Through the Bible in One Year

Day 52

Mark 5:21-43

In today’s passage we see two people who were desperate need of the healing that Jesus could offer.  The first was a woman who was suffering from prolonged vaginal bleeding, which automatically made her unclean and an outcast from society.  And the second was a synagogue ruler who had a young daughter who was dying.  And this is how this story starts:

When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the sea. One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him earnestly, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.” So Jesus went with him, and a large crowd was following and pressing against him.

Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

Immediately Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”

His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”

But he was looking around to see who had done this. The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”—Mark 5:21-34

The Gospels often speak of the sick touching Jesus or of Jesus touching the sick.  It was the contact and presence of Jesus that mattered.  Because of his intimate relationship with God his Father and his complete dependence on the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ entire being was saturated with God’s miraculous power.  This power is available to heal us because Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses and is our source of life and grace.  Our responsibility in receiving healing is simply to stay in a close relationship with Christ, to ask him to meet our needs and to rely on him to do what is best for us.  The same power that Jesus showed is also available to work miracles through his followers.  As long as we remain in a deep personal relationship with God and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can be used by God to bring physical healing to suffering individuals.  In this particular situation, the Greek word translated “healed” actually means “saved”, implying that the woman’s faith in Christ was enough for both physical healing (“be free from your suffering”) and spiritual salvation (“go in peace”).

The last section of today’s passage brings this point home:

While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”

When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” He did not let anyone accompany him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother. They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, but he put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was. Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded. Then he gave them strict orders that no one should know about this and told them to give her something to eat.—Mark 5:35-43

The synagogue ruler—a man with authority over the place and process of worship—came to Jesus in desperation because his young daughter was dying.  Jesus agreed to go with him, but before they arrived at Jairus’ home people brought word that the girl had died.  Jesus was not at all shaken, and he responded by encouraging the father’s faith, even in this seemingly hopeless situation.  Throughout history, true followers of God have placed their trust in him even when it seemed as if all was lost.  In such times, God gave these ordinary people an extraordinary faith that allowed them to fulfill his plans and purposes for them.  This was true for Abraham.  This was true for Moses.  This was true for David.  This was true for Jehoshaphat.  This was true for Jairus.  This was true for the women healed in the first part of our passage and it can be true for you if put your faith and trust in Jesus.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

Leviticus 13, Mark 6:1-29, Psalm 39:1-13 and Proverbs 10:10

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