Jesus Heals in Many Ways
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 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.” 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 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?” 36 But overhearingwhat they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 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. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
This past week I saw Christ at work in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Our youth group was on a mission trip. And we focused most of the week on a community called Allison Hill, the most densely packed neighborhood in Pennsylvania. We partnered with local nonprofits and ministries and churches, and most of all, people who live and love the neighborhood of Allison Hill.
We were there only a few days. But in that short week, we saw God at work bringing healing across this community. We saw vacant lots filled with 5 feet of trash being cleared out so someone could move into that property. We saw needles getting cleared off sidewalks and streets. We rows and rows of new housing going up right before our eyes We saw a community park get cleared of weeds and trash, so that people could once again walk and play and gather together. We saw music and barbecue and games bring neighbors together in singing and dancing. We heard about the murder rate going down from about 60 a year to 0 this year. We tasted tacos at new restaurants sprouting up. We saw missionaries come here not to save this city, but to learn and grow from it. We saw children being surrouned by love and faith. We saw artwork and murals that spoke of pain, but also incredible hope and pride.
But maybe the way I saw healing the most in this community was in the lives of people who were serving there. Some are from the neighborhood. Some are from close by. Some have come from very far away. But one by one they spoke of what has led them to live and love Allsion Hill. And it was the chance to be real neighbors. It was the opoortunity to use their gifts in various ways of cleaning, teaching, ministering, gardening, building, and simply loving each other, and knowing they aren’t alone. In Allsion Hill people were finding more and more about who God made them to be. And while it included hard work and sacrifice, you could also see it included great big smiles, huge hearts, and tons of pride of who they are and what their community is quickly becoming.
God’s healing Allison Hill come in many, many forms. And that is the way God has always worked.
In our reading from Mark, Christ offers two healings in two very different people in two very different ways. One is slow. It includes patience, more than I have just reading it. It is for a Temple leader and private and amazing. It includes a risk on the part of her father, but the girl being healed is unable to make any step herself. She is dying, and all she can do is hope that the people around her will act.
The second is a woman who doesn’t have people around her. She is a woman seen as unclean, as outcast because of her bleeding. And while the first takes patience, this one takes reaching out with faith in the one small window she has. It is her rushing forward in public, not concerned of what is proper that brings her healing.
So often, we think that healing looks one particular way. But in the gospels, Jesus doesn’t make people fit themselves to a certain type before healing them. Instead, he fits the healing to the person. To those who can’t act on their own yet, like this young daughter, he offers healing completely for free, saying, “Daughter, arise.” To those like Jairus who are powerful, he brings healing through patience and humility. To those who have been outcast like this bleeding woman, he brings healing by showing her the value of her faith and own actions. He uses words that show her worth, like, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Because at the heart of every one of Jesus’ healings is care for the person. It is not healing the disease, but healing the child of God. In this passage and throughout much of Mark’s gospel the word for healing is “sozo.” It also can be translated as “to save” or “to be made well.” The New testament scholar Eugene Boring describes “sozo” as a rich word meaning deliverance from powers of evil and into authentic full life. That;’s what Christ wants to offer. And as Jesus knows that we are all different, he knows too that the way he heals is going to be different too.
For some in Allsion Hill this week, the healing was receiving a gift: of food, of housing, of a cleaner street, of a new garden. For some it was singing and dancing. For some it was watching children. For some it was digging and planting. For some it was telling their testimony. For some it was plunging their whole lives into God’s grace. For some it was saying to God, “Here I am. Lord, use me.” While I saw healing in others this week, I also saw it in myself. I saw God inviting me to use my hands, and my feet. But I also heard God saying to me, “See all these other people. I am using them to. Relax Alex and just enjoy this moment, this week, this calling, this life you have been given.”
For all of us here today, these words from Mark tell us that God’s healing is for you. Sometimes it is slow. Sometimes it is fast. Sometimes it comes in ways we don’t ask for. Sometimes it takes a lot of faith. Sometimes it comes before we have any of it in ourselves. Sometimes we are witnesses from the outside. And sometimes we get to be in the instruments God uses. I invite you this week to reread this passage from Mark. And find your place in it. Find your part of the story. How is God healing you?
How is God showing you new life?
And as you do, I invite you to remember that just like these two females, you too are called daughter and son. You too are a child of God. You too are someone God sees as more than any disease, more than any plight, more than any status or role. You too are worth God’s salvation, whatever form it takes in your life. Amen.