Then Jesus – immediately knowing within himself that power was being pulled from him – turned around while being pressed against and said, “Who touched my clothing?” And his students said, “You see the crowds pressing against you, and you ask, ‘who touched me?’” Then he looked around to see who had done this. The woman, who was afraid and trembled about what had happened to her, approached and fell at his feet and told him everything. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole – be with peace and be cured of your condition.” (Mark 5:30-34)Here are the events surrounding these statements by Jesus:
After Jesus crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him – and he stayed on the coast. One time one of the synagogue elders, named Jairus, came forward. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. Then he ardently pleaded, “My young daughter is at the point of death – please come and lay your hands upon her so that she will get well and live.” Then Jesus accompanied him and many people followed him, pressing in on him. Then a certain woman, who had a bleeding condition for twelve years – and had suffered many treatments from many physicians and spent all she had while not getting better – but actually got worse. Hearing that Jesus had arrived she came through the crowd and touched his robe. Because she had said, “If I can just touch his clothes I will become well.” Immediately the flowing of her blood stopped and she could feel within her body that she was healed from her condition. Then Jesus – immediately knowing within himself that power was being pulled from him – turned around while being pressed against and said, “Who touched my clothing?” And his students said, “You see the crowds pressing against you, and you ask, ‘who touched me?’” Then he looked around to see who had done this. The woman, who was afraid and trembled about what had happened to her, approached and fell at his feet and told him everything. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole – be with peace and be cured of your condition.” (Mark 5:21-34)
The woman was already healed once she touched Jesus. This is confirmed in Matthew and Luke.
How did she get healed?Jesus clarifies the situation as he stated, "your faith has healed you."
So what did Jesus mean by "faith"? Did he mean faith as in what church or sect the woman attended? Did he mean faith by her belief in God? Or did he mean faith by her being convinced that Jesus would heal her?
This is how many sectarian institutions and their teachers portray it. They actually create this scenario where being healed by Jesus is based upon some kind of mind-game where the person must be completely convinced that they will be healed. And if they have just a smidgen of doubt, they won't be healed.
This is also how many charismatic evangelists explain away the fact that they cannot heal everyone. They claim to be healers but they can only heal those who are completely convinced - any small bit of doubt blows the whole thing.
Actually, this - nor the other types of "faith" mentioned above - is not what Jesus was speaking of. And furthermore, it does not explain why the woman was healed without Jesus knowing about it.
In this verse, the word "faith" is translated from the Greek word πίστις (pistis). The meaning of this word has been interpreted to mean "conviction of the truth of anything, belief" - as mentioned in the lexicon. But the lexicon also states the word means, "fidelity, faithfulness - the character of one who can be relied on."
What is reliance?It is dependence. It is trust. It is taking refuge in someone - with complete trust.
But who is the woman trusting or relying upon that has healed her? Consider the Source of Jesus' power and abilities according to Jesus:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the humble. He has sent me to proclaim mercy to the imprisoned and renewed sight to the blind, to set free those who are opposed – to proclaim the blessed time of the LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19)
"By myself I can do nothing; As I hear, I make choices, and my choices are just because I do not seek to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
Consider also this clear statement from Jesus elsewhere:
“Truly I say to you, he that hears my teachings and trusts in Him who sent me, has eternal life and will not be judged, but crosses over from death into life." (John 5:24)These statements clearly indicate that Jesus did not consider himself to be the source of the healings and other miracles. Jesus is clearly indicating these are the works of the Supreme Being - working through Jesus.
Consider also the Source of Jesus' teachings:
“My teaching is not mine, but comes from He who sent me." (John 7:16)These clearly indicate that Jesus saw himself as the messenger of the Supreme Being. He saw himself as devoted to the Supreme Being and ready to do what God wanted him to do. He also to great pleasure in serving the Supreme Being:
“My food is to do what pleases Him who sent me and to complete His work." (John 4:34)Consider also how Jesus answered ecclesiastical Jewish teachers regarding the miracle of manna attributed to Moses:
"Very truly I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the food from heaven, but it is my LORD who gives you the true food from the spiritual realm" (John 6:32)Shortly after this, Jesus explained how the Supreme Being - the Father - was orchestrating things:
"It is spirit that gives life; the physical body provides no benefit. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not trust.”These points all add up to one conclusion - that Jesus is referring to the woman trusting in and relying upon the Supreme Being.
“For this reason I have taught you that no one can follow me unless they have been enabled by the Creator.” (John 6:63-65)
What is this called?It is called surrender: Taking shelter in the Supreme Being. Relying upon the Supreme Being.
After all, what or who around us can we now rely upon? Everything around us - every physical form - is gradually decomposing and changing. Nothing is permanent. We might rely upon our house or our job but we will have to retire and we'll have to move one day. We might come to trust and rely upon our spouse or parents, but every physical body is gradually getting older and one day will die. What will be left to rely upon at that point? And what can we rely upon when we die?
For this reason, sometimes spouses or children get angry when their parents or spouses die - they are angry because they relied upon the person - they thought the person would always be there for them. They trusted the person was dependable and reliable.
And certainly, the person might have tried to be reliable and dependable. But because they have no control over their time of death, they have to leave at some point. In other words, despite their good intentions, we simply cannot trust they will always be there for us.
So who can we rely upon?Where do we find shelter? Where do we find dependability? Who will always be there for us?
Jesus is teaching that the Supreme Being is reliable. God is dependable. He is teaching that if we give our lives and our hearts to Him then He will always be there for us. Regardless of whether our temporary physical bodies are healthy, sick, alive or dead.
Jesus is teaching his students to give their hearts to the Supreme Being. This is why his first and foremost instruction was:
“The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction." (Mark 12:29-30)