What kind of person walks up to Jesus and touches him? A person who understands two things. First, that Jesus is a person. He’s not a mere theory, but a living, breathing, active person. Second, that he has power to heal. When you touch him, you believe that something will happen. You somehow know you won’t stay the same.
What do you think of Jesus? (Now that you’ve agreed with yourself that you believe these two things about Jesus, what do you really think of him?) Is he touchable to you? Or is he so far removed from your day to day life – your decision making, internal conversations, way of living, your overall mindset – that a touchable Jesus is fine in the Bible, but not today, not in your life? What do you really think of him?
This woman in Luke 8 had spent the past twelve years seeing physician after physician without one ounce of healing. Her blood still flowed like a leak from a faucet, in desperate need of repair but without means to get it fixed. Her spirits were not high. She was ceremonially unclean and had most likely not been touched by anyone for over a decade. She was poor, having spent all her living on physicians who could not heal her. Yet here she was one day in the street and sees Jesus walking by. She can tell he’s on his way somewhere. Jairus has just come and implored Jesus to come and heal his twelve year old daughter from a deadly illness. “Twelve years old,” she thinks. “Jesus is going to heal her, why would he not heal me for my illness has lasted twelve years. If he’s willing to go to her, perhaps he’s willing to help me." The moments were tense in between that initial sight and the move toward Jesus. "What will he think? Can I touch him? He is my only remaining chance at life. I have to touch him.” Her hopelessness pushed her to the greatest hope the world has ever seen.
So she drew near and touched him and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. Jesus was there, and he seemed so real and so compassionate and so willing. How could she pass up this opportunity? She couldn’t. She didn’t. She drew near and touched him. It could not have been an easy decision. It was so risky, but she had to do it.
It was a rash decision. It was costly. She had to push through the crowds that would be appalled by her. She had to risk touching others who would not understand, who may throw her out of the city. But every cost was worth it because Jesus was unlike anyone else. She had heard about him from afar, but here he was - not a theory, but a reality. So she went because she believed he could heal her.
Such a small episode in the life of Jesus is included in the Bible for generations to read. Why did Luke include this? Because he wants us to understand something about Jesus that we often overlook. Jesus does not discourage anyone from drawing near to him. He has no fortress around his life. He has no bodyguard. He has no security detail. He is there. He has made himself touchable. The Holy God has made himself touchable to sinful men and women.
A touchable Jesus is not a theoretical Jesus. A touchable Jesus has power to heal. Is this the Jesus you know? Is he touchable? Is he powerful? The real Jesus – the one who came to earth and lived the perfect life you have failed to live and died the guilty death you deserved to die and rose from the grave to defeat the final enemy – is touchable and powerful.
What have you spent all of your living on? What has failed you time and again? What dead ends have you constantly run into? Where else are you going to go? What if Jesus is passing by? What if he’s there and he’s touchable? What if you believed he could heal? What if you drew near? What if there was a crowd in the way? What if you had to push through obstacles and barriers and other people? What if you made it to him and took the risk and stretched out your arm?
The real Jesus makes himself touchable to real sinners because he knows we need a real salvation from a real problem. We don’t need a theory. We need a reality. We don’t need another failure. We need a final success. Only Jesus can give that, and he can give it today. There was nothing special about that day this woman touched him. It was like any other. Likewise, there is no special day you need to wait for to draw near to him. Now is the perfect time. He’s always there, always available, always living, always ready, always gracious, always merciful, always powerful, always touchable. So draw near. Reach out in faith and touch him, and finally find the healing you've always needed.