There is a repetitive theme in scripture that greets us in the first two verses of this passage;
There was a great multitude and then there was just a few; (in this case just one, a woman)
The theme I am referring to has to do with the many and the few – the many being called who will not enter through a narrow way – that place where just a few are chosen and only a few find life. (Matt 7:13,14, 22:14) Have you ever wondered what distinguishes the few from the many?
Many were following Jesus because of what they wanted him to do for their nation. It was clear enough; a major prophet was in their midst. They knew prophets came to restore things to God’s righteous order. Their nationalistic zeal was being stirred. Their dream and heart’s desire was that the authority of this man (or likely any man) might increase so that their theocracy could be restored; godly men would take office and they could rid themselves of the unclean Roman oppressors. And, undoubtedly many were just curious; nothing this interesting had ever come along in their lifetime. They were not about to miss this show.
The few on the other hand were not just following Jesus. Like the suffering person in our passage, they were practically stalking Him. It was not zeal for the nation that motivated this woman; it was a debilitating physical condition that had backed her into a corner. She had exhausted her resources, pursuing conventional remedies and she was getting worse. No doubt she feared death and likely the impact her absence would have on her dependents. She was motivated by desperation. She simply needed Jesus. It didn’t matter to her if He was the Messiah, the long awaited King of Israel. It didn’t matter that He was a great prophet. She just wanted to become whole again.
She was seeking Jesus because, she had “heard about Him“. In her mind, the tiny seed of an idea had been planted. The soil conditions in this woman’s heart allowed it to somehow geminate and take root. It’s expression, as it blossomed was; “If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.” Had this woman been chosen? Had she just won the spiritual lottery – receiving the gift of faith and consequently her healing? Or was there something from her heart she contributed, helping to develop the tiny thought that distinguished her from the many, making her the latest from among the many to join the few – that grateful company of beneficiaries of God’s abundant and restorative life. I believe the answer is yes.
Jesus eventually explains that the reason she became well was due to her faith. I believe faith often, if not always, begins with the most minūte-sized seed being planted in our hearts. The Sower is sowing seeds everywhere, inviting many to discover Life in its myriad and wonderful forms but only a few respond to the invitations as they presents themselves so often in the subtlest of thoughts – practically a whisper.
There in that vulnerable live-or-die moment our hearts can say “yes” or “no” to that seed. Desperation was certainly a part of the soil conditions in this woman’s heart but in that critical and vulnerable moment, as this seed was suspended between heaven and earth; between eternity and time, when Satan was posing his doubtful questions to her heart, she separated herself from the many with her simple “yes” to Jesus.
That little seed sown in this woman’s heart, apparently unlike most, was not stolen by the enemy. It blossomed and bore fruit. I imagine this event did not go unnoticed by the multitude’s many who were themselves now seeing and hearing of Jesus. I suspect this event served to scatter new seed and to nurture other seeds He had sown. Others were now poised with their “yes”, prepared to invite this Man, a forgiver, liberator and healer deeper into their lives.
Just how large a plant might this seed ultimately become? Remember the mustard seed ? It became the largest plant in the garden providing safety for many. I believe the dynamic of watching Resurrection Life happen to those saying “yes” to Jesus, attributed, as much as anything to the many entering into the kingdom of God in the first few centuries. Check out; Mark 2:8-11, Eph 6:16, 1 John 5:4,5, Matt 13:31.
I pray that one day soon, in the inevitable expansion of Christ’s kingdom rule, more than just a few will respond to the Sower’s work. I pray there will be a growing and collective “yes” to the continual invitations Jesus is making into His life. In those critical moments when that seed is so vulnerable and we are tempted to agree with satan’s lies, we will instead recognize our complicity with the doubt and unbelief; we will repent and say, “Yes Lord. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. You do still save, heal and deliver!” I believe, In that moment, we will determine whether we will be among the many or the few. It is right then in that instant that we will partner with God in our choice in whether we are to be chosen or just called. In that often overlooked instant is when we shall determine if we will overcome the world and be counted among the blessed few . Check out Matt 2:8
Lord, may sufficient hunger for kingdom reality be birthed in us. May You grant us an acute awareness of our need for You. May it merge with a new resolve in our hearts to agree with You. May we see our faith arise, displacing every lie of the enemy with Your living truth so that Your Name may be glorified and honored in us, (those nurturing that “yes” in our hearts) – the victorious and overcoming children of the Living God. Amen.