Your Faith has healed you (click1)
I have mentioned my brother (click2), the doctor,
in my sermons a number of times in the last few months.
As you can see he enjoys fishing as much as I do.
The last time Hedi and I were in Paraguay on vacation
he took me along to the Leprosy Hospital – Km 81 (click3)
where he spent the day doing all sorts of
reconstructive surgeries and treating patients.
Since I didn’t have much to do around there
except to listen to Hospital chaplain
preach his daily message (click4),
I asked if I could tag along
and snap a few pictures of him doing his work (click5).
And as I was going about my business
snapping pictures and trying to stay
out of the way of the important medical people
doing there important medical stuff
to cure the world of leprosy
there was one patient on a stretcher (click6)
that caught my eye.
At first he appeared like any other patient.
It looked like he had a wound on his leg that wouldn’t heal
and maybe he had simply come to see the doctor
to hopefully get some treatment (click7).
But, when he was put up on the examination table (click8)
and started to tell his story,
my heart just sank.
You can see on this picture that his left leg
is twice as big as his right leg,
and that it seems to be badly infected.
Actually, it turned out that the infection in the lower leg
was the least of his concerns (Click9).
As the doctors were trying to figure out his condition
they asked him probing questions
and he told them that about 9 years ago
he had been shoot in the upper leg with a gun,
and that’s were his problem started.
He had almost bled to death
because the bullet had ruptured his vain (click10).
When the doctors had fixed him up to save his life,
they mistakenly joined the ruptured vain,
which takes dirty blood back to the heart,
with the artery, which takes clean blood
from the heart to all the extremities.
And so, his circulatory system in his upper leg
was totally messed up.
And this is where my heart sank: (Click11)
my brother had to tell this young man,
he was in his early 30s,
that there was no chance for him to get well,
unless he would get help from a circulatory system specialist.
He would not be able to get the help he needed
here at the Leprosy Hospital.
He had to get help somewhere else.
And if he didn’t get help somewhere else,
he would most likely die within a few short years.
(Click12) Those must be some of the most heart-wrenching words
that a doctor has to say to a patient:
“I am truly sorry, but, I can’t help you!”
“There is nothing more I can do for you.”
On our trip back to the city
I talked to my brother about that, and he says:
“In the big picture,
there is really only one that can truly heal.
I can do my part to assist in the healing process
with my skill and knowledge,
I’m as powerless as the next fellow
when it comes to performing miracles.”
Have you ever been to the doctor
With, what you thought, was a real problem with your health?
After a long and agonizing wait,
You finally get to see the doctor,
And they do all sorts of tests,
And at first they tell you “there’s nothing wrong with you.”
On your next visit they tell you,
“It’s all in your head.
I’ll give you some anti-anxiety medication,
And that should clear it up.”
And then after month, maybe years,
They tell you,
“You will just have to live with it.”
Or worse, “Get your house in order.”
(Click13) In the Gospel of Mark
we see many miraculous healings in the ministry of Jesus.
Today we want to look at the story
of Jairus’ daughter and a woman with a bleeding problem.
Let’s turn to the story (Click14):
Story 1: Jairus Calls for Jesus 5:21–24a
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 rulers, named Jairus, came there.
Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet
23 and 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.
Jairus and his immediate need are introduced here,
but before the end of the story is told,
there is an interruption…
a second story of healing.
Jairus is a synagogue leader,
and we know that Jesus’ relationship to the synagogue
was becoming increasingly difficult.
Most religious officials did not approve of Jesus.
But, here is one who is willing to humble himself before him,
even in the presence of a great crowd.
His gesture of falling to his feet,
and pleading with Jesus
tells us how desparate he was,
and that would do anything to save his little girl.
He recognizes that Jesus has God’s power,
and he comes to him in an act of faith,
and a request for healing.
Jesus follows him (Click15)
and so does the crowd,
including a woman who should not have been there.
Jesus Saves an Unclean Woman 5:24b–34
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.
(Click16) 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.
(Click17) 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.
(Click18) 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."
In the crowd is a very needy woman…
a woman who, according to Jewish purity laws,
had no business being there.
Anything she came in contact with
became ritually impure.
She has had continuous bleeding for twelve years.
For 12 years she has suffered many indignities
at the hands of doctors
who certainly would have told her over and over again, “Sorry, I can’t do anything for you.”
“I guess, you’ll just have to live with it.”
Mark is rather blunt about the incompetence of the doctors
and the futility of their methods.
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.
Mark has no intention
to discount the medical profession of the day,
but rather to convey the power of Jesus to heal,
and the importance of faith in healing.
Every treatment by the doctors has been useless.
The health care system had failed her,
and it has only made matters worse,
because she is still sick
and all her financial resources were used up.
The most serious problem for this woman, however,
is not her medical condition, as bad as that was.
Her problem is that she is unclean (Lev. 15:25–27).
She is not to be touched.
She cannot have any normal human contact,
and she is excluded from religious services and ceremonies.
If she has ever been married,
she is almost certainly now divorced.
This desperate woman longs to have her health and her life back.
She believed that her only chance for healing
is to push through the crowd and touch Jesus.
So she does and immediately
the flow of her blood dried up,
and she knew that she was healed from the illness.
But there is another healing,
a more important healing, that takes place.
Jesus is aware that healing power has flowed out of him,
just as the woman knows that it flowed into her.
Jesus question is an attempt to draw out the woman.
Who touched my clothes?
The disciple protest:
“What do you mean, who touched me?
This is a mosh-pit”.
But Jesus looked around
and the woman came forward.
Do you ever wonder what might have motivated her
to come forward?
She was already healed.
Why go thru this public exposure that she,
an unclean person,
had knowingly touched many of them
on her way thru the crowd to get to Jesus.
What she has done needs to be exposed in the crowd,
not because it was wrong,
but because it was right.
(Click19) The crowd has not become unclean by her touch;
instead, she has become clean by touching Jesus.
The crowd needs to know that.
It would be a huge challenge
for her to persuade anyone afterward
that she managed to sneak into the crowd,
experience healing in the presence of Jesus,
and sneak back out without being noticed.
It would be the ultimate indignity
to continue to be shunned and excluded as unclean,
even after being healed and cleansed.
Her humiliation has been public knowledge;
her healing must be public knowledge as well.
Her public confession in the crowd
and Jesus’ pronouncement,
“Daughter, your faith has saved you”
Makes possible a healing
that goes far beyond the physical problem.
It has a social and spiritual dimension as well.
Daughter! Your faith has made you well.
These are words of acceptance,
relationship, and restoration.
Imagine the impact of these words on a person
who has been shunned, excluded,
and cut off from all relationships.
The crowd and the disciples
(not to mention Jairus,
who has been waiting for Jesus to have time for his request) see her as a model of courageous faith.
It was her faith that made the difference,
not the physical contact with the garment.
Jesus’ power could flow to meet her need
because she had faith.
Her faith resulted in her full salvation.
Jesus dismisses the woman into a new life,
a life of well-being, right relationships,
and peace with God.
Go in peace signals the beginning of a journey
out of hopelessness into wholeness.
(Click20) Back to Story #1
35 While Jesus was still speaking,
some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler.
"Your daughter is dead," they said.
"Why bother the teacher any more?"
36 Ignoring what they said,
Jesus told the synagogue ruler,
"Don't be afraid; just believe."
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter,
James and John the brother of James.
38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler,
Jesus saw a commotion,
with people crying and wailing loudly.
39 He went in and said to them,
"Why all this commotion and wailing?
The child is not dead but asleep."
40 But they laughed at him.
(Click21) After he put them all out,
he took the child's father and mother
and the disciples who were with him,
and went in where the child was.
(Click22) 41 He took her by the hand and said to her,
(which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" ).
42 Immediately the girl stood up and walked around
(she was twelve years old).
At this they were completely astonished.
43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this,
and told them to give her something to eat.
While a woman’s twelve years of suffering end in healing,
a twelve-year-old girl’s suffering ends in death.
At home the family assumes this is the end.
They hire mourners and send word to Jairus,
that she is dead.
It is too late.
“I’m very sorry, we couldn’t save her.”
Jesus, however, does not accept the girl’s death
as the final word.
(Click23) He calls on Jairus to renew his faith:
Do not fear, keep on believing.
What do these stories of faith and healing say to us today?
Why are they important to us?
These stories teach us that God is able to do
so much more than what we can ask or imagine
if we come to Him with an attitude of openness
to God’s future.
I have been a part of many healing services in my life.
And even now,
when I stand by a hospital bed,
I always pray for healing for the patient.
The obvious concern for someone who has been diagnosed
with an incurable disease
is the restoration of their physical health,
as was the case of the woman in our story.
Even though as Christians we are not afraid of death,
we would much rather not have to go through all that trouble.
So, we pray for physical healing and a new lease on life.
But, healing comes in many shapes and colors.
There is physical healing;
Social healing – restoration of ones place in society;
Emotional healing – where relationships are restored
and the self-worth of a person is renewed;
Mental healing – where a person is again
able to think healthy thoughts.
The most powerful dimension of healing that I have experienced
is in surrendering ones own will
to the will of God.
Remember the story of Daniel and his friends in the firey furnace?
He said to the king,
“I know that God can save me
from the fire furnace if He want’s to…
but, even if He does not,
I will still confess Him as my God and Savior.”
We cannot impose any conditions on God
and demand to be healed.
But, when God in grace, mercy and compassion
extends his healing touch to us,
we know that we have been saved.
(Click24) These stories of healing are signs of God’s reign.
When Jesus touches our life
and intervenes in our diseased conditions,
we experience the ultimate shalom and salvation of God.
Jesus is Master and Lord over all our ills,
even the power of death.
May Jesus’ words of healing to us,
reach to the deepest places of our own despair
and need for wholeness
“Daughter/Son, your faith has healed you.
Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Mk 6:1-6.
Timothy J. Geddert, Mark, Believers church Bible commentary (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2001).