We started Kairos W Bible Study with Jenn’s testimonial Bible Study!
It is so interesting to me that Christians use the word “testimony.” The only other people who use it “religiously” are those in the justice system! According to Dictionary.com =), it means a few different things: “the statement or declaration of a witness under oath or affirmation, usually in court; evidence in support of a fact or statement, proof; open declaration or profession, as of faith.”
In a sense, a Christian’s genuine story of meeting Christ and being healed and transformed, is all of these things. Though we don’t “testify” in court, we share our stories in a world full of people who are like a jury. A jury that is constantly deliberating, with its different members coming to different verdicts about the enigmatic person of Jesus Christ. In a sense, a Christian’s story is, or at least purports to be, “evidence” or “proof” in support of the “fact” or “statement” that God created this world and the beings in it, and that He is still involved in the lives He created. Very involved. And, yes, it is a declaration of faith too. It is an account that is woven together by a pair of eyes that see and insist that the hand and reason behind the events is God.
We find the Bleeding Woman’s story in Mark 5:21-34. The parallels in this story are interesting, and I think they are there to make a point. While this woman is making her way to Jesus, Jesus is on his way to Jairus’ house to heal his sick daughter, his precious 12 year-old daughter. Jairus was a synagogue ruler: esteemed, prominent, important. And thus his daughter is important too. This Bleeding Woman has been suffering for 12 years, under the care of many doctors, and considered an outcast, old and unimportant. She has no loving father who is trying to get her healed. Or maybe she does.
Out of faith, she reaches out to touch Jesus’ cloak and is immediately healed. Everyone’s moving hurriedly towards Jairus’ daughter, but Jesus stops the whole procession and asks, “Who touched me?” I think she didn’t show herself right away, because the text also tells us that Jesus “kept looking around to see who had done it.” Maybe the Bleeding Woman saw and felt Jesus’ searching eyes, looking for her. So instead of running away healed, she responds to his eyes. The text tells us that eventually she “came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth” (vs. 33). Jesus, and the throng of people, proceeded to listen to her story of suffering. I wonder what the crowd was thinking while she recounted her story; her story of how she suffered under the care of many doctors, and the whole truth, in front of so many people. Maybe it was “hurry up, you’re healed…we have to go, we have to heal Jairus’s precious little daughter. Maybe it was “why are we stopping for her?” or, “Who do you think you are?” Or maybe it was “Wow, I can’t believe she’s telling this to all of us!” Who knows. But Jesus listened, wanted to listen, and dignified her with His listening.
Jenn shed some insight as to why Jesus stopped for her, the Bleeding woman; why He stopped the whole procession and delayed going to Jairus’s sick daughter, in order to hear this woman’s story. After all, she was already healed by touching his cloak! Jenn shared that yes, the Bleeding Woman was physically healed, but that there were probably so many wounds that went so much deeper than the flesh. Years of feeling hopeless, feeling isolated and casted away, feeling the shame and embarrassment of her condition. Perhaps feeling like a nobody. In a way, the Bleeding Woman’s story is our story, because in a way we’re all “bleeding” inside, in our own way. Inside there’s something that’s draining us of life, like an open wound that keeps on letting. Jenn shared her personal story of how she always felt somewhat inadequate, like she needed to be perfect in order to be fully loved. It was a draining enterprise. The “bleeding” is different for everyone, but so often it’s an identity thing.
Jesus listened to this woman’s story and said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Daughter. In that sentence He said so much. He said you matter. He said you do have a father; a Heavenly Father. Everyone else was thinking about Jairus’ daughter. Everyone else was probably thinking, “C’mon, let’s get going.” Jesus said, this is my daughter. Jenn shared how all the internal pains and dilemmas were healed when she learned that God loved her, and that in Christ, she was a Child of God. The procession seemed to be for Jairus’ precious little daughter, but Jesus wanted this bleeding woman to know that it was for her too, and that He saw her as His daughter.
We don’t know what happened afterwards. But maybe it was as Jesus said. Maybe she left in peace. Maybe she was freed from her suffering, internally and externally. This is the testimony of many people who have come to know God through Christ. You stop bleeding inside, and start living a fuller life. I see that in Jenn’s story too. In her I see that it’s true: Christ heals, changes, and restores people so that they become strong and peaceful and free from their suffering, knowing that they are seen by God, known and loved, like daughters and sons.