The Wild Places Bible Guide – 25
April 12, 2019
Friday, April 12
Mark 5:21-43 (CEB)
21 Jesus crossed the lake again, and on the other side a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, came forward. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and 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.” 24 So Jesus went with him.
A swarm of people were following Jesus, crowding in on him. 25 A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26 She 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. 27 Because she had heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. 28 She was thinking, If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed. 29 Her bleeding stopped immediately, and she sensed in her body that her illness had been healed.
30 At that very moment, Jesus recognized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 His disciples said to him, “Don’t you see the crowd pressing against you? Yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 But Jesus looked around carefully to see who had done it.
33 The 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. 34 He responded, “Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace, healed from your disease.”
35 While 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?”
36 But Jesus overheard their report and said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting.” 37 He didn’t allow anyone to follow him except Peter, James, and John, James’ brother. 38 They came to the synagogue leader’s house, and he saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “What’s all this commotion and crying about? The child isn’t dead. She’s only sleeping.”40 They 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. 41 Taking her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Young woman, get up.” 42 Suddenly the young woman got up and began to walk around. She was 12 years old. They were shocked!43 He gave them strict orders that no one should know what had happened. Then he told them to give her something to eat.
Points of Interest
- This mashing together of two related accounts, allowing them to both enrich and comment on one another, is a common storytelling technique in the gospels. Here we have a 12-year old daughter and a woman, called Daughter by Jesus, who has been ill for twelve years. We have a synagogue leader, maybe even a rabbi, in distress, and we have a woman whose illness keeps her away from the synagogue, ashamed to even touch or speak with Rabbi Jesus. One person’s private distress is healed very publicly, while another family’s very public distress is healed in private.
- I have known many people, and frankly many women, who have “suffered a lot under the care of many doctors.” Our hearts go out to this woman. In this woman’s case, she has any number of medical conditions that lead to prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeding. A source of great shame in ancient – and sometimes modern – times, this could also involve significant pain, as well as infertility.
- Jesus’ disciples may share the woman’s confidence in his unusual powers, but they don’t think there’s anyone or anything interesting in the crowd of people. Jesus doesn’t see crowds, though, he sees people one by one, offering us peace, stirring faith that makes us well, calling us sons and daughters.
- Which is the greater miracle? Jesus’ unusual healing power? Or a grown man who is equally comfortable around 12-year old kids, prominent men, and women’s health issues? I love that Jesus as a man never tries to extract anything from women or children, that he is always gentle and safe and respectful with all people.
- The professional mourners in Jairus’ home move easily from grief to mocking laughter. They’re playing their role well, but aren’t emotionally present or open to God’s presence. To be present in our own or others’ wild places is to be present (sometimes in silence, as are Peter, James, and John) and to touch death without fear, to hope that as we do so, we’ll discover that things aren’t as bad as they appear to be.
A Direction for Prayer
Pray for your family and friends who are suffering from long-term illness, long-term shame, or grief. Ask Jesus to touch them, to cause them to know they are sons and daughters of a good and loving God, and to stir others to come to their support.
Spiritual Exercise of the Week
God with Me Mediation – We take a few minutes of quiet and welcome Jesus to be God with us. Ask Jesus, how are you with me right now? How do you see and know me? How are you present with me in all my strengths and weaknesses, in all my joys and stresses and sorrows? After a few moments of imaginative prayer, welcoming Jesus’ presence with you, close by praying this excerpt from the ancient prayer, The Breastplate of Saint Patrick:
Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.