Dealing With Issues When All Hope is Lost
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Delivered By
Rev. Brandon Holifield
Delivered On
November 29, 2015
Central Passage
Mark 5:34
Fifth Sunday - 8AM Service

Bible Commentary - "Where There is Death, There is Hope" by Bob Deffinbaugh


"An Unwanted Interruption "

"One woman in the crowd is singled out by the gospel writers. She was a woman who had suffered from some kind of hemorrhage for twelve years. Her suffering was much more than physical, though that would have been enough. She suffered as much from her ‘cures’ as she did from her case of bleeding. From various sources we are informed as to the nature of some of these ‘cures.’

Pliny’s Natural History reveals the generally low condition of medical science in the world at that time. Physicians were accustomed to prescribe doses of curious concoctions made from ashes of burnt wolf’s skull, stags’ horns, heads of mice, the eyes of crabs, owl’s brains, the livers of frogs and other like elements. For dysentery powdered horses’ teeth were administered, and a cold in the head was cured by kissing a mule’s nose.”131

From Jewish writings, such as the Talmud, we learn of some of these ‘cures’:

“One remedy consisted of drinking a goblet of wine containing a powder compounded from rubber, alum and garden crocuses. Another treatment consisted of a dose of Persian onions cooked in wine administered with the summons, ‘Arise out of your flow of blood!’ Other physicians prescribed sudden shock, or the carrying of the ash of an ostrich’s egg in a certain cloth.”132

To add insult to injury (literally) this woman was also subjected to tremendous social pressures.133 The nature of this woman’s illness fell under the stipulations of Leviticus 15, whereby she would have to be pronounced unclean. As such she had been an outcast for twelve years. She could not take part in any religious observances, nor could she have any public contact without defiling those whom she touched. Apparently, she was also forced to be separated from her husband.

Last of all, this pathetic woman has lost all of her financial resources. Mark tells us that she had spent all of her money on doctor bills, with no relief—indeed, with added affliction. And in those days, there was no such thing as a malpractice suit.

This unnamed woman, like Jairus, had heard that Jesus was back in their region and set out to find relief through His power. Conditioned, no doubt, by her long-term rejection and isolation she dared not approach Jesus to ask for a miracle. Her physical contact would defile all that she touched. The best she could hope for was a kind of secret healing. “I need not bother the Master,” she may have rationalized. “I but need to touch the hem of His garment.”134 The faith of the woman may well have been mingled with magical ideas as to the power conveyed by one’s clothing.135 Regardless of this, the moment she touched Jesus, she was healed.

After her healing, the woman probably began to shrink back into the faceless mob who were pushing and shoving for a look at the Master. To the great dismay of Jairus, Jesus stopped. It would seem that for an instant the crowd was perfectly silent. They expectantly waited to hear what Jesus would say, but they could not believe it when He questioned, “Who touched My garments?” (Mark 5:30).

The disciples considered such a question absolutely incredible, worse yet stupid. The rudeness of their thoughts was expressed by none other than the spokesman, Peter: “You see the multitude pressing in on You and You say, ‘Who touched me?’” (Mark 5:31, cf. Luke 3:45). Everybody was touching, pushing, shoving, grabbing at the Master. How could He ask such an insipid question, they thought.

Surely we are to understand that Jesus was not ignorant of what had happened, nor that He needed to be told who had touched Him. This miracle was not snitched from Jesus like a boy steals an apple off a peddler’s cart. Jesus, in His omniscience, knew the need of the woman before she ever put forth her hand to His garment. Knowing her faith, His power was granted for her healing.  Upon this woman’s confession of faith, the Lord Jesus sent her off with the words, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:34)."


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