18While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. 20Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, 21for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 22Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26And the report of this spread throughout that district.
Both Luke (Lk 8:40-56) and Mark (Mk 5:21-43) have longer versions of this story -- woman hemorrhaging for twelve years and the healing of Jairus' daughter.
A detail that's missing in Matthew's account is how the woman got healed. According to Mark's account, "At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched my clothes?' " (Mark 5:30).
In these stories, the focus is obviously on Jesus, for he is the central character in all these episodes. Every once in awhile the focus shifts to a minor character, as in the case of the woman subject to bleeding for twelve years.
The interesting detail about the woman's healing reveals this: Jesus had no intention to heal! Jesus had no intention because he was not consciously aware that someone else (besides Jairus' daughter) needed healing. Jesus became aware of something unusual when he felt "power" going out from him. That's when he realized someone had approached and touched him. He wanted to know then who touched his clothes.
The touching of Jesus' cloak instantly healed the woman. It wasn't the mere touching though. When Jesus asked his disciples who touched his clothes, they answered that many people were crowding around him. Jesus' request to know who didn't make sense to them.
So it was touching with intent that made the difference. That intent, as we know, was the woman's faith. She thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed"
There is something about faith that is quite remarkable when we reflect on this story: Faith draws out God's power. The Father is pleased to release the Spirit's power when someone approaches Jesus with the belief that Jesus can make a difference. Faith all by itself is not powerful. Faith is powerful because it moves the heart of God. When the woman subject to bleeding approached Jesus with her faith, the heart of the Father was moved to respond to her level of faith.
That we would be like this woman. That our faith in Jesus would also move the heart of God.
Let's pray: Father God, grant us the gift of faith. That when we see Jesus, we would believe that he is able to heal, deliver, provide, guide, protect -- whatever we need. May our faith in Jesus so move your heart that our faith becomes a catalyst for changes big or small, for outcomes that in the natural seem impossible but in you are always possible. May our faith in Christ make a difference today. In Jesus' name, amen.