Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tale of Twelve Years

This post is about two people in Mark, chapter 5 (and not how long it might have felt between this and the last post!!). After Jesus has encountered the demoniac among the Gerasenes and exorcised his demons, he is met by a named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue. His daughter is dying, and he pleads with Jesus to come see him and heal him. But before he can get there, he is surrounded by a great crowd pressing around him and the disciples.

Suddenly, Jesus wheels around and says, "Who touched me?" The disciples say, "Are you kidding? Everybody!" But he focuses on one woman, who Mark says has had a slow flow of blood for twelve years. This would have meant that she would have been regarded as unclean by the society and an outcast. She believes that if she just touches Jesus' garment, she would be healed, and that's exactly what happens. Jesus even feels the power leaving him, which is why he ask who touched him. One of the people in our Bible studies thought that maybe this was the only "involuntary" healing Jesus ever did.

Jesus shows great compassion for this woman and tells her that her faith has made her well. But she is not only healed, but she is now restored into a wonderful relationship with God.

In the meantime, however, Jairus' daughter has died. What good does it do for Jesus to show up? But he does anyway. And in the presence of the household, Jesus raises Jairus' daughter.

The thing that is interesting is that Mark makes sure that we know that the daughter was twelve years old. I'm not sure why he does that, but it is striking to notice that Jairus' daughter has lived on earth that same amount of time as the woman has had the blood flow. Is there any intentional coincidence? I don't know.

But it is powerful for me to think that two people--one who grew up with privilege and one who lived as an outcast, but each for twelve years--were both given a new lease on life by Jesus. And that promise is there for each one of us....

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