The Hope of Healing
Lord, You are mighty and strong. Lead me deeper into the strength that never fails.
Read Mark 5:21–34
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In these two miracles (Jairus’s daughter and the suffering woman), we see human suffering as a dark night out of which the light of God’s salvation springs (Luke 1:78,79). Praise God!
Jesus once again crosses the lake—not diagonally, as we might think, but across its northern section. Mark has a particular interest in boats, fishing and lake crossings, perhaps reflecting Peter’s perspective as a local fisherman.
Mark, more than the other evangelists, does his theology primarily through telling his story. Here he interlocks two encounters with Jesus and they have important points of connection. Both characters are desperate for Jesus’ help and both share “12 years”—the age of Jairus’s daughter (42) and the time the woman had suffered (25). However, they mostly offer a study of contrasts. Jairus, a named man, is a person of means and influence. As synagogue leader, he had probably contributed financially to the community and was looked to for leadership. By contrast, the woman’s bleeding would have made her unclean and unable to participate in the life of the religious community. She has exhausted her financial resources; Jesus is her last hope.
The act of healing is not an exercise of magic but of humanity. As the woman reaches out to touch Jesus, he senses the power leaving him. Healing was as costly for Jesus as it can be for us—it takes time, attention and energy and he is willing to give all three. By commending her “faith” (34) he was not praising her for some attribute that qualified her to receive healing, but for her attitude of trust and willingness to receive what only he could give. Recognizing her own poverty allowed her to receive her inheritance of healing (see Matt. 5:3).
The final contrast is with the disciples and (as Luke 8:45 tells us) with Peter. They are skeptical about his insight and slow to see his power to heal.
How might I better offer the hope of Jesus’ healing to people around me—the resourceful and the exhausted? How am I living within this hope today?
Gracious Lord, I long to share with others the light You can bring into dark situations. Make me sensitive to divine appointments.