I have been immersed in stories of the Bible because I am headed to Kenya to teach a group of women how to share God’s Word by telling the stories. For the past couple of years I have often used stories, telling them by heart and allowing God to use them to grow others as he applies the lessons to their hearts.
A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years–– a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before–– had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, "If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well." The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.
At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, "Who touched my robe?”
His disciples said, "What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you're asking, 'Who touched me?' Dozens have touched you!”
But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story.
Jesus said to her, "Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague,” (Mark 5:25-43).
Although there is no record of any Pharisees being there, based on other Gospel accounts I can only imagine their comments if they had been: “She broke the Law by touching him when she was unclean.” “She doesn’t deserve to be healed when she broke the Law to do it.” “Jesus should have scolded her for making everyone she touched unclean instead of embracing her as a daughter.” Rather than compassion for a hurting woman, I suspect they would have focused on her illegal actions and criticized Jesus. But Jesus extended mercy and grace, calling her daughter and blessing her.
Other words from Jesus come to mind as I try to understand his will on this issue:
“As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them,” (Luke 6:31).
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” (Luke 6:36).
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,” (Matt. 25:40).