Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mark Chapter 5

This chapter consists entirely of healing. There are three separate and yet complementary healings.
The first is given in vv. 1-19; the second and third are interwoven in vv. 21-43.  In the first, Jesus heals a man possessed by a demon of some kind. In the second, he heals a woman who has had menstrual bleeding for years and years. The third healing is actually a resurrection story in which Jesus raises Jairus’s daughter from the dead.

We can highlight two things from these three episodes.  The first is a reminder that healing is an essential part of Jesus’s ministry.  As we read before, it is the very reason for his life and ministry; and ironically enough, also his suffering and death. Jesus’s healing ministry is indiscriminate: he finds himself healing a man who is possessed and is therefore considered an outcast from his society. Likewise, the woman with the bleeding would have been excluded not only from her community, but also from temple worship because she would have been considered “unclean”. Lastly, Jesus goes to the home of a synagogue official- Jairus- who was a member of the group that was diametrically opposed to Jesus’s preaching. So, Jesus is lavish and indiscriminate with his healing compassion.

This brings us to our second point. Notice the way in which the people respond to Jesus’s healing. In the first episode, the people who witness the healing actually ask Jesus to leave their town (v. 17). In the other two episodes, the response is more positive. In these two episodes, Jesus puts a focus on the need for Faith- the response of the people to Jesus’s presence and power- the outcome is far better for both Jesus and those who welcome his healing ministry.

Point for Prayer
Compassionate Jesus, you enfolded the man from the tombs, the woman with the flow of blood, and the little girl with your saving healing and your saving grace. You offer all of us your mercy, not just for our mental, emotional and physical well being, but also for our soul’s health. I pray for the kind of faith witnessed by all these good people. I believe. Help my unbelief (From To Love and Be Loved by Jesus, by Father Alfred McBride, pg. 57).

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