Red Letters

John 3:16

Mark 5:21-43, The Touch

A little daughter, only twelve years old, was dying.  A woman, who had suffered from a bleeding discharge for twelve years, was also dying—a slow death. 

Jairus approached Jesus in the middle of a crowd.  Although he was a ruler in the synagogue, he humbled himself before Jesus and he fell at Jesus’ feet, expressing confidence that the healer could save his only child. Surely, Jesus was moved with compassion for the man and his situation; he immediately went with him.

As they made their way through the pressing crowd, Jesus stopped.  Another need, another hurting person had reached out to him.  A poor woman, who had suffered with a bleeding discharge for twelve years reached out to Jesus, this time—only sought to touch the hem of his garment.  Whether it was fear, or humility, or both—she knew Jesus could help her, and she was healed immediately. 

He felt it in his inner being; “Someone touched me….power went out from me.”  Those around him were dumbfounded.  Of course someone touched him; many people touched him; there was a crowd.  However, Jesus stopped right there and addressed the woman.  He recognized her faith, removing any fear she might have had.  Faith brought peace and healing.

Meanwhile, Jairus’ servants met them with news that his daughter had passed.  Yet Jesus continued on his way, straight to the bedside of that little one.  Taking her by the hand, he told her to wake up.  Then he told them to feed her.  Mourning turned into rejoicing, and the father’s faith was rewarded.

Faith-peace-healing-rejoicing.  These and other blessings are what comes from a relationship with Jesus.  He is the master, and he bestows his gifts as he wishes.  Physical healing does not result from every request.  Some reach out for years and it may seem that Jesus is not touched, that he does not notice. 

What is the answer then?  The same answer that contemporaries of Jesus had to have found.  Not every illness in that crowd received healing that day.  Other twelve-year-old little girls might have died that day.  Others with even more dreadful illnesses in the crowd were undoubtedly suffering. I believe we will find our answer in Jesus’ will.  Faith is not about how deeply we desire a certain answer to our prayer, nor is it about how grave our problem is.  Faith is about our trust in God’s will for our lives, and our hope for eternity. 

We can take comfort in Jesus’ words, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—  “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home” (Mark 2:9-10 ) ESV.  What we need to know and remember is that Jesus has the authority. These words of Jesus were recorded for us as well as for his audience that day.

How he uses our lives, and what he allows in our lives is about eternity.  Sometimes he heals physical illnesses because it will make a difference in where someone spends eternity.  Sometimes he allows an illness to progress or even take a life…for the same reason.  But He knows best, and our faith is in the fact that those who have made him Lord of their lives will spend eternity with him.  We will forget every pain or sorrow the moment we see his face. We will rest in him, and for now,…we rest in his promises.

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