Friday, February 17th. Mark 5:24b-34

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  Mark 5:24b-34

 

At the end of the 1st chapter in Mark Jesus heals a leper.  Whatever the nature of that skin condition, it caused suffering on three levels.  Physically, it brought whatever pain that particular condition caused.  Emotionally, it resulted in the leper being declared unclean, forced to live separately from their own village and to shout “unclean, unclean” if anyone came near him.  And spiritually, given everyone’s theological assumption that such a condition could only come because God was punishing him for something, it was devastating.

 

This woman shared those three sources of pain.  For twelve long years. Twelve years.  The age of maturity.  The twelve tribes of Israel.  The twelve baskets of leftovers.  God is up to something here.

 

Her story comes tucked in the middle of the healing of Jairus’s daughter.  Jairus’s daughter, whom we read about yesterday, was twelve years old.  As a child of the leader of the synagogue, she lived among those of a bit higher social standing.  Her illness seems to have been noticed by the whole village as a crowd of mourners was already gathered outside of her home.  Her illness was perceived as tragedy, not punishment.  She wasn’t cast aside but surrounded by care.

 

But now we see this unnamed woman who had been suffering for as many years as Jairus’s daughter had been alive.  Her hemorrhages, very likely menstrual bleeding, made her unclean.  She seems utterly alone although surrounded by a crowd.  She had repeatedly turned for help to physicians who had been unable to stop the bleeding.  She had nowhere else to go.  With a desperate faith she turned to Jesus.

 

“If I but touch his clothes…”

 

It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t know what happened.  Only when the woman, in fear and trembling, confesses to him does he notice her.  And then he says the words that she will never forget for the rest of her life.  “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  

 

Something good is going to happen in people’s lives when Jesus shows up.  Let that thought sit in your heart as you move into this weekend.  Something good happens when Jesus shows up.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, thank you for responding to people who cry out for help and thank you for being there for those who feel themselves lost in the crowd.  Thank you for noticing people on the edge – on the edge of the crowd, on the edge of life, on the edge of their abilities to cope with life.  May the power of your love breath new life into us today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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One Response to “Friday, February 17th. Mark 5:24b-34”

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