“When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea.” (Mark 5:21)
Jesus had been doing some traveling around, and of course preaching & healing. Word had begun to spread throughout several communities.
“Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.” (Verses 22 – 24)
I grew up in a small town. Despite the size, the town had three churches. At least once a year there was a pulpit exchange, and it was interesting to hear how other faith traditions expressed their faith. I came to realize that the faith I grew up in rested on different tenets than other faiths. So I am not sure if I need some sort of faith intervention I would have sought a pastor from one of the other churches. It is a testament to Jesus’ appeal that the leader of a synagogue sought him out. And it was not just that leader who sought out Jesus.
“Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” (Verses 25 – 30)
I want to make a point about this, beloved reader. When Jesus laid hands hands on a person to heal them, power did go out, but it left him voluntarily. This woman was able to siphon off the power without Jesus focusing on its transmission. That says a great deal about the power that Jesus had, or the receptive nature of the woman – or perhaps both!
“And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?'” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Verses 31 – 34)
As a person who has a chronic illness, it is nice to hear that one’s faith can be healthy even if one’s body is not.
“While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”(Verses 35 – 36)
Need I point out the male leader of the synagogue was being exhorted to have the faith that the woman in the crowd already had?
“He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was.” (Verses 37 – 40)
I remember many years back, our middle child became quite ill with an infection on his leg. I took him to several doctors, and he under went several types of treatment – but nothing cured the infection. So I can understand and appreciate the concern and dread that the parents had. Fortunately for us, the surgery that our son had removed the infection and he healed completely. Not as dire as this story; but like the synagogue leader (and even more like the woman in the crowd) I never gave up my belief and hope that my son would be healed.
“He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Verses 41 – 43)
I should very much like to ask the writer/recorder of the gospel of Mark why the girl’s recovery should not be told of. The biblical commentators give their opinion that Jesus did not want to seem to be grandstanding. I can and will accept this, but for my reasoning – that it would do the little girl no favors to be forever after known as the child who died and came back to life. Think of “poor” Lazarus who was brought back to live and earned the scorn of the religious leaders. Like the woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ clothes, the greatest gift for this young girl is that she grew to be an old woman who had lived a full life. This is what we want and what we want to believe for ourselves. Sometimes, beloved reader, the Christian life is focusing on the here and now, and making the most of the gift of life we have been given. Shalom & Selah!