Jump Start # 2694
Mark 5:25-26 “And a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse.”
Our verse today describes the woman with the issue of blood. She caught up with Jesus in a crowd. The Lord was being hurried on to Jairus’ home. This was an urgent emergency. It was a 911 moment. Jairus’ little twelve year old daughter was dying. Time was of the essence. On the way there, in the midst of a massive throng of people, this woman with an issue of blood finds her way to Jesus. She doesn’t bow. She doesn’t ask. She reaches out. She touches Jesus’ garment from His backside. Maybe she thought she could get healed without anyone knowing. Maybe even Jesus wouldn’t know. Silent. Quiet. She touches. She believes she can be healed. She must have heard others talk about miraculous healings. Just a touch. She did and immediately she was healed. Immediately, the text tells us, Jesus knew. He turned. She’s discovered. She falls to her knees, scared, embarrassed and afraid. The Lord doesn’t scold her. The Lord doesn’t rebuke her. The Lord doesn’t shame her. He talks. A conversation takes place. He calls her “Daughter,” one of the very few times Jesus ever used that word. As Jairus’ daughter slips into eternity, Jesus is having a conversation with another daughter. Both are important. Both need Him.
In our verse today, Mark gives us the back story to this woman. He tells us how long she has been ill. He tells us all that she has tried to do to get well. Now, she was broke, and worse. Helpless, hopeless, only the Lord can help her.
I want to look at the expression within our verse, “was not helped at all.” I don’t think the docs back then were quacks. By our standards today, we may think that way, but with what knowledge they had, they did the best that they could. I don’t see in this that they purposely drained her of money with the evil intentions of not helping her. The text doesn’t support that suspicion. I believe the physicians tried, but they couldn’t help her. Sometimes our modern doctors face the same thing today. They see the problem but they cannot fix it.
But there is a greater spiritual lesson for us here:
First, there are some problems that we cannot fix. We hate to admit that and we want to live with the idea that we can solve any and all problems, but there are times we can’t. I met a person the other day who is in poor health and is in great depression. Every suggestion I made, was countered with a reason why that wouldn’t work. I ran out of ideas. I felt sorry for him. I want to fix him. I want him to soar through the day rejoicing. But that’s not the case. I couldn’t fix him. And, what we learn is that we really can’t fix anyone other than ourselves. We can encourage, advise, teach, influence, but we can’t change. That’s up to the individual. I’ve see people destroying everything precious to them because of alcohol or drugs. I’ve know someone who spent the night in his car in a parking lot because he was evicted, had no money and no options. These kinds of stories breaks our hearts. We want people to do better, but until they want to do better, there isn’t much that we can do.
Second, there are some problems that last decades and decades. The years involved drains the life blood out of a family. It ruins some financially, going from clinic to therapy, to rehabs, only to see the problems continuing. We’d like problems to go away quickly. They often don’t. In our passage, the woman had the issue of blood for a dozen years. Weak, anemic, unclean socially, and now broke, her problem remained. Don’t you think she prayed, daily, if not hourly, for her health to return. Those prayers were not answered favorably. There are things we do not understand. Why did the Lord allow her to suffer for so long? Why have others suffered a lifetime with a disease?
Third, coming to Jesus is always the best thing to do. Sometimes we try to fix things on our own and only after there are no other options, do we turn to the Lord. You wonder why this woman didn’t seek Jesus out earlier? Could it be that He wasn’t in the area? Could it be that she didn’t know about Him earlier? Could it be that she thought the next doctor will be the one to heal her? The song, “Does Jesus Care,” ought to remind us how important it is to seek the Lord. Even in suffering, the Lord is there. Even through those dark, long valleys of death, the Lord is there. There is comfort in His word. There is encouragement in His people. There is hope in His promises. Someday, we leave this world and all of these promises. Someday we will be with the Lord forever.
Finally, it’s hard for us to know and understand what others go through. I can read this passage and pull some great lessons from this, but to know what it was like to stand in her shoes, I don’t. To know what it is like to bury a child, I don’t. To know what it is like to have a prodigal who refuses to come home. I don’t. To know what it is like to be broke. I don’t. I don’t know those pains. But I do and can understand pain itself. My pain may not be your pain, but we both can understand pain. I don’t have to walk in your shoes in order to share my compassion, prayers and love for you. My heart can be touched and even bleed for you, even though I do not understand your pain. Our fellowship is made up of hurting people. On a Sunday we gather. We all look the same. We sing the same songs, but among us are all kinds of hurts. Some have hurt for a long, long time. Some hurts you see by their walkers, canes and slowness. Some you never recognize. Some, like the woman in our passage, try to keep things secret. But a hurting people find comfort in the great Physician. The Lord knows. The Lord cares. The Lord comforts.
Jairus needed Jesus to come and come quickly to his house. The woman with the issue of blood also needed Jesus. I may think that I need Jesus more than you do. My needs are more pressing than your needs. I ought to come before you. How easily the Lord could have told this woman to wait here, go heal the little girl and then come back. If this woman has been ill for twelve years, another hour won’t make much difference. But, Jesus didn’t do that. She was as important to the Lord as this synagogue official. This woman had nothing to give the Lord, except her heart. It is easy for us to get things backwards and to think that your problem is really no problem at all. Had this woman and Jairus’ daughter arrived at the hospital at the same time, the woman would have been waiting as the staff worked on the little girl. That’s how we do things. Most important problems come first. That’s not how the Lord works.
She was not helped at all by the physicians. May this not be said of us when folks visit our congregations. May this not be said of us when people need questions answered. May this not be said of us…let us do all that we can to take people to the one who can help, Jesus Christ.