As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading.
Today's daily reading is: Mark 5:21-43
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
It’s easy to be afraid. It takes courage to have faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” To have faith, to believe, means to have confidence. Being of strong faith is born of knowing the one in whom you trust. When you see God is trustworthy, faith grows.
That’s what we find in Mark 5:21-43. Jesus has again crossed over the Sea of Galilee, and this time he encounters a large crowd when he steps off the boat. A man named Jairus is waiting for him. He was a leader of the synagogue, a respected figure. His friends are with him. Jairus asks Jesus to come and heal his daughter. He pleads with him. The situation is dire. His girl is dying. He asks Jesus to touch her and expresses confidence that Jesus will heal her. So Jesus goes.
But while Jesus is on the way there is another person in the crowd who has heard of Jesus’ ability to heal. She appears to deeply trust in what she’s heard. She has taken a tremendous risk by coming into the community to meet Jesus. The woman, who is not named, has suffered a great deal because of a hemorrhage, or bleeding, that has been unceasing for twelve years. She had sought cures through doctors and spent all her money on health care, all to no avail. Instead of getting better, she worsened. But having heard about Jesus, she reached and touched the hem of his garment, thinking “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” So she does. Her bleeding stops. Immediately. Mark says she felt the healing take effect, and that “she was freed from her suffering.”
Something else occurs in that moment. Jesus perceives that power has gone out from him. So he turns and asks the crowd, “Who touched me?” The disciples found this absurd. Everyone was touching Jesus! But Jesus knew this was different. He wanted to know who it was and what had happened.
The woman comes forward. Jairus stood waiting nearby. Remember, his daughter was at death’s door. When the woman told what she had done she fell at Jesus’ feet and trembled with fear. She was afraid. But after hearing, Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
At that moment bad news breaks. Messengers come to tell Jairus to leave Jesus be, for his daughter is dead. But Jesus told the synagogue ruler there was nothing to fear. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus continues with Jairus, ignores the naysayers, visits the girl, touches her body, and invites her to get up. Jesus raises the little girl, who was about twelve years old, from the dead.
In this story, there is a person of status and a person of no status. There is a woman and a man, one respected as holy, another long-regarded as an outcast, an unclean person. There is one person who is in a hurry, and another who causes a delay. There is one who can approach Jesus and ask for what they need, and another who feels totally unworthy, only bold enough to touch his cloak. Both are invited to have faith, to trust Jesus. Both have reasons to doubt, to worry. Jairus worries that Jesus will let him down. The woman worries that Jesus will be offended at her presumptuousness. But Jesus assures them, telling both to continue in faith, to remain firm in their confidence in him. He restores. He heals. He raises the dead. He does the unthinkable, the impossible. That’s what he did. And that’s what he does.
Have faith, not fear. No matter your circumstances, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Holy Spirit, perfect me in love, so that I may be made free from fear and made whole in faith. Fill me today with strength, assurance, boldness, and courage, so that I might trust Jesus fully, no matter my circumstances. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.