Mark 5:21-36 Anxiety Interrupted

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[c] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Anxiety Interrupted

The first story is the story of Jairus.  He is rich and he is a respected.  He has a name.  He has a position of authority in the local synagogue where Jesus has been stirring up a storm, but he approaches Jesus with a good attitude.  He throws himself at Jesus’ feet and pleads for his daughter.  Jairus’ story is abruptly altered by a ritually unclean, anonymous, woman.  She has been suffering for the same number of years that Jairus’ daughter has been alive.  Suddenly the two lives overlap and Jesus stops his walk to Jairus’ house to ask time-wasting questions.  At least this must have been the perspective of Jairus.  His daughter’s life is hanging by a thread and now a social misfit gets as much attention from Jesus as Jairus does.

This shows us a lot about the nature of Jesus, but also we see ourselves in the two people that Jesus touches.  Are we well-to-do?  Do we have a position of respect?  Then we should take pride in humbling ourselves before Jesus, who is so much greater than we are.  Are we outcast?  Are we soiled by obvious sin?  Then we should take pride in the fact that Jesus raises us up out of the dirt with his grace.

There is purpose in Jesus’ delays.  There is purpose in the timing that he shows.  Often it is to show us the need for control that we have because of our fears.  Always, a delay develops faith.  Jesus sees the faith and walks along it as a pathway straight to our hearts.  Then he touches us and changes us forever.

Prayer

Jesus, I want you to act and sometimes forget that you orchestrate a plan for the whole world.  I forget that I am a character in your story and live as though you were a character in my story.  Help me to see how I best move along the narrative of the true hero.  Stop my impatience, self-loathing, or pride from making me look so ridiculous.

Questions

  1. What actions show Jairus and the bleeding woman’s fears?
  2. How would you describe living with fear of a loved one’s death or fear of never being well?
  3. How does Jesus heal both the malady and the fear?
  4. What do you think you need?
  5. How would Jesus take care of the need in such a way to glorify himself and transform you?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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