ANONYMOUS NO MORE We don‟t know her name, and she disappears as quickly as she came on the scene. She was almost ready to give up hope when she heard about a prophet who might be able to change her life. When she went to see him she realized that almost everyone else in town had the same idea, the crowd was simply overbearing. Yet for twelve long years she had been searching for an answer, and she believed she may have found it in this traveling preaching. So quietly she stepped up behind him, just close enough to touch his clothing, and then she reached out. “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, „Who touched my clothes?‟” (Mark 5:30). It is a moment that has been captured in film and on the canvass, a story that has captivated hearts for two millennia. Though she remains anonymous, we can all relate to her story. Mark tells us her ailment has lasted twelve years and has only gotten worse. She is a symbol of the desperate, a beacon of hope for those who are at the breaking point. In one simple act of faith she takes hold of the robe of Jesus and finds herself made whole again. Recognizing what has happened he asks who touched him. The disciples are baffled at his question because a large crowd of people surround him from all sides and many people are touching him. Finally she steps forward to confess what she has done, and his reply is “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34). Two things stand out in this brief exchange. The first is that while many people were crowding around Jesus, she alone was changed. Certainly religion is popular in America, but for many people their faith is only a superficial part of their life with no real impact on their day to day living. Jesus came to show people “life to the full” (John 10:10), offering hope and forgiveness and purpose. Sadly many have simply become a part of the crowd, remaining where it is comfortable instead of reaching out and taking hold of the hem of his garb and living the life he planned for them. The second thing about this story is the way it ends. She enters the moment anonymous, she leaves it a daughter. Such is the exchange that happens when we trust in Christ. When we trust him to heal the deepest part of our souls he gives us a new identity that finds its foundation in him. We are then drawn into his family as sons and daughters to experience life in the kingdom. It is quite a transaction really, one that we enter into with nothing to offer, and one that we leave having everything to gain. All it takes is stepping past the crowd and reaching out in faith.
Tobin Crenshaw, Pastor Hartville Church of the Brethren