Summary: If Jesus were an ER physician and had dealt with the chronic condition of the women first, only to allow the twelve-year-old girl to die… He would have been sued for wrongful death.
We find ourselves in a section of Mark where he reports on four miracles 1) Jesus’ authority over nature – the winds and waves obey Him; 2) Jesus’ authority over demons – a man who has not one demon but a legion of demons is delivered; 3) & 4) are today’s two miracles where is authority extends to even over life and death itself. All four miracles are connected to the travels of the group around the lake, known as the Sea of Galilee.
We find Jesus and the Twelve together in a boat departing from the west side of the lake. The first miracle happens while they are on the lake itself. It was last week that we met this lonely, tormented man. It was here that Mark focuses on Jesus’ authority over the evil, demonic forces. Today’s two miracles are sandwiched together into one story that occurs on the west side of the lake.
And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat” (Mark 5:21-43).
Who Is This Jesus?
While several characters are mentioned in Mark’s story, it is Jesus who represents the central figure of his narrative. The question still hangs in the air from Jesus’ miracle on the lake: “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him’” (Mark 4:41)? Each person in Mark’s account is placed before you in order for your eyes to see more clearly the authority of Jesus Christ.
Mark’s Sandwich Storyboard
Mark sandwiches two stories into one before our eyes. Much like our contemporary sitcoms that switch between multiple storylines, Mark brings the circumstances of two very different people into one theme. To the question about Jesus’ real identity, Mark presents his two stories in layers: the raising of Jairus’ daughter in verses 21-24 is the first layer… the healing of the bleeding woman in verses 24-34 is the middle layer… and then he resumes the story of Jairus’ daughter again in verses 35-43. The stories are placed together purposefully by Mark in order that we see the connections between the two. Both are females who are restored by a touch from Jesus. In both accounts, Jesus touches women who are unclean. It means he was ceremonially unclean for religious purposes. If you had contact with this man, you would have to go through certain ceremonial procedures before having contact with others. Because of her bleeding, the older woman should have never been in the crowd as she contaminated the people with her ritual uncleanness (Leviticus 15:19-33). We are surprised to see Jesus touch the corpse of Jairus’ daughter because she too was unclean. Yet, in both cases, Jesus’ touch makes the unclean clean.