By His Wounds We Are Healed (Mark 5:21-34)
As promised, we are going to be taking a more thorough look at this text this morning. We will make our way to verse 34, and spend our time looking closely at the woman who desperately comes to Christ in need of salvation: Both physically and spiritually.
We watch as this poor, disparaged and unclean individual comes to the only One who can provide true genuine healing. It will be in light of Christ’s desire and ability to heal affliction we will be given practical implications as to how we are to live our lives.
Let’s quickly recap the beginning portion of text:
“21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered about Him; and He stayed by the seashore.22 And one of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and upon seeing Him, fell at His feet,23 and entreated Him earnestly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may get well and live.’24 And He went off with him; and a great multitude was following Him and pressing in on Him.”
The stage for Christ to demonstrate His power and authority is quickly being set up:
- Jesus is back in Capernaum and a multitude of people have already gathered about Him.
- A frantic synagogue official, named Jarius, is in desperate need of Christ to save his daughter.
- Jesus immediately starts to go with him.
It is at this point every synoptic account includes an afflicted woman seeking to touch the garment of Christ in order to be made well.
“25 …a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years,26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse,27 after hearing about Jesus, came up in the crowd behind Him, and touched His cloak.28 For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.’”
Of the three synoptic accounts, Mark gives us some of the best details about this woman:
- She had been afflicted with a hemorrhage for twelve years causing a constant flow of blood.
- She physically suffered at the hands of doctors.
- She became financially destitute in doing so.
- She was never truly helped.
- She had only grown worse in her condition.
- She just wants to touch the hem of His cloak.
This literally poor woman, who would have been considered of little worth due to her condition, desires only one thing; to be saved. She just wants to touch His cloak!
The question needs to be asked and answered:
Q.) Why is this woman attempting to do this without being noticed by Christ or the crowd?
After all, Christ had already been healing people of their afflictions before this time:
“10…He has healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed about Him in order to touch Him.”
It was clearly common practice for afflicted individuals to seek Christ with the explicit purpose of touching some part of Him to be healed. This woman; however, does not want to be seen.
Q.) Why is that?
To find the answer to this question we must direct our attention to the Levitical Law. It is there we will find our answer to the desire of secrecy and desperation, as well as her trembling with fear when exposed.
Leviticus 15:25-27, 31
“25 Now if a woman has a discharge of her blood many days, not at the period of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond that period, all the days of her impure discharge she shall continue as though in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean.26 Any bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her like her bed at menstruation; and everything on which she sits shall be unclean, like her uncleanness at that time.27 Likewise, whoever touches them shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening…31 Thus you shall keep the sons of Israel separated from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by their defiling My tabernacle that is among them.”
Q.) Why does she not want to be noticed? The Law has deemed her unclean. She is not to be in contact with people.
For twelve years she has been considered unclean! This means that for twelve years she has been:
- Withheld from participating in temple worship.
- Ostracized from gatherings at the synagogues.
- Looked down upon for her condition.
- Distanced from her family.
As far as deliverance goes: Doctors are incapable, and money is futile. Only Jesus can deliver her from this separation brought on by her affliction. Only Christ can make her clean!
Upon hearing of Jesus, she had one purpose: To touch the cloak of the Christ!
She demonstrates to us true faith in the claims and works of Jesus Christ. In desperation this unclean woman traverses through the crowd she is not to be around. With the intent to commit an act she knows she is commanded not to commit. She is venturing outside the prescribed law of purification, which is important to know. According to Keil and Delitzsch’s Old Testament commentary, going outside of the prescribed law of purification meant death:
“…because uncleanness was irreconcilable with the calling of Israel to be a holy nation, in the midst of which Jehovah the Holy One had His dwelling-place, and continuance in uncleanness without the prescribed purification was a disregard of the holiness of Jehovah, and involved rebellion against Him and His ordinances of grace.”
At this point keep in mind the statement Jesus continually brings to the ears of the Pharisees:
“I desire compassion and not sacrifice.”
The mercy of Christ is going to be magnified here!
Based on Mark’s account there is a significant event this woman would have heard about regarding Jesus’ healing unclean people. She would undoubtedly be aware that Jesus can completely heal lepers by touching them without becoming unclean Himself.
“40 And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’41 And moved with compassion, He stretched out His hand, and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’42 And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.”
Remember, Jesus told this man not to tell anyone, but he disobeyed and spread the news making it impossible for Jesus to enter populated cities.
Let’s get back to our text describing the thoughts, actions and state of this woman:
“27 after hearing about Jesus, came up in the crowd behind Him, and touched His cloak.28 For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.’29 And immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.”
Matthew and Luke tell us she merely touches the fringe of His garment.
This fringe would have been tassels that Israelites were commanded to attach at the base of their cloaks symbolizing their belonging to God. All she did was touch it through faith in the claims and demonstrated work of Christ.
Q.) What happened? She was totally and immediately healed!
Now we are getting to the best part here, because she wanted to do this unnoticed. She thought she could sneak a miracle and leave. Now if only she had enrolled in the class on Following The Savior 101 she would have understood two primary principles of Christ:
1.) He refuses to be robbed of His glory.
2.) He asks questions He knows the answers to.
Look at what happens:
“30 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’”
Understand that Christ being fully God means He already knows who touched His garments. Now the disciples think it is a stupid question and direct Him to the fact that:
“31…You see the multitude pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched me?’”
Jesus’ question is for the benefit of everyone: The woman, the disciples, the crowd and Jairus. This is because there are at least two things His question is going to bring to light for everyone:
1.) His divine power
2.) His divine mercy and grace
You see, Luke tells us it was Peter who pointed out the crowd was “pressing” upon Christ. It is interesting to note that Mark and Luke both refer to this “pressing” of the crowd taking place, but each uses a different Greek word. Mark uses a word found only twice in the entire New Testament; Sunthlibo, meaning to compress. Both occurrences are in this text.
Luke uses the even more descriptive word, Apothlibo, meaning to press on all sides, to press hard, to squeeze. It is the only time this word is ever used. The word was commonly used during that time in reference to pressing out grapes and olives.
The fact that this kind of pressing was taking place in this crowd tells us there was unavoidable contact. Peter’s response is stating the obvious to Christ:
“Everyone is touching each other, Jesus!”
This meant that in order for the unclean woman to get to Christ she had to touch other people. She went outside of the law of purification and came in contact with other Israelites. Jesus’ question requires her to acknowledge before everyone that she transgressed the law as an unclean person in order to get to Christ.
“32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth.”
Luke tells us:
“47 And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.”
Through faith in His divine power she was healed of the affliction which brought her separation. This portion; however, does not only reveal the divine power of Christ, but His mercy as well.
Look at Jesus’ response to her:
“34 And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.’”
According to law she deserves death, but Christ withholds what she deserves and gives her what she does not; new life! He refers to her as His own!
There are three reasons I believe we should understand this text goes beyond physical salvation:
1.) Jesus calls her daughter.
The only way anyone can ever be considered a child of God is when they are born again through faith in the finished work of His Son.
2.) Jesus tells her that her faith saved her.
It was her faith in Christ’s claims and demonstrated work she was saved. Keep in mind “made you well” is the Greek word Sozo, which predominantly means to be saved from eternal death.
3.) Jesus tells her to go in peace.
To be considered a child of God, and to be saved from eternal death means you are at peace with God through Christ. In fact, this is the only time Jesus ever tells someone He has healed to go in peace.
What we see here is much more then someone being saved of a physical affliction. We see a transgressor of the law being saved by the mercy and grace found only in Christ.
This is important, because Jesus will not always save us from every physical ailment we bring to Him. Jesus; however, wills always save the person who recognizes their spiritual affliction and call out to Him through faith in His finished work.
Q.) What is humanities spiritual affliction? We are sinful!
Just as this woman’s physical affliction separated her from Israel, our spiritual affliction separates us from the One true God.
Just as this woman transgressed the law of God and was in need of mercy, we too have transgressed His law of God and are in need of His mercy.
Just as this woman was saved by faith alone in the work of Christ, we too shall be saved by faith alone in the finished work of Christ.
Q.) What is His finished work?
Q.) How does He heal us from our spiritual affliction? By His death, burial and resurrection!
Based on Isaiah 53, He was:
1.) Despised and forsaken by men.
2.) Afflicted with our griefs and sorrows.
3.) Pierced through for our sins.
4.) Crushed for our depravity.
5.) Humiliated for our wellbeing.
6.) Scourged that we may be healed.
7.) Oppressed and afflicted, yet silent.
8.) Taken away, killed and buried.
9.) Raised back to life by His Father.
10.) Pleasing to the Father, because He rendered Himself as a guilt offering for sin and justified many.
Q.) So how did Christ deal with our sin?
2 Corinthians 5:21 is Isaiah 53 in a nutshell. He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf, so we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The Father judged our sins upon His only Son. Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross, therefore, satisfied the wrath of God towards us. It pleased the Father to crush Him!
Q.) Why? It was the only way to heal us of our affliction, and reconcile us back to Himself.
This means those who come to Him through faith in Jesus’ death are no longer separated from God. We know that Jesus did in fact die, because He was in the grave for three days. On the third day God raised Him from the dead! He is alive!
Q.) How does Christ show mercy and grace to the spiritually afflicted who come to Him through faith? He takes their sin upon Himself and imparts His righteousness to them in return.
Our new life is His life!
Q.) How then should we live in light of this truth?
With Isaiah in mind, Peter provides us with practical application as to what this should look like:
1.) Abstain from the lust of the flesh (1 Peter 2:11)
2.) Strive to live upright among the lost (1 Peter 2:12)
3.) Submit to all authority (1 Peter 2:13-14)
4.) Do not use freedom in Christ for evil (1 Peter 2:16)
5.) Seek to honor all people (1 Peter 2:17a)
6.) Unconditionally love the church (1 Peter 2:17b)
7.) Honor the president (1 Peter 2:17c)
8.) Be a good worker regardless of whether or not you have a terrible boss (1 Peter 2:18)
This is how we should live in light of the mercy and grace towards us in Christ Jesus.
In fact, Peter says:
1 Peter 2:21
“21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.22 Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”
Let us all lead lives pleasing to our Shepherd, Who saved us from our spiritual affliction!
May our lives be lived for Him out of gratitude for what He did for us through His!
 Synoptic refers to a collection of things that form a similar summary or synopsis. Matthew, Mark and Luke are considered the Synoptic Gospels, because they contain similar events and sequences, and formulating the same conclusion; Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
Commentary on The Old Testament: The Pentateuch Volume I; C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch: Page 394
 Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13; 12:7
 Mark 1:44-45
 Numbers 15:37-41; Matthew 9:20; Luke 8:44
 The Macarthur New Testament Commentary: Mark 1-8; John Macarthur: Page 259
 Luke 8:45
 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 4918
 Mark 5:24, 31
 Isaiah 53:3-12
 2 Corinthians 5:21