I was surprised to find a connection in the ritual sacrifices laid out in Leviticus with Mark’s New Testament story of Jesus healing the woman with “a flow of blood for twelve years.” Yet God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the merciful One who accepts those who come in faith.
In Leviticus, God’s Name is translated as Hashem which represents His Attribute of Mercy. “Though ancient societies also offered sacrifices to their gods, they did so to turn away the anger of a judgmental, bloodthirsty god,” (The Chumash, p545). This attitude would have been abhorrent to a Jew who believed that sacrificial offerings were a means to draw closer to Hashem, the Merciful God.
This same Attribute of Mercy is illustrated in Mark’s account of the woman who touched the clothes of Jesus. He described her as being fearful and trembling after being ‘caught’ with receiving her healing. Yet, Jesus Christ spoke mercy to this woman, not judgment. He could have told her to proceed to the synogogue and bring her offering for purification according to the laws regarding a woman’s impurity and to give a thanksgiving offering for her healing or to give a sin offering for what surely she must have been guilty. He said none of these things – only, “Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
Therefore, the only offering that would most likely make sense to this Jewess after her healing would be the peace offering. Such an offering was brought voluntarily by a person to express her love for God’s goodness and to let Him know she wants to be even closer to Him. (Leviticus 3.) This she may have done.
Sometimes I feel like I have been ‘caught’ receiving more joy, more mercy, more compassionate grace than I deserve. Determined to grab hold of Him, yet surprised when He blesses me. Like this woman who turned fearfully to Jesus when He called out, I tremble and feel butterflies in my belly when I recognize His compassionate touch on my life. These experiences remind me of how much Christ truly loves me, and I am compelled to offer God all that I can – my voice, my body, my mind. So wherever I am, though I try not to lift my hands while driving, I worship Him for the mercy gifted by Hashem which gives me perfect peace. Praise is my peace offering.