Read His Words Before Ours!
She could feel the atmosphere of the group change. The crowd drew closer to the street and the volume began to swell. He was coming closer.
Jesus, the one who had brought healing to so many, was coming. She joined the crush of people as they drew closer to where He would be crossing in front of them. Maybe, just maybe, I can reach out as He passes by. Maybe just touching the hem of His garment will bring healing.
Desperation spurred her on. Twelve years of questions as the blood refused to stop. Years of being called unclean and hope dwindling with each attempt to find healing. She surged forward, ducking under arms and dodging feet, defying all social norms. She reached the edge of the crowd just as Jesus crossed before her.
The force of the crowd pushed her closer and enabled her fingers to graze His garment. He immediately stopped and turned to look behind Him. His eyes caught hers and held her attention. She sensed He knew her thoughts, yet no fear washed over her.
“Have courage, daughter. Your faith has saved you.” (Matthew 9:22)
The compassion in His eyes, and the loving tone of His words, felt like a compilation of all the love and inclusion she had missed out on for the last twelve years. She felt her chin rising as her confidence grew. Everything had changed. Time would prove all the changes, but she knew this encounter with Christ would forever be with her.
This is all Scripture shares of her story. Back then, there were no reality shows to visit the woman a year later to learn all about her new life. However, the lack of information challenges and encourages me more than knowing every detail of her transformation. Instead of focusing on the outcome, we set our eyes and hearts on her encounter with Christ.
In Matthew 5, Jesus declared the merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy. In verse 7, the Greek word for “mercy” is eleos, which emphasizes a deep, gut-level response to someone’s suffering, even beyond compassion. On the flip side, a person with a cry for this level of mercy is one who recognizes her complete incapability to help herself.
The story in the Word of the woman with the blood issue is a perfect example of giving and receiving eleos, mercy.
The suffering woman’s desperation for healing must have been incredible. The combination of hope for healing through Jesus mixed with the panic of what might happen if the opportunity was lost created a desperation cocktail that would have left others frozen in fear.
Yet, she moved forward with courageous faith and complete awareness of her need. Jesus was her last and only hope. In the end, she received mercy and healing.
In healing this woman, Jesus demonstrated how to pour out mercy. True eleos mercy is sourced from heart depths, not just head strength. It is empathy, not sympathy.
When Jesus healed the woman, it was not because she had anything to offer Him in return. Therefore, this was not a business transaction.
The woman did not formally ask for healing or present any logical arguments as to why she should receive healing and mercy, so this was not an intellectual interaction.
No, this was the Lord responding with intense compassion for this woman. This short encounter carried with it a depth of heart, which is the foundation of the mercy referenced in the Beatitudes. The original Greek word for “mercy” describes this deep level of heart response.
Does anyone else yearn for this level of mercy from the Lord, while also feeling overwhelmed by our complete incapability to pour out this mercy on others without His help? The source of this spirit-deep, gut-wrenching mercy, whether for ourselves or extended to others, is God alone.
Lord, today I humble myself before You. I cannot earn Your mercy. I cannot manipulate a response from You. Forgive me for the times I have approached You with wrong mindsets, Lord.
Only You can bring my healing. Regardless of my current need, only You can make me whole. Abba, I cry out to You today with surrender, leaving the outcome of this prayer and Your method and timing of response in Your hands. You know what saving me looks like in this moment, and a year from now.
Lord, teach me how to receive Your mercy in my desperation and create in me a heart longing to share the same mercy I have received. May I become a vessel through which You answer others’ cries for mercy. Attune my heart to sense Your compassion for those around me.
Thank You for knowing the beginning from the end and for loving me from the depths of Your heart. May You be glorified, Lord.
So let it be.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!