Summary: Jesus takes the time to minister with the woman who touches his robe-- rather than rushing on his emergency mission
Following the deliverance ministry in Gadara, Jesus crosses by boat over to the other side of the lake and there once again Mark demonstrates that his gospel is focused on action as he describes the press of the crowd around Jesus. The action is vividly told as the synagogue leader, Jairius, comes and falls at the feet of Jesus, and pleads with Jesus to come and heal his daughter who is dying. Jesus responds promptly.
Now I want you to picture this. Jesus is on an emergency ministry call. I don’t want to liken this too much to the calls that ministers get in the middle of the night to rush to the hospital because some loved one is seriously ill, but it is something like that. There is a pressing need to get to the home of Jairus and Jesus is heading there and I don’t believe that there was any thought of delay on his part. In fact, if he had a car with lights and siren I think they both would have been blazing away. However, something happened.
Along the way, the woman with the issue of blood reached out in hopes of touching nothing more than his clothing. She didn’t want to disturb him, she just hoped that somehow she could connect with something stronger, something more positive, something with more hope and promise than she had ever touched before.
Here’s where I want to make an important point. It takes an intentional act on our part to fully connect with Jesus Christ. Jesus called the disciples by the seashore, but they intentionally dropped their nets and followed him. Jesus called Matthew from the tax collector’s table, but Matthew made the choice to follow him.
Think for a moment on Romans 10:13 – “Whoseover shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Once again, an intentional act of obedience and belief is called for. A tangible act is necessary for salvation. We have to believe and confess.
Jesus stopped and looked around and said “Who touched me?” Jesus often knew the hearts and minds of men. He knew the future. I don’t want to get into some great debate about whether or not he knew exactly who touched him. Bear with me as I share that I think that he already knew the answer to the question. I don’t believe Jesus asked this question to gain information.
If God knows everything then why does he ask questions? In the Garden of Eden, God asked Adam “Where are you?” and I don’t think that He did not know that Adam was hiding in the bushes, ashamed of his personal sin. God asked that question to confront Adam with his sin, much as a parent catches a child with their hand in the cookie jar and says, “What do you think you’re doing?”
God asked Elijah “What are you doing here, Elijah?” when Elijah fled from Jezebel’s threat to hide in the wilderness. We can be sure that God knew about Jezebel’s threats and Elijah’s fear. God was asking a question in order to confront the prophet in his sinful lack of faith.
Jesus even asks the disciples what they had argued about on the road as they traveled. They did not wish to answer him because their petty argument had been about who was the greatest among them. Jesus asked them about the argument for the sole purpose of confronting them in their own pride and then turned it into an opportunity for teaching.
What do these Biblical illustrations show us? They show us that one reason that God asks questions is for the purpose of confronting man in his sin.
There is another purpose. God asked Moses “Who made man’s mouth?” I want to shout out the answer because sadly, Moses misses an opportunity to make a powerful declaration of faith. He could have said, “Lord, you are the one who made my mouth and therefore you can speed up my slow speech and give me the ability to speak boldly on your behalf!” Instead, he continues his excuses.
Jesus asked the disciples what people were saying about his identity and they offered multiple responses. Then he asks who they said he was. It is Peter who responds with a bold statement of faith, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus confirms Peter’s statement of faith by declaring that Peter’s answer had come from revelation through God’s Holy Spirit.
In the temple, after his cleansing, Isaiah hears God ask, “Who shall I send? Who will go for us?” This question was not asked because God was wondering aloud what he should do next. Rather, God asked the question for the purpose of allowing Isaiah to respond with his impassioned plea, “Here I am, LORD, send me!”