WOMAN WITH AN ISSUE OF BLOOD
Anglican Morning Devotion for 9 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.” (Luke 8:43-44; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Traveling the cities of Galilee in this text, the Lord preached the Word as a sower widely broadcasting his seed. As is always the case, the Word of God is efficacious to the soul, and powerful in the healing of the body. Many people were healed during this circuit of preaching and visitation.
You may remember these words taken from the Invitation to the Lord’s Supper of the Communion Service: “Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.” We recognize the spiritual Presence of the Lord at His Table of Communion. His spiritual Presence is stronger than any physical Presence could be because His Spirit can be right beside, and in, every individual worshipper at the Table. Our Lord is a Lord who is always near those who call upon Him in faith and trust. “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18) and, “ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” ( Hebrews 10:19-22
Being near to Christ is the comfort of the saints. Even in moments when faith may fail, as with the two men on the Emmaus Road, He is with us. He knows our doubts and pains, and, if we are persevering, He will open our eyes to His Presence and Love. He is the Lord whose TOUCH is a Balm. When we reach out in desperation to touch Him, it may happen that He will touch us in a more profound measure.
The lead text today recounts the story of a chronically ill woman who had been afflicted with an issue of blood for twelve long years. It is perhaps true that her hopes and dreams for a happy family life were shattered by this affliction. Moreover, this poor lady had spent all her life’s savings on doctors whose cures not only failed to give relief, but the woman’s condition only grew worse. Such are the clouds that return after the rain in the common fare of life.
The woman who is the subject of the text had heard of all that Jesus had done in working miracles of healing. Owing to her illness, travel of any distance at all was tortuous. She spent many lonely hours suffering alone. But, now, there was a new hope in the air. She had heard rumors on the street of Jesus and how He healed simply by the touch of His hand, or the Word of His mouth. Slowly, a growing hope began to materialize in her oppressed heart – “What if I could come near to Jesus? I am unworthy to make any open request of such a Lord as He but, surely, a mere touch of His garment would suffice to heal me!”
As she dwelt on these hopes and dreams, she heard murmurs from the street below about this Jesus who, it was rumored, was headed for her very neighborhood. By the way, this was not by unforeseen accident. Our Lord had been aware of this woman’s ailment throughout the entire twelve years of her affliction. Her condition was reserved for a testimony to us, and to countless others, of the miraculous works and compassion of a Lord who has been called in bygone days, “Beerlahairoi – the Lord who seest me!” Well, He is still the Lord who seest me, and all who believe, regardless our place or predicament.
Great kings and princes who grant favors do not fail of crowds of petitioners seeking relief of an abundance of problems. But our Lord Jesus surpassed these figures in grandeur, for He could offer healings which they could not do. So, as our Lord came down the narrow street near the woman’s house, there were throngs of people around Him, so much so that any open approach to Him would have been impossible. Here is the way Mark describes the occasion: “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” (Mark 5:25-29)