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The Alienated

The Alienated



The Alienated
Mark 5:21-33

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because 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 realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around 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.”

1. The nature of the problem

At first glance, this woman’s problem seems straight forward- she has a “blood disease” in that she has a condition that causes her to continually bleed. But if we look a little deeper we can deduce all kinds of other problems. For one, there seems to be no cure. She has suffered at the hands of many doctors. For another, according to Jewish Old Testament laws of purity (Leviticus 15), any person with a bodily discard was considered unclean and no one could touch them or be around them. The cultural oral laws that governed people’s obedience to these laws in the first century required them to announce to people that they were unclean when they came around them. Imagine this woman having to walk around her community announcing “unclean!” everywhere she went and you get an idea of how terrible this disease would have been for her. She needed more than physical healing- she needed emotional healing as well.

2. The willingness to pause

The second thing to see in this passage is Jesus’ willingness to stop the crowd and to find out who touched him. They were in a great hurry- Jairus’ daughter was sick and dying and time was of the essence, and yet Jesus stopped the crowd. Jesus knew that something had to be tended to that was more urgent than getting to Jairus’ house. In our own situation, it is important to have the sensitivity to stop our busyness in order to tend to those things that have more eternal significance.

3. The depth of the healing

Finally we should notice the depth of this woman's healing. Not only was she healed physically but we can also concur that she was healed emotionally and spiritually as well. Jesus looked at her and called her “daughter”. I would imagine those words had incredible spiritual significance to her. Of all the experiences you and I could have in life, none could be more significant than for Jesus to look at us and say “daughter” or “son”! She was spiritually healed. But she was also emotionally healed. When Jesus announced to the crowd that this woman had been healed he was announcing to them that she no longer had a blood disease that made her unclean. He was in other words confirming her social acceptance back into the community within which she belonged . Jesus restores us spiritually but he also invites us into significant community that our hearts long for.

This story teaches us many significant things about our witness to others:

  • We can become so busy with the urgent that we ignore the more significant eternal and substantive events of life.
  • All of our suffering has purpose. God can turn our deepest pain into significant healing and then will use us to reach others for Him. God never wastes a pain. “He reconciles you to Himself and then gives you a ministry of reconciliation.”
  • There are people in your life right now that need physical, emotional and spiritual healing and God wants to use you to touch them.
Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think this woman was suffering besides physical disease?
  2. How does a story about a woman who has a physical condition that can’t be healed by many doctors resonate with you personally? Can you think of emotions she must have felt that are not addressed in this story?
  3. What does it say about this woman’s faith that she was so determined just to touch Jesus?
  4. Why do you believe Jesus stopped the crowd?
  5. What did Jesus do that helped heal this woman emotionally? What does this say about our need for ministering to people’s emotional needs?k
  6. Why was it important that this woman be reconciled to her community?
  7. What does this story teach us about our personal witness?

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