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)