Some of those healed by Jesus had afflictions of long duration: a woman with a 12 year hemorrhage, another bent over for 18 years, and a man who had been an invalid for 38 years.
Healed from 12-year hemorrhage
(Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:43-48)
Mark 5:26 says “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says her suffering would have been from the various medicines tried on her, causing her nausea and perhaps, pain. Some of the medicinal plants rabbis recorded were gum of Alexandria, alum, saffron, Persian onions, and cumin; they were put into wine and drank.
A continuing loss of blood surely caused the woman to be tired and weak, and with certainty, she would have been ostracized by the Jewish community—seen as one unclean. Because she had spent all she had trying to get well, she now lived in poverty; she had no more money for seeking help.
Then she hears about a man named Jesus who heals. She determines to get close enough to touch Him, believing that alone will heal her. She believes in His healing power because she first believes that this is the one who Isaiah said would come and heal—it is Christ!
Somehow she manages to push through the throngs of people surrounding Jesus. She gets close enough to reach just the edge of His clothing, but with that single touch she is healed (see Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:29, or Luke 8:44). To know immediately that she was healed, she must have felt a surge of strength, the release of nausea and pain, something different from what she had felt in all these years. Jesus knows that power has gone out of Him and asks who touched Him; the woman falls at His feet and confesses. And Jesus says to her as He did to the others, it is because of her faith that she is healed (see Mark 5:34). We need to bury that deep inside of us: God’s healing always requires faith.
Healed from being bent over 18 years (Luke 13:10-17)
Anything Luke writes about the healings of Jesus is of particular interest because he was a physician. He would have asked for details, questioned extensively, and been satisfied in his mind of what was being reported. Luke reports his findings to Theophilus, his friend, and a man of high rank in the Roman world, perhaps a governor over provinces. In his gospel letter, Luke says in verse 3 that he has “carefully investigated everything from the beginning.” A physician doesn’t deal with anything but fact.
Luke is the only one who tells about the woman who was “bent double,” as some translations say. He says she has been disabled for 18 years. When her healing came, she woman was in the synagogue hearing Jesus teach. So here we know of her faith. She had come to hear the Master teach, not to seek healing. But when Jesus notices her, He felt compassion for her, and he set her free from the horrible bent over condition, and immediately, she stands upright. Jesus said Satan had kept her bound like this; why, it is not said.
A healing such as this should be reason for excitement, and those around her were. All but the temple ruler, that is. He was outraged because healing took place on the Sabbath. He should have been bowing before the long-awaited Messiah, thanking God that He had finally come, and delighted to see firsthand His miracles, but he was blinded by his pride. His ego stood in the way of truth. It reminds me of what a friend used to say about his opinionated mother: “Don’t confuse her with facts, her mind is made up.”
Healed after being an invalid for 38 years (John 5:5-9)
We don’t know what made this man an invalid. Verse 3 of the NIV translation said those gathered at the pool by the Sheep Gate were the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. Other translations mention withered limbs. Whatever the man’s illness, he needed help to get into the pool that was believed to bring healing when the waters were stirred.
Jesus approaches this man of long-standing disability and asks if he wants to be made well. That may seem a strange question to ask of him, but I believe the Lord wants to get the man to focus on Him. His healing will not come from the pool of water, but from the Son of God. When the man explains that he is never able to get to the waters when they are stirred, Jesus ignores the statement and tells him to get up, take his mat, and walk.
Again, we see immediate healing, and again, we see the ire of the Jewish leaders when they see the man carrying his mat (working), because this healing also took place on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders had decided for themselves how the Sabbath was to be lived, and they observed it in a superstitious way. Jesus took every opportunity to convince them that they were wrong in their interpretation, but they simply could not get past their prideful law-keeping to God’s grace of healing.
Stories of chronic illnesses being healed give hope to those with them. For 10 years, I suffered with severe fibromyalgia. Pain and fatigue were debilitating. Social life was non-existent. I read every resource I could find on the illness and none gave hope that it could be cured. I saw different physicians and tried different medications, none of which helped. But about five years ago, my healing came and I now have no symptoms at all of fibromyalgia. It was the Lord in His mercy that healed me; there is no question in my mind.
All scripture references are from NIV translation.