The Power of Faith: Reflection for Trinity 4 – 27 June 2021

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-43 (NRSV)

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Last time I wrote about the power of believing that our prayers have already been answered. If ever one passage proved my point more clearly than this, I’ve yet to find it. Two healings in a very short space of time, one where a father goes to some length to find Jesus, and the other where the patient doesn’t even feel the need to ask! Scripture is always subject to interpretation, and I know I may have this wrong; maybe Jairus just happened to hear Jesus was in the area, maybe the woman walked for days to find Him, and pushed her way through that crowd to get close enough to touch His coat? The way Mark tells the story however, always leads me to think that she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. For me, Jairus set out quite deliberately to find Jesus, maybe travelling some distance. For him of course, Jairus also risks the wrath of his fellow religious leaders, even possible expulsion from the synagogue. For the purposes of this exercise, that’s the way I will look at it, and if I have the poor woman all wrong, I hope she will forgive me!

So here’s my one question today – am I Jairus or the woman? When faced with a difficult or dangerous situation, or a friend is in need, do I deliberately set out to find Jesus? Is He my first port of call? Do I pray before doing anything else? Or do I, having tried everything else, reach out to Him in final desperation?
One thing I will say for this woman, she doesn’t feel the need to ask. Maybe her faith in His healing power is greater than I give credit for!

Revd Geoff Eales

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