Questioning Through Mark: 5:21-43

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.
When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

1. Do I come to Jesus boldly, believing my circumstances are important to him? Jairus, a synagogue ruler–important in society–made public pronunciation of faith by falling at Jesus’ feet and pleading for him to heal his daughter. Am I desperate enough for Jesus that I will fall at his feet publicly?

2. Do you have faith to “tell the whole truth?” The bleeding woman is a strange mixture of faith and fear. In faith, she touches Jesus’ robes because she believes in his power. Yet she does it secretly, quietly, almost as if afraid to draw attention to herself, because unlike Jairus, she is not among the important people of society. She is an outcast, made unclean by her illness. What does she have to lose if she touches his robe and is not healed? But Jesus calls out the person who touched him and gives the woman opportunity to come forward. And she does. She falls at his feet trembling with fear and tells the whole truth. Interesting that both Jairus and the woman fall at his feet . . . one voluntarily and the other called out.

Mark 5, 27

3. How do I handle my disappointment with Jesus? If we are honest, we can all admit to being disappointed with Jesus at some time or another. He didn’t answer a prayer like we expected. He seems silent when we need direction. He takes something precious from us. We aren’t given what we expected.

For the bleeding woman, she’d suffered not only twelve years or illness, but twelve years of disappointment. Twelve years of questioning why. And then, in one moment, in one grab of his robe, she’s healed.

Do I have faith to take my disappointment to Jesus and try again? We get no sense of bitterness from this woman. Perhaps fear and weariness, but not bitterness. Bitterness poisons us from trying again. It locks the door of our heart and keeps hope out. Can I reach, like the woman, despite disappointment?

Mark 5, 41

4. Do I laugh at Jesus? This might seem a silly question, but consider Sarah in Genesis 18. She laughed when God promised Abraham a son. And her laughter wasn’t joy. It was disbelief. Those waiting to see what Jesus would do with Jairus’s daughter laughed. Not in expectancy or joy, but at what they considered a preposterous statement by Jesus. Faith, by nature, reaches beyond reality and clasps the words of Almighty God as truth. If we laugh, let it be with joy.

 

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