How is this for intelligent faith? A very sick, broke and disappointed woman who, because she had been bleeding for twelve solid years, was literally moved when she heard of Jesus. We are not told what she heard. She may have heard the account of how every sick person in gentile Syria had been brought to Him and He healed them all. She might have only heard of the man at the pool of Bethesda who was singly chosen out of a vast crowd of sick people and was healed. Then again, she may have simply been told of what sort of man He was and what sort of character He was. She might even have only heard about some of the things He had said.
Whatever she had heard, once she understood that He was walking her way she formulated a plan of action, having received a promise that had never been spoken but merely extrapolated from what she believed about Jesus. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). She had the healing of her predicament in her heart. She had spent all her money over a twelve year period on doctors fees and she was no better, but rather worse off than she was at the start. Her hope was for healing. It had been an unrealised hope. But now she had faith. Faith gives substance. In plain English, what she was believing for was an invisible substance within her, for faith is the substance of things hoped for. The substance of faith is so real, it is counted by those that have it as evidence. “But!” you cry, “How could she have evidence of being healed, when she was still bleeding?” Faith is the evidence of things not seen.
Whether she was in faith or presumption would only have been proven by the result of her touching Christ’s clothes. Her faith was the substance and evidence of what she was seeking. This does not mean that we can walk round repeating stuff that will bring us untold wealth or new cars precisely. The issue is the motive for the faith, and the subject that a person trusts to deliver the goods.
“She said, “If I just touch His clothes, I shall be healed” (Mark 5:28). I am sorry for those translations that say, “She thought” when the Greek text clearly says, “She said,” or better still, “She kept on saying.” Translators that think confession is only a minor issue exaggerated by faith preachers could only be the ones that would translate such an important biblical statement wrongly. Faith speaks. It is the speaking of faith that causes the reality of that faith to grow and grasp the goal of that faith.
This woman’s rationale for her faith was a premise built by sound thoughts concerning the reality of the character of Jesus Christ. She reasoned in a direction that glorified Christ in an intensely glorious reality.
On this occasion, the premise and the promise were so intimately conjoined that the premise was also the promise. Whether she was aware of it or not, her reasoning about the character and person of Christ was moving the invisible world of God’s power. Her hope was now fermented, translated, elevated or promoted into faith. Her faith was violent direct. It was assertive and definite. She said it out loud and her spirit came in line with the words of her mouth. She was in faith.
Faith without works is dead. The woman now acts on the promise her heart has grasped hold of. “If I just touch His clothes, I shall be healed.” Now she does what she can to actually touch Christ’s garments. In normal circumstances we may sensibly ask, “So what’s the big deal?” But there were obstacles that militated against her realising that touch. First of all, because she was bleeding, if she was choosing to be obedient to the Mosaic law, she should not have been out in the street. Her menstruation (I am making an assumption there) rendered her ceremonially unclean. But the law is not of faith. Faith overrides the legalism of law. God obviously approved of her ignoring the law at this point otherwise it would be logical to suggest that she would not have been healed (I do concede that my conclusion there is also a legalistic one). Another obstacle was the jostling bustling crowd that was already touching Messiah. As He was passing she may have had to forcefully push into the press in order to fulfil the contact with cloth that her faith was homing in on.
Most works of Art on this story seem to have the woman crawling on the floor and being trodden on. This is normally because most artists read about the “hem of His garment,” and so, as with western clothes, they suppose the hem was near the master’s ankles. Who knows?
She had the evidence in her heart before she saw it with her eyes. She had the substance of her healing in her faith, before she felt it substantially in her body.
Her faith premise was also her faith promise. Faith, like love, never fails