Many long for healing, but not everyone gets whole. Getting to wholeness involves restoration with community.
Luke 8:43-44 – “A woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.”
Jesus, with the crowds pressing in on Him, stops mid-journey because He feels the power flow from Him. This woman hasn’t just been suffering a number of years with a debilitating condition—it has made her a social outcast. She’s considered “unclean” under Jewish law and therefore should have removed herself so as not to contaminate others. In addition to that shame, she has spent what she has on cures that haven’t worked. She’s taking a risk by coming; present in the crowd, she supposedly defiles those around her. She, like all the others, strains forward, pressing in to touch the hem of His garment. She’s healed!
The woman with the hemorrhage has already received what she was after—the healing of her body—but there’s more healing to be imparted that will fully restore her. Jesus stops and issues an invitation to come forward. He doesn’t force her out of hiding; He just issues an invitation to come. It would have been easy to stay hidden in the crowd. Fearfully, yet bravely she comes, and humbling herself she gives her story. Jesus knows that the fullness of her restoration will include healing of relationship.
Luke 8:48 – “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”
In speaking to her, He calls her “daughter.” She is no longer a stranger, for He recognizes her as family. He is restoring her divine relationship. Perhaps she held God accountable for her condition and for the lack of help she had received, feeling that her prayers went unheard or that God was distant. However, in the voice of Jesus all distance and discouragement is wiped away. She is seen and known by God. She is family. She always has been, but because she has dared to come forward, she encounters this truth face to face.
In one moment, Jesus restores her to community. What once separated her from community has now been healed and removed. In her public confession, she is restored. Jesus declares her healed and in doing so restores her to the community around her.
The willingness of this woman to come out from the crowd was the path to greater healing. It can be frightening, and it is humbling, but it’s definitely life changing. Jesus issues an invitation to come out from hiding and be restored to the communities we live in.
Excerpted from “Leadership for Group Healing Ministry” by Gwen Gibson, 2014.