” In the crowd that day was a woman who had suffered greatly for twelve years from slow bleeding. Even though she had spent all that she had on healers, she was still suffering. Pressing in through the crowd, she came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel[s] of his prayer shawl. Instantly her bleeding stopped and she was healed. Jesus suddenly stopped and said to his disciples, “Someone touched me. Who is it?”…When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”Jesus responded, “Beloved daughter, your faith in me has released your healing. You may go with my peace.” – Luke 8:43-48.
The “bleeding woman” represents both the power of the Great Physician and living a COVID-19 type of life. Here is why: when she first comes to Jesus, we’re told she’d “had a discharge of blood for twelve years”, and though she “spent all her living on physicians she could not be healed by anyone” (Luke 8:43 ESV).
Israel had laws for contagious diseases, so this woman was socially distancing for 12 years. Like many of us, she was lonely, shut in her house without the benefit of the internet or Zoom to keep up with what was going on and keep in contact with others. In addition, the bleeding woman is in economic distress. She’s spent “all her living” on doctors. The bank account is empty, her hope dried up along with her money. Many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic as businesses strain to stay afloat. It will take time for the economy to fully recover. But most importantly, she is sick. Her life is in jeopardy if nothing changes. COVID-19 has confronted us with our mortality, bringing us face to face with the harsh truth that we’re not invincible. We’re all “in jeopardy” in one way or another as COVID cases continue to climb. So what can we do? What does she do? Where do we or she go? Is there any hope for her and our condition? The answer to those questions is Jesus.
The woman reaches out to Jesus and finds out that Jesus is the one who is contagious: She doesn’t get Him dirty; He makes her clean. She doesn’t transfer her impurity to Him; He transfers His purity to her. She doesn’t give Him her sickness; the Great Physician gives her His wholeness. The same is true for us. Christ is the Great Physician who draws close to care for us—the sick and wounded. He knew how contagious our condition was, yet He came to earth. He came knowing that absorbing our sin affliction was the only cure.
The bleeding woman gives us a glimpse of the final victory. The question is not “if I get healed” but “when I get healed.” Heaven is our final destination. Sickness and death don’t have the last word. But until then, we can experience the care and healing of the Great Physician today. As the sick, broke, and lonely, we can reach out for comfort and help. The Great Physician is the One who can make us whole.
- Do you view Jesus as the Great Physician? Why or why not?
- If Jesus is the Great Physician, how does that change how we look at sickness and healing?