Summary: Sermon for Proper 8 Year B
Mark 5: 21 – 34 / Immediately
Intro: Sven was limping badly. He went to the doctor for help. When the doctor entered the examining room, Sven said, “Doc, I am a very gifted man. I have a talking leg. You just take your stethoscope and put it on my thigh. The doctor decided to human Sven so he did as Sven asked. Remarkably he heard, “I need $40.” The doctor jumped back in disbelief. Put it on my knee and listen. The doctor reluctantly did so and he heard, “I need $30.” Again, he jumped back. Sven encouraged the doctor to put the stethoscope on his ankle and the doctor heard, “I need $20.” Puzzled, the doctor left the room and returned about 5 minutes later. He said, “Well, Sven, I know what’s wrong with your leg. I think it’s BROKE!” We don’t know if Sven’s leg was healed or not.
I. The passage before us tells how Jesus definitely healed two people in what appears to be two separate events; but, actually there are many similarities in the two stories.
A. Both victims of illness are female; both are ritually unclean; both are regarded as daughters; both are restored by an act of touching; both represent the significance of the number 12 in Jewish tradition.
B. Jairus’ daughter is 12 years old and the woman suffered for 12 years with her hemorrhage. That is not a coincidence! Throughout the OT and NT the number 12 plays a significant role. From the 12 tribes to the 12 apostles the Jews surrounding Jesus would have understood this number to be of great importance.
C. The number 12 and its multiples are used repeatedly throughout the Bible to symbolize the divine presence. These healings take place as a demonstration of the divine presence. God is heals!
II. What does it mean to be healed? Both stories have happy endings. But that is not always the reality of life. Not even our most earnest pleas always result in the answers we desire.
A. Perhaps you have prayed for healing for a loved one and it didn’t happen. Perhaps you have prayed for something you desperately needed, but it did not come. You may have even asked yourself, “Does prayer really work?”
B. I believe every prayer is answered. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is not yet. Prayer is not simple a matter of bending the vector of divine will toward my will, my needs and my hopes. Dramatic, physical healing is rarely the response to our prayers.
C. To ask something of God is to edge into a deeper relationship with God. Healing can come as peace and acceptance in the face of disappointment or as an awareness of the continuing presence of God in our times of despair.
III. I believe this passage from Mark serves as a reminder to us of the God who is never too busy to hear our prayers and respond to our pleas in amazing and unexpected ways.
A. Every prayer is answered! Mark tells us that they are not only answered; but, they are answered IMMEDIATELY! (See VSS. 29, 30, 42)
B. When we don’t get our prayers answered in the way we want, we believe they haven’t been answered at all. Perhaps the answer we want is not in our best interest or perhaps we are being lead to do something we are not comfortable doing.
C. What part does faith play in our desire for healing? Faith is the ability to accept the answer to our prayer and discern God’s will for us in that answer.
Conclu: The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. The same is true of us. We are hesitant to move forward with anything unless we have a pretty good idea of the consequences. We like knowledge and facts. But religion is not about facts; it is about faith. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that our fear allows to entrap us. Look with eyes of faith to discern God’s immediate response to your prayers. If you look before you take a leap of faith, you may never discover the fullness of God’s plan for your life.