First Lesson - Lamentations 3: 22-33
Responsive Reading - Psalm 30:1-8
Second Lesson - 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15
Gospel - Mark 5 : 21-43
Have you ever been desperate? We can be desperate for big things and small things - sometimes in matters of life or death. Laurie is frequently desperate for some rest – for some peace and quiet and a chance to recover for a time before she gets back to caring for three active boys. Some would say that’s not a big thing. Laurie might beg to differ. It does impact her health but it not an urgent matter of life and death, but sometimes caring for the boys does become an urgent life or death matter. All three of the boys have a history having seizures when the run high fevers. Those can be scary but most times they are over in a couple minutes. She was home alone with the youngest boy, and he started to have a seizure. I was in the middle of a men’s Bible Study and Laurie called every guy in the study trying to get through to me, but we all had our phones off. She called 911. The seizure went on two minutes, three minutes The ambulance wouldn’t arrive from the neighboring town for 15 or 20 minutes. She was sobbing, praying and crying out to God. The seizure went on 4 minutes the little boy was blue. Was he going to survive. If he survived was there going to be damage from lack of oxygen. He was still seizing 5 minutes. She was desperate. Oh was she desperate.
In this portion of Mark’s gospel Jesus has been demonstrating his divine power. Power over creation when he calmed the storm when he was with the disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Power over diseases as he healed. Power over evil as he cast out a legion of demons. And he has been doing this on both sides of the Lake – both the gentile side and the Jewish side. Jesus has been showing that he is the long awaited Messiah and more than that that he is the divine Son of God and Lord of all.
His taught about the Kingdom of God with authority and his reputation for freeing people from evil and disease was spreading. His fame spread and the crowds grew and grew. After freeing the man plagued by many demons on the gentile side of the Lake he returned to the Jewish side where he was quickly surrounded by a crowd, and into the crowd rushed a man named Jairus a synagogue leader. He wasn’t a religious leader – maybe he was something like an officer on our church council. He was a godly man of some standing in the community. He had heard that Jesus, the powerful miracle worker, had just arrived and so in desperation he ran to him. This man of some status humbled himself and fell on his knees and pleaded earnestly with Jesus, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” He was desperate - the situation was urgent - it was a matter of life and death. 24 he was begging Jesus to do something for his little girl. And so, Jesus went with him. A crowd of people went with and on the way a woman tries to work her way through the crowd so that she can touch Jesus and be healed. Her situation wasn’t urgent it wasn’t life or death, but she had been plagued by this continual bleeding for twelve years and she was desperate. Because of her bleeding she was declared unclean under Jewish law. And there were three types of uncleanness serious enough to exclude you from society – leprosy, bodily discharges such as bleeding, and contact with the dead. She was an outcast. And to make matters worse she had spent all her money on doctors. So now in addition to suffering and being sick, in addition to being an outcast - separated from friends and family – she was broke.
This woman shouldn’t even be in a crowd, and she sure shouldn’t be touching anybody. But there she was pressing against one person and then another as she worked her way through the crowd to Jesus. She was violating all kinds of laws. She was desperate – she needed something from Jesus. She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Suddenly, the procession came to a screeching halt. Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes? I imagine the thoughts running through Jairus mind (why are we stopping Jesus? Hurry my daughter is dying. (Maybe today it would be like an ambulance racing to a critically ill child. Time is of the essence. But then the ambulance stops and uses its medicine to cure someone with a long-standing problem such as a longstanding back pain. chronic back pain is a serious problem, sure they desperately need healing – but it’s not an emergency)
The woman – this poverty-stricken social outcast – came with fear and trembling and fell at Jesus feet and confessed. And Jesus responds “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”But during the delay, people came up to Jairus and told him that his daughter had died. Jesus told him “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” And, of course, Jesus goes to Jairus’ house and raises the little girl from the dead. He puts the whole crowd of mourners out of the house and then41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (Which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).
Jesus comes into contact with this unclean woman and this unclean little girl. One unclean because of a discharge of blood the other unclean because she’s dead. Jesus is touched by one and touches the other by taking her hand. Anyone else would become unclean in the process but not Jesus. With Jesus it’s just the opposite He radiates cleanness to those He touches. Jairus and the woman came to Jesus because they were desperate the needed something from Jesus. And they had faith – they trusted that he could provide those things that they needed. Jesus provided those things and more. The woman who had the discharge – didn’t only need physical healing she needed to have that healing made public. She was rid of the discharge that made her an outcast. Now she could be welcomed back into the community. Now she could be welcomed back to worship. Not only was she healed physically, she was healed emotionally, socially and spiritually. Jesus emphasizes her identity and relationship. He calls her daughter.
Jesus has been demonstrating his power over creation, disease and evil. Calming storms healing the sick and casting out demons. And now in this passage Jesus demonstrates that He is Lord over death.He takes the hand of the dead girl and says little girl get up. We come to Jesus desperate for things – things that we really do need – sometimes life and death things. He may provide that thing – he may not. But often he gives more than we ask – healing emotionally, socially and spiritually. We go to Jesus for something we need – he answers our request for something by giving us someone – as He gives us himself over and over and over again. And as He gives us himself, he emphasizes our relationship to God and our identity as sons and daughters.
Dear saints you are beloved sons and daughters of the living God with whom He is well pleased. All because of what Jesus has done for you.