Have you ever gone up to a stranger and taken hold of part of his clothing? Mark 5:25–34 recounts the story of a woman who did. She had bled continuously for twelve years. In the South, we’d say she had “female problems.” If she lived today, she probably could be cured with a hysterectomy, but her doctors couldn’t help her. Her condition meant she was weak, unable to bear children, couldn’t enter the temple area to worship, and was poor (she’d exhausted her resources on doctors).
Desperate, she made one last effort to get help. As Jesus was walking in a crowd, this woman grabbed the hem of his garment, believing that if she could only touch Him she would be healed. When He felt power leave Him, He stopped and told her that her faith had healed her (5:30).
Augustine said, “Flesh presses, but faith touches.” This woman’s faith touched Jesus and Jesus’ power touched her. However, it wasn’t a blind, last-resort faith in faith that released healing power from Him. It was her faith in Him.
I love the old story of a preacher in Scotland who had a reputation for long, flowery prayers. One day as he droned on with such a prayer, an old lady in the choir loft pulled on the tail of his frock coat and whispered, “Just call Him Father and ask Him for something.”
The woman in Mark 5 grabbed Jesus’ robe-tail and wordlessly asked something of the One who is the Father’s Son. And she received it. Jesus said literally, “Go into peace and be freed from your suffering.”
I think of that expression “Go into peace” as we enter another Christmas season. We’ll probably get many requests for gifts or donations or pieces of our time and energy. While the season presents opportunities for joy, it presents few for peace. When those times come, remember that Jesus gave this woman more than just physical healing. He gave her the opportunity to experience true peace in Him.
During this Christmas season, some of our writers will share their thoughts on peace in a world sorely lacking it. My prayer is that we’ll not let the season rob us of some quiet moments to reflect. That we’ll each remember what Jesus said to this woman who reached out to Him and that we’ll also “go into peace.”
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