Jesus has revealed his loving, liberating, and life-giving identity through strategic deeds of power. Faith in Christ’s mission to bring shalom will change the world.
Last week we were left with a bit of a cliffhanger.
After Jesus calms the wind storm on the sea of Galilee the apostles are kind of like.
And the passage closes with, “who then is this, that even that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Who then is this?
This rhetorical question sets up today’s passage and, indeed, the rest of the Gospel.
In the weeks to come we will see Jesus slowly reveal who he is, what he’s come to do, and why he’s come to do it.
The calming of the storm was just an attention grabber. Jesus doesn’t want us to pay attention to these show-stopping displays of power.
He draws us in with them so that we pay attention. The true teaching, the revealing comes in much more nuanced lessons.
So now that we are at the edge of our seats, maybe we will have eyes to see and ears to listen to what Jesus is teaching.
Today we are given two central figures.
The first is Jairus, the synagogue leader. Jairus would have been a big deal in his town. Synagogues were the heart of community. He was likely a prominent social figure. The text tells us he is a big deal because it mentions him by name.
Jairus has a problem: his daughter is deathly ill. He has heard about Jesus and has full faith that this man can make is daughter well.
The second person is unnamed but she is described in much greater detail.
The unnamed woman had been suffering for a long time, twelve years. Her ailment is especially tragic. These hemorrhages were menstrual bleeding.
In that culture, one was ritually unclean while enduring this kind of bleeding. When one is ritually unclean, one is a pariah, an outcast. No one will go near you let alone touch you. So, she has been cut off from her community for these twelve years as well.
And if that weren’t bad enough she’s been to every doctor around and no one can help her. If you’ve ever had a hard to diagnose disease, you know how frustrating this can be. Remember too this is not like going to the doctor now. The text says she “suffered under many doctors.” To say, “it was more of an art than a science back then,” is putting it generously.
So, this woman who has been to many doctors, she has depleted all of her funds trying to be made well, trying be made whole, trying to be at peace with her body and her community. Shalom
After twelve years of this tormenting, we have to conclude that nearly all hope for this woman is gone.
But she has heard about Jesus and has full faith that this man can make her well. But she doesn’t know Jesus. She knows he has power but doesn’t know his character. Assuming that he would not heal her on purpose she puts herself in a position to get her blessing.
Like many weeks, we find ourselves at the edge of words because the text says, “the power had gone out from him.” I’m not sure how this works but we know that it did. The woman is instantly healed and is ready to go on with her life.
But before she can go, Jesus tracks her down. She is rightfully scared but confesses her actions. Jesus says, “daughter, your trust has made you well, go in peace.” Here, Jesus reveals his character. He is the first person to be in right relationship with the healed woman. (Shalom)
After this run in, we get back to first story.
Nearly all hope for Jairus’s daughter is gone.
By the time Jesus’ arrives, everyone assumes the daughter is dead.
They laugh at the idea of any healing taking place.
But if Christ is our hope, we shall never hope in vain.
And Jesus heals another daughter.
She is made whole.
Jairus’s family is made whole.
Jairus and the unnamed woman have very little in common. Jairus is a man about town and the woman is without a community.
Jairus has the confidence to ask for healing face to face while the woman slyly takes her healing hand to hem.
But they had few things in common. They both had problems and they both had faith they both were healed.
That’s something that we might lose track of in a time of divisiveness. Everyone has problems. And, specifically, everyone has problems that only Jesus can fix.
And through faith, Jesus will heal all.
Jesus has a heart for all of our problems. Jesus has come to make right all that is wrong. But he also has priorities. He is participating in holy triaging.
Deacon Beth and I talk about triaging all the time. You have to start somewhere.
Holy triaging is simply this: the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
That’s who Jesus is. That is the one who has power over the wind and the sea.
Even though Jairus asked first, the woman without a name is healed first.
That’s not an accident.
Jesus wants us to pay extra special attention, remember.
We are at the edge of our seat after he beats down the storm.
Jesus comes for the most desperate, first. He is bringing shalom to those whose lives are most in peril.
But he’s coming for us all.
No one in this story goes away sad.
That is our faith. That is what gives us the boldness proclaim healing for others even though we are still wounded. When we have the faith to say from the pain of our own brokenness, “ all shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”
That’s the faith that makes us well. A faith and hope in Christ’s mission. That’s a faith that can change the world. And it’s a faith the world needs now for than ever. AMEN