Mark 5:21–43—Jairus and the Woman

21 When Jesus went back across to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 A leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, 23 pleading with him to heal his little daughter. “She is about to die,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” 24 Jesus went with him, and the crowd thronged behind. 25 And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she was worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed! 30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 His disciples said to him, “All this crowd is pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. You have been healed.” 35 While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from Jairus’s home with the message, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” 36 But Jesus ignored their comments and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.”
37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter and James and John. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw the commotion and the weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and spoke to the people. “Why all this weeping and commotion?” he asked. “The child isn’t dead; she is only asleep.”
40 The crowd laughed at him, but he told them all to go outside. Then he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Get up, little girl!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! Her parents were absolutely overwhelmed.
43 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what had happened, and he told them to give her something to eat.

Points of Interest:

  • ‘If I can just touch his clothing’—this woman knows that the Kingdom of God is within grasp. She knows if she just reaches out and grabs, she can get a hold of Jesus’ power.
  • ‘he turned around in the crowd’—Remember, Jesus is in a hurry to get to Jairus’ daughter before she dies. But he stops to find out who touched him. Why? Because he wants to honor the faith of this woman. He wants her to have the peace and security of knowing that she did not steal a healing: it came from her faith. And he wants her to know that he cares. While everyone’s mind is on the daughter of this important man Jairus, Jesus calls this woman his daughter. He cares about her in the exact same way Jairus cares about his daughter.
  • ‘Go in peace’—this woman, like the disciples and the townspeople in yesterday’s passage, has a choice between fear and faith. She is afraid of being found out, but she trusts the man who heals her. She steps forward in faith, and her fear disappears; she comes ill and frightened, and leaves well and peaceful.
  • ‘Don’t be afraid. Just trust me’—Jairus too has the choice between fear and faith. He might at this point distrust whether or not Jesus cares, because he stopped to have the conversation with this woman. He also certainly doubts that Jesus has the power to raise the dead. Jesus asks him not to give up his faith, even though it looks as if the situation is hopeless. Jesus’ care and his power go further than we would ever guess.
  • ‘not to tell anyone what had happened’—Jesus raises someone from the dead, but only his three closest disciples, the parents, and the girl know. Why wouldn’t Jesus want the story to be told? The answer goes back to the story of the sower. While Jesus is inside Jairus’ house, he keeps everyone else, including most of his disciples, outside. The last time we heard the word ‘outside’ is in Jesus’ explanation of the story of the sower: ‘I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders.’ Jesus uses stories to sift out the good soil from the bad, those who are responsive to his words from those who aren’t. Outsiders, those unresponsive to his words, get only stories. Both the disciples and the mourners have been unresponsive to his words: the disciples answer sarcastically when he asks who touched him; and the mourners laugh when he says the child is only sleeping. Because of that, they are left out on the exciting thing going on inside the house. Of course, they will wonder what happened when they actually see the girl alive. But they might very well explain it away by saying, “I guess she was only sleeping.” Their lack of belief in a miracle left them out of experiencing one. Sarcasm and skepticism are easy places to go when we don’t understand what God is doing, but they harden our hearts. When the disciples ask an open question of Jesus, they get more words and more of the kingdom of God. When they ask a sarcastic question, they leave themselves out in the cold.

Taking it Home:

  • For you: The woman was ill for twelve years, and had tried everything else; only Jesus could help her. Is there a long-standing problem you have, one that it’s even tempting to accept as a fact of life? Reach out and grab for Jesus. Even the hem of his garment has enough power to help you.
  • For your 6: The woman tries to take care of the problem quietly, and to stay in the crowd. When Jesus calls her out, she comes forward, but afraid that she will be rebuked for stealing a healing. Instead, she gets validation, blessing, and peace from him. Often our friends have things they want from Jesus, but they want to address them quietly. They don’t want to bother Jesus, or they’re afraid of what he thinks about them. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give them the faith to step out and allow themselves to be seen so that they can receive the full blessing Jesus has for them.
  • For our church: In the face of fear and desperate circumstances, Jairus and the woman choose faith rather than skepticism or sarcasm. Pray for that kind of overcoming faith for our church, the faith to genuinely believe in Jesus’ power even when he asks crazy things of us.