This Sunday we worship outdoors and begin our new summer schedule! We also begin a new series based on some of the healing stories of Jesus. Throughout this month, we’ll explore the healing that Jesus enacts himself, but also how he empowers others to take part in this good work.
In the first text of healing we’ll explore for this series, the Gospel of Mark – as is not uncommon from this author – frames one story of healing within another. Jesus is asked to come to heal a 12-year-old child, and in the midst he is touched by a woman who has endured a 12-year medical condition. In both cases, these stories of healing are about both the people being healed and the community that surrounds them.
Mark 5:21-43 (CEB)
21Jesus crossed the lake again, and on the other side a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, came forward. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded with him, “My daughter is about to die. Please, come and place your hands on her so that she can be healed and live.” 24So Jesus went with him.
A swarm of people were following Jesus, crowding in on him. 25A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a lot under the care of many doctors, and had spent everything she had without getting any better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27Because she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. 28She was thinking, If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed. 29Her bleeding stopped immediately, and she sensed in her body that her illness had been healed.
30At that very moment, Jesus recognized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”
31His disciples said to him, “Don’t you see the crowd pressing against you? Yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32But Jesus looked around carefully to see who had done it.
33The woman, full of fear and trembling, came forward. Knowing what had happened to her, she fell down in front of Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34He responded, “Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace, healed from your disease.”
35While Jesus was still speaking with her, messengers came from the synagogue leader’s house, saying to Jairus, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the teacher any longer?”
36But Jesus overheard their report and said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting.” 37He didn’t allow anyone to follow him except Peter, James, and John, James’ brother. 38They came to the synagogue leader’s house, and he saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, “What’s all this commotion and crying about? The child isn’t dead. She’s only sleeping.” 40They laughed at him, but he threw them all out. Then, taking the child’s parents and his disciples with him, he went to the room where the child was. 41Taking her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young woman, get up.” 42Suddenly the young woman got up and began to walk around. She was 12 years old. They were shocked! 43He gave them strict orders that no one should know what had happened. Then he told them to give her something to eat.
Consider these questions:
- What happens when someone we know is injured or ill? Or when someone we know is nearing the end of life? How does it affect us? How does it affect our family and/or our community?
- What happens when someone we know has recovered from serious injury or illness? How does it affect us? How does it affect our family and/or our community?
- How do we respond in situations like these? What are we called to do?