Faith in a Crowd

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!" But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." — Lk 8:40-48

The disciples had first-hand experience witnessing Jesus perform miracles. It must have been a whirlwind experience, going from one town to the next, having large crowds press in around them, seeking to hear and be healed by Jesus. Their faith in Jesus must have grown from place to place, as they saw more healing happen and greater renown grow, and yet they had so far to go in faith as well. 

In this story, we actually have two stories, with one sandwiched between the other. Jairus first approaches Jesus, seeking healing for his daughter. He's desperate, on a timeline, rushing Jesus. As Jesus is headed that way, he knows that someone touches him, and he calls out to find out who it was. I imagine the disciples all looked to each other saying, "it wasn't me!". Then Peter, with all his practicality, says "Master, it's crowded here! Everyone is essentially touching you!" I laughed as I read it. Obviously, Peter, if Jesus can heal the blind and feed 5,000 and fill your nets to the brim with fish, he knows it's crowded. I also wonder if he and the other disciples felt the urgency for Jesus to meet the need of Jairus' daughter. Death was at stake-- what more urgent need could there be? They needed to keep moving, not get distracted by Jesus' personal space. 

But Jesus, being so filled with power, knew that there was someone who touched him with the faith that the touch alone could heal her. Jesus stopped their hurried journey to Jairus' daughter to seek out the person with the faith, and perhaps it was intended to be a testament to his disciples, as well, of his power and his priorities. Jairus was wealthy and respected. The woman was poor and likely shunned because of her illness. Jairus' daughter was twelve years old. The woman had suffered for twelve years. I don't think this is coincidental, my friends. If I was Jairus and Jesus had stopped to find out who touched him, I would have been so frustrated. We are on a timeline! Death waits for no man! Except-- Jesus isn't any man. 

Jesus stops and uses this woman as an example to those around him of those he cares about-- the poor and the oppressed. Not just the wealthy and powerful. And it is her faith that heals her. Have you ever known someone who had such faith, that they believed beyond all ration and reason that God would intervene in their lives? I confess, too often I am the person who says, "God can't do that. God can't move here. This problem is too much for him to solve." And yet, when I do see someone whose faith is beyond their circumstances, I am profoundly humbled and encouraged when I see God's faithful response to their faith. 

What do you think Peter and the other disciples must have thought when they saw this taking place? They were trying to rush Jesus to a high-profile miracle, and yet he wanted to take time to show those around him just how powerful he really was. Do you and I have a faith that trusts Jesus so much, that we believe so firmly in him that just a touch of his robe could heal our fears, insecurities, doubts, and brokenness? I know that I don't. I spend all my resources trying to fix my own problems and solve my own brokenness, when only Jesus can do it. 

Dear God, I know that my faith is so small, that I struggle to believe you can handle my brokenness, and heal it. But I want to believe, and to know at the core of who I am that you can and will heal my brokenness. I want my faith to be an example to others of your redeeming power. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Dig Deeper: Do you have faith enough to believe that God can heal the most broken and unhealthy parts of you?