‘Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ (Mark 5:36)
Our God is all-loving and all-powerful, and has promised to be with us at all times. There is nothing he cannot overcome. Father, help us find peace in you whatever we face today.
Three Course Meal
Reading: Mark 5:28-36
28 …she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned round in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’
31 ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”’
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.’
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’
36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’
Thought: At times throughout history, the church has become obsessed with relics and the belief that remains of old saints, or the true cross or scraps from the clothing from significant people of faith can bring healing. This has inevitably led to a market for such objects and the circulation of frauds. The Reformation sought to get rid of this belief, seeing it as superstition, rather than truth, and yet here in this story Jesus’ clothes seem to have healing power! What is going on?
Jesus response to the woman helps. He does not credit her healing to the power of his clothes. For a start he feels power go out of him, not his garments, but more tellingly he says that it is her faith that has healed her. The relationship between faith and well-being is a complicated one. The Bible describes Jesus healing people because of their faith, like this woman, or the faith of their friends, like the cripple lowered through the roof, or family members, like Jairus’ here. But having faith doesn’t guarantee healing, for example Paul wrote of a thorn in his flesh which prayer wouldn’t remove. This is believed to be some sort of physical ailment. He was told that God’s grace would suffice for him. Timothy seems to suffer from some ailment for which Paul recommends a little wine! Two men of faith, but no healing. Perhaps it is more accurately to say that it is God that heals, not our faith, but faith, however, in some way opens us to the potential of his healing.
The great truth is that God loves us and the world in which we live in, and has a plan to bring healing to all of it – that is what salvation is! These healings are foretastes of what is to come. Whether he heals or not when we pray, and there is no doubt that he can, we are safe in his hands for he is both all-loving and all-powerful.
Prayer: Thank you Father for your promise to make all things new. Help me to have the faith to believe this and find peace in this promise, and your love and power which drives it. Take a moment to pray for those you know who are ill.