When she heard about Jesus...
Updated: Jul 8
“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her came and fell at his feet and trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’” Mark 5:24-34
Last week I wrote about Joseph’s story, and how people forgetting us can make us feel forgotten or overlooked by God. (If you’re new around here, welcome! Also, you can catch up on that by reading it HERE.)
Many of us feel overlooked, forgotten, or passed over. Based on the response I received, that message resonated with most of us. When people forget about us or overlook us, we project those feelings onto a good and perfect God who never overlooks us.
So, this week I want to talk about that more. Except this time we’re going to the New Testament and looking at the person of Jesus and what He shows us about being seen. God shows us throughout the Bible that He sees us, that He looks on His kids with favor and kindness, and this is another story that proves that to be true while Jesus chose to walk the earth with us.
This story is talked about a lot on Sunday morning. I think there are so many different things we can learn from it, both from the disposition of the woman who was willing to break the law for a chance to touch Jesus’ clothes, and from Jesus—because He shows us both how He sees us, and how we should show other people that we see them.
The Woman and Jesus:
This woman had been suffering greatly from her health, but it was so much more than that. She lived a life of isolation. Again, all of us can relate. (Hey quarantine, we’re looking at you...) Her circumstances of her health labeled her as unclean and she was unable to go into public places. The scripture also tells us she spent all she had on doctors, so her health issue not only isolated her from society, but it also plagued her finances and made her poor. If this one issue (her health) changed, I’m sure she was convinced the rest of her life would sort of fall into place. Have you ever felt that way?
A circumstance that was entirely out of her control had forced a label upon her that changed her identity and her lifestyle. Her identity was formed by this disease. I can only imagine the amount of shame wrapped up in that. The turning point for her is when she heard about Jesus. This can be and should be the turning point for all of us too.
She reached out, she touched His robe, and He felt the power leaving from Him. He turned around and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
In this instance, I think Jesus knew who touched His clothes. He's fully God and fully human, so I think it is a safe assumption to believe He already knew who touched His robe. If that’s true, then why would He ask who it was?
In my interpretation, I think He’s really asking, “who are you?” Because right there in that moment, He wanted her to identify herself. He wanted to give her a chance to identify herself, to name herself, to say in front of all those people who have already labeled her as “unclean” who she is. She was given an opportunity by Jesus to tell Him who she was.
She falls at His feet and tells him the “whole truth.” I wish we knew what she said, because I can’t help but wonder is her truth the same way Jesus saw the truth? Is what she told Him in that moment about herself and her actions and her identity what Jesus believed about her?
I imagine her falling at His feet apologetic for breaking the law but also telling Him she knew He had power and authority over her disease so she was willing to take the risk of leaving a lifetime of isolation just to touch his clothes.
I don’t know what she said but I do know how He responded.
He says, “daughter.” He gives her a new name. He gives her a new label. He gives her a new identity. He sees her for who she is, and He names her based on who He is. Then, He sends her off to go in peace and to be free from her suffering.
Your Identity and Jesus:
How often is Jesus asking us how we identify ourselves? Who are you?
Then, when we sit at His feet and tell Him how we see ourselves, He responds by telling us how He sees us. He calls us His. He calls us Sons and Daughters. He lets us know we can be identified by being His and no other identity is of any importance.
Take time to let Jesus tell you who you are today because He really sees you. Sit at His feet and receive His identity for you. Then go, be freed from your suffering. Walk in your new identity with confidence that the only label that matters is in His name.
Jesus taught us that no matter what we think about ourselves, no matter how we see ourselves, no matter what society has said about us or anyone else—when we hear about Jesus everything changes. When we hear about Jesus and we choose to go to Him, our identity is replaced by being His.
He also shows us the importance of turning around. He was on His way to another place, and yet He turns around and shows this woman she has value in His eyes. She has a place in the family of God and He wants to look her in the eyes, even when it's inconvenient.
How we can turn around today:
I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve chosen to not turn around and let someone in my life know that I see them, that they have value, that they have an identity and it matters.
As I read this passage, I’m reminded to take the time to turn around today even when it’s inconvenient, even when I’m in the middle of something else. Jesus shows us He is willing to turn around, to look us in the eye, to really see us, and to give us a new name and a new way to identify ourselves.
He also sets this example so that as disciples of Jesus we start to see how we can change everything for someone by telling them who they are, and by showing them that we see them. As disciples of Jesus, we should want to turn around, to pause, to ask people who they are.
Then, be prepared to remind them of how Jesus sees them. Tell them you see them too. Their identity matters, they aren’t forgotten. They’re worth stopping for, pausing for, they have an identity worth recognition.
—When was the last time you showed someone you see them for who they are? How can the Spirit of God empower you to walk this out today?
—Write about ways your identity shifted when you heard about Jesus. Respond in gratitude and prayer.
—When was the last time you saw someone or something as an inconvenience? Invite the Holy Spirit to work through that with you and give you His vision for the person or circumstance.
Hey Jesus, thank you for being a God who sees us. Thank you for seeing us for who we really are, and for loving us fully and completely. Thank you for taking the time to turn around, to tell us of the worth you have placed on our lives and our identities, and for being a God who isn’t inconvenienced by us but who loves to be with us. Help us to sit at your feet today and to receive the titles and labels you have placed on our lives. Amen.