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Welcome back! I hope you had a fantastic week! Last week we took a first look at the woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. This week in the Women Encountering Jesus Bible Study Lesson series, we will continue to look at why the healing power of Jesus’ touch in this woman’s life has so many profound implications for our healing– for our salvation. So, settle in and get ready. I hope you will soon be spiritually refreshed and energized!
27She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Mark 5: 27-29 (New Living Translation)
Women Encountering Jesus Bible Study Lessons: The Power of Jesus’ Touch
Our Crippling Condition
There are a handful of words in the Bible that describe human beings as sinners. Words like ‘defiled,’ ‘unclean,’ ‘filthy.’ These words all point to the stark conclusion that, on our own, we are not acceptable to God.
You see, we (human beings) have this crippling condition called sin. We live with it every day, swim in it, roll around in it like a pig rolls around in mud. This sin makes us unclean in the eyes of a completely Holy and Righteous God.
Just like the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, there is no hope for us unless we reach out to Jesus. We need Jesus to heal us. Sin is causing us to bleed spiritually, causing us to rot from the inside out. We are in desperate need of soul cleansing and only the power of Jesus’ touch can heal us and make us clean and acceptable to God.
In Need of Atonement
There is a very important term I would like to introduce you to– expiation. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, expiation is:
The act of making atonement. The means by which atonement is made.
Simply put, expiation is the act of making amends for a wrongdoing. On a fundamental level, the problem– no, the crisis, caused by sin, is that sin requires atonement before a Holy God. Our problem is that because we are stained with sin, we cannot actually make amends ourselves. Our sin has to be dealt with through the work of a mediator.
For centuries, the Jewish people had (and continue to this day to) an avenue through which to make amends, atonement for sin. Yom Kippur, which literally means, ‘The Day of Atonement,’ is the holiest day of the year for Jewish people. It is the day of repentance and making amends for sin.
In the Old Testament, the mediator was the high priest. This was a foreshadowing, a symbol, of the role Jesus would take as our high priest. Jesus became our mediator, our intercessor. For those who accept the gift of salvation, Jesus makes amends, on our behalf, to God for our sins. Read that sentence again and let it sink in… Jesus makes atonement on our behalf to God. He makes amends for something (sin) we literally cannot do for ourselves.
Think back to the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She could not participate in Yom Kippur. She could not atone for her sins through the high priest because she was not allowed in the temple. So, what does Jesus do? He brings Yom Kippur to her.
Jesus meets her at the point of her need and makes her clean.
He atones for her when she could not make amends herself.
But wait, there is more! Jesus did not just become our mediator. He also became our sacrificial goat, our substitute.
During Yom Kippur, a goat was sacrificed in order to pay the penalty of sin in place of the actual sinner. This was how people could ‘become right’ with God. Through his death on the cross, Jesus essentially became our sacrificial goat. Jesus was our substitute, he shed blood for us. By dying on the cross, Jesus paid the price, the penalty, for our sin.
Did you know there was a second goat?
Do you feel your spirit stirring yet? I sure do! So, here is Jesus– our mediator AND our sacrificial lamb. However, his role in our salvation did not end there! Jesus also became our scapegoat.
Just as one goat was sacrificed to pay the penalty of sin, another goat was chased away– chased out of town. This scapegoat served as an outward sign from the Jewish people that they wanted forgiveness, they wanted to be cleansed of their sin. Yom Kippur was, and remains, a high holy day. As such, there was an great emphasis on cleansing and purity. Homes were cleaned, people wore white, ceremonial washings were common. All of these acts served as an outward acknowledgment of the need for cleansing, for atonement, for expiation.
It is just as important now that we recognize our need to be cleansed, to be forgiven. It is vital that we.. that you… acknowledge your need for atonement. This is why it is so critically important that we reach out to Jesus.
Jesus is willing to meet us where we are.
However, we still have to reach out for him.
The Deal of an Eternity
When you think about it for more than half a second, you realize this is the deal of a lifetime… the deal of an eternity. All of my filth, my uncleanness, is taken by Jesus, and in exchange I receive forgiveness and the chance to be made right before God. Wow!
So, what about this woman’s situation applies to you? Well, when she reaches out to him, she does not make Jesus unclean. Instead, he makes her clean!
It doesn’t matter who you are.
It doesn’t matter what you have done.
It does not matter how dirty, gross, rebellious, or sinful your life has been.
Reach out to Jesus in faith and become clean!
Reach out to Jesus and receive new life!
I challenge you this week to reach out to Jesus. Jesus is salvation. Jesus is life. The promise of grace is that is doesn’t matter what you have done, if you reach out to Jesus, he will heal you– He will atone for your sins too! Isn’t that great news?
Actually, it is the best news!
Check back in next week for part III of ‘The Power of Jesus’ Touch.’ In the meantime, have a great week and enjoy Spring!
Thank you for reading!