I was speaking on the woman with a hemorrhage in Luke 8:40-56 at Warrenville, Bloomington, and Gages Lake in Illnois over the last few months and Kelli, my wife, was able to help me. She gave me a draft of her book that is coming out in August, Pierced and Embraced. As I am reading through an advanced copy of her book, I re-read the chapter Seen and Healed: The Woman with the Hemorrhage today. The passage I preached on covered Jairus and the woman with a hemorrhage. While the heart of Jairus was easy for me to penetrate, the heart of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment was less obvious to me. This is why I think that Kelli’s book is important for male preaching pastors to own. My wife’s examination of the women of the New Testament gives insight that many of the commentaries that I was using do not. Unlike the academic commentaries that are my staple in preaching preparation, my wife’s Bible companion walked me into a feminine insight and deeper application.
After I preached from the passage this last Sunday, at Gages Lake, we sat down with our friends Mike and Cathy Bryant and Kelli and we reflected upon how Kelli and I had both examined the passage. With the fusion of both of our perspectives there was a completeness in the communication. When my wife has spoken at women’s retreats about this incident, she has started with the Gospel of Mark. When I have spoken from the passage, I have started from the Gospel of Luke. She has majored on what the story shows about who Jesus is, which is definitely essential. I entitled my talk Shame. Desperation. Disappointment. Faith. Kelli and I both tried to understand the shame of Jairus and the unnamed woman. We explored the desperation and the disappointment. However, what is required of the reader is an active faith in a healer who is worthy of that faith.
Desperation and Faith
Seeing, then, how Jairus falls at the feet of Jesus with such abandon, and how the woman with the hemorrhage creeps up to Him through the crowd with uncharacteristic courage, we must ask this next question: what compels them to come?
The answer, I believe, is twofold – desperation and faith.
In verse 23 [of Mark 5], Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him on behalf of his daughter. “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come.” The word that describes his plea is translated “earnestly” or “greatly” or “repeatedly”. This is a matter of life and death, and he is understandably desperate to save his little girl. He wants her to live.
Similarly, the woman comes to Jesus because she wants to be physically whole. She wants the bleeding to stop. She has tried everything else, and Jesus is her last hope.
Yes, they both come in human desperation. But they also both come with some measure of faith.
If you can spare the time to listen to the sermon I preached on July 2nd (Bloomington E-Free Sermons July 2&9 http://subsplash.com/efreebn/s/61f0edf/), it’ll take 30 minutes or so, you will see how much my wife’s insights and mine sound the same. It’s because we have informed each other. Ministry as a couple is meant to be this way. There is a completeness to the perspective. This is what happens when your wife enriches your ministry.