“TWO HEALINGS” Pente 5 (Ord 13) 2021 Year B Mark 5:21-43
In today’s Gospel we have an account of two miracles; the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage and the healing of daughter of Jairus.
Both miracles are signs of God’s will to give wholeness and healing in life.
In New Testament Greek “Salvation” or the Greek word “Soter” is most commonly translated as healing or restoration to wholeness.
The inclusion of the story of the raising up of the little girl is possibly the gospel writers attempt at the foreshadowing the gift of eternal life to all who believe, to all who have faith.
A desperate woman came to Jesus, “sneakily”. She was hidden among the crowd who was pressed in around Jesus. We are not told exactly what it was but for 12 years this poor woman had suffered from either hemorrhoids or from menstrual bleeding.
The gospel reading tells us that she had suffered from many painful and fruitless treatments at the hands of various physicians.
The Torah or Law of the OT clearly established that a menstruating woman during her issue, was to remain in social isolation; to be regarded as unclean, contagious, diseased, or cursed.
In the Hebrew scripture the copious “laws of niddah” related to uncleanliness and menstruation and set out “fences”, boundaries, rules of isolation and quarantine.
It had cost this poor woman dearly in terms of her social rejection; of being cut off from markets, synagogue, temple, faith, family, friends and community.
We are told that it had cost her every penny she had, and that she had exhausted all human possibilities of healing.
Then she heard about Jesus. She believed that if only she could touch the hem of his garment she would be well.
We need to remember that Jesus was a Jew obedient to the Jewish rules and practices and that he would have worn an undergarment a bit like a singlet with four tassels. One at each corner, back and front.
The Greek word for tassel is kraspedon. The woman took hold of the tassel, the kraspedon of Jesus’ garment. They are a reminder to the Jewish people of the commandments God gave them. A reminder of God’s grace and favour. She reached out for God’s grace and favour.
(In those days it was believed that you could be healed just by touching the clothes of a holy person.)
She showed great determination in getting through the crowd.
She knew that she should not be there.
She knew that she was breaking the law,
She knew that she was diseased and was not supposed to mix with others. (Shades of COVID)
However, she wasn’t seeking an encounter with Jesus. She wasn’t looking to establish a relationship. Rather what she was looking for was what we might call a ‘quick fix healing’.
We have all done the ‘quick-fix’ – think of those occasions when in the interest of time you have rushed the doctor’s visit – giving him your own diagnosis and telling him that all you want is a prescription to go.
Why did this woman opt for the ‘quick fix’?
Why did she ‘sneakily’ approach Jesus like a common pickpocket – seeking to steal a cure from this holy man?
Perhaps it was because she knew that she had no right to be there. After all she was a woman! And she was a woman with a disease who should not have been mixing with others, who didn’t want to be caught out and punished for breaking the law.
Maybe just like us, maybe there was a part of her that shied away from a personal encounter with Jesus?
Anyway we know the story; the woman’s faith was rewarded. She got her “quick fix” her cure.
However, just as she was about to slink off into the anonymity of the crowd, Jesus sought her out.
He knew that power had gone out from him, and he wasn’t going to let he sneak away. He insisted on having a face-to-face encounter with her.
He knew she needed not just physical healing, but a spiritual healing too.
In her years of sickness this woman of faith had been cut off and alienated from God.
So Jesus met her, and in this encounter we see his compassion, sensitivity and courtesy towards the woman.
He did not scold her for her ‘reprehensible’ conduct, of rendering him ritually unclean as according to the law.
Instead, he commended her faith. And Jesus spoke such lovely and compassionate words to her: ‘My daughter, your faith has restored you to wholeness; go in peace and be free of your complaint”.
In saying to her, ‘Your faith has made you well,’ Jesus was telling her that her faith in God had played an important part in her own healing.
He affirmed the importance of the woman’s faith.
Jesus gave to this woman who had spent years in social exile the assurance that she was now healed.
These words would have given her such comfort and assurance after so many years of spiritual segregation and isolation; so many years as a social outcast.
If you have you ever felt spiritually isolated, cut off from God and cut off from family and friends and yet have kept your faith, then this story is for you. This story is about you! This is your story!
Jesus says; “Your faith has restored you to wholeness; go in peace and be free of your dis-ease”.