Summary: Jesus heals Jairus' daughter and the woman with the flow of blood.
Mark 5:21-43 “From Hopelessness to Hope”
Mark continues to flesh out the central premise of his gospel, “The time is fulfilled. The kingdom is upon us. Repent (change your perspective) and believe (trust). Mark does this through two powerful healing stories. The healing of Jarius’ daughter is the first one. It is intermingled with the account of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years.
As we walk with Jesus, the disciples and the crowds through these two stories, we witness two demonstrations of the kingdom’s presence. We learn a great deal about the characteristics of this kingdom that is upon us, through these actions.
Jarius is identified in verse twenty-two as a leader in the synagogue. This is interesting. Jarius is probably not a follower of Jesus. As a synagogue official he was one of those who were upset with Jesus for healing the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. His daughter’s need overcame his opposition to Jesus. Jarius knew that Jesus was a healer so he approached Jesus with his need.
Mark records in verse twenty-three that Jarius begged Jesus repeatedly to come and heal his daughter. I think this is a reference to the intensity of Jarius’ request. We might envision Jarius coming up to Jesus and saying, “Jesus, I’ll do anything if you’ll come and heal my daughter.” Instead of Jarius following Jesus and shouting, “Please Jesus come and heal my daughter,” and eventually wearing Jesus down until he finally consents. It was not the intensity of Jarius’ request nor its length and caused Jesus to go to Jarius’ home. The motivating factor was Jesus’ love.
We can’t go through life without experiencing some dire circumstances. When we do we often pray like Jarius. We run up to Jesus and beg him to help us. There is an intensity in our prayers. Frequently our prayers are not immediately answered so we resort to wearing Jesus down with our constant begging, “Jesus I need your help,” Jesus, please answer my prayer,” Jesus I’ll do anything if you answer my prayer.”
The kingdom of God is upon us however. We change our perspective from looking at our need and focus on God’s love. We become less aware of our weakness and more certain of God’s power. Assured of God’s love and strength we are able to trust and find rest. We live in the reality of God’s kingdom.
Jesus turns and begins to follow Jarius to his home. Along the way, though, Jesus is interrupted.
THE HEMMORHAGING WOMAN
While on his way to Jarius’ home to heal the little girl, Jesus is stopped by a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. We can imagine Jarius’ frustration. His daughter is on the verge of death, and Jesus stops to talk to a woman. Isn’t that very similar to our walks of faith, though. Our journeys are not direct paths. There are detours and delays. We go places we never thought we would and our destinations often change. Still we are being led by the Spirit and we are being faithfully obedient to what we perceive to be the will of God.
The woman is a picture of bold faith. Her life has been one of chronic desperation. She has gone from healer to healer to be cure of her sickness and she has found no relief. Her sickness has made her unclean and has separated her from her family, friends and her ability to worship. Though it is not socially acceptable for her to touch anyone, she believes that if she just touches the fringe of Jesus’ garment, that she will be healed. In the face of judgment and rejection the woman reaches out and touches Jesus’ robe.
The woman’s bold faith connected with the power of the kingdom. Jesus’ senses that something has happened. He confronts the woman but not in judgment. Rather Jesus accepts her and praises her for her faith. Instead of the woman’s touch making Jesus unclean, Jesus’ power makes the unclean woman clean, healthy and whole.
The kingdom of God is powerful. Its strength, though, is not used for domination or self-gratification, but rather service, healing and meeting the needs of others.
In contrast to the boldness of the woman’s faith, Jarius’ faith is shaking. Once again the depth of a person’s faith is not determined by their level of religiosity. People come to Jarius and Jesus before they arrive at Jarius’ home and inform the two that the girl has died. Jesus knows better. He turns to Jarius and says, “Do not fear, but believe.” Jarius struggles to keep from looking at the situation and believing the report of the people. Jesus is the one in whom he needs to place his faith and hope.