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Mark 5:28

ESV For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”
NIV because she thought, 'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.'
NASB For she had been saying to herself, 'If I just touch His garments, I will get well.'
CSB For she said, "If I just touch his clothes, I'll be made well."
NLT For she thought to herself, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.'
KJV For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

What does Mark 5:28 mean?

The woman's belief that she will be healed by touching Jesus' cloak is consistent with Greco-Roman magic beliefs, but it also has parallels elsewhere in Scripture. People are healed by touching Jesus' cloak in Gennesaret (Matthew 14:34–36) and other places (Luke 6:17–19). After Jesus' ascension and Pentecost, people are apparently healed by merely being in Peter's shadow (Acts 5:12–16). And handkerchiefs that Paul touches serve as vessels to heal the sick and free people from demonic possession (Acts 19:11–12).

There is much debate as to whether the woman touches Jesus' robe out of informed faith, or mere superstition. The story of the faith of the centurion shows it may have been both. The centurion not only has faith that Jesus can heal his servant, he has an understanding that Jesus' authority and power is such that He can do so at a distance with only a word (Matthew 8:5–13). Where the centurion sees Jesus' word as an expression of His authority, the woman sees His cloak as a conduit for His power. This emphasizes a point explored elsewhere in the Bible: faith is valid only when it's placed in something trustworthy. Faith in God is effective because it's trust in something real and true. Even if the exact reasoning behind this woman's faith was less-than-perfect, she was trusting in something legitimate, and that's why she found healing.

This also gives us an interesting insight into how Jesus' salvation works. We like to make little rituals, such as saying the prayer of salvation or coming forward at an altar call. Jesus is clear that salvation is by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8), but although He commends the centurion for relying on a word, He never condemns others for wanting a touch. If our faith is such that we feel more comfortable expressing it through a cultural tradition, He does not allow that belief to nullify the faith itself. We look for acts that provide hard assurances and defining moments of His grace, forgetting the simplicity of the faith of the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43). By that same grace, Jesus meets our faith where it stands.
What is the Gospel?
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