Daily Devotion for Monday 5th February 2024

Monday, 5 February 2024
 
St Mark 5: 21 – 43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat  to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake.  Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.  Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years.  She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 

She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’  Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.  Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’  And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’  He looked all round to see who had done it.  But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.  He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’  He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.  When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.  When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’  And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was.  He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’  And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement.  He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Reflection

At first glance we see the contrasts in these 2 stories of healing, which Mark cleverly weaves together. There is a much-cherished young girl, and an older woman, alone and afraid. The family of the girl are desperate in their grief, the father shockingly throwing himself to the ground, putting his status aside pleading for his daughter’s life. The older woman, alone, hides herself in the crowd -she shouldn’t be out in society, yet she dares everything to get to Jesus.

Look closer and there are more similarities between these unnamed women and the way in which Jesus breaks though barriers to bring them both healing and new life.

Both women are classed as dead. The older woman has spent all her money trying cures, but the bleeding which defiles her in that society at that time has made it impossible for her to live. The young woman’s funeral has already started as Jesus arrives.

Through Jesus, both women experience the resurrection power of God. The healing they receive through faith restores them both to life. Each of them, though unnamed, receives Jesus’ full concern. It is important to Jesus to know who touched him, although it seems impossible in the crowd. Jesus legitimises the woman’s desperate act. She is afraid but he accepts her with love and affirms her faith.

The young woman is woken gently.  Jesus, disregarding the noisy mourners, and the risk of touching a corpse, thinks only of the girl, speaking to her tenderly and seeing she has food.

This is the heart of God’s love for us, that we too can be restored to life whoever we are, whatever our circumstances. The power of the resurrection can be seen today, living, working in our world. Thanks be to God for this gift beyond words.
 
Prayer

Living God,
Your life-giving love restores us.
When we need you
You break through all obstacles,
loving us as we are,
You banish fear and doubt
With a gentle touch.
Be with us today,
Amen

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Helen Everard, minister, Fleet United Reformed Church in Hampshire

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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