From Healing to Peace

Mark 5:21-43
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. 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.
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.”
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

From Healing to Peace
Congregational Church of Easton – June 30, 2024

Two very different people are healed in today’s reading: the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 long years and the 12-year old daughter of Jairus, a leader of the synagogue.

There’s a movie called, “One Night in Miami.” It is a fictional account of an actual event that took place in the 1960s, when Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown spent an evening together. Imagine their conversation!

So, imagine a movie like that, but with the three people from Mark Chapter 5 gathered together, “One Night in Miami” style. – the woman who was hemorrhaging, the father of the dead girl, and the little girl after she was healed. What would their conversation be like? They really could not be more different from one another.
Before they encountered Jesus, it would have been hard to imagine them finding anything to discuss with each other. But after they had been healed by Jesus, and had their lives completely transformed by Jesus’ healing power, they then had something incredible in common. It is easy to imagine them having an animated discussion about their miraculous healings, and the man who changed their lives. They now had a common bond that was both unique and powerful. And it transcended all of their other differences.
Here is the point: That is also true of us. As Christians, we have a common bond that is both unique and powerful. We might wonder, on any given Sunday morning, what we have in common with those around us. It would be easy to describe all the ways that we are different from one another, and to focus on that.

But just like the people in this chapter of Mark’s gospel, what we have in common is far greater – for we have all been touched by the healing love of our Savior. We are united by a shared Savior. mWe have all been saved, healed, and blessed by Jesus. And that is much more powerful than any differences we might have.
Lets dig into today’s reading a little more — these two great miracles: the healing of the daughter of Jairus, a well-known leader of the synagogue, and the healing of the woman who is hemorrhaging and considered unclean.

Let’s start with Jairus and his 12-year-old daughter. Every parent’s nightmare is to have a desperately sick child. This was the nightmare that Jairus and his wife lived. Jairus was a prominent leader of the synagogue, no doubt a very faithful and religious man. His little girl was dying. He was desperate. Desperate enough to turn to Jesus.
Why do I say he was desparate? It’s important to remember that the leaders of the synagogue have had many run-ins with Jesus. In fact, when Jesus dared to heal someone in a synagogue on the sabbath, some of the leaders began to plot to kill him. So here is one of those same leaders coming up to Jesus in plain view of everyone, falling at his feet, and begging Jesus to heal his daughter.
In the eyes of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, Jesus was nothing more than a dangerous troublemaker. But Jairus, through the eyes of faith, saw something quite different. Jesus was his daughter’s only hope. And so, Jairus summoned his courage, and risked his reputation and livelihood, in order to approach Jesus and beg him to heal his daughter.
And so, with the whole community watching, Jairus approached this troublemaker from Nazareth, and fell at his feet, and begged for a miracle.
And, as we heard, Jesus went with Jairus to heal the little girl. But before they got to his house, the girl had died. In the eyes of the world, it was too late to heal her. But in Jesus’ eyes, it wasn’t too late at all. “Why do you make a commotion and weep?”, he asked the crowd. “The child is not dead but sleeping.”

Death seems so final in the eyes of the world. But not in the eyes of Jesus. As Martin Luther put it in a sermon on this text, “it is easier for Christ to awaken someone from death than for us to arouse someone from sleep.”
Think of that. For the Lord, death is nothing more than sleep. We don’t need to fear death. That’s what he promises all of us.

To show us that he can fulfill this promise, Jesus goes with Jairus to his house, takes the little girl by the hand, and raises her to life. Jesus has the power to make the sick well; and he even has the power to bring the dead back to life.
Did you notice that after Jesus raises the little girl, he tells those who were with her to give her something to eat? He invites them to take part in this miracle, just as he did in another famous miracle, the raising of Lazarus, when he invited those around Lazarus to unbind him and let him go.
Why did Jesus do this? Because he wants us to participate in the work of bringing his Kingdom to our world. He wants us to help this sick, dying world. He wants us to reach out to those the world deems unclean. He wants us to participate in the healing that he came to bring, and to share the hope that we have in him, so all the world will not fear, but believe.
On his way to help the little girl, Jesus was interrupted by a woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years. She was desperate. Our reading says she had “endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse.” This poor woman had been sick for twelve long years. She had been to every doctor around. She had spent all her money on treatments that did no good. She was out of options.

To make it worse, she was considered unclean because of her illness, so she was even isolated from her family and friends. She was very sick. And she was very alone.
But she had heard about Jesus. She heard that he could heal the sick, and that he loves even those who are unclean. He had recently touched a leper and made him clean. She believed that Jesus could do the same for her. So, she found him in the crowd, touched his cloak, and was immediately healed.
She was healed, but Jesus wanted more for her. He wanted her to have shalom, peace. He wanted her to be restored to her community. So, Jesus stopped. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched me?”
The woman summoned her courage and came to Jesus in fear and trembling and fell down before him.

Jesus looked at her with love, called her daughter (the only time in the gospels that he did that); he claimed her as God’s own child. And he gave her peace. “Your faith has made you well” he said: “go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

This, to me, is what is powerful about her story. The poor, desperate woman found more than just healing that day. She was restored to her community. She was given peace. The peace which this world cannot give. The peace which only comes from Jesus.
To me, this is the greatest miracle of them all. Not just to be healed of disease, but to be claimed as God’s beloved child, and given peace. The woman would get sick again, as would Jairus and his wife and daughter. They will all get sick. So will we. But they have a hope and a peace that this world cannot take away — that sickness cannot take away. And so do we.
They know that God loves them. They know that Jesus can heal them. And bring them back to life, even after they die. So do we. We are all united by our shared Savior who came to give us peace. May we live in this peace and share it with our world. To the glory of God, Amen.
Let us pray. Holy God, holy Unity, we thank you for your healing power, expressed in your son, Jesus. Thank you for inviting us to participate in the work of bringing your Kingdom to our world. Amen