Going Deeper 06.25.2021

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 5... Mark 5:21-43‚Äč
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “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.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 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, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then 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. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this and told them to give her something to eat.

The first half of Mark's Gospel is dedicated to proving that his opening statement is true: "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1).  These two miracles come right on the heels of Jesus' casting out a legion of demons from an uncontrollably possessed man in the country of the Gerasenes, which followed the story of the calming of the storm at sea, which concluded with the astonished disciples asking, "Who then is this?"  Well, Mark has already told us who this is.  Now we see the proof. 

Those of us who have grown up hearing these stories over and over again run the risk of having them become less and less dramatic and impactful.  This is where contemplative exercises can become quite helpful... perhaps even necessary.  Using our God-given gift of imagination and seeking the aid of the Holy Spirit, we can enter the stories and perhaps experience some of the fear and wonder and awe... and healing... for ourselves.  

In entering this story of the woman healed after twelve years of exhausting and depleting hemorrhaging, we might even see ourselves taking our weakness and wounds to Jesus, seeking to touch Him and receive healing.  In witnessing Jesus raising a young girl who was thought to be dead, we might find relief for the fears and worries which sometimes overwhelm us, knowing that Jesus is both compassionate and powerful, and clearly capable of handling anything we commend into His hands.

May none of these stories ever lose their meaning and impact!

With You in His Presence,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"