Power even over death

  • Sunday 13, Year B
    Mark 5:21-43
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Generated Transcript 

Last Sunday we heard in the gospel that Jesus has authority over the wind and the waves. This little group of disciples were crossing over the Sea of Galilee in that boat, and the storm grew up and the boat was in fear of being swamped by the waves as the water came over the the front of the boat and there was Jesus asleep in at the rear of the boat – his head on a cushion – that little wonderful detail. 

We have another story at the beginning of this 5th chapter that we don’t read in our Sunday sequences, but when Jesus gets to the other side of the lake, he’s confronted by this man who was there out of his mind. He’s there, we’re told without any clothes and he’s covered in blood, because he cuts himself with his stones. He’s so filled with inner demons that have overwhelmed him. And Jesus speaks into his life to bring about release to bring about freedom. So the outside, the wind and the waves using his authority, the inside also. Jesus has authority over every demon. Every everything that afflicts us and prevents us from finding that freedom. And when the man at the end asks Jesus, begs him: Can I come with you? Can I be one of your disciples? Jesus strangely says no. He says, go tell your friends and your neighbors all of the wonders that God has done in your life. So maybe that’s part of this message for us. We get back across the lake, back to Capernaum (Kfar Nahum) and the village, the town where Jesus kind of established himself and that’s where he now has settled. It’s certainly a little village, maybe 2 or 300 people, so the fact that Jairus is described as one of the synagogue officials or another translation says that he was the president of the synagogue. It’s not a very esteemed position is only if you know a few hundred people in the town. Just a very small synagogue, but he’s still there. A man at prestige who knows the trouble that Jesus has already caused by all of the arguments, all the disputations that have happened between. 

The different groups, perhaps some of the Pharisees from Jerusalem have already begun to make their displeasure with Jesus very much felt. And so this man is putting so much of himself on the line by presenting himself, throwing himself down on his knees before Jesus and just baking, pleading for Jesus to come just to come, to be with him, to bring to lay your hands upon my little daughter. And he does, and the crowd is pressing. 

Around him as they make their way through. You know the short distance, presumably over to the officials house and along the way we get this interruption of the story as the focus of the story turns from Jairus and the crowd to this one woman who knows herself unworthy, she’s unclean because of this issue of blood in her life, but she just wants to touch the hem of his garment. That’s enough for her. 

Just to be able to reach out and to touch just the the fringe of his cloak – that is enough for her and as soon as she does, power goes out of Jesus and she is changed. He’s transformed again. Her inner healing justice the man over on the other side of the lake is cured and released from his demons. 

So also she’s cured and released from this thing that has kept her equally alienated and separated from the community. He knows that there is this power that has gone out from him. So who touched me, this question and the disciples rightly ask the question, what do you mean? 

Who touched you? Can’t you see the crowds? Not practicing social distancing? They’re all pressing in there. They’re touching the crowding around you. Everyone is touching you. Of course. How can you say? 

But he knows that this touch the touch of this woman is different. It’s a touch of faith. It’s a touch of intimacy as she reaches out her hand. 

And what is the word of Jesus to her when she finally admits yes? It was me. You’ve transformed me. 

Your faith has restored you, my daughter. Go going piece and be free from your complaint. Then they continue. The focus moves back to the journey across the village to the House of of Gyrus and they arrive at the house. Only be told that your daughter is dead. I mean just to feel the devastation. 

Of gyrus in that moment, all his hopes all of his longings. You know that sense of that this man has power to bring healing. 

And I’ve heard the stories they’ve seen the wonders that Jesus has already done. The very first got the very first chapter of this gospel tells us about the crowds of people that pressed around his door. 

And he would heal them one by one so they know he’s he has that authority over the living. He has that ability to heal, but his daughter is dead. That’s a different kettle entirely. A different realm of reality. 

And yet Jesus says, do not be afraid. Only her faith as they continue their journey. And when they arrive, the house is all the commotion. 

All of the the wailing the morning, the ritual that is part of the Jewish life you know to publicly express the grief that we’re not so good at in our society. 

You know, we keep it all bottled up and all restrained, but in that society and community the community saw its role to be there, to to publicly mourn as a way to release the family into that freedom of being able to. 

Do just to to get rid of the head up emotions to have that freedom to mourn, to cry, to, to grieve. 

But Jesus instead says while this commotion and crying, the child is not dead but asleep. 

And we’ve known in other places in the gospel he seems to to bring these two realities, sleep and death into the one which is probably a topic for another day, not not for today, and they’re offered him all of that commotion, or that the wailing and weeping. And suddenly it turns into laughter, and so. 

You see how shallow that experience kind of ease? 

Then he takes just these three closest companions, Peter, James, and John, the parents, and he goes in to be with the child and then holding it by the hand. 

All these little details that we get to remind us that this is, you know, Peter is remembering with, you know great clarity. All of the events of that day and he tells Marcus he writes down. 

These these details in his gospel and we get one of the the rare occasions where the very words of Jesus spoken in error. 

They are recorded to remind us you know. Obviously Peter was so touched by by these words, the ordinary words. 

There’s magical words, they’re not special words, they’re just the words that her father would say to his daughter in the morning when they were going around. You know, to wake up the children. Telecon. Little girl, I tell you to get up. It’s just. 

Ordinary language. And yet here it’s strange. It’s changed and transformed, taking it by the hand. He says, these or. 

Any words and she is able to get up at once. Of course, it’s the Gospel of Mark and he loves that immediately, and it’s the third time we’ve had that immediately to gets up and begins to walk about ’cause she is also 12 years old, just as the woman has had the this this bleeding for 12 years. 

So this young girl has also experienced this. This, you know the the worst of the affliction of the experience of death. 

And then the final little detail, if there’s something to eat again, that remembrance of of this precious moment when that life of her that had been lost was now changed and transformed by the power and the presence of Jesus. So he brings life. He restores hearing news, and he offers to us. 

That same possibility for the ordinary to be transformed for those moments in our lives when we just find it so hard and so difficult to believe that God is truly present, that he is the one who reaches out to saying, do not be afraid, I’m. 

We have faith, he changes the ordinary moments into these extraordinary experiences of life and grace as he transforms us. 

It’s a gospel that invites us to to journey into to place ourselves imaginatively into those scenes and to to journey with Jesus. Sometimes we will be. 

Just in the crowd doubting and wondering, and we caught up in the emotions sometimes will be one of the design. 

’cause sometimes in our sin perhaps will feel ourselves to be as dead as that as the young girl. Sometimes we’ll feel ourselves to be so overwhelmed by our issues that we’re just alienated and separated and all we can do is just to touch the hem of his garment into all those different situations. All those different scenarios Jesus invites. 

US to have faith to to allow his presence and his touch to change us into Transformers. Let’s indeed. 

The people who are caught up in the wonder of the love of God, who as we heard during the week, Jesus, when invited by the leopard to say if you if you can. 

I know you can can hear me if you want to, and Jesus says. Of course I want to be cured so he will also say the same to us. 

Of course I want to have faith be free, be back in life, be restored to the community. 

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