And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Have you ever wondered if Jesus loves you? I know I have. When we encounter death and disease it causes us to question the goodness and presence of God.
In Mark 5:21-43, we witness several layers of God’s kingdom agenda and ministry. First, we see that Jesus cares about individual people. Jairus, this “ruler of the synagogue”, had a twelve-year-old daughter who was so sick that she was “at the point of death.” Nothing but a miracle would keep her from dying. Jesus allowed this father’s begging request to direct Him down that day’s path of ministry. What a relief! Jesus cares about those who are sick and dying!
As the story moves along, tension builds as we see Jesus also cares for more people than just Jairus and his daughter. As Jesus journeyed toward Jairus’ home, another chronic need crossed His path. A woman with a “discharge of blood” (likely a menstrual flow that would not stop) saw her opportunity to be healed. She reached out to touch Jesus’ robe. Why did she do that instead of falling at Jesus’ feet like Jairus? Shame and uncleanness would have caused her to shy away from seeing Jesus. She also likely could not stand the thought of another failed healing attempt. After she touched Jesus’ garment, immediately His healing power flowed from Him into her to cure her incessant flow of blood. This stopped Jesus in His tracks. What is He going to do? Will He be angry? Will He just move on? He has a little girl to heal. As Jesus’ attention shifts from Jairus’ daughter toward this ailing woman, we see that Jesus is willing to have His attention diverted. But what about Jairus’ dying daughter?
In this narrative tension, we can see one final thing. Jesus’ ways are not our ways. Jesus knows and sees things beyond our comprehension. He is working with our sense of time (chronological) and God’s sense of time (cosmic). Jesus, who is fully human, experienced the limitation of chronological time. But being fully God, Jesus is also the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of time simultaneously. He knew that chronologically it did not make sense for Him to stop to give attention to this bleeding woman. The crowd would have agreed. But He also knew cosmically, He could give this woman attention and actually heal two people in one day.
This must be known by us as we explore our own story and our own suffering, as we seek to reconcile that with who God is. Jesus cares about you and your suffering. Jesus knows what we are going through with Covid-19 and the countless other diseases taking lives. Jesus offers something that transcends physical healing, which is forgiveness of our ultimate ailment, sin, and eternal life beyond this one. This is why He died and rose again. This is the ultimate meaning behind these stories of healing. People do get healed which is amazing. But people also die which is devastating. God uses both for our good.
John quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Well, do you? Might Jesus’ vision for our lives, which includes healing and death, also include a mysterious, sacramental healing that goes beyond this life? Reach out in faith and see. Fall at His feet and talk to Him. And when you do, He will say to you, “I say to you, ‘Arise.’” May it be so wherever God has you.