Jesus performed countless miracles in his life. He gave the blind their sight, he made the lame walk, he healed lepers and all sorts of diseases, he cast out demons, and he even raised people from the dead. But there’s one miracle that Jesus did that each time I read or hear about it, I get goose bumps. The story is recorded in the Gospel of Mark, in the fifth chapter.
Jesus has just calmed a stormy sea and healed a man with a legion of spirits within him. He’s barely stepped out of the boat onto dry land again when he is surrounded by a great crowd of people. It’s a Jesus sandwich, with the sea on one side and a multitude of people on the other. One of the people in the crowd is a ruler of the synagogue. His name is Jairus. Jairus has a daughter who is extremely sick, so sick that she is at the threshold of death. Jairus is frantic. His child is dying and there is absolutely nothing he can do. He needs a miracle. So he goes to Jesus, the man who has been performing miracles and whose name precedes him.
Jairus pleads with Jesus, “My little daughter is at the point of death! Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be well and live.” Jesus has compassion on this man and he follows him to his house.
So does the crowd. This crowd is so big that there is no such thing as personal space anymore. Everyone is bumping into everyone else. Everyone just wants to be close to Jesus.
In this crowd, there is a woman. She’s extremely sick. She’s been sick for twelve years and no doctors or physicians have been able to cure her. She has spent every penny she owned, and not only did she not get better, her condition has just worsened over time. Like Jairus, she is out of options.
But she had heard about Jesus. She knows the stories and she knows what he was capable of. She knows that if she even touches the barest hem of his garments, she will be healed. So she desperately fights her way through the crowd of people so thick it has left no room for movement, and she finally reaches Jesus. She comes up behind him and touches his garment. And instantly, she is healed.
Jesus doesn’t miss a beat. “Who touched my garments?” He asks. The disciples are incredulous. The crowd is huge. Everyone has been touching Jesus. They don’t know how to answer his question or even why he would ask it. But the woman steps forward and confesses. And Jesus, yet again filled with compassion, speaks these words to her:
“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
The woman’s faith healed her body of her physical ailment. But faith in Jesus does much, much more than that. It heals us spiritually.
We are sick, broken people who desperately need healing. We may not even know it or agree with it, but it’s true. There is something fundamentally wrong with us: we were born into sin. And just as the woman spent all that she owned on earthly remedies for her disease, we spend our lives chasing after “remedies” that we think will make us feel better, or become better. Money. Boys. Girls. Status. Popularity. The “perfect” body. Self-help books. Possessions. The list goes on and on. We spend our time and efforts on these pursuits and we come up empty handed.
Nothing could heal the woman but Jesus. In the same way, nothing can heal us but Jesus. We can’t become better people by our own efforts. And that’s what all those “remedies” are – ways to make ourselves “better people.”
Our only hope is in Jesus. He doesn’t make us better – no, he removes the old and replaces it with something new. He takes out our old, sinful, selfish spirit and gives to us his Spirit.
“Your faith has made you well,” Jesus tells the woman. In the same way, our faith makes us well. When we have faith in Jesus, we are instantly healed. We are instantly forgiven. There is no more illness within us – Jesus took that upon himself on the cross. He paid for it with his blood. He took our penalty upon himself and died a brutal death. And then he rose again, conquering the power of sin, death, and the devil. All this he did to make forgiveness and healing available to us. If we have faith in him, that faith is counted to us as righteousness, just as Abraham and his decedents before us.
We do nothing. God asks for nothing from us but faith. We turn to Him, burdened by our sin, overwhelmed by the accuser, broken and damaged people, and He simply says, “Let me do this. Let me be everything for you.” God gives us infinite blessings in return for our infinite sin.
He is our salvation. He is our forgiveness, our grace, our mercy, our love. He is our peace and our joy, our patience and passion. He is our faithfulness when we doubt. He is our redeemer, and He is our healer.
“For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.'”