May 24, 2015

By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor

Mark 5:21-43

In Mark 5:21-43, we see two miracles that go together, indeed are sandwiched together. The healing of the woman suffering from 12 years of bleeding is told in the middle of the story of the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead.

Both miracles encourage us all to know that Jesus welcomes the surrender to Him of even our worst fears, and as Lord of the Universe, he is able to transform them as He offers us His love, power, and forgiveness when we turn to Him in faith.

The story of the woman suffering from bleeding who was healed when she simply touched Jesus’ cloak (Mark 5:24-34), shows us that we can bring our shame to Jesus. Under the ceremonial Jewish Law of Moses, this woman was unclean (Leviticus 5) and should touch no one. As she desperately touched Jesus, He reached out for her by searching for her identity, loving her, and ultimately healing her physical condition.

According to Mark 5:24-34, how would Jesus have us deal with shame?

1. Not by hiding

According to her natural instincts, this woman just sneaked up on Jesus and touched His clothes without His acknowledgement (Mark 5:27). We too hide our shame from others, and even ourselves, in many ways.

2. By Exposure

When Jesus “realized that power had gone out from Him” as the woman touched his clothes (Mark 5:30), He interrupted his trip to Jairus’ home and called the woman out to a vulnerable moment with Him. Jesus knew that for her own good, her spiritual wound of shame must be dealt with first by exposure.

We might wonder if Jesus loves/approves of difficult areas of our personal lives, e.g.: our anger, doubt, guilt, shame, and hopelessness. In this story, Jesus shows us that He loves us so much more than we would ever imagine. In fact, He calls to us in the midst our own self-condemnation so that we can expose our darkness for the light of His Truth in our lives.

3. By Confession

“With trembling and fear, (the woman) “told him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33). She showed us in this intimate, incredible moment that she could walk past her fear and turn to Jesus with the whole truth. In her shame, she was unclean and should not have touched him. Yet she did, and confessed it.

4. By Love

The woman had done her part by exposing her identity and confessing the whole truth.

Now the Son of God responded: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34) Jesus affectionately called her “daughter”, the only time a healed person is called by this name in the New Testament. With Jesus, there is no room for any rebuke, anger or impatience when we turn to Him with our pains and sins. Only the fullness of His grace and love.

The story of Jairus’ daughter shows how we can bring specifically our hopelessness to Jesus. Jairus, a synagogue ruler, had begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter. (Mark 5:23) In the process, he himself was taught that Jesus has authority even over hopelessness.

Jairus moved from barely hopeful when he asked Jesus’ help, to flickering hope when the woman with bleeding interrupted Jesus’ journey to Jairus’ house, then hopelessness when he learned his daughter was dead.

Jesus, having the eternal perspective of God, ignored the hopelessness of the situation and encouraged Jairus instead to have faith instead of fear (Mark 5:36). As with Jairus, we sometimes get confused when healing is delayed, but here Jesus encourages us to turn to Him in belief. When we turn, we just might discover that our faith not only exists, but also is growing.

In both stories of the woman and of Jairus, Jesus wants us to learn from his own words: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36) When we expose our areas of darkness and bring our faith to Him, He is the Lord of All who will respond personally to us with His power, forgiveness, and love.