A Sick Woman and a Dying Girl:An example of the Compassion of Jesus


Mark  records the narrative of two healings in Mark 5:21-43 and at the same time shows how Jesus brought his healing power to the needy.  It also shows that Jesus was full of compassion, but at the same time he would not be hurried by others. He listened to what his Father showed him and was obedient to that voice. We see in the account of these healings that he treats each person as an individual and therefore one cannot reduce what Jesus does to a neat formula. In both cases he encourages the faith of the one who has come to him.

   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.

We see here how Jairus believed that Jesus could bring healing to his daughter and yet we cannot but help notice his desperation, he obviously loved his daughter and wanted to see her healed. He certainly made his desperation known to Jesus as he pleads with Jesus to come with him so that his daughter can be healed. His only hope was that Jesus could bring  his healing power to bear on the situation. Jesus was quick to respond to the pleading of Jairus, but a large crowd hindered their progress.

   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?’ ”
32But 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.”
(Mark 5:24–34).

In this large crowd was a sick woman, she had been bleeding for twelve years and although she had tried all the remedies then known nothing did her any good. Her money was gone because she had spent it all on doctors bills. More importantly she was not only sick but she was considered to be unclean by the law of Moses and this would have made her an outcast in society. This poor woman had been suffering in a very real way for the past 12 years and she was desperate to get help, but she was also fearful that she would not receive it. She realised that Jesus could heal her, but she had not the courage to go and ask him to heal her. In those days it was thought that if you could touch a holy man’s clothes, you could get healed. Her belief in Jesus was distorted by this idea of magical transference. this is why Jesus wanted to speak to her, he wanted to show to her that it was not by magic that she was healed but rather by the will of God. God had honoured her faith but she needed to understand that her faith was to be in a person. Jesus calls her by enquiring gently who had touched him. At this point we see the disciples impatience with Jesus, all they wanted to do is get to the home of Jairus. They saw all the people around Jesus and basically accused Jesus of asking a silly question. Jesus was not put off by the disciples he was determined to minister to the person who had been healed. He knew that this person need to be assured that it was by faith they had been healed and not by magic. Jesus dealt gently with this fearful lady and inspired her continued trust in him, he had assured her that this was not just a temporary relief, but a healing that would last.

During the time that Jesus was ministering to this needy lady, Jairus daughter was  getting weaker and weaker and eventually she died.

   35       While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36       Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37       He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38   When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39    He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41       He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42       Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43       He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
(Mark 5:35–43).

Jairus received the message that his daughter had died and his friend advised him not to bother Jesus anymore, but Jesus had very different ideas and he told Jairus that he need only believe, in the original this is in the present imperative sense, which means that Jesus told him to believe and continue to believe. It must have been hard for Jairus to believe in the light of all the evidence, yet somehow he did. The presence and confidence of Jesus must have inspired him to believe and he was soon to see that his faith was not misplaced. The mourners were all ready gathered and wailing and the words of Jesus seemed like nonsense to them, sop Jesus had to have them put out of the house. After that had been done Jesus the little girl’s parents and some disciple went into the room where she lay, and then Jesus simply takes the girl by the hand and tells her to get up and she responds to his voice and he is able to restore the daughter to her grateful parents. But notice this is not the end of the matter,Jesus realises that after the ordeal the girl has gone through she will be in need of food and he tells the parents to get her something to eat. This is just goes to show that Jesus is concerned about all the little details of life, he does not just come in and do some grand thing and then leave but rather he shows his compassion in the little things as well.

This passage tells us that Jesus was willing to heal when faith was not strong, his interest is not in the amount of faith,but rather that is placed in him. He desires a relationship with people,but he does not demand of us a level of faith we cannot produce, rather he honours the faith we place in him. The important person in the healing ministry is Jesus Christ himself and not the level of faith we have in him. Sometimes we worry about the level of our faith when we need to be reminded that it is the person that we put our faith in is the most important factor. If Jesus is truly at the centre we can not go wrong and we know that he will do what is best even if he keeps us waiting as he did in the case of Jairus. The Lord Jesus is full of grace and truth so lets come to him and bring to him all our problems knowing that he we deal with us graciously.

About pneumaandlogos

David Rollings was born in Luton in1949 and raised by my Christian parents in the Gospel Standard Strict Baptist denomination( Hyper-Calvinistic} in the sixties I rebelled against this background and got involved in left-wing politics. I became a Christian in 1969 and soon started reading Francis Schaeffer's books and came to embrace a Christian Worldview. I had the privilege of being on the staff of L'Abti Fellowship from1975 - 1979. After L'abri I studied at London School of Theology where I gained my BA.(1983) A few years later I studied for my MA by distance learning with The Nazarene Theological College Manchester (1999) For the last 22 years, I have been an elder of Shoreham-by-Sea Baptist Church. I also regularly attend the Christian Doctrine Study Group of the Tyndale Fellowship.
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