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The Believing Touch

Matthew 9:20-22
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, 'If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.' Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' he said, 'your faith has healed you.' And the woman was healed at that moment. (NIVUK)

Jesus was on His way to see a twelve year old girl who had just died, with her father who believed Jesus could bring her back to life (Matthew 9:18-19). As they were walking down the crowded street, a woman pushed through the people towards Jesus. Her monthly periods were abnormal, and she was bleeding heavily. This had been going on for twelve years (as long as the little girl had lived).

Even today such a condition would cause great distress; but in those days she would also be socially and ceremonially unclean, even to her husband (Leviticus 15:19-27). Mark 5:26 tells us that she had spent all her savings on medical help but with no benefit. Her condition would have consumed her life, alienating her from community and worship; and apart from anything else it would make her feel tired and weak; helpless and hopeless - as there was no possibility of a cure.

But she believed that Jesus could make her well. Despite her ceremonial uncleanness she thought that just to touch his coat would be enough evidence of her faith. She did not need to have a conversation with Him or even be seen with Him ... but she was sure that He had the power to heal her. And He did. But more than that - Jesus was willing to publicly acknowledge her and not be ashamed to meet her, speaking to her kindly and affectionately as 'daughter'. He encouraged her and confirmed that she was healed - she had certainly put her faith in the right person.

At some point, everybody experiences grief and shame, sadness and weakness, helplessness and hopelessness. Usually these are resolved in some way over time; solutions may be found and comfort may strengthen people to carry on. But only God has the power to heal the heart of the person. Putting our trust in Him is the only wise response to any distress, however long and intractable the circumstances. Believing in Jesus is always rewarded, as long as we dare to touch Him with our concern and leave it in His hands.

Gracious God. Thank You for Your love and willingness to show Your kindness and compassion to all who look to you in faith. I am sorry that often I have not trusted You and have missed the blessing which I could have received. Please help me to recognise Your sovereign power and dare to entrust everything to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams