26 February 2013

Mark 5:21-43

"He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.'" (v. 34)


The Gospel of Mark's account of Jesus' life and ministry shows a particular emphasis on Jesus power. Itcontains many accounts of miraculous healings from spiritual as well as physical conditions. Chapter 5 is no exception: here are two stories of healings performed by Jesus under particularly unusual circumstances. The woman with the issue of blood would have suffered not only ill health but discrimination too. Medical conditions such as hers would have rendered her ritually unclean and might well have been viewed as the result of some particular spiritual failing on her part. As such it is not surprising that she avoids making herself known to Jesus and seeks instead to touch his clothes in the hope of avoiding public scrutiny and scorn. Jesus' insistence on bringing her to the attention of the crowd is not in any sense an attempt at public censure, but is instead an act of welcome and inclusion designed to challenge her critics.

Into this scene of miraculous healing Mark's Gospel also weaves the account of a family in crisis. The sight of a father pleading for help for his child is striking, but what is most noticeable is Jairus' faith in Jesus as the conversation unfolds. Jairus is the leader of the synagogue and as such is a key player in the religious institution that will seek to destroy and discredit Jesus. But his belief in Jesus power and his willingness to fall publicly at his feet are powerful indications of his faith as they are of his fears for his daughter.

Having demonstrated that Jesus was capable of healing a woman simply by means of her touching his clothes, Mark's Gospel proceeds to emphasise Jesus' power over death. Faced with the grief of her bereaved family, Jesus calmly moves into the privacy of her home and brings the girl to life with his words and his touch. 

To Ponder

  • The women in this story recognised Jesus' ability to help her in a deeply personal struggle. What aspect of your life situation would you like Jesus to change?
  • The death of a child is one of most overwhelming things any family has to face. What hope do you feel your faith offers in times of tragedy?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jenny Wilkes

Jenny Wilkes studied at the Wesley Study Centre in Durham. She is stationed to the United North East Circuit and was ordained in July 2009.