Cleansing Touch

“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”—Mark 5:25–29 (NIV)

In Mark 5, we see yet another big crowd waiting for Jesus. Among them was a synagogue leader named Jairus who asked Jesus to come with him to heal His daughter. And Jesus went . . . and so did the large crowd that followed Him.

As you can imagine, people were likely trying to get in closer to Jesus. Truthfully, many were likely there because of the buzz around Jesus, not because they genuinely believed He was the Messiah. They wanted to be able to say, “I was there.” But among them was a woman who was determined to touch Jesus, “Because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’”

This woman suffered from an extremely rare condition of continual menstrual bleeding. Her condition had bankrupted her financially and, according to Jewish ceremonial law, prevented her from attending temple worship because she was considered ceremonially unclean. In order to be regarded as clean, the flow of blood needed to stop for at least seven days. Her condition made her an outcast, ostracized socially and religiously. It would have also prevented her from getting married—and if she was married, it would have been grounds for divorce. If she had kids, it would’ve made her unable to care for them without making them unclean. Anything she touched would have become unclean . . . except Jesus!

In Revelation 21:5 (NIV), Jesus says, “I am making everything new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Jesus isn’t made unclean by anything. Rather, He makes anything He touches clean and brand new. His touch restores, refreshes, renews, reconciles, and resurrects. He came to breathe life into we who were dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1).

Like this woman, we’re all unclean, unholy, unworthy, and dead apart from Christ. No doctors, treatments, any amount of money, “good” deeds, or anything else can make us clean and bring us to life. Only by the touch of Christ, by His grace, blood, and love, can we be declared clean, pure, innocent, and right before God. And this not only applies to our salvation, but it also applies to our sanctification, healing, restoration, and perseverance. Only by His power through intimate closeness can we experience the newness of life and walk in the fullness of all that He has for us.

Do you need healing from a past trauma? Reconciliation in relationships? The strength to overcome trials? Do you want to be conformed more to the image of Christ? “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” He will “cleanse your hands” and “purify your heart” (James 4:8 ESV). Like this woman, only Jesus can bring an end to your suffering.

Pause: Why do you think the woman believed simply touching Jesus was enough to heal her?

Practice: The woman’s desire was to get close enough to Jesus to touch Him because she believed in Him there was healing, peace, and a new future. Daily, our desire should be to draw closer and closer to Jesus. Look at your life today, your schedule, your routine, and consider whether or not your leaving enough room to seek after and draw nearer to Him or if you’re pulling away from Him. And then pray about ways you can be more intentional in spending time with Him and drawing nearer to Him.

Pray: Father, thank You for drawing near to me and for drawing me into You. I thank You that You did not leave me on my own to suffer, to feel the full wrath of my sin and rebellion. Instead, You drew near by sending Jesus. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. I pray that I may walk nearer and more acutely aware of Your grace, power, and sanctifying touch each day. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.