20 “And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.” (Matthew 9:20–22 (ESV)
Matthew interjects in the narrative of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter, the Lord’s encounter with an ill woman. The incident occurred in between Jesus’ departure to Jarius’ home and His ultimate arrival that resulted in Him raising the ruler’s daughter from the dead. The Gospels of Mark and Luke provided a parallel account (Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48) regarding Jesus and a desperate woman.
The woman, who is unidentified, suffered from a discharge of blood (αἱμορροέω; haimorroeo). This refers to an internal hemorrhage causing her to consistently bleed. While no age is given to her, she had suffered from this condition for twelve years. Adding insult to injury, Mark 5:25 indicates that she had spent time and money with physicians only to find herself poorer and sicker.
“This woman’s affliction not only was serious physically but also left her permanently unclean for ceremonial reasons (cf. Lev. 15:25–27). This meant she would have been shunned by all, including her own family, and excluded from both synagogue and temple,” explains Dr. John MacArthur.
She reasoned that if she but touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. In other words, Jesus would deliverer her from her affliction. She did, and He did.
“In the ancient world, people had superstitious ideas about powerful men; their power was supposed to reside in their hair, their saliva, and their clothes. Their mere touch could bring deliverance or calamity. All she wanted was a touch, so she could gain that healing power,” explains commentator Daniel M. Doriani.
Jesus turned and seeing her said, ““Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.”
Jesus told her that it was not a magic garment that healed her, but rather her faith in Christ. He commanded her to not be afraid of Him. She was in a right relationship with Him; both physically and spiritually.
“The form of the Greek verb translated “has made you well,” which can also be rendered “has made you whole,” indicates that her healing was complete. It is the same Greek word often translated “to save” (Matt. 9:22) and is the normal NT word for saving from sin, which strongly suggests that the woman’s faith also led to spiritual salvation,” states Dr. MacArthur.
Faith in Christ provides deliverance not only from the penalty of sin, but also the power and eventually the presence of sin. As important as her physical healing was, it was most important that she was spiritually whole. Jesus ultimately heals the entire individual.
Soli deo Gloria!