Two Women, Twelve Years, One Savior

All of us are like these two women. Some of us are highly honored, and some of us are outcasts. Some of us enjoy great comforts and privileges, but only for a short time. Eventually, sickness and death come for us all, and we all go to our graves. 

Whether we are like the ruler’s daughter, or whether we are like the sick, bleeding woman, we all equally need a touch from the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can heal our sickness, and He alone can rescue us from death.

For twelve years, two women traveled on a long journey to meet Jesus.

One was a woman who had become very sick, and was bleeding severely, and no one could figure out how to make it stop. The other was only an infant girl, just newly born.

Over the next twelve years, these two women walked very different paths:

  • One was the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. Her family was in the synagogue regularly, and they may have made a number of trips to the temple in Jerusalem as well. — She was probably similar to a "priest’s kid" today.
  • The other was banned from the temple for more than a decade. Because she was bleeding, she was considered "unclean", and was not permitted to attend services.
  • One was a child with loving parents, probably receiving hugs and affection regularly.
  • The other was an outcast. Because she was bleeding, a mere touch from her could make you ceremonially unclean, and therefore banned from the temple. So for twelve long, lonely years, nobody even wanted to touch her.

For twelve years, these two women lived very different lives. One was healthy, loved, and was part of a well respected family. The other was a diseased outcast, not even allowed to worship God at the temple.

Yet death came first to the young girl. When she stopped breathing, all of her privileges disappeared in a single instant. As a corpse, now she too was considered unclean. And if anyone dared to touch her dead body, they too would become unclean.

But it is not possible to make Jesus unclean. He cannot be corrupted. When Jesus touches the sick and the dead, their uncleanness does not affect him. Instead, His purity and His life flows out from him — healing the sick, and raising the dead.

In faith, when the woman touched the hem of His garment, she was healed instantly. Her years of suffering came to an end. Jesus was not defiled by this touch. The woman was purified.

When Jesus took the hand of the dead little girl and told her to arise, she was instantly brought back to life and healed. Her suffering came to an end. Jesus was not defiled by this touch. The girl was raised from the dead.

Read their story in Luke 8:41-56.

All of us are like these two women. Some of us are highly honored, and some of us are outcasts. Some of us enjoy great comforts and privileges, but only for a short time. Eventually, sickness and death come for us all, and we all go to our graves. And when you are dead, it no longer matters whether you were rich or poor, healthy or sick, beloved or despised. A dead emperor is no better than a dead slave. As Holy Scripture says, "a living dog is better than a dead lion." Death is the great equalizer.

Whether we are like the ruler’s daughter, or whether we are like the sick, bleeding woman, we all equally need a touch from the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can heal our sickness, and He alone can rescue us from death.

If we want to be healed, then let us imitate the sick, bleeding woman. Let us humble ourselves, come to Christ, and reach out in faith to touch the hem of his garment. He told the woman, "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." If we come to Him in humility and faith, like she did, then He will speak likewise to us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

24th week after Pentecost — Sunday, November 22, 2020

Fr. Joseph Gleason


Read this homily in Russian: Две женщины, двенадцать лет, один спаситель

Read it in Spanish: Dos mujeres, doce años, un Salvador

Read it in Portuguese: Duas Mulheres, Doze Anos, Um Salvador