questioning Jesus, the touch of believing faith, Mark 5

11 Aug
Christ Healing a bleeding woman, as depicted in the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter.

Lake travel with fishermen enables Jesus to speak at many town centres, with many people in Galilee. This travel also allowed for special teaching moments with the disciples, as well as cool breeze rests from stifling heat of the Mideast Judea lands and crowds. This, Jesus traveled by lake boat a great deal. Next to his walking, this was his mode of both travel and communications. He touched, and was touched, as he traveled. Mark 5 has him moving from shore to shore,

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him.

Why did people ‘press’ around Jesus?

To see, to feel him. To see and feel his healing hands and words.

25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

This woman’s faith comes from her lost monies, her painful, abusive experiences with doctors, and , in no little part, from her intense sufferings. Yet, out of pain and poverty comes a faith that speaks to her, “you will be healed if you touch just his clothes.” Her faith speaks and she moves in faithful action to Jesus’ cloak.

This unclean woman, knowing that If she touched this teacher would make him unclean as herself, seeks to just touch Jesus’ cloak. Just an edge. Secretly.

No one would know and he, Jesus, could still touch and cleanse, heal others. He need not know. But He does.

30 “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”’ 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jesus calls this woman ‘daughter.’ She falls, as Jairus did, at Jesus’ feet. Jairus, a synagogue teacher, leader, and this woman have both come to the end of their selves. And, both, both the little child, his daughter, and Jairus himself as well as this unnamed woman, both are healed.

Each speaks a question to themselves, ‘who can heal my death, my chronic ills?’ And Jesus recognises in their questions a believing faith.

He tells the woman, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

He tells Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” And both are healed and each live after in peace. A peace of faith, faith that follows suffering.

When we allow faith, relieving faith, to touch us, to move us toward Jesus, he gives peace.

Peace, like a river, as waters on a lake. Peace.

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