Hi TTP Family. We are stoked to bring some bible stories to life along with some practical lessons in our new series; EMUNAH, which is the Hebrew word interpreted as faith. Faith in modern times is usually understood as belief in something or someone. However, the basic root meanings of Emunah are trust and reliance. The Old Testament authors used Emunah to depict an aspect of faith that lay beyond an intellectual belief or even an emotional one. Emunah adds a textured layer of trust and reliance on the faithfulness of God to our belief in Him.
It is important to understand and utilize our faith because it is an integral part of our relationship with God. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
The subject of faith is one that is often discussed from a spiritual and philosophical point of view, but our aim in this series is to approach these stories as they are told in the Bible and draw out practical lessons from them that we can apply in our lives. To achieve our goal, this series will focus on various bible characters, their experiences and plausible lessons to be learnt from their story. Now let’s dive in and meet our cast member for this episode.
She had spent twelve years in pain. She was unable to interact physically with her neighbors or family. All her livelihood, her hard earned money had been spent on seeking a solution to her predicament. She was unclean. All her efforts led nowhere, her situation only worsened. There seemed no hope for her. She is the woman with the issue of blood.
The first mention of this woman is in Matthew 9:20-22. The Gospels of Mark and Luke also have similar records of this story in chapters 5 and 8 respectively. Matthew describes her as ‘a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years’. Certainly this woman was living in difficulty. We can better understand how this condition affected her daily life from reading Leviticus 15:25-27
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 Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.
The main lessons that stand out from this characters’ story are perseverance and faith in bleak situations. Giving up after twelve years would seem the obvious choice. Despair is an emotion we turn to easily in bleak times, but perseverance and faith in God yield a better result. We see this character running to God, believing that He exists and that He will reward her for seeking Him.
Basically she practices faith as it is defined in Hebrews 11:6. The woman with the issue of blood persevered and sought Christ within the crowd, although her condition meant she was supposed to have limited contact with people lest she made them ritually unclean (Leviticus 15). She touched the hem of His garment thinking to herself if I but touch his clothes, I will be made well. And in the end Jesus tells her to go in peace, for your faith has made you well. This is a great example of perseverance bearing better results than despair.
We see another interesting lesson play out in this woman’s interaction with Jesus. She was unclean and thus would have made Jesus unclean by interacting with Him. However we see a reversal of roles; power leaves Jesus to the woman and removes the source of her ritual uncleanness by healing her. This is a great example of the power of Christ, reminding us that regardless of our circumstances, He can give us life and transform the situation, purifying us in the process.
We’ve come to the inevitable end of the first installment of this new series. We have hopefully learnt to choose perseverance over despair and hold firm to our faith. If these choices seem difficult to make, we have the reminder of what the power of God can do, and why God is a sure investment for our faith. Until next time, stick and stay and remember to practice these lessons every day.