Jesus, The Temple Leader, & The Bloody Outcast

Mark 5:21-43 NLT
21Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, 23pleading fervently with him. “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”
24Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him.25A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding.26She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
30Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”
31His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
32But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.34And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
35While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
36But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
37Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”
40The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

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Stretched beyond what we expect in order to receive more than we could ever dream, Jesus defies expectations, per usual, in Mark chapter five.  Inspired by the Sunday morning message at my local church, James River Church, and stretched as a result of additional life group discussion regarding the same message, I feel inspired to expand upon the themes introduced in the message.

In keeping with the overall theme of Mark, Jesus as servant, and giving readers a glimpse into the kingdom values of inclusion, inversion, and dramatic faith-building timing, Jesus emphasizes the personal nature of his kingdom.

As John Lindell emphasized and readers can observe, Mark 5:21-43 is a study of similarities and contrast.  It is a story within a story that draws out both parallel and contrasting elements.  Jairus, one of the local synagogue rulers, is a man of wealth, a man of influence, and a recognized local leader.  He is contrasted with a woman who has an ongoing medical issue with a discharge of blood.  She, as a result of her medical issue, is considered unclean.  She is unable to attend the synagogue, unable to be with her husband, unable to have children, and she is socially ostracized.  She has spent all her money trying to find a cure, she has become an outcast, and she is at the end of her rope.  Ironically, both characters are at the ends of their respective ropes.  Within this passage we observe two people, a man and a woman, from opposite and widely divergent social situations reach out – in desperate faith – to Jesus as their last ditch, desperate and clawing answer to what seems like a hopeless situation.  Both people, one exalted by society and one outcast by society, have nothing and no one left to turn to.  Both individuals have thrown pride by the wayside and cast their hope and faith upon the person and and ministry of Jesus.  And Jesus, illustrating his kingdom value of inclusion, responds equally to both personal demonstrations of faith.

By accepting Jairus and the outcast woman equally, and addressing both people’s crisis personally and miraculously, Jesus, via the writing of Mark, lets people know that  his kingdom operates in a seemingly inverse fashion to the kingdoms of the secular world.  In Jesus kingdom the lowly are treated the same as the exalted.  Furthermore, at least in this instance, the exalted one, Jairus, was forced to wait on the lowly outcast woman.  Still, both people have their faith challenged and stretched, and both people receive more than they bargain for.

The outcast woman, already desperate and at the end of her rope, is required by Jesus to identify herself.  Will she be willing, once again, to risk public humiliation, shame, and possible rejection by identifying herself as the one who reached out in faith to receive a miracle (raise your hand or stand in response to Jesus’ call).  When she stepped up her faith in response to Jesus challenge, not only did she receive her healing, but she received a new life.  She was no longer an outcast.  She became accepted in Jesus kingdom as well as able to regain acceptance by her husband and the local community.

Jairus, who approached Jesus openly, received a different challenge.  Jairus was eager for Jesus to heal his daughter of a fever, but he is forced to wait upon Jesus who doesn’t rush to his rescue with ministerial blinders on.  While on his way to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter, Jesus retains awareness of the desperate needs around him.  Jesus is willing, even in course of a specific ministerial mission, to stop and address the desperate faith of an outcast woman.  He illustrates, by example, the need to accept and address  all people and all needs, not just the social elite.  Furthermore, Jesus is desirous of stretching Jairus beyond fever-curing faith.  Jesus wants Jairus to experience life-raising and life-altering faith.  Jesus pushes Jairus to ignore the distractions of circumstance, messengers, and doomsayers.  Jesus takes Jairus and his wife, along with three disciples, into a private place with Jairus’ daughter.  For both Jairus’ family and the outcast woman,  Jesus’ miracles are personal in nature.  The results are individually life changing.

While both miracles performed by Jesus are individually life changing, and even though Jesus requests Jairus to not tell anyone what happened, the effects of both miracles inevitably ripple out to the community.  A woman once outcast is physically healed and regains an enhanced community identity.  A man with a daughter, known to have died, emerges with a daughter filled with new life.  When Jesus touches the lives of people, even without those people shouting his praise to the rooftops, his impact and presence will be and should be felt by the surrounding community.

Just as Jesus pushed Jairus and the outcast woman in the development of their faith, how is your faith being stretched?  Remember, as per pastor John Lindell’s message – when you go to Jesus you will give to him and receive from him more than you expected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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