As I was reading this account of the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years the phrase “ came in the press” jumped alive and I heard this, “What are you prepared to press through to get to Jesus?”
Such a simple question, but the impact of it makes you realize that you are not always “pressing into Him”.
As we read this account, what we don’t read are the tremendous obstacles she would have faced in moving to Jesus. First of all, this was a long term condition in her life. She had sought the care of many physicians and the bible says, she had spent all she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. That is seriously discouraging. Twelve years is a long time to live with any limiting condition.
Then, we have to realize this woman would have been known in the community. If you take the time to read the laws of Leviticus, it tells us that this woman would have beenconsidered unclean. Anything she touched or sat on became unclean. Anyone who touched her became unclean. Can you image living for 12 years with a label of “unclean” over your life? That is a life defining word. That’s something you would adapt to in twelve years. It would not just control your activities and your relationships, but would seriously limit them. These are obstacles, strongholds that would have shaped her soul.
She had heard the reports about Jesus. They were enough for hope to rise within her. In the scriptural context, Jairus is endeavoring to get Jesus to his house to heal his daughter who is on the point of death. I imagine we have panic in this man, urgency which is driving Jairus and consequently pressing Jesus on. This crowd is moving in mass. Take a look at Mark 3:9 to compare the press.
Think of all the people she touched and who touched her as she moves to get to Jesus. This woman who had for twelve years this continual hemorrhaging came “in the press” to get to Jesus. There was this natural press but don’t you know there was an internal press that drove her to disregard the law, the people, the condition occurring in her body, her mind screaming unclean, until she could finally, simply reach out and touch the hem of Jesus’ robe.
What press(ures) do we have in our lives? Do they drive us to Jesus or do we simply adapt to our situations? Do we find the conditions greater than the promise waiting on us? When we hear the reports of Jesus, does hope rise and press us towards Him?
How desperate are we in life? Are prepared to move past thoughts, perceptions, even natural realities to get to Jesus?
This woman did. She presses into this crowd. She touches the hem of his garment and immediately she knows (the greek is emphatic here, she really knows something has changed in her body, the flow had stopped).
Here’s what I find profound in this moment in the works of Jesus. Jesus stops moving. He knows! He knows someone has drawn that healing power from him. He did not initiate this. He was simply the conduit she drew from. Powerful. Her faith pressed through. Her faith reached out. Her faith touched. Her faith received. Her faith, not Jesus’ faith, hers.
We think we are waiting on God to move but in reality Jesus has a finished work and now He waits on us. He waits for us to press in. He waits for us to overcome our fear and doubts and move through every obstacle to get to HIM. Luke's gospel tells us the power of the Lord was present to heal. Mark’s gospel tells us Jesus was not able to do any mighty works when he met unbelief. He who comes to God must believe!
Jesus looks around and asks, “…Who touched me?”. She is no where to be found right now, She’s not shouting hallelujah. She’s not leaping for joy. She’s hidden. I’m sure she’s stunned. Processing. Now she hears the question, “Who touched me”? What does this question mean to her? She knows the flow has stopped. She knows “technically” she is no longer “unclean” but the law had processes for being cleansed. Processes she hasn’t followed. What could happen here? Verse 33 tells us she comes to him with fear and trembling, falling at his feet, she tells him the whole truth!
We know Jesus’ response, Daughter your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease. The Prince of Peace, speaks Shalom; health, well-being to her entire person. To this woman He literally says, continue in this place of wholeness and well being.
The woman with the issue of blood for 12 years is simply one story to show us what we can have if we choose to press through our limitations. His power is present to heal. His power is poured out. The question before each of us every day is do I believe?
If my hope is in Jesus, I will press into Him. My faith will move me to Him. My faith will reach out. My faith will touch him. My faith will receive the goodness of God and I too will be filled with Shalom, peace, nothing missing nothing broken and every whit whole.
Let today be that day.