Jesus is on His way to Jairus’ home to heal his daughter when His journey is interrupted by a desperate woman. The story is of such importance it is found in all three Synoptic Gospels (Mt. 9, Mk. 5 & Lk. 8). Although church tradition has christened her as Veronica, she is not so named in the New Testament. Her peculiar disease forbids her to make physical contact with others for she is deemed “unclean” (Lev. 15:25-27). Those who suffer from the malady are segregated and quarantined. Veronica has been afflicted for twelve years, tried numerous doctors, and exhausted all her resources in search of a cure. In fact, her condition has only worsened (Mk. 5:26). Her case seems hopeless. This poor, weak, sick individual is the first woman to approach Jesus in public.
Superstitions regarding cures were legendary in the first century. Some imagine the touch of a holy man’s shadow (Acts 5:15), or his handkerchief (Acts 19:12) can possess healing powers. But God overlooks our fetishes and sees our faith. Although weak from her disease, Veronica believes touching the clothing of Jesus might produce a magical cure (Mt. 9:21). Though others in the crowd may have touched His clothing by accident, hers is intentional. Jesus knows the difference between those who make only casual contact with Him and those who grasp Him in desperation. Veronica sees her opportunity and takes a risk. She creeps through the crowd, dares to grab the border of His robe (kraspedon) and is healed immediately (Num. 15:38). Jesus is aware of the power that flows from Him when activated by faith. He is not defiled when touched by an “unclean” person. Because of His healing virtue, they are defiled no longer.
Veronica’s faith captures Jesus’ attention. Although she attempts to slip away unnoticed, she has now accrued an obligation. Those who touch Jesus cannot conceal the fact. One who expresses faith in Jesus is never “lost in the crowd.” What we receive from Jesus we must publically proclaim. Jesus asks, “Who touched my clothes?” He knows it is Veronica, but always uses healings and miracles as opportunities to teach. She comes into His presence in fear and trembling. Will she lose her healing? Will she be publically embarrassed? Will Jesus rebuke her? But Veronica’s healing allows Him to draw her to deeper faith. When confronted by Jesus, she finds He desires personal communication (Mk. 5:33). She is informed that her faith in Him has saved her, not her touch (Mt. 9:22). Neither does he allow Veronica to believe His clothing has mysterious healing properties. To misinterpret the cure withholds from the Healer the glory due Him. She is completely healed from that moment and Jesus lovingly reassures her. Calling her by the endearing term “Daughter,” He bids her go into a life characterized by peace (Mk. 5:34). Formerly bound by her affliction, she is liberated by faith in Jesus.
Like Veronica, in trembling and in fear I dare to touch Jesus if I may;
And He does not refuse me, for He sends no hungry heart, unhealed, away.