Social problems layer atop spiritual struggles that layer on practical issues. These happen to us today, just as they happened in the time of Christ.
Today, we start Day #11 of the #LentChallenge in Mark 5:21-43, which wraps two stories into one.
We read of…
A woman with debilitating chronic illness.
A child who took her last breath far too soon.
This the scene we’re invited to enter.
First, we meet a wealthy man, a who’s who, named Jarius. This proud papa who once bounced his daughter on his knee now begs Jesus save the girl’s life. Jesus agrees to travel to Jarius’ house.
Then. Zap. An interruption. The kind of interruption that makes you want to do more than slam your hand on the horn, beat your palms on the steering wheel, or drive like a madman. The kind of disturbance that threatens the life of your child.
The Scripture doesn’t mention Jarius’ response. Did he tug on Jesus’ elbow to keep moving? Did his chest tighten, his brows furrow in anxiety?
We don’t know.
All we know is that a woman derails Jarius’ plans by brushing her hand against the tassels of Jesus’ outerwear.
The slight motion is unnoticeable to the crowds pressing in and the people passing by.
But Jesus feels the power of the Holy Spirit move through him.
“Who touched my clothes?” Jesus asks.
Everyone stammers, including the woman.
After all, she didn’t carry Jarius’ fancy status. She’s not a religious leader, and she isn’t even allowed in the synagogue, let alone the temple, as an unclean woman. Like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown, the cloud of shame and sickness followed her everywhere she went.
And she’d been ill for 12 years—the same 12 years that measured the life of Jarius’ daughter.
The woman, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, “shaking with fear.”
Jesus calms her heart by praising her belief.
Immediately, Jarius’ friends deliver heart-wrenching news. His daughter is dead.
Without the delay, would Jesus have been able to save her? Jarius must have wondered.
Jarius is ready to walk away empty handed.
Hope is lost.
Death has the final say.
Why bother the teacher any longer?
Yet Jesus reveals…
Faith in the face of death is the good news Christ delivers.
It is interesting to note that both female characters in this story are left unnamed. Yet the father is given a name: Jarius—it means “God enlightens.”
And in a lightbulb moment, Jesus awakens Jarius to what it means to experience true healing…
Like the woman who shook in her sandals, Jesus instructs Jarius, “Don’t be afraid; just believe”.
Belief takes it all and belief is all it takes.
Jesus tells the little girl to stand and eat. Her cold body breathes new life. Pink rushes to her cheeks. Her eyes blink open.
Faith opens us up to the power of God.
It isn’t a magical ability stored in Jesus’ cloak. Or the physical touch of Jesus to reach Jarius’ daughter before she dies. But simply faith.
It’s worth noting that this passage shows two episodes of Jesus reversing cleanliness. The woman with the issue of blood would have been considered unclean for seven days even after her period, but the bleeding hadn’t relented for twelve years. The corpse of the young girl would have been considered unclean—anyone who touched it would have been unclean for seven days.
Now what Jesus did that day wouldn’t last forever on earth. The woman would experience new ailments and aches in the future. The little girl would one day knock on death’s door once again. Yet faith in these stories reminds us of our charge to trust in the God who overcame death.
Nothing is beyond God’s saving power—not even the grave.
What did I least want to hear but most need to read?
That for me greater believing requires greater dependency which requires greater trust.
It’s not too late to jump in as we study Mark’s Gospel using the Remarkable: 40 Days in the Gospel of Mark Bible study workbook. It includes daily devotionals, reflection questions, and the entire Biblical text so you can participate in the Color Method without writing in your Bible. Grab your copy today.