When you look throughout the Old Testament, particularly the law of Moses, you see the concept of “clean” and “unclean” a lot. Namely, things that the Jews were to avoid and things Jews were allowed to come into contact with. Women having their period were considered, “unclean,” as were dead bodies. And if you touched them, you yourself became “unclean.”
I’ve mentioned this before, but the remarkable thing about Jesus was that when he touched the “unclean,” he didn’t become unclean himself, rather he cleansed.
We see this in these two stories.
First, we see this woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for 12 years. It’s possible that this was a menstrual problem of some sort. But because of it, she was considered unclean all the time, not just once a month. And though she went to many doctors and tried many remedies, none worked.
So in her desperation, she reached out to touch Jesus’ garment, thinking that if she could only do so, she would be healed. Why didn’t she ask Jesus directly? Perhaps she was ashamed of her condition. Perhaps she thought Jesus would reject her because of her unclean state.
But after her healing, Jesus immediately asked, “Who touched me?” And he would not let it go until she spoke up. Why did he do this? I think there were a couple of reasons. First, he wanted her to know for sure in her heart that she was healed. That this condition would not return. Second, perhaps it was for the sake of the people who knew her that they could also be sure that she had been cleansed, because for 12 years, she had probably been ostracized by society because of her condition.
After this, he went to the house of a synagogue leader named Jairus, who had asked him to heal his daughter. But after he had healed the woman, messengers came to say it was too late for Jairus’ daughter. She was dead.
But Jesus told Jairus to not give up, but believe. And as he went up to the dead girl’s bed, he said with great tenderness, “Little girl, get up.”
And immediately she got up.
What can we get from this?
All of us are made unclean by our sin. Maybe we feel stained beyond cleansing. We feel it’s too late for God’s forgiveness to come.
Or maybe because of our sin, we feel that our hope is dead. Our marriage is falling apart. Our finances are a mess. Or we feel that we have no future.
But the God who cleansed the woman and raised the little girl to life is the same God who can cleanse us from our sin and give us new life. And he can do it with one word, one touch.
All we need to do is ask in faith, putting our trust in him and Christ’s work on the cross, and he will do it.
So as Paul prayed, so I pray for you now.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)