrim’s Progress and Robinson Crusoe were written while their authors were in prison.
· Renoir painted some of his most moving artwork while nearly crippled by arthritis.
· Beethoven was deaf and depressed when he wrote some of his greatest works.
· Milton was blind when he dictated his great book “Paradise Lost”.
In fact Milton once observed:
“Who best can suffer, best can do”.
Some of the greatest people of the ages have attained their greatness thru suffering.
In our text today we read about a woman who suffered greatly. And it’s hard to imagine what she endured until you understand what she faced in her day.
The Bible tells us that for 12 years this woman had suffered from “an issue of blood”.
You women will have some understanding of what this lady endured. Women of child bearing age go thru a menstrual cycle during which the womb builds up a lining filled with blood to nourish a any child that might be conceived. And if the woman does not conceive her body passes the blood from the body. In Scripture, this is called “an issue of blood”.
It’s a difficult time for a woman.
It can be embarrassing.
It can often cause a woman to become extremely tired, because in the loss of blood from the body, she also experiences the loss of iron from the body.
And, of course, as many men can tell you, women at this time of the month can be (pause) very moody.
Yes, this can be a very hard time for women.
But imagine having that “issue of blood” every day of your life… for 12 years.
That’s 4,383 days.
For most women, the loss of blood is an uncomfortable inconvenience they endure, but the woman in our story is far more than uncomfortable, or inconvenienced, or moody, or even tired.
You see, in the days of the Old Testament, a woman who had an “issue of blood” was unclean. Anything she touched during that time was unclean.
She wasn’t allowed to touch or be touched, nor was she allowed to be “intimate” with her husband during that time. If her husband even touched her during her uncleanness, he himself would become unclean and unacceptable before God - unable to offer sacrifices or enter the temple area.
Some scholars believe that this requirement by God was meant to protect the woman during this time of her period from her husband forcing himself upon her… because her female organs would be most vulnerable to damage at this point.
So she was not allowed to be touched or to become intimate. But even more than that, she wasn’t allowed near the Temple, or in the synagogue.
Effectively, for 12 years, this woman was cut off from getting to God.
ILLUS: Jason Frazier put it this way: “for 12 years, she was considered unclean and could not be touched by a clean person. She could not go to the assemblies, synagogues, or ceremonies.
It has been 12 years since she had enjoyed Passover or Sabbath services.
It had been 12 years since she had been able to stand before the High Priest to have her sins forgiven on Yom Kippur.
For 12 years, she bore the emotional and psychological baggage of
· being unclean and untouchable
· no hugs, kisses, or any type of intimacy with a husband (if she had one)
· She could not prepare her family’s food (if she even had one)
· she could not do housework;
· she couldn’t be a wife;
· she couldn’t be a mommy;
· She had sat in an isolated house for 12 years staring at the walls.
For all intents and purpose, she was as good as dead.
She’s a desperate woman. And she’s tried everything she can think of to deal with her heartache. The Bible tells us that she’d spent all her living on physicians (Luke 8:43 KJV)… but no one could help her.
The Talmud (which is the written record of Jewish oral traditions) tells us that there were 11 different “medical” treatments for an issue of blood. For example:
· "Take of the gum of Alexandria the weight of a small silver coin; of alum the same; of crocus the same. Let them be bruised together, and given in wine to the woman that has the issue of blood."