Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing Him, he fell at his feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, “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.” And He went with him. And a great crowd followed Him and thronged about Him.
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing around You, and yet You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And 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, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” […] And when He had entered [the ruler’s house], He said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” […] Taking her by the hand He said to her,“Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. [Mark 5:22-42]
These two stories, interestingly linked together by both involving twelve years, perfectly captures Jesus’ heart for us, and who He really is. The bleeding woman’s condition only grew worse after she went to many physicians and spent all she had (v. 26). The only true source of healing is Jesus. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, she was exhausted from all her relationships, but Jesus told her that He was the living water, and that she would never thirst again (John 4). We become emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted when we continue to turn to other things to try to heal us. But who or what can possibly heal the created other than the Creator Himself, the one who knows us through and through?
We’re often too proud to admit we need help, and we have escapist tendencies, causing us to ignore the problem and simply cope with it. A lack of desperation is a sign of putting all our hope in things other than God; we have faith that these other things will work, and thus, we don’t question them or look for alternatives. However, both Jairus and the bleeding woman come to a point of desperation, after recognizing that nothing has worked for their needs.
Reiterating the point I made last week about how God is always there in the storm with us, God is not unaware of our suffering. Jesus was aware of this bleeding woman who touched His garment – He noticed her step of faith. Everything stopped when she touched Him, because Jesus thinks that acts of faith are precious, as He desires to personally connect with us and is honored when we take that initiative to move towards Him. She’s been told over and over again that she’s a no one. Jesus calls her ‘daughter,’ healing and validating her identity at the same time. God knows exactly who we are and wants us as His children, rather than all alone and succumbing to all the lies the world tells us about who we are. When we take that step of faith to say that God can do anything, He really can do anything (if it is in His will). Jesus told Jairus’ daughter to simply ‘arise,’ as if she were just sleeping and not actually dead, because He thinks so little of death – all that matters is the power of God and His word. She, like the bleeding woman, takes steps of faith after arising, though they are physical steps.
This week, when I was flyering for an immersive, multimedia gospel exhibit my fellowship put on, all I saw were masses of people who needed the gospel. People who were so tired, people who lacked hope and joy in their eyes. The gospel is for everyone, whether we’re an important leader or someone in clear, desperate need of any kind of healing. When a power outside you enslaves you, you cannot just get better with sheer willpower. There is no escape when we’re suffering at the mercy of an oppressive force – our addictions, depression, fear of failure and rejection, our inner Zacchaeus/”short” complex (needing to prove ourselves), or any hold the past has on us. No matter who we are, when it comes to our needs, our lives, our basic human condition, we are all helpless. We all have a delusion of invincibility until that one accident, that one situation that breaks us and forces us to reconsider everything and finally humble ourselves. We are not invincible. We think we’re invincible, until we’re not.
O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! [Psalm 39:4]