Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Jesus Heals - July 1, 2012 - Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 08) - Text: Mark 5:21-43
Our lectionary series used to call for either the reading of the healing of Jairus’ daughter, or the healing of the woman. I would suppose that as the years have passed and as the lectionary committee continued looking at these text, rather than simply giving us one or the other of the text, they have seen fit to put both readings together, and well they should as I believe they both fit well together. I will also contend that the reason they fit well together is for the purpose of showing us that Jesus is who He says He is, that is that He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, even God in human flesh. As we will see this morning, He shows His humanness through His compassion for the people and He shows His divinity through His power and authority over the world.
Our text begins with the request. Jairus, the synagogue leader comes to Jesus to request that Jesus would come to heal his daughter. His daughter is sick and is near the point of death. Certainly Jairus has heard about Jesus even if he has not actually heard Jesus preach and teach. Perhaps He has even seen Jesus do some miracles. Certainly there is some foundation for his coming to Jesus to make a request for healing for his daughter. Or perhaps this is the last desperate act of a desperate man. His daughter lay sick and near the point of death and there is nothing he can do. Certainly Jairus knows that Jesus has a reputation and any good member of the synagogue would have nothing to do with Him. Yet, under threat of being expelled, Jairus is a father who loves his daughter and will do anything to save her, even risking his own position in the synagogue.
Jairus’ actions show he has faith. He has faith in Jesus. He actually believes Jesus can heal his daughter, that is why he is coming to Him. He may even have faith in Jesus that He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world. It may be that out of fear he is unable to admit such faith. Jairus has faith in Jesus and so he approaches Him, falling at His feet, begging Him to come and heal his daughter. His is the cry of a desperate man who desperately loves his daughter. Jesus’ response is that He agrees to help him and so He went with him.
On their way to Jairus’ house there is an interruption, quite a lengthy interruption and the second narrative in our text. There is a woman who is ill. She has been to see many physicians and they have all used up all her money and not one of them has been of help to her, if anything, they have even made her worse. She too has either heard of Jesus or heard Him preach, and she too, like Jairus, believes that Jesus can help her. Perhaps she too believes that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Christ, but we are not told. We are only told of her faith. The woman’s faith is such that she believes that if she can just touch Jesus’ clothes that she will be healed. Her’s too is the last desperate act of a desperate woman.
So, as the crowd pushes against Jesus, this woman sees her opportunity. While the crowd is pushing against Jesus, certainly He will not feel an extra touch, a touch of His garments, at least that is what she thinks. So, she reaches out and touches Jesus’ clothes and she is immediately healed. What a sigh of relief. What a great feeling, finally, after all these years to be free, to be healed. As for Jesus, He immediately senses her touch, as our text puts it, “Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from Him.” Of course, Jesus is truly God and so He already knew what was going on in this woman’s mind and He knew the moment she touched Him and that it was her.
And so Jesus makes an issue of what happened. He confronts His disciples and the crowd. He wants to know who touched Him? Who drew power from Him? As the seconds tick by, the woman knows she is caught. She knows she can hide no longer and so she comes forward and confessions that it was she. She approaches, humbly, falling on her face, prostrate before Him. She fell down trembling in fear and humility and tells Jesus the whole truth of her life, why she did it. Upon her confession, Jesus reassures her that her faith has made her well. She will remain well and she may go in peace. This whole incident certainly could not have lasted too long, perhaps a few minutes at the most, yet this interruption which meant life and healing for the woman, meant death to Jairus’ daughter.
While Jesus was completing His words to the woman, one of Jairus’ friends comes with a dreaded announcement. Jairus’ friend approaches him and suggests that he not bother Jesus anymore because it is too late, his daughter had just died. It is interesting that one’s faith in Jesus was such that Jairus and his friends believed that while his daughter was still alive, Jesus could heal her, but they did not believe that He had power over life and death.
Jesus turning His attention back to Jairus assures him and tells him, “Do not fear, only believe.” Interesting that Jesus had just healed this woman, as He had healed many others, continually showing Himself to be truly God and yet, there is such doubt and fear when it comes to His ability to bring back to life. Again, it is almost as if they believe Jesus has some power, but not all power. Their faith reflects our own faith at times. How often do we find ourselves believing that Jesus has power, power to forgive, power to heal, power to do some things, but we fail to believe that He is all powerful. We show this in our thinking that there is something we must do to help with our salvation, to help Him with His work or whatever. Too often we neuter God in our unbelief.
Jairus’ shows his faith. He does what Jesus says. He believes and they continue going back to his house. When they get to his house the professional mourners are already there. There is weeping and wailing and quit a commotion. Jesus tells them that the child is not dead, but is sleeping and their reaction is to laugh. Again, it appears that theirs is a lack of faith of Jesus ability, not to heal, but not bring back from the dead.
Jesus sends everyone out of the room except Peter, James, John, the girl’s mother, and Jairus, the girl’s father. Jesus takes the daughter by the hand and speaks to her. He says, “Talitha cumi,” which we are told means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately, the girl got up and began walking around. Certainly this was an amazing and an astonishing site. Mark tells us that they were overcome with amazement. Jesus brought her healing, bringing her from death to life. Jesus brought her complete healing with no lingering side affects. She got up immediately and she began to walk around, immediately.
Through this miracle, as through others, and as through all His works, (sign, wonders and miracles as John calls them), through Jesus bringing back to life, He shows His power over all creation. Jesus is who He says He is. He is the Christ. He is the Messiah. He is God in flesh. He is God with power over all creation and He continues to show that power, even if only on a limited scale. Remember, as a human, while living on this earth, Jesus does not always, nor fully, use His divine powers.
Finally, we are told that Jesus’ charges them to tell no one. And we know how this usually does not take place. It does not take long for the word to get around that Jesus has healed another person, that He has now raised this young girl from the dead, that He has done another miracle and so people everywhere are hearing the good news.
Okay, so there are two exciting narratives, but what do they mean? What does all this healing and bringing back to life mean? As I have said before, Jesus is truly God. He continues to show Himself to be truly God. He does this through the sign, wonders and miracles He performs. It is important that He is truly God so that He might be perfect, so that He might be able to raise Himself from the dead. Not only is Jesus truly God, He is also truly human. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit through the human woman, Mary. He was born as human in the usual human way. He had to be human in order to take our place, to be our substitute.
As His creatures, as His creation, as sons and daughters of the Lord, we are Jesus’. We are His, purchased and won by Him. Even more, we were sick in sin. We were dead. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. And Jesus comes to us to reach out His healing hand to us. Jesus calls to us to rise, from eternal spiritual death to life, eternal life in heaven. Jesus continues today, while He is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling over us, guarding over us, interceding for us, He continues also to be with us. He continues to bring healing to us. Sometimes He brings physical healing through the means of doctors, nurses and medicines. Sometimes He brings healing immediately. Sometimes He says to us as He said to Paul, “My Grace is sufficient,” and we remain in our sickness. Whatever the case, we do know that He is with us. Even more than physical healing, He brings spiritual healing. He brings healing through His means of grace, through His Word and sacraments. He brings forgiveness of sins and with forgiveness always comes life and salvation.
Is anything to hard for God? Certainly not. And even if He chooses not to give us physical healing while we are in this world, we know that we yet have the ultimate victory. Death and the grave have no power over us because Jesus conquered death and the grave and His victory is our victory. So, either way, by faith in Jesus and His work for us, in our place, we will see Him and we will live with Him forever in heaven for eternity. And so, ultimately we will stand before the Lord’s throne robed in His robes of righteousness with all the saints and rejoice and say, “To God be the glory.” For Jesus’ sake. Amen.