You will remember last week that Jesus and his disciples had taken off from one shore of Lake Galilee and headed to the opposite side of the lake. While they were in the middle of the lake, a storm came up and Jesus calmed the sea. In today's story, we have Jesus and his disciples on the other side of Lake Galilee.
But before we go much further, I must make one slight correction to last weeks sermon. I mentioned that Mac and Margaret Borden visited the Sea of Galilee. Well, since then, I have been informed that they are not the only people in the congregation that have visited this famous biblical spot. Ernie Craven and his wife Margaret also visited the Sea of Galilee several years ago, and Ernie shared some of that visit with me this week.
This morning, we have a story within a story. Both of these are healing miracles, the healing of Jarius' daughter, which was really raising her from the dead, and the healing miracle of the woman with the hemorrhage. There is enough preaching material within these two stories to keep me going for several hours. But to get you home in time for your Fourth of July cookout on Tuesday, I will focus primarily on the healing miracle of the woman with the hemorrhage.
This mornings story opens with Jesus and the disciples on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. As they got out of their boat, Mark tells us that a large crowd gathered around them. No sooner had they stepped upon the shore, than Jesus was approached by Jarius who was a leader of the local synagogue. We will remember back several weeks ago when we heard of another Jewish leader who approached Jesus, Joseph of Arithemia.
We remember that Joseph came to Jesus in the night, but Jarius approached Jesus in broad daylight in the midst of a huge crowd. Jarius approach to Jesus was a little different too. Mark tells us that Jarius fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him about his daughter who was ill, saying, Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live. Jairus came to Jesus in desperation. He didn't care about who saw him or what they thought about him. His daughter was dying and he would risk anything to save her life. Even if it meant associating with this controversial man that the Jewish rulers wanted removed.
Jesus agrees to go with Jairus, no questions asked. As they begin to make their way to Jairus house, the crowd presses in on them and follows along with them. Among the crowd is a woman who has suffered with bleeding for twelve years. She had been to many doctors and had spent everything she had in an attempt to be cured, but she was not getting any better, in fact she was getting worse.
This woman had heard about Jesus. She had heard how he had cast out demons from people who were possessed. She had heard how he had healed a crippled man and opened the eyes of a blind person. She had heard how he cleansed a leper. Maybe, she thought he could heal her. What did she have to loose ?
Mark tells us that this woman came up behind Jesus in the crowd. We can picture her sneaking into the crowd, and finding a crack here and an opening there, as she slowly makes her way towards Jesus. She thinks to herself, Oh, if I could only reach out and touch just the hem of his garment I will be healed.
Finally she is within arms reach of Jesus. She reaches out and touches the frayed hem of his robe. And suddenly, for the first time in twelve years she found herself freed from her illness. The condition that had dominated her very existence was miraculously gone. She was finally freed from her suffering. She had been healed.
But Jesus suddenly stops. Everything comes to a standstill. He turns around and asks his disciples, Who touched my clothes ? He had felt the power go out of him, the power that healed this woman. The disciples say to him, Are you crazy! Look at all these people around you ! How can we possibly tell who touched you ? Jesus ignores them. He looks around at all the faces in the crowd and wonders who it was that had enough confidence in him to touch his dusty and worn robe to be healed.
The woman thinks she is in trouble. Trembling, she falls at Jesus' feet and confesses that she is the one who touched him. She has no idea what is about to happen next. To approach an important rabbi and deliberately touch him could have resulted in censure and hostility. She could be brought before the rulers of the synagogue, especially since she was an unclean woman who dared to approach and touch a Jewish man.