The organism called the church is alive, but sometimes the organization of it becomes very ill. It’s not hard to know when it happens, because vision becomes blurred and budgets become bloated. Hearing gets dull and the harvest is hindered. Outreach is withered and revival flatlines as slow, continual bleeding saps the church of her strength and ability to be effective. When this happens, prayer surrenders to manipulation, commitment yields to compromise, and what was fervent evangelism erodes to the low-grade fever of half-hearted and listless programs. Soon, as with the church of Laodicea written about in Revelation 3, Jesus stands outside the door of the church knocking and longing to be allowed in. We think we have need of nothing and do not realize that we are wretched, miserable, poor, and blind. In a word, the church is ill and in decline in much of America.
The sick and hemorrhaging woman that we read about in Luke 8 typifies the crises of the contemporary church. She was little Miss Nobody from nowhere with nothing, and it seemed everything was working against her. For 12 years, she had suffered while spending all her money and had never even come close to getting well. Dr. Pharisee was glad to take her money, as was Dr. Sadducee. She no doubt had an appointment with Dr. Tradition and his partner Dr. Religion, neither of whom offered her hope.
However, she soon heard of the Great Physician, and she began to speak aloud her faith and say, “If He ever comes to my town and gets on my street and I can only touch the border of His robe, I will be made whole.” Amazingly, Jesus traveled to her town and came close enough for the sick woman to touch Him at the place where all the loose ends come together—the hem of His garment. Instantly, she was healed as Jesus recognized a special power move out of Him and into someone else.
“Who just touched Me?” Jesus asked. By this time, the woman had slipped away into the crowd to hide herself, because it wasn’t even legal for her to be in public. Due to her “issue of blood,” she had been declared unclean and shouldn’t have been there. But, the Scripture reveals that she could not be hid from Him. A merciful Lord located her and called her by a covenant name that no other doctor had ever called her. He identified her as a “daughter.” He affirmed her healing and said: “Your faith has made you whole.” Jesus was not afraid to link Himself with this woman who had previously been cast away by those around her. Cleansing and covenant brought them together.
This is a wonderful story of provision and grace, as well as a remarkable account of Christ’s healing power. But most certainly, it is a picture of the Lord’s desire to heal the issues of the church so that once healed, the church can reach out to future generations and become the healthy and powerful force that will influence the world for Jesus Christ before He returns.