Text: Mark 5:21-43
Healing and a Miracle
Mark relays two stories about (1) A woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years; and (2) The daughter of Jarius who was twelve years old. Did you notice the mention of the number twelve? Sound familiar? Twelve disciples? Twelve tribes of Israel? In the Bible 12 is considered a perfect number that symbolizes God’s power and authority. Mentioning that number would have alerted Mark’s readers this message is for them, the faith community.
Case #1: Desperate woman in misery with chronic hemorrhage. Many doctors consulted. No cure. No more money. Her only hope? A holy man of God she heard about who had the ability to heal people.
She went searching for Jesus among the crowds and upon reaching Him, touched His clothes. Then comes Mark’s favorite word (two times): “Immediately” this woman’s hemorrhage stopped, and “immediately” Jesus was aware that the power of His ability to heal had gone out from Him.
The woman eventually came before Jesus again and Mark tells us that “in fear and trembling,” she fell down before Him, confessing her sin. Next, we hear words of forgiveness from Jesus, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.”
Case #2: Desperate leader of the synagogue (Jairus) approaches Jesus and begs Him to come and heal his dying twelve-year-old daughter. Before He gets to her, word reaches Jesus that the child has died.
Jesus tells those who have gathered to mourn that the girl is just sleeping; they laugh at Him. Jesus, the parents, and His three closest disciples enter the room. He took the girls hand and said, ‘Talitha cum,’ which [in Aramaic] means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ The girl immediately (Mark’s favorite word again) got up and began to walk around.
Remember, Jewish law strictly prohibits a rabbi or holy person from (1) touching a woman who is unclean; (2) touching the body of a deceased person. In both these cases, Jesus was again breaking the boundaries of convictions held by His own people.
Two lessons can be gleaned from these stories:
#1: If these two ‘unclean’ women could be touched by God’s Grace and restored to newness of life, it is a call for each of us to be open to the differences of those around us. Do our religious beliefs isolate others from a meaningful relationship with God?
#2: Jesus reached out to restore the ‘unclean’ and embrace them as His own children. No matter what the reason we feel we cannot approach God to restore a right relationship with Him, our Creator, Jesus offers us His hand. He reaches out to us to make us one with Him. Thanks be to God!
~ Chris Wethman
Lay Minister of Administration