Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mark 5 -- Three Helings

Jesus has just journeyed across the lake and before his feet were even on solid ground he is confronted with a man who is demon possessed. The initial response of the demon was to leave them alone, and to not send them to some distant place. So Jesus gives them permission to go into a herd of pigs. The man delivered was beyond grateful and was ready to follow Jesus wherever he went. The people of the region, who had been tormented by this man possessed, wanted Jesus to leave right away. In response to the gracious work of God, the people were afraid and wanted Jesus to leave them alone. Their response is much like the demons before Jesus sends them into the pigs.

The second encounter is an interruption on Jesus way to heal a little girl. The women with bleeding for 12 years didn't want any of Jesus time, didn't want to slow him down. All she wanted was to tough his clothes. Her faith and desperation were so great, this was a last effort attempt, she knew all she needed to do was touch the clothes of Jesus and she would be made well. She got much more than she bargained for. Not only was she healed, secondary in my opinion, but she was restored through relationship. This woman would have been an outcast in here village due to her gender and the bleeding issue. Jesus didn't want or need to change her gender, but he did remove the bleeding, but restoration through relationship was the greater healing. Jesus stopped the crowd, found her and established relationship with her. Everyone in the crowd knew Jesus as at least a Teacher or Rabbi. This status to the masses gave him a place of respect and prominence. If Jesus took time to be in relationship, the whole community could, and should.

The final encounter is with the daughter of the a synagogue leader. This is one of only a few instances where a leader in the religious structure of the day seeks after Jesus for a miracle. On his way to help Jesus is slowed by the women with the bleeding. Word then comes the girl has died, not need to bother the teacher. Jesus goes anyway, because the girl is not dead. I cannot even begin to imagine the ridicule Jesus faced when he said the girl is not dead. It is pretty obvious when someone is dead. The account ends with a 12 year old girl getting lunch, and her parents being told not to tell anyone how it all happened.

Three accounts of Jesus healing, three very different responses. I wonder how each of us responds to the ways we receive healing? Are some ready to follow Jesus anywhere, only to have those around us push Jesus away. Are some restored to relationship by the work of Christ. Are others told the impossible only to see it happen right in front of their eyes. I think God is still at work through the Holy Spirit. I also think we fail to recognize the work of God in the small things and therefore have no ability to see God work in the big things. I wonder if all too often we get word the girl is dead, and we do not allow Jesus to press on and bring life where death was believed to have taken hold.

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