Wasn’t actually Jesus who cured her. It was the Holy Spirit.
Mark 5.25-34 • Matthew 9.20-22 • Luke 8.43-48
Smack in the middle of
I know; you thought Jesus cured her, right? But if you know the story already, you recall Jesus didn’t do a thing. Wasn’t his idea to cure her—and yet she got cured. People naïvely presume this is because Jesus was so charged with special healing power, anyone who touched him would get zapped. But that’s not how miracles work at all. Jesus did things by the power of the Holy Spirit,
We also don’t know what Veronica’s ailment was. Here’s the entirety of what the gospels say about it:
Commentators speculate it might’ve been related to her menstrual cycle, though you notice they’ve no basis at all for saying so. But if it did begin at puberty, she would’ve been in her twenties when the Spirit cured her.
In any event her treatments had bled her dry as well. People in the United States are pretty familiar with the idea of healthcare emptying your bank account, so we can kinda relate. (Well, unless we’re rich.)
Other than asking God to cure her, Veronica’s only resort was
So all these quacks could do was take her money, promise they had a method which provided relief, but she’d get no usable results. Like Luke said, there was no one to cure her. So, same as most people of that day, she had no other recourse but God. And sometimes our doctors can’t treat us, or we don’t like how they treat us, so in desperation we try non-western medicine… which means we’ve resorted to the very same “physicians” Veronica tried out, who took her money but had nothing to show for it. Again, we can relate.
Ritually unclean—in her culture.
Preachers tend to imagine Veronica’s bloodflow caused suffering. After all, if it didn’t hurt, why keep going to the doctor?
But I should point out bleeding created a rather big side effect in Veronica’s culture: Bleeding, no matter the reason, as long as you bled, rendered a person
Worse: Veronica wasn’t even allowed to touch anyone.
Our culture doesn’t always understand ritual cleanliness, and frequently confuse being unclean with being sinful. To be fair, the Pharisees had the bad habit of doing it too. But ritual cleanliness has nothing to do with sin. Anyone could become unclean. Even Jesus. Touch something or someone unclean, even accidentally, and you’re unclean. Fr’instance you’re in the marketplace and you bump into somebody who had sex her husband that morning. Or somebody who had to bury his dog. Or someone who swallowed a gnat. You don’t know. And Jesus regularly hung out with sinners.
Lots of Christians are bugged by the idea Jesus might’ve been ritually unclean at various times in his life. ’Cause like I said, we confuse uncleanliness with sin. Or we equate cleanliness with godliness. Either way we can’t imagine our Lord being unclean. Many Christians teach whenever Jesus touched an unclean person, he was so clean, he magically made them clean. But becoming ritually clean isn’t a magic act. And Jesus even said as much: When he cured lepers, he sent ’em to the priests, because they actually weren’t clean till the priests declared them so.
Because Veronica’s disease made kept her out of synagogue—for 12 years—you can imagine how alienated this might make someone with God: She was suffering from an untreatable ailment which effectively banned her from her heavenly Father.
So it’s a good thing Rabbi Jesus didn’t only teach in synagogue, but out in public. That was probably her first contact with God in years. ’Cause Pharisees would ordinarily avoid such a woman like the plague—touching her meant they couldn’t go to synagogue till evening. Jesus had no such qualms. Maybe she knew this; maybe not. Either way she took her shot.
Now you can see why touching Jesus was a really big deal.
Grasping his tassel.
Christian art tends to put Jesus in a Roman-style outfit: White tunic, blue or red toga draped over him like a sash. It’s as historically inaccurate as putting him in a powdered wig and hose like George Washington, or a frock coat and stovepipe hat like Abraham Lincoln. Jesus wore a tunic, but over it was his
In Matthew and Luke she grabbed the
Numbers 15.38-41 KWL
- 38 “Talk to Israel’s sons: Tell them to make tassels for themselves
- for the ends of their clothes, for every generation.
- They must put a blue cord on the corner tassel.
- 39 The tassel’s for you to see, and remember all the L
- so you may obey them and not go follow your hearts and eyes—and go whoring after them.
- 40 Then you remember and obey all my rules, and be holy to your God.
- 41 I’m your L
ORDGod who brought you from Egypt’s land to be your God.
- I’m your L
In Jesus’s day, observant Jews wore the tassels: Pharisees, and of course Jesus. (Orthodox Jews today even wear tassels on their undies.) Wearing ’em meant you followed God. Or at least wanted everyone to think you followed God. You know, like people who wear crosses or carry rosaries. I’ve met many a Christian who wears Christian slogans on their clothing, get Christian tattoos, and have those stupid rubber wristbands with “WWJD” stamped on them. But other than those blatant markings, you really can’t tell the difference between them and pagans. Which is another rant.
The deal with tassels is they weren’t convenient. It’s really easy to get ’em frayed, dirty, and messy, and snag them on things, like the occasional bleeder.
Messianic Jews sometimes claim these fringes were part of Jesus’s tallít, or prayer shawl. Except Jesus didn’t wear one. (I don‘t care what the movie
And Jesus felt that.
Like the gospels say, when Veronica touched Jesus, she was cured immediately. She knew it. And Jesus knew it.
Like I said earlier, Veronica wasn’t cured by a mindless healing power, but the person of the Holy Spirit, who decides on his own what he’s gonna do for people. Here, the Spirit chose to cure her—and contrary to what we’d expect, not tell Jesus about it. Our Lord had to figure out what the deal was by asking questions. Same as we sometimes have to do, ’cause the Spirit doesn’t always tell us what he’s up to either. Not for nothing did Jesus point out to Nicodemus the Spirit does as he wants.
“Who grabbed my robe?”̦ sounded like a silly question to Jesus’s students. Who hadn’t grabbed his robe? But this is one of those instances where a prophet says something most people totally dismiss as irrelevant—and to the person the message is for, it triggers fear and trembling. After all, Veronica had told herself, “If I only touch his robe…” and it worked. Maybe she was hoping to go unnoticed—touch Jesus, get cured, and get out—but the Holy Spirit wasn’t having that.
I know; you thought Jesus and the Spirit worked a lot more in unison than that, huh? But they did work together. It’s not like Jesus would ever disapprove of what the Spirit did, nor vice-versa. It’s just the Spirit has his own will, saw Veronica’s faith, and chose to be gracious to her. Then have Jesus pick her out of the crowd because he wanted to highlight her faith. And like Jesus said, her faith cured her.
His phrasing has gotta annoy
And Jesus felt it necessary to stop what he was doing—even though he was rushing to cure somebody!—and acknowledge what the Spirit had done. Which is what we often forget to do: The Spirit’s actions are profound and all that, but we’re on a timetable. Well, Jesus demonstrated how we properly acknowledge what the Spirit does: We stop, point it out, give credit where it’s due, and then continue with our schedule. And if that freaks people out because it means they’ll be late for Sunday brunch—or in this case, freak out a father whose daughter is dying!—so be it.
When the Spirit performs an act of grace, respond in grace. Not haste.