Friday 06 April 2018

Bible Book:

“Daughter, your faith has made you well: go in peace.” (v. 48)

Luke 8:41-56 Friday 6 April 2018

Psalm: Psalm 107


This passage revolves around the needs of two nameless women. The first is identified as the daughter of Jairus, leader of the synagogue. He would have been an important person in this town, located in the Jewish area on the west bank of Lake Galilee. In this patriarchal society, where girls counted for less than boys, it says a lot for his concern for her that he is prepared to approach Jesus so openly and with such humility.

The second is defined only by her illness: a woman suffering from haemorrhages. She has no-one to support her or care for her, for she is an outcast from the community, made ritually unclean through the nature of her illness. She is clearly anxious that Jesus will chase her away if her presence is noticed – she has learnt to identify herself as someone unclean and not fit to approach a rabbi.

There was a marked contrast, then, between the social status of Jairus’ daughter and that of the woman with the flow of blood. Yet, in one key respect they were alike: each was in desperate need of Jesus’ healing power. For the younger woman, this was a matter of life and death itself. The older woman needed to regain a life worth living, set free from her debilitating illness and the stigma it carried. And at this point, the social standing of Jairus’s daughter becomes irrelevant. Each is utterly dependent on Jesus’ power, his lordship over life itself. And each is asked to reflect that through their belief/faith in Jesus (verses 48, 50).

So when Jesus calls Jairus’ daughter back to life, he names her in a way that separates her from the social status which can make no difference to her now. “Child”, he says (v. 54) – Mark tells us that he addresses her in Aramaic, ‘Talitha qum’ – ‘little girl, get up’ (Mark 5:41). It does not matter that she is the daughter of someone important. In God’s eyes, she is, first and foremost, a precious child. And when he addresses the older woman, Jesus also names her in a way that locates her in the family of God: “daughter”. It is this relationship, not any standing within an earthly family, which gives meaning and shape to human life. And the woman is invited to bear testimony to what it means to be in such a relationship with Jesus, Lord of life.

To Ponder

  • Who do you think are the outcasts in our society? What might make it possible for them to be drawn back into the community?
  • What links do these two stories suggest between faith and healing?
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