In this story, two people come to Jesus with their needs. They are very different people. Jairus is an important man. V22 says 'a synagogue ruler'. He's a man, he's a ruler, he has a family, he's religious and very respectable in the community.
The woman is not even named. Jesus calls her 'Daughter' in v34, which is even better than telling us her name. But as the story begins she is an unnamed and unclean woman. She has, v25, an unstoppable flow of blood which made her perpetually, ceremonially unclean. This woman is unnamed, unclean, sick and now destitute.
Verse 26 details her 12 years of suffering:
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
That really tells a story doesn't it? Suffering under the "care" of many doctors. I don't know if you've been passed around from doctor to doctor and they can't seem to help you. That in itself is frightening and dehumanizing enough. But this woman has been suffering at the hands of these doctors. We can only imagine how these 1st century physicians were treating her or what they were prescribing. Mark just tells us that she suffered a great deal. And she paid a lot of money for these worthless and painful treatments. Now she has nothing, you can add financial ruin to her list of woes. This woman is in a desperate position.
So this woman has had 12 years of great suffering.
She is very different to Jairus. Jairus, we can imagine, has had 12 years of joy with his 12 year old daughter. But now with his daughter on death's door, Jairus is brought to the woman's level. They are both needy beggars coming to Jesus.
Verse 22 this respectable man falls at Jesus' feet and pleads earnestly with Him. This was very dangerous for Jairus to do. We know from chapter 3 verse 6 that the religious authorities have been plotting to kill Jesus. So for this synagogue ruler to fall at Jesus' feet could well have cost him his job and his reputation. But what's that compared to your 12 year old girl?
So Jairus and the woman, very different, but both come to Jesus in their need.
And both people think they know how Jesus is going to help them. They both have very particular expectations of Jesus.
Verse 23: Jairus thinks Jesus ought to come and lay hands on his sick daughter. And he probably thought that because Jesus had performed other healings where that's what He did - He laid hands on people. Other times Jesus healed people from a distance or just with a word, or He spat on the ground and made mud or He put His fingers in their ears. Jesus didn't have a single way of healing people, but Jairus thought 'laying on hands' was the order of the day.
Verse 28: the woman also thinks she knows how to get a healing. She thinks if she just touches Jesus' clothes she'll be healed. Why did she think that? Well quite probably it was because of an Old Testament prophecy. There's a verse from Malachi chapter 4 and verse 2 that speaks about the Messiah as the Sun of Righteousness who would rise up with healing in His wings. That might be a familiar verse to you at Christmas. When we sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing we say Jesus is "Ris'n with healing in His wings." Well in Hebrew the word for wings is the same as the word for the end of your garment. Where we might talk about coat tails, they'd talk about wings. And so there was this expectation that when the Messiah rose up, there was going to be healing in His wings, His coat tails, in His clothes. And this woman thought 'if I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.' So in her head she was just going to grab the end of Jesus' coat, get zapped and slink off. That was her plan. She had a plan, it was her sickness, she knew how best to be treated. This is how Jesus is going to help me.
Now you can understand their expectations can't you? They seem fair enough. But for both of them Jesus frustrates their plans and they are driven down much further than they were prepared to go before being raised up much higher than they'd dare dream.
What do I mean they were driven down and then raised up? Well let's see it first in the woman.
There she is, just an anonymous figure in the crowd, pressing in against Jesus. She wants to remain anonymous, she doesn't want a fuss, she doesn't want to meet Jesus. She just wants to get zapped and get on with her life. Well incredibly even with that kind of belief, which is bordering on the superstitious, even with that tiny mustard seed of faith, Jesus responds.
Verse 30: At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
Power goes out from Jesus. Isn't that amazing? Jesus feels power going out from Him.
We might imagine that if Jesus is the LORD of creation, well then everything He does is effortless. Surely the One who calms hurricanes with a word will take a healing like this in His stride. Well if we remember that the ultimate power of Jesus is shown at the cross, if we remember that the healing of the world happens when Jesus is crushed, then we might start to think differently. Isaiah the prophet said of Jesus: By His wounds we are healed. Are we healed by His strength? Yes. Are we healed by His omnipotent power over sin, sickness, Satan and death? Yes. But it is no less true that "by His wounds we are healed". The healing power of Jesus is grounded in His suffering death on the cross. Jesus is not like a broadband package - unlimited downloads. It's not clinical like that. It's personal. Those He heals, He also suffers for.
If you've come to Jesus you should know He has suffered for you. You haven't just downloaded salvation from His infinite hard-drive, it's personal. He has suffered for you. Paul would write in Galatians 2:20, "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me." Christians know this to be true. I'm not an anonymous member of the crowd who happens to have been zapped by Jesus. Jesus has suffered for me. He has felt power going out of Him for me. On the cross, He was drained... for me!
This woman thought she would mean nothing to Jesus. She wasn't going to bother Him. She just hoped for a zapping. But there's no such thing. You can't have Jesus' power without having Him. His power is a personal power and a power that costs Him dearly. He wants one-to-ones with each and every one of us. Immediately Jesus feels that power has gone out and immediately He wants to talk to this woman.
The woman is terrified. It seems to take her a while to own up. Verse 32, "Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it." The woman wanted an anonymous experience. Jesus wants a personal encounter. And that's scary. This is far more than the woman bargained for. But eventually v33:
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
The woman is driven down. Just seconds ago she'd hoped for a zap and run, but now face-to-face with Jesus she falls at His feet. And she tells her story to Jesus. "This is who I am Jesus, I'm a poor, sick, unclean, desperate woman. That is the whole truth." The woman is driven down further than she'd ever expected, but then Jesus lifts her higher than she's ever dreamed. Verse 34:
Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
This woman is not just an anonymous woman to Jesus. To Jesus she's a daughter. He doesn't want anonymous followers hanging onto His coat-tails. He wants daughters, He wants sons, who tell Him the whole truth.
And Jesus explains to the woman - your faith has healed you. Jesus is telling her, 'It's got nothing to do with any magical powers in my clothing. You believed in Me, that's the thing. I'm the Power that healed you, and you trusted Me. Now go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'
This word peace means wholeness, soundness, welfare, prosperity, tranquility, friendship. It's peace with God, peace with others - Jesus says go in peace. What a brilliant encounter with Jesus. She wanted to get zapped and run, Jesus wanted to call her 'Daughter' and give her peace. Driven down, but raised up much higher.
Do you have a zap and run mentality with Jesus? He wants a face-to-face. He wants you driven down to confess to Him your whole story and He wants to lift you up and speak peace to you. But you can't just be anonymous in the crowd when it comes to Jesus. Fall at His feet, tell Him the whole truth. He will lift you up.