Most of us know the story.
Jesus is passing through a town, and is swarmed by people wanting to see Him, hear Him, be near Him. He is asked to go to Jairus's house to heal his daughter, and agrees to go. While navigating His way through the crowd, Jesus suddenly feels that power has gone out of Him, and He stops to find out who touched Him. His disciples scoff at the idea of trying to figure out who in all that crowd might have touched Jesus, but He insists on finding out.
The woman who touched Him comes forward. She had suffered for twelve years from a "flow of blood", and had spent all she had trying to find healing, but the condition had only grown worse, until the moment she touched Jesus. She admits she was the one who touched Him and explains that she had believed she would be healed by merely touching his clothing.
Jesus responds to her: "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." (Mark 5:34)
It's clear that the woman's healing was given by the power of Jesus in response to her faith that He could heal her. It's also clear that she was fully healed the moment she touched Jesus's garment. There was no delay of any kind.
Why, then, does Jesus tell her to "be healed of your affliction"? One translation uses the phrase "be freed from your suffering", but the idea is the same. He's telling her something that is already done. She is already healed when he tells her to "be healed".
Why say this? Is this simply an incidental phrase tacked onto the end of this conversation? Or, is there something else here?
Beyond the physical healing, there is a challenge to lead a new life.
This woman is challenged to assume the mindset and identity of someone who has been healed. Someone who is whole, not broken, strong, not weak, free, not enslaved.
This woman's affliction, over a twelve-year period, had become the central fact of her life. It's fair to assume that her activities and plans were centered around, affected, or restricted, by this chronic bleeding. Then, in a moment, it was gone, as though it had never been there. Imagine what this meant for her. What would the rest of her life look like?
Every Christian faces the same question: You used to be lost in sin. Your separation from God was the central fact of your life. But now your sins are gone. What is your new identity?
Christians must continue to "be saved" in the sense of living as people set free. There is a joy, an appreciation, and a freedom we should sense each day because of what Jesus has done for us. The life after should be different from the life before. Are we living as people set free from sin, or as people still in need of salvation?
Can you imagine this poor woman leaving Jesus's presence and returning to all the worries, habits, precautions, and frustrations of the previous twelve years? The woman who was healed was challenged to leave behind her life of affliction, and there's nothing to indicate she did not.
Have we done the same?