Hello and welcome to today’s podcast. My name is Alan; join me as we continue through Mark’s gospel.
Today’s passage is Mark 5:21-43. Picture the scene: Jesus has arrived by boat to be greeted by a huge crowd. There is the buzz of excitement and expectation. Jesus sets off to heal a man’s daughter… he makes it only a couple of hundred yards before he stops… “Who touched my clothes? Who touched me?”
There are hundreds of people all around, caught up in the moment… “who touched my clothes??!?” V32 continues…
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
What is Jesus up to?
Why does he demand that whoever touched him come forward?
At the very moment that she stretched out her hand and touched his garments she received healing … she got what she came for, so what’s going on?
Jesus had healed her physically but he wasn’t done with her yet. She had spent 12 years in the shadows, weighed down with shame, feeling dirty, cast out and rejected. Her life had become characterised by fear… what would everyone think if they knew, if they really knew what I was like…
Jesus knew that the miracle of her healing was not yet complete.
Who touched my clothes? Silence!
Who touched my clothes? Silence!
Here is the offer… and here is the challenge… she could of walked away physically healed, she could of kept her head down and just left but that fear, that shame, that question “what if they really knew” would have followed her wherever she went.
So she turned and she came and threw herself at Jesus’ feet… in front of a massive crowd…
And she proceeded to tell everyone listening the whole truth…
Not the sanitised version, not the “I’ll share a bit but I’m worried what you will all think so I’ll hold a bit back.” Not the “I’ll gloss over that part. I’ll make out that someone else was to blame for that bit” version… No, she shared the whole truth, the complete story, undoctored, unrefined. And she is SET FREE. The shame, the guilt, the nagging life-sapping question of “what would they think?” gone. Jesus had healed her physically, without even trying… but in the moments that followed had set her whole being free.
I wonder when was the last time that you fell at Jesus’s feet?
I wonder when was the last time that you told someone the whole truth?
When we feel guilty, when we feel ashamed, what do we do? We cover up. We hide. Adam and Eve, in the garden, did the one thing that God had told them not to do… so they hid, they felt exposed, so they covered up.
Fear creeps in. I’m in trouble, I’ve been bad, they’re going to get mad, I don’t want to see that. We ask the what if questions. We fear other reactions and we die… we don’t live the life of freedom that is on offer to us.
Jesus died on the cross so that you and I can be forgiven and set completely free.
Jesus came to kick start a community that will live differently. that loves, that forgives, that refuses to judge, that will bear each other’s burdens… and so will change the world.
When the son sets you free… you are free indeed. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
Do you need some of that freedom today?
Jesus knows what is going on in your heart and in your head. He knows the guilt and shame that we all carry and yes, we can talk to him about it. But there comes a time when he calls us back, asks us to tell the whole truth to another human being… because we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.
Last year I began meeting up with a friend in the city. As we met, it quickly became clear that this was a safe space to share life and to open up and be honest. I ended up talking about all kinds of stuff that I have carried with me since my teenage years, stuff from my student days that has weighed heavy on me, people that I had hurt, worries and insecurities that followed me. It has been wonderfully freeing. There is still more to share about the here and now, but putting into words with a trusted friend, praying and receiving prayer has been so life giving. There’s more to come.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Physical healing is amazing… living in peace and freedom from inner torment and suffering… is truly life changing.
Jesus we thank you for the promise that if we confess our sins, if we speak out the truth of what is inside of us, you are faithful and just and will forgive us and purify us… As we open our mouths we are set free. We’re sorry when we keep it all locked up, fearful of others reactions. Help us be open and honest with those closest to us and to walk confidently in your forgiveness and freedom. Amen
READING: Mark 5:21-43
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He 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.’ So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed round him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned round in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’
‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”’
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’
While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’
He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at him.
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. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.