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Power and Virtue


While conducting a Bible study on Tuesday evening, I stumbled upon much bigger study than I had previously realized. Reading from Mark Chapter 5, we came to the point where the woman with the condition of the blood desired so greatly to touch the garment of Christ but due to her condition, she was embarrassed. Therefore, she tried to touch Christ’s garments in secret but her plans did not go as planned.

Her plan to touch God’s garment was successful and she was effective in accomplishing her mission in terms of getting healed. Unfortunately, for this woman, she was unable to achieve her mission without drawing attention of Christ and further, from the crowd around Him. Although this woman did her very best to get to Christ quietly, she did not account for Christ’s purpose for her. That is, He brought attention to her purposely.

We read suddenly after the woman touched Christ’s garment, He called attention to the situation: “And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30). Early, I gave it away that the woman was healed not because of anything that she had or possessed but because of her faith: “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (Mark 5:34).

This story is not the first story that we read where Christ heals an individual because of their faith but there is a first in this story. Whenever we read about a first in scripture, we know we are experiencing something special and this story is a special one. No, we don’t know much about the woman including her name but we do know that she had something wrong with her blood, had experienced the problem for at least twelve years, and she was losing so much because of it. She lost a lot of money and was nearing the end of her rope but her faith in Christ only grew stronger as she grew weaker.

There is a great correlation with the ruler Jairus and his daughter but for this article, I want to emphasize the scripture where Christ felt something go out of Him. When we study scripture, it’s the only time in this sense that this happens. If we cross-reference Luke 6:17-19, we see virtue going out but in this event, there is a large group of people who are filled with uncleaned spirits. Christ does two things: He has a bible study with them and in the process of teaching them God’s word, He heals them but with the woman who has a problem with her blood, she is healed but does not have uncleaned spirits so with this article, I want to draw attention to the use of virtue and power.

This is why it’s so important that we not only read scripture but we read it in context. Too often, people talk to me about a certain piece of scripture and they only read half of it or only understand half of it and when you do this, you take God’s word completely out of context which means, God’s word is not being utilized properly. When we look at the Greek word dunamis, it is translated as power or virtue depending on the translation used and the King James Version tends to use power in a virtuous sense and while it is a correct usage, again, we must be careful and read scripture within context.

Digging into the Greek-English Lexicon, we find different definition for the word power can be strength power, ability or inherent power; power for performing miracles; and/or moral power and excellence. Luke 8:46 is the same woman from Mark 5:30, reading “And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me” reveals a moral power and excellence but an individual can read of the word power in the generic sense and be completely misled or confused by its meaning. For example, God has all power and is in control of all things but Satan also has power and so does his demons. Even with the use of the term moral or morality, one can be greatly misled because morals can be either good or bad.

From our understanding of scripture and our relationship with Christ, we know that God is all good, all powerful, all knowing, and all moral but this is not the way all men are. In fact, we are all flawed and we come short of God’s glory so the power or virtue that came out of Christ to the woman with the blood problem can be understood to be similar to the virtue that came out of Christ in Luke 6:17-19. In Mark 5:30, He knew it immediately whereas in Luke 6:17-19, it cost Him something to be used of God and to serve others as He was doing. Remember, Christ had God in Him so it was the true power of God that went out of and from Him that healed all of these people but if we do not understand the proper context, we will not effectively understand God’s word: “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16).

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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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