This morning we are in Mark 5:21-43. Let’s read that.
In this passage we will see that in Jesus there is power to heal the deepest hurts, in Jesus there is grace to heal the deepest hurts, in Jesus there is hope greater than death and, finally, that faith is the key to opening the door to the treasures of Jesus.
The passage begins with a synagogue ruler who approaches Jesus. Remember, a synagogue ruler in Jesus’ day was at the center of a local community. He was in the room where it happens. The ruler was responsible for scheduling and facilitating the life that revolved around the synagogue.
Mark gives us the name of this particular ruler – Jairus. This is unusual for Mark. It could be that Jairus was a well known figure in early Christian circles. It could be that he was well known to Peter, who passed on these accounts to Mark.
Jairus comes to Jesus begging for help for his daughter. He has a little girl who he tells Jesus is on the verge of death. We are about to learn that
In Jesus there is power to heal the deepest hurts.
We have some deep hurts don’t we?
Jairus’ hurt is the kind of pain that only a parent can feel. The life of a parent is a roller coaster ride. It takes you through the highest highs and lowest lows. Jairus is hurtling down into the lows. There is no pain like a parent whose child is hurting.
But our first lesson won’t come from him.
Mark takes us from Jairus to another hurting person. Mark tells us that this woman has a menstrual disorder. She has experienced continual bleeding for 12 years. According to the Torah, a woman was unclean for 7 days after her menstruation. A woman during this period, or anyone who touched her were banned from the temple and human contact until cleansing.
This poor woman had lived in isolation for 12 years. It wasn’t just the illness that caused her suffering. Mark tells us that the medical providers of the day also caused much suffering.
That word in the Greek is intense, it means to “whip, lash, scourge, or torment”.
The Jewish book of tradition, the Talmud, reveals a little about that suffering. Here is the prescription for a woman who has ongoing menstrual bleeding:
“Take of the gum of Alexandria the weight of a zuzee (a fractional silver coin); of alum the same; of crocus the same. Let them be bruised together, and given in wine to the woman that has an issue of blood. If this does not benefit, take of Persian onions three logs (pints); boil them in wine, and give her to drink, and say, ‘Arise from thy flux.’ If this does not cure her, set her in a place where two ways meet, and let her hold a cup of wine in her right hand, and let some one come behind and frighten her, and say, ‘ Arise from thy flux.’ But if that do no good, take a handful of cummin (a kind of fennel), a handful of crocus, and a handful of fenugreek (another kind of fennel). Let these be boiled in wine and give them her to drink, and say, ‘ Arise from thy flux !'” If these do no good, other doses, over ten in number, are prescribed, among them this: “Let them dig seven ditches, in which let them burn some cuttings of vines, not yet four years old. Let her take in her hand a cup of wine, and let them lead her away from this ditch, and make her sit down over that. And let them remove her from that, and make her sit down over another, saying to her at each remove, ‘Arise from thy flux!'”
When the problem started, this woman was the object of a great deal of ‘help’. In time, it became clear that nothing would work. In time, those who cared for her gave up. If she was married when it started, she wouldn’t have stayed married. She was cut off from the worshipping community. She lived on the edge of society.
She was not in the room where it happened.
Her hurt was embarrassing, debilitating and incurable.
“This poor woman represents humanity – all of us. We are ill. We have spent our resources trying remedies that do not work. Christ comes to us from the cross. We need to touch him by faith. Do not fear that he will not respond. Do not fear that you may be too ignorant. Do not fear that you are too selfish. Fear only one thing – that you will let him pass without reaching out in faith to him.”-R. Kent Hughes
Do you carry hurt with you this morning?
You may have carried hurt with you for so long that you can’t tell where you end and the hurt begins. It’s who you are. It’s a permanent feature on the landscape of your life.
Walk with me for a moment. Stand at the edge of the crowd and see what no one else saw. Watch that unseen woman silently work through the crowd. Watch her approach Jesus from behind. Watch her fingers tremble as she reaches her arm out. Watch her face as she feels the cloth of his robe and suddenly a jolt of power surges through her body. Watch with the angels as 12 years of shame and humiliation and loneliness is evaporated in one moment.
Verse 29: And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
“Twelve years of shame and frustration are resolved in a momentary touch of Jesus.” Edwards
God change everything in one momentary touch.
Jesus can change anything in a moment.
While we are on the street with that crowd, seeing what no one saw. Watch that woman’s face when Jesus stops and calls out, “who touched me?”
In Jesus there is grace to heal the deepest hurts.
Remember this woman is unclean. She is not supposed to be in a crowd of people. She is not supposed to be touching people.
When Jesus stops and turns to ask who touched him, she is horrified.
She falls in fear and trembling. After 12 years of suffering, she is conditioned by shame. Her body is healed, but 12 years of psychological pain rush back to the surface. She falls to the ground trembling, telling everything to Jesus.
She thought she would sneak in for a touch and escape unnoticed. But not one is anonymous with Jesus.
“He is not content to dispatch a miracle; he wants to encounter a person. In the kingdom of God, miracle leads to meeting. Discipleship is not simply getting our needs met; it is being in the presence of Jesus, being known by him, and following him.”
Jesus, with the power to condemn this woman for her importunity instead looks tenderly at her and speaks words of kindness.
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
“Perhaps the public meeting with Jesus is as necessary to overcome her social ostracism as is his power to cure her physical disease. Her fear and trembling are not met with reproach or censure but with tender compassion (also 1:41), “ ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you’ ” (cf. 2:5). The Greek word for “healed,” sō̧zein, can mean either “heal” or “save” depending on context. The spoken Hebrew and Aramaic term behind it, yashaw, is actually a variant of the Hebrew name of Jesus, Yeshua. In a way the woman cannot yet know, the desire for healing and wholeness is the desire for Jesus. Jesus’ final word to the woman is a veritable benediction, “ ‘Go in peace.’ ” In the statement “ ‘be freed from your suffering,’ ” the woman hears from Jesus’ mouth what she has already experienced from his person. His word interprets her experience; again, Jesus’ deed and word are one.” -James R. Edwards
“She had experienced the power of God already. Now she has peace.” -Donald English
Isn’t it wonderful?
Do you have hurt, come to Jesus – in him is power, in him is grace. He can give you peace.
Jesus has power to heal. And he has grace to heal. His power is available to those on the outside. His power is for the unclean.
We must not forget how this story started. This woman is not the only one hurting.
In Jesus there is hope greater than death.
It’s easy to get caught up in the glory of this woman’s healing and forget that this story started with someone else’s pain.
Just as we are soaring into the joyful freedom of this poor woman, the reality of the world comes crashing in. Friends have come to find Jairus and pull him aside, “Jairus, your daughter is dead.”
“The interruption, so profitable to the woman, has cost the life of Jairus’s daughter. The remainder of the story swings like the pendulum of a clock between the extremes of human despair and divine possibility.” -Edwards
Mark tells us that Jesus ‘overhears’ the conversation. It’s an interesting word.
“Mark’s word choice for Jesus’ hearing the report in v. 36 is masterful. The Gk. parakouein (translated in the NIV as “ignoring”) has three distinct meanings: (1) to overhear something not intended for one’s ears, (2) to pay no attention to or ignore, and (3) to refuse to listen or to discount the truth of something. All three meanings apply to Jesus in v. 36. He does not rehearse what has happened, why, or what might have been. Instead, he speaks directly to Jairus. There is still one thing Jairus can do, but he must shift his focus from the circumstances of his daughter’s death to Jesus himself. “ ‘Don’t be afraid; only believe.’ ” This is the challenge before Jairus, and before everyone who meets Jesus: to believe only in what circumstances allow, or to believe in the God who makes all things possible? One thing only is necessary—to believe. The present tense of the Greek imperative means to keep believing, to hold onto faith rather than give in to despair. With respect to his daughter’s circumstances, Jairus’s future is closed; but with respect to Jesus it is still open. Faith is not something Jairus has but something that has Jairus, carrying him from despair to hope. Jesus’ authoritative word to Jairus is not to fear but to believe. -Edwards
Jesus goes with Jairus to the place of his suffering. He forbids all but his three companions and the close family from entering the home. He tells them, “she is not dead, she is only sleeping.” They laugh with bitter cynicism.
Again Jesus speaks words of endearing kindness, “little lamb, rise and walk.”
Jairus believed Jesus might have the power to heal his daughter.
Now he understands that Jesus has power far beyond that. He has power to raise the dead.
“What is the Christ like who gives this life? He is all-powerful. He made the raging sea instantly lay flat with a word. He cast out a legion of evil spirits with another word. He healed the outcast woman without a word. He tenderly raised the little girl. He is understanding, lovingly gentle, and inviting.” -Edwards
But someone says, yes, “that’s wonderful for Jairus.” “What about me?” “Where was Jesus when my child died?”
There is no pain like the pain of a parent.
I think there’s something for us in those times in this story and in another story just like it. In John 11, Jesus was called for help for a dying loved one. And just like in this story, he delayed and the loved one died before Jesus arrived to help.
Why is that?
I believe that window of time – when Jesus could have stopped suffering but didn’t – I believe that window of time represents the window of our suffering in this life.
I believe that the resurrection of Lazarus and of Jairus daughter is representative of the great resurrection at the end of this window of our suffering.
If Jesus can raise Lazarus, if he can raise Jairus’ little one – then he can raise us all.
Some day soon, friend, we will experience that day. We will see the great resurrection and all of our sorrow will turn to joy.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
There is power in Jesus. There is grace in Jesus. There is hope in Jesus.
How do we get to it?
Faith is the key to the power, grace and hope of Jesus.
Daughter, your faith has healed you.
Jesus could have said, your God has healed you. He could have said, I have healed you. He said, your faith has healed you.
This woman heard of the power of Jesus.
She came to see Jesus.
She reached out to touch Jesus.
“What does Mark accomplish by sandwiching the woman’s story into the story of Jairus? Jairus and the woman have only one thing in common: both are victims of desperate circumstances who have no hope apart from Jesus. Otherwise their stories diverge sharply. Jairus has a name and a position. As ruler of the synagogue, he has enough clout to summon Jesus to his house.
The woman has none of these. Her name is not given (or remembered), and she has no position. Her only identification is her shame, a menstrual hemorrhage. She must approach Jesus from behind, whereas Jairus approaches Jesus face to face. Jairus, in other words, is a person of status and privilege. But in typical Markan irony, he does not hold an advantage regarding the one thing that matters.
It is the woman who exemplifies faith, and in this respect their roles are reversed. Despite her embarrassing circumstances, she pushes through both crowd and disciples to reach Jesus. Her gender, namelessness, uncleanness, and shame—none of these will stop her from reaching Jesus. To this undaunted woman comes the healing and liberating word, “ ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace.’ ”
When Jesus says, “ ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe,’ ” how should Jairus understand the command to believe? What kind of faith should he have? The answer is that he must have the kind of faith the woman has (v. 34)! The woman exemplifies and defines faith for Jairus, which means to trust Jesus despite everything to the contrary. That faith knows no limits—not even the raising of a dead child!”
You have heard about Jesus power. You’ve heard of his grace.
Will you come to him? Will you reach out for him?
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown