Two women who led very different lives, both had extraordinary faith.
Luke 2:34-45 (New International Version)
"34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." 36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."
Things that we talked about as a group. Do you think she regretted the life she lived? What would it be like to live that way? Do you think she lived a discipline life? This is a woman that depended on the family of God to provide for her. We assumed that since she was only married 7 years that she could probably have had a chance of getting married again and having a husband and children in her life. Instead she chose to serve the Lord with all that she had for the rest of her life. Amazing.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 6:18 at the end of the Armor of God
“praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
Woman with the Issue of Blood:
We first read Mark’s account in Mark 5:25-34.
First we talked about what Jesus was even doing there? He had been rejected or sent away by the crowds in the previous story.
Then we decided we would learn a little more about the background storyof the woman?
We don't even know her name, yet she was important enough to make the Book. What do they mean by an issue of blood? From everything I studied it meant that she had a 12 year long menstral cycle. The old testament details what is expected of a woman who was on her period.
19 " 'When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. Lev 15:19
25 " 'When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. 26 Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. 27 Whoever touches them will be unclean; he must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Lev 15:25-27
We talked about the kind of life she must have led. Lonely. If she was unmarried when this started she couldn’t get married, if she was married she couldn’t sleep next to her husband or have children. Add to the pain of her normal life she had spent “all she had” on doctors and “suffered many things from physicians. How awful.
So, why was she there? Why Jesus?
If she was unclean and wasn't supposed to touch people... think about the risk like that she took to try to “touch” Jesus and touching others in the crowd?
What did she say? “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Why? I believe that based on information from both Numbers and Malachi that she very well may have been a woman who knew that their were prophesies about the Messiah and the healing that would even flow through His clothing.
So she touches Him and immediately the thing that made her life MISERABLE stops. We just stopped and tried to imagine that feeling... make it first person you are estranged from your family, your life, your friends and now it is gone... YOU ARE HEALED. We talked about the complete freedom she must have felt in those first few minutes... we imagined her just stopping... not wanting to move because she was too scared to walk away and loose the moment.
Jesus knowing that power went out from Him stopped and asked “who touched me?” The disciples probably missed His intensity because their response was kind of "Duh Jesus we are all touching You."
What was Jesus’ reply? “Someone touched me, I know that power has gone out from Me.” So then the woman after seeing she couldn’t sneak away came trembling before Him and told Him what was wrong and how she was healed. I always thought that the trembling would have been because He is Jesus and she just experienced a miracle but now the more that I learn about her life… I think it could have a lot to do with her rejection from society, having to tell the people she was just touching that she was unclean AND the fact that she just had a miracle worked in her body.
Other people with hurts and struggles were touching Him… why doesn’t this story say that everyone that touched Him was healed of everything? The key word here has to be faith.
We read Mark 5 :34 "34He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'"
I asked the group what stands out about His statement? We talked about the following parts:
Daughter – what a loving term to use. Nothing that is negative or hurtful, He used a word that signifies that through her faith she is now a part of His family.
Your Faith has Healed you – I thought Jesus healed her? I do believe that Jesus knowingly healed her, but her faith is what caused moved Him to release the power. I think that had she not believed and touched him that nothing would have changed in her life. It is like praying for something and even saying that you believe that God can do it, but not truly believing that he WOULD do it.
Go in peace and be freed from your suffering – He has given her a new life. She could finally have peace.
Then I posed the challenge for the evening to the group: What is in your life that is difficult? What is in your life that you have battled? It could be something that happened to you that haunts you, it could be physical, it could be emotional, it could be relational.
What have you done to try to “fix” it or “treat” it? Gone to counselors or doctors (who are great, but cannot provide you healing on their own), or do you talk about it over and over with a friend?
Is God always the last option when we have an issue? Has it been brought to Him?
Then I said tonight after you get home and once the house is quiet spend time laying your difficulty before God and asking for His healing but only do this if you truly believe that not only can He, but He will do it for you in accordance to His will. Then stand firmly in faith and trust the answer He gives.
Jesus said about faith:
Matthew 9:28-30 (New International Version)
28When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. 29Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; 30and their sight was restored.
According to your faith will it be done to you - ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH.
Matthew 13:57-58 (New International Version)
57And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." 58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Jesus didn't do many miracles there because of their LACK of FAITH. I believe that God can do anything He chooses and that as humans we do not put limits on Him... but I also believe based on scripture that God honors our faith in Him and He pours out His blessing and gifts in equal portions to our faith.
Matthew 17:20-21 (New International Version)
20He replied, "...I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Nothing will be impossible to you. BELIEVE HIM.
I just thought of this when blogging our notes. If you struggle then speak to Christ the way this father did.
"20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22"It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" 25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.'"
He was honest. He did believe... just not enough for the miracle for his son... but admiting that to Jesus I think that helped his faith grow. I know there are things in my life that I easily believe Jesus for... but there are some things that I need to cry out "I believe, help my unbelief!"
Well, that basically covers our coversations from tonight. Next week is the last week of the study at the church on Great Women of the Bible... we will be talking about The Proverbs 31 Woman.