In February I’ll be emphasizing faith as we continue our journey through Mark under the theme ‘What Faith Requires‘. Each week we will consider an aspect of the active faith to which we are called. The first week we will emphasize the word BELIEVE. That’s a natural place to start talking about faith.
For February 2 the Lectionary points us to Mark 5:21-43 and Psalm 131. In the Mark text there is a divided story, the Healing of Jairus’ Daughter (21-24, 35-43). It is interrupted by the healing of the woman with an issue of blood (25-34). In both accounts we witness desperate people who have a certain belief that Jesus has both power and willingness to heal.
Jairus is a synagogue leader who has a daughter who is dying. Like all parents in that situation, he desperately and unashamedly begs Jesus to come to his house and lay hands on her. He believes that Jesus can heal her. Interrupting their journey is an unnamed Woman who has an incurable bleeding disorder. She desperately wants to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment because she believes that will bring healing. When it does take effect, Jesus says to her “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34, NIVUK).
The celebration of that healing is cut short when word comes from Jairus’ household that his daughter has died. Humans said, “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe”. Further, when Jesus arrived at the house and told them “The child is not dead but asleep”, they laughed at him. It seems there is a mixture of people in this story – some who believe, some who have yet to believe. That’s all about to change as Jesus raises the twelve year old girl and the people were “completely astonished”.
There seems to me to be a movement of desperation to belief / unbelief and then to faith. Faith calls us to believe – to trust – to know that Jesus is able. These stories recount for us the power and compassion of Jesus. Like those in Jairus’ household, we are amazed. When we face the desperate times in our lives are we moved to trust … to reach out and touch … to know He cares?
Taking Jesus Seriously – Lewis Galloway