Two Women, Two Responses

In Kristine Krieger, Perspective, Soul Food on January 20, 2012 by The Spillover

I feel caught between the messages of the following verses. Two significant women of the Bible. And while their names are not introduced, clearly the Lord has chosen for them to be emblazoned on His Word for us to read and glean from. Notice Jesus clear and distinctive response to each woman:

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

– Mark 5: 25 – 34

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

– Matthew 15: 21-28

Two women with significant need. Why then the difference in response?

In the first case, she didn’t even need to speak with Jesus – just a touch from his garment yielded the healing she sought. But then what about the mother? I consider the anguish and peril their house must have endured. The recognition that the precious child she bore, was indwelt with an evil spirit. I would assume that she was equally as desperate to have Jesus healing touch in her life. Why did he ignore her? Or did He? I would have loved to be an observer of this moment in history. What was the difference between the two? I believe it was, at the core, their faith.

The woman with the issue had a faith that was unswervingly strong and she was determined to put that faith into action. She knew that she would have to fight to reach Him, but she was willing to do whatever it took. She believed, with all that was in her, if even the tip of her finger could graze His robe… healing would be hers. I can visualize her departure from her house – desperation that turned to determination with every step that drew her closer to her Lord. And yet with humility, that of a child, as seen in her response when Jesus cried out. I believe He wanted… desired… to turn His eyes upon this woman with a faith such as hers. He already knew who she was.

So, wasn’t the mother’s desperation the same? Maybe, some might argue, it was that the woman with the issue was from the “right” side of the tracks, most likely a Jew, while it is clear that this mother was a Gentile, Greek by birth.

No. That wasn’t it. Jesus loved them both, the same. Came to die for them both, the same.

I wonder if Jesus response had more to do with this mother’s heart. He knew what was there. Was it was a sense of entitlement that had taken root? Maybe a sense of disbelief. Maybe… it was her faith. For whatever reason, He challenged her in His response of silent disregard. Could it be that He might deny her? Was she desperate enough to believe in His healing? The answer came from deep within her – YES. And she did not relent. So much so that the disciples became annoyed. He challenged her with the word picture. In desperation she responded that she needed and believed that only a crumb would be enough. Her words ring out to me, the tone changed from when she first came to approach the Master. Desperate now for His healing. And at that moment, her daughter was healed.

I am challenged.  I know Him, but am I desperate for Him?  Desperate to see Him work in my life? Believing that one touch means healing?  I pray so.

One Response to “Two Women, Two Responses”

  1. the woman with the bleeding has always been one of my favorite miracles and stories of faith.

    first of all, twelve years? TWELVE YEARS??! oy!

    did she feel invisible? is that why she didn’t have the courage to speak to Jesus? i have times when i feel invisible. i also have times when i WANT to be invisible. perhaps she felt both of those things….

    perhaps the community was so used to her in her weakened and ill condition that no one even paid attention to her anymore. perhaps she got so used to being unnoticed that she did not want to call out to Him becuz it would have drawn attention to her.

    i love Jesus’ response. and i love when He replies to my faith in the same way He replied to hers.

    what a gracious and amazing Lord.

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