Mark intentionally weaves these two stories together. Jesus is approached by two people in need of his healing power. One is a figure of status and stature in the community. The other is not even give a name. One is leader in the synagogue, the center of Jewish society. The other, according to Jewish custom, is excluded from society because of her sickness. One summons Jesus to his home. The other must creep near him in secret. One is likely financially secure. The other is destitute from spending everything on medical bills.
But regardless of everything else, both are shaken to their foundations by need. We remember the haunting and humbling truth of Ash Wednesday: “you are dust, and to dust you will return.” Sickness and death find us all, regardless of wealth, wisdom, privilege, security, health, and freedom. As the psalmist puts it, “Mortals cannot abide in their pomp; they are like the animals that perish.” (Psalm 49:13). But this story reminds us that Jesus’ power, mercy, and grace have also no boundaries. He indiscriminately bestows life on all. Even death, the great boundary that we all share, is undone by his resurrection. When we pray for healing, we know that whatever happens, resurrection is our ultimate hope.
- Read Mark 5:21–43.
- Ask God for insight into the things that unite all of humankind.
- Look into the face of Jairus. Feel the despair of a parent whose child is dying. Look into the face of the woman. Feel the desperation of someone who has been sick without answers for twelve years.
- Dwell on the contrast between Jairus and the bleeding woman. Now dwell on their likeness in two things: sickness and grace. Neither can escape the effects of sin and death. Both are made whole by Jesus. Meditate on the boundless vastness of Christ’s grace. Imagine specific places and people it can reach.
- Imagine yourself bowing before Christ—even physically get on your knees—just as both Jairus and the woman did. Realize your own need for grace, and ask for whatever healing you need. Hear him respond to you, “Do not fear; only believe."
About the Author
Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC