20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
Here in Matthew is the shortest version of this event – only three verses. In Mark 5:25-34 it is given in ten verses and Luke 8:43-48 it is given five verses. In all three Jesus says your faith has healed you. However, it is only in Matthew we read that Jesus said Take heart daughter much as He said to the paralytic in verse two earlier.
Just as with the paralytic the most common translations were to take heart with the other most common being courage or be encouraged and some form of be of good cheer. They are all fitting as both courage and good cheer come from the heart.
Now let us return to the verse of interest and look at it in context. In verse twenty it reads Just then, which refers to Jesus on His way to heal the daughter of a synagogue leader after answering a question on fasting and teaching on faith via wineskins [which was a way of showing His teaching of new doctrines would replace the old doctrines of the Pharisees – faith versus works – and that they were incompatible]
18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
So Jesus is on His way to save the daughter of the synagogue leader when the woman subject to bleeding touched the edge of His cloak. Note that her condition had persisted for twelve years and in Mark we learn she had spent all her money on doctors hoping to be healed, but her condition only grew worse. This woman was by Jewish Law ceremonially unclean due to her bleeding (see Leviticus 15:25-27) and anything or anyone she touched would also be unclean – including Jesus, according to the Law.
Thus comes another great teaching very similar to that of the wineskins noted above.
In Leviticus 15:31 God says, “You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.” In the Old Testament, the temple was where God dwelt among the Israelites, but in the New Testament, God dwelt among men in the person of Jesus Christ (see John 1:14). Through Jesus the penalties of the Law are reversed, and the contamination of this world had no effect on Christ. The woman did not make Jesus (God’s dwelling) unclean—He made her clean!
It is also important to note Jesus stopped to find out who touched His cloak and speak to the woman instead of just continuing on to heal the daughter of the synagogue’s leader (which He did after this). His healing of an unclean person was not going to be hidden away.
From this we, who are all unclean, should all know we are able to approach Jesus in faith, repent of our sins, be forgiven and have a new life when we make Him our Lord and Savior. The old wineskin can be replaced with the new wineskin as we are healed of our uncleanness by our faith in Him.
It’s Friday, I hope you have a Great Weekend and remember to Go To Church. There you may join in worship, praise, and prayer to our Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit plus teachings from the Word of God.