Inductive Bible Study is the reasonable study of Scripture. The point and purpose is to allow the Scripture to speak for itself using literary devices that allow for a deeper and fuller understanding of the Scripture. Primarily, we seek to allow the Scripture to breathe before consulting secondary sources. Many choose to go directly to commentary without taking the time to appreciate the Scripture first. Dr. Lyle Story suggests that we read the Scripture out loud at least 5 times and again quietly another 5 times, which allows the flow of the Scripture and the authors intent to rise to the surface. Please take a moment to read the Scripture from Luke and then observe the exegesis or interpretation of the text from my reading. You will find there some personal interpretations born totally from the text itself and an application, which fulfills the point of Scripture; personal transformation into the likeness of Jesus. Enjoy!
Luke 8.43 “Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her.
Luke 8.43 “Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her."
Luke 8.44 “She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.”
Luke 8.45 “Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’”
Luke 8.45b “Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’”
I find this terribly interesting as once again Peter seems to doubt the feasibility of what Jesus is asking for. At this point in the story Peter has witnessed things he doubtless can explain and yet his initial response is a human one versus remembering who exactly he is speaking to. Peter need only reflect back on the many times that Jesus asked for the impossible and fueled its possibility.
I think all to often we fail to trust Jesus to do the miraculous when it defies human logic, but we trust him to save our eternal souls. For some reason, possibly because we cannot comprehend the nature of the soul, we have little compunction in trusting Jesus to perform this miracle of miracles, and yet when Jesus asks us for simple trust in other areas of our lives, we are baffled and questioning. I see here that we can learn from Peter’s interaction and Jesus’ patient insistence that he would indeed find the answer and that there is a purpose for his impossible question. There is a subtle prodding from Jesus as he says, “no Peter, something specific happened here and I want to find out what happened”.
Luke 8.45 “Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”
Luke 8.45c “Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’”
Luke 8.47 “When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed.”
Luke 8.48 “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”
Luke 8.48b “go in peace”
For the backdrop of this miracle I turn to Longman and Garland who explain the setting of the event. The authors tell us that the crowds (ochloi, GK), crowding (synechousin, GK), and pressing against (apothlibousin, GK), are words Luke uses to describe the hidden approach of the woman. The cause, they point out, would have been the restrictive life this woman would have been forced to live due to Torah and Jewish customs of uncleanness (Longman 166). The authors bring up one of the most interesting aspects of this story, which is the transfer of power from Jesus to this woman by way of his garment. They mention the possibility of the “Hellenistic ideas and superstitions” of the day influencing her actions as a possibility, but regardless, Jesus does not address the why, but rather the faith that drove the action (Longman 166). Further, there is the odd expression of Jesus no knowing that who touched him, but that power had left him. This point is of deep interest because in other cases Jesus heals on his volition rather than by simple contact or proximity, and Longman explains that Jesus was a conduit of the power of God and “while at times he chose heal people who had not expressed any faith, the reverse seems to be true here, namely, that someone with faith in him drew on his power without his conscious selection of that person” (Longman 167). It must be noted here that there does exist another perspective, though one entirely born from Scriptural comparison, which draws from Malachi 4.2, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (KJV). The interesting item here is that many believe this to be a Messianic prophecy, due to the idea that Rabbis of Jesus era were known to wear the Tallit, or prayer shawl with tzitzit or tassels of the law around it. The corners of the shawl are known as the wings, making one wonder if this woman knew her Scripture from Malachi and believed that in the literal wings of the Messiah, she might find healing. (onechristianministry.com).
Tannehill offers an interesting contrast between this story and that it falls within, the healing of Jairus’ son. He explains that the two stories may be a contrast of the synagogue leader Jairus, whom Jesus helps, and the shunned woman, whose ritual uncleanness would have made her a total outcast, especially to a Rabbi. He says that Luke may be explaining Jesus’ view of the equality of value of women by inserting this story in the midst of Jesus on his way to heal one that would be expected (Tannehill 135). It is of great interest to see how Luke weaves the narrative of Jesus together in order to highlight how Jesus ministry as Messiah upsets the order of the religious leaders of the day, as well as demonstrating Jesus ministry of reconciliation to a pre-fall state with the Father.
Though Dr. Story does not speak directly to this narrative in Joyous Encounters, it is couched amidst a series of joyous encounters with Jesus. Dr. Story points out that Luke’s commitment to showing how Jesus impacted such a wide variety of individuals, again points to Jesus ministry of reconciliation. Dr. Story mentions the reaction of the crowds from these encounters with Jesus, “a joyful response is at least implicit in the expression, ‘all the crowd was seeking to touch him’”, which gives the reader an understanding that they believed Jesus to be “the repository of the power of God” (Story 69).
The conclusion here is that Jesus was no respecter of persons in terms of interacting in faith. Jesus made did not place higher value on the religious elite of the day or the destitute and disillusioned, but rather saw all as equally in need and provided of himself freely. This story may demonstrate an incredible hope and knowledge in Scripture that caused this woman to seek out Jesus, or it could also, as Story and Longman allude to, be a case of people seeing Jesus as God’s vessel. Either way, the encounter here is life changing and instructive to the reader in understanding the character and demeanor of Jesus, and the humanity of his disciples.
Works CitedTannehill, Robert C. The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts. a Literary Interpretation. 1991. Story, J. Lyle. Joyous Encounters: Discovering the Happy Affections in Luke-Acts. New York: Herder & Herder, 2018. Longman, Tremper, and David E. Garland. Luke--Acts. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007. "Menu; ↓." ONECHRISTIANMINISTRY.COM. Accessed April 01, 2019. http://www.onechristianministry.com/truth-464.html.a