This week’s lesson (Mark 5.21-34) accounts two stories of two women and the power of God to rescue people from death. So allow me to retell it to you. Jesus has just returned from the far side of the Sea of Galilee and from foreign territory back to the Holy Land. He is surrounded by a multitude of people and into the multitude comes Jairus and then an unnamed woman with a blood issue. Both are desperate because they are in need of healing. Jairus comes to Jesus on behalf of his beloved little daughter because she is under the power of death and life is about to cease.
Jairus comes to Jesus and pleads in many different ways with to come to his house and rescue his daughter from the power of death. And in typical Markan fashion Jesus agrees and they immediately depart for Jarius’ house. It should be noted that only certain people were allowed to make the journey with Jesus. But even before the crowd could be left behind in the care of the remaining disciples, Jesus feels the touch of the unnamed woman and stops to address her situation with a simple question: “Who touched me?”
The unnamed woman had been suffering for a dozen years under the care of many different doctors with an issue of hemorrhaging. She was physically ill, emotionally awash and financially depleted trying to regain her health. She made up her mind that she was going to get to Jesus, risky though it was. People around her could turn on her in an instant, injure her or even kill her and that would be the end of it. On the journey to find Jesus, she kept telling herself over and over was, “if I can touch just the hem of his robe, I will be rescued.” When she found Jesus, she , made her way to him as he started out, reach out and touched him. Jesus in that moment, felt power go out from him and he turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched me?” Someone, maybe one of the disciples, incredulously replies, “Don’t you see all the people? And you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
Jesus waited and finally from the back of the group, because it always needs to come from the back somehow, the woman again pushed her way forward in fear and trembling to tell the whole story and make clear what had been done for her. Was it because Jesus want the recognition for a miracle? More than like, he didn’t. So is it possible that he wanted to strengthen the unnamed woman? This is more likely what he was trying to do. Life was not to be the same for her after the encounter with Jesus. She told her story and then Jesus confirmed the good thing that had happened in her body and told her to go and really live and stay rescued.
In the midst of this comes the news from Jarius’ house that the girl has died and there is no need for Jesus any longer. Jairus’ servants plead with Jairus to leave Jesus alone now because there was no more life. Jesus, ignoring the servants, now pleads with Jairus and asks him to continue to believe in what is about to happen and to witness what God will do in this little one. So they went on together with the amazed disciples and grumbling servants in tow. When the group arrived at the house, there was a mighty uproar going on because the professional mourners weeping and singing because that is what one does when another person dies. It was part of the customs and the culture of the village. Jesus entered into the home and asked why there was such a commotion going on. The girl was not dead but only sleeping. He was laughed at and they called him crazy. They knew what death was all about. So Jesus chased them out of the house, into the growing darkness of the evening.
Then he took the parents and the disciples into the room to where the girl was. As the other’s watched, Jesus when over to the bed, picked up the girl’s hand and said to her, “Little Lamb, I say to you, get up.” She open her eyes, sat up and with assistance sat up. Then with continued support, she stood up and began to move around the room because she was able to do this on her own just as she did before. Jesus then charged those who witnessed this not to tell anyone else what both happened. Then she had something to eat to show that the rescue from death was both successful and complete. Since when did a ghost need lunch?
So out of this all then, let us consider an important question, “What have we said or done that has made someone else’s life better, stronger or at least different in a positive way in the past week?” and what will we say or do that will bring life to someone near and dear to us in the next seven days? Who will we try to rescue from death?