Faith Column: Jesus’ miracles are profound
June 26, 2015
In the tradition of denominations, which designate set readings for set times of the year, known as the Lectionary, the reading from the Gospel according to Mark denotes the time when there was a miracle within a miracle as Jesus Christ returned to the Galilean side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had just finished casting the demons, known as Legion, out of the demoniac in the area of the Gerasenes, where they were allowed to enter into a herd of swine and subsequently were drowned in the sea. Jesus was asked to leave the area and returned to the Galilean side, where He was immensely popular.
The miracle within a miracle occurred when Jesus was asked by a leader of the synagogue named Jairus to heal his daughter who was close to death. As Jesus went with Jairus, he was mobbed by the crowds who wanted to see and hear him. A woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for 12 years had also come to see Jesus and, if possible, to touch his clothing and be healed of her infirmity. Both Jairus and the unnamed woman exhibited great faith in Jesus. Jairus came to an itinerant rabbi, fell at his feet, and repeatedly begged that his child be healed, in spite of the fact that the Pharisees and Sadducees did not acknowledge Jesus and considered him to be a threat to their way of life. Jairus publicly acknowledged Jesus, and prayed that his child would be healed by Jesus, and demonstrated faith that he believed that Jesus would heal his child. Jairus placed himself in a position of not caring about public or governmental sentiment, but placed the health of his child completely in the hands of Jesus.
The woman also was in a position of not caring about public and/or religious thought at the time, but placed her complete faith and trust in that, if she were just able to touch his garment, that her life of misery, loss of income and uncleanness would end. The woman was in a different position from Jairus in that she was considered to be unclean according to the purity codes as found in Leviticus. She should not have even been in public since anyone that she touched would also be made ritually unclean, and for a woman to approach a rabbi and talk in public was an unheard of violation of all that was considered right and just at the time. The woman was willing to give up everything, her place in society, her dignity, her family and anything else so that she would be healed of her infirmity. Her faith was absolute, complete and totally in accordance with what her desire had been, but, after she touched the hem of Jesus' cloak, better translated as tzit-tzit rather than hem, Jesus asked who had touched Him. She was found out, and she was healed, as she knew in her heart, and, although she could have attempted to flee, she acknowledged that it was she who had touched the clothing of Jesus in an attempt to be healed. Upon her affirmation of faith publicly, Jesus told her that her faith had made her well, to go in peace and be healed of her disease.
Jesus had performed a miracle while on his way to perform another miracle, all done through the faith of the woman. Jairus was then told that his daughter was dead and not to trouble the teacher any further, but Jesus insisted that they continue on. Jesus was ridiculed by the by-standers after he stated that Jairus' daughter was not dead but sleeping. Jairus' faith had not waivered in spite of the notice that his daughter was dead, and he and his wife and Jesus with a select number of disciples went in to see the body of Jairus' daughter. Jesus told the girl to get up, which she did, to the amazement of those who knew that she had been dead, and Jesus asked those present to get her something to eat. Jairus' faith, not the faith of his daughter, was what we celebrate in this second miracle.
Two miracles performed by Jesus Christ, one within another, all based upon the faith of those who knew of Jesus Christ and His power of healing. Are we prepared to publicly demonstrate and state our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ? Will we do it even if others berate us? Are we prepared to stand up and take a stand based purely upon our own faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? So many have done so before us, and I pray that each of us is prepared to make that declaration publicly and unashamedly.
Bain White is the pastor at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Craig.