A relentless illness is ruthless, all-consuming and never-ending.
When we read about Jesus instantly healing people we may forget that they suffered for years.
1. Getting to the end of one’s self in a relentless illness
In Luke’s Gospel, we read about a woman who had suffered for twelve, long, years with a continual discharge of blood.
This completely messed up her life and even though she was a believer in God, according to Jewish customs she was ‘ceremonially unclean’ and was therefore barred from going to the temple to worship – it was a relentless illness.
But the problem did not end there, she was so desperate to get healed from this illness that she had spent all her money on numerous doctors and still, she was not healed.
Nothing changed, she was stuck in this prison of illness.
She was at a dead end, there were no other options.
There was no more money there was nothing she could do.
2. Faith started to rise up in her a relentless illness
Then she started to hear about Jesus and his wonderful teachings and the huge crowds that gathered around him.
She had also heard about blind people receiving their sight, the deaf hearing, the lame walking, those troubled mentally by evil spirits being freed, and a man with a withered hand having it restored.
Could it be possible that Jesus could heal her?
So she went to find Jesus but a large crowd was pressed around him.
She got closer and closer, pushing her way behind Jesus.
She felt dirty, ceremonially unclean, amongst the crowd.
There was Jesus, just a few people between her and him.
She reached out, stretching her arm as far as it would go, and now leaning, straining forward.
She thought, ‘If I just touch even his outer garment, I will be made well’.
Suddenly she felt different, she had been healed!
Jesus immediately reacted and spoke out, “Who was it that touched me?”
Everyone was denying it and others were protesting “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus was not giving up and said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
The woman knew that she must own up to touching Jesus’ garment and so she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
Jesus then said to her, “Daughter your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.”
3. Healing may not be instantaneous or occur at all
You can say that Jesus’ healing was instantaneous, but she had suffered this constant bleeding for twelve years.
That is a long, long time to be suffering and to be rejected by others.
But not only that, Jesus calls her ‘Daughter’ so it is very probable that she was a believer in the living God, and possibly had been so, even before her illness.
For twelve long years, she had spent all of her money, on doctors and medicines.
Now she was not only very ill, and weak, but also out of money, in a society where there was no Social Security.
There must have been many times when she would have prayed for her circumstances to get better.
But the Lord did NOT work an instantaneous miracle, and she had to struggle on.
Mark records that she was immediately healed.
When we read of these spontaneous healings, we tend to think that God always moves instantly.
It fits our modern lifestyles, but it is really contrary to how God works most of the time.
4. Jesus is approachable in a relentless illness
Do you remember that this lady was, according to the Jewish customs, was classed as ‘ceremonially unclean’?
That would have meant that she was barred from going to the Temple and also barred from touching anything sacred.
But here she was TOUCHING Jesus, the SON of GOD, the Holy One!
Why did she feel she could do that?
It is because Jesus is full of grace, and that makes Him approachable.
And grace is the love and mercy of God in action.
Grace is the smile on God’s face and not an angry look.
John the Disciple wrote about Jesus, saying that he is, “full of grace and truth” and that, “from the fullness of His grace we have all received, one blessing after another.” (John 1:14 NIV)
Grace gives from an endless supply and He will give many blessings to us if we approach Him with humility.
This woman would not have gone to the Temple, but she felt faith rising up inside of her, to touch Jesus, because she knew that she could rely upon His mercy and love.
In Jesus, she was able to see the smiling face of God.
If you are in a difficult situation, the Lord is often not interested in a quick fix.
We often want to take the shortest route out of our problems.
Or we see the only answer to our problem is for our situation to change.
But God is more interested in training us, refining us, disciplining us, and gaining Himself glory from our lives, than getting us out of tough circumstances.
And He could very well say for the time being:
My grace is sufficient for you.”
He may be saying ‘My love, My mercy, My blessings are sufficient for you at this time, while you remain in this tough situation, I am with you.’
5. Jesus rewards us for our secret acts of faith
When she touched his outer garment she was healed.
Jesus was not annoyed at her, he was tender, and he spoke as one concerned about her.
Jesus wanted to commend and encourage her faith, and also to confirm her healing.
We need to see here, that, it is not only the secret acts of sin that are seen by the Lord but also the secret acts of faith.
By our secret acts of faith, we can derive power and goodness from Jesus, and He sees these acts of faith, and He is pleased.
Jesus puts honour upon faith because faith gives honour to Jesus.