In Mark there are “sandwich stories.” Those are stories that have a beginning, then something else happens in the middle, and then the thing that is started in the beginning is finished. In this way, the stories are linked, Mark is trying to say something, not just about the individual story, but about the combination of the two stories together.
Today we see that in Mark 9:21-43:
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 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.” 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 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?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 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. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Well, in the first one story we see that He is going to heal the daughter of a leader of the synagogue. Notice, we don’t know the daughter’s name. We only know her as Jarius’ daughter. Now, Jarius was important, he was a leader of the synagogue, that’s a big deal. But in that culture, children were not important. They were simply a step of property. They didn’t have the same softness towards children that we do today in our world.
But not so with Jesus. Even though this child would not have been seen as significant, Jesus goes out of His way to heal her. This child is worthy of His grace and His healing. All are worthy of His grace and His healing. No one is insignificant or unworthy. All are loved, all are valued, and Jesus died for them all.
All. That’s a big word for Jesus. All.
And we see that in the middle portion of this text, we don’t so much see Jesus heal a woman as we see a woman have faith that simply touching Jesus would heal her. And so she takes this leap, takes this risk, and touches Jesus. And in this, she is healed.
But, just like the child, she would not have been seen as important in the culture. And a woman, much less a woman who had been bleeding (making her unclean) would never dare reach out and touch a religious leader (making Him unclean), but she was desperate. And she had faith.
And you can’t make Jesus unclean. Because light drives out darkness. And good is stronger that evil. And life is stronger than death. And Jesus triumphs overall.
Today, we see two “unworthy” receive healing. So, in that, know that you are worthy of knowing and seeing God’s grace, no matter what.
And let us not look past those today that may be seen as unworthy. May we seek to love them as Jesus does.
Friday we’ll look at the specifics in Mark 5:21-43.
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