Thursday, April 3, 2014

4/3 by Erna Hackett

Mark 5:21–43 

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Lent is a season of repentance and being laid bare in our brokenness and neediness before Jesus. Perhaps one of the most difficult areas of pain and suffering is long-term physical illness. This story in Mark reveals a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years. She has experienced the embarrassment and humiliation of seeing doctor after doctor and lost her money along the way. The illness has isolated her from her community, she would have been considered ceremonially unclean, and hence not allowed to participate in many aspects of Jewish life. It would have kept her from places of worship, she would not have been allowed into a synagogue or the temple, so she would have felt isolated from God. And this has gone on for many years. This woman has been suffering for a long time. Nothing brings us to our knees like ongoing suffering. Suffering without a promise of end is a unique type of pain.

This woman is desperate when she comes to Jesus- reaching out her hand. And she is healed. But for Jesus that is not enough. He doesn’t just want to physically heal her. He wants her emotional, spiritual, and relational world to be healed. 
He stops and takes the time to hear her whole story. 
He calls her daughter. 
He brings her out of hiding and lets the whole crowd witness her healing. He makes sure that the crowd witnesses Him calling her daughter. Everyone gets to hear His affirmation of her faith. 

For any of us persevering in physical illness, or persevering with someone who is ill, let this story be an encouragement. 

Jesus sees. 
Jesus stops and takes time to interact with us. 
Jesus knows that physical illness takes a toll on more than just the body. 
Jesus cares enough to address all the ways that we feel affected. 
And Jesus has the power to heal. 

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