Gracefully Truthful

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
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Read His Words Before Ours!

Mark 5:25-34

25 Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years 26 had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. 27 Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. 28 For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” 29 Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

30 Immediately Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 But he was looking around to see who had done this. 33 The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”

The Original Intent

1) Who is the author of this book?

Mark, sometimes known as John Mark who later traveled with Saul-turned-Paul and Barnabas (Acts 12:25), wrote the shortest gospel record of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Mark wasn’t one of Jesus’ 12 original disciples, but his mother, a woman named Mary, hosted Jesus in her home and likely supported Him financially in His ministry. (Acts 12:12) Even though he was on the fringe of the group of Jesus’ early followers, he was very attentive to Jesus’ teachings and actions. It’s important to note that later in the apostle Peter’s letter, Mark is mentioned as closely tied with Peter as a spiritual son. (1 Peter 5:13)

Scholars believe that following Christ’s resurrection and ascension, John Mark attached himself to Peter, learning from him as the early church launched. From Peter, Mark studied and learned all the details from Jesus’ ministry which he later compiled in his book, the gospel according to Mark. 

His gospel narrative is written with the Gentile reader in mind as he skips over the historical genealogy and other aspects that would have appealed to Jewish readers. He also passes by many of Jesus’ parables, instead highlighting the servanthood and sacrifice of Jesus. In recording over half of the known miracles of Jesus, Mark was clearly purposed in showing what Jesus did more than what He verbally taught.

The Everyday Application

1) Who is the author of this book?

Why does the Gospel of Mark matter to us in the 21st century? Mark wrote for the Gentile, the non-Jew, which unlike the early church, now encompasses most of us reading this today. By focusing on how Jesus lived His life as a servant, though He was worthy of all honor and prestige, we, as His followers, glean how to be a servant in our own everyday lives.

As Christ didn’t use His status as God as a reason to sidestep the humility of humanity, neither do we have any reason whatsoever to not lavishly love and generously serve all people.

Why not take some time now to pray, asking the Lord to show you which of your neighbors He wants you to see, notice, and generously serve.

We should also note how expensive this kind of servitude generosity was to Christ, and so should be to us as well. Christ’s servant-heart prodded Him to sacrificially lay aside everything in order to love us. Are we mimicking Him in sacrificial generosity to the least and best of those around us? As followers of Jesus we have been ordained servants; let’s take up this calling with all sincerity and joy just as our Savior did! Knowing Mark wrote from a non-Jewish perspective reiterates that Jesus came to save all people. Will we love them all?

 

The Original Intent

2) Who was the woman with the illness?

In keeping with his practice of showing off Jesus as the sacrificially, generous, divine God Who put on flesh, Mark records the most detailed account we have of the dramatic exchange between Jesus and one specific woman. We don’t know her name, social status, or age, but we do know what Jesus did for her as He was moved by her faith. Whatever role this woman once held in society was immediately revoked and she earned the label “unclean” when her bleeding didn’t stop at the prescribed time. (Levitical Law) Now, along with “unclean”, she was also “outcast”. Not for a few days, a month, or even a year, but for twelve years.

Eventually, these labels defined her and shaped the painful edges of every aspect of her life as she realized this sickness, and her labels, had little likelihood of ever being removed. Most researchers assume she was mid-life, but it’s possible she encountered Jesus in her mid-20’s as menses had begun and simply never ceased. Either way, she would have rarely, if ever, left the house. If she were still of marriageable age she would’ve long given up on that idea. Perhaps she experienced a broken betrothal as a result of her bleeding. No man would want her. As an older woman, she would no longer be able to care for her husband or children.

Unclean. Outcast. No wonder she was desperately trying to find an answer anywhere she could. Because both Matthew (Matthew 9:18-26) and Luke (Luke 8:40-56) also record this account, we recognize the heavy significance this particular event was intended to carry when studying Christ and knowing the heart of God.

The Everyday Application

2) Who was the woman with the illness?

No matter the age of the woman with the issue of blood, the careful record of this woman’s encounter with Jesus leaves every reader with the clear understanding of Jesus as gentle, kind, and care-giving. He looked beyond the labels to see her, a woman carrying pain that went far deeper than physical aching. He responded to her faith as she reached out and touched His clothes (verse 28) and He restored not only her health but her soul’s identity. He knew her worth for she, like all of us, had been crafted in the image of God. His careful notice and His kind restoration spoke volumes to the pressing crowds around Him for He called her, “Daughter”. (verse 34)

The least of the least, the outcast of the outcast was seen and valued by the Christ, even amid the pressing urgency of a child on her deathbed. (verse 23) Young or old, when you have been truly desperate with any need for twelve years and God Himself looks at you and calls you His, everything changes. It’s not about health or material goods or anything else the God of the Universe could do for you as much as it’s about the restoration of how He crafted you to be His Own. 

It’s this restoration He holds out to each one of us regardless of our age, past sins, or social status. My sisters, are you hungry for a touch from this gentle God? Whether your desperation is for healing, relationship, or the aching grip of regret, shame, or loneliness, this restoration is for you. He longs to call you, to remind you, of your identity as Daughter. He’s as near as the mention of His name. He hears your desperation. He is willing to come near and call you His.

The Original Intent

3) Does God care about chronic illness and pain?

Resoundingly, yes! This story alone, wrapped with Christ’s gentle care, proves the heart of God Himself to bend tenderly toward those wracked with chronic illness. We don’t see this woman again in Scripture, but we feel her pain and utter exhaustion. She had endured twelve years of seeking answers and receiving costly “treatments” that may have worsened or been more dangerous than what plagued her originally. (verses 25-26)

While we feel her agony and despair, we cannot help but be drawn to her courageous faith. Even the outcast had heard of Jesus, perhaps especially because she was an outcast had news spread for her ears as it was clear Jesus specialized in touching the untouchables. Lepers, blindness, lameness, casting out demons, and more; Jesus engaged all types of brokenness. In hearing this news, her once-dead hope came alive and flickered into courageous faith. She knew she had nothing to lose; faith moved her into action through the crowds just close enough to touch the hem of His garment. Faith said it was all she’d need. Seeing Jesus and His entourage pressed along quickly before her, she knew it was now or never.

Can you see her? Probably hunkering low to the ground, somehow staying hidden in the crowd with all attempts to not touch anyone. Remember, her unclean label would make this move through the crowd a death wish. Fearful, shamed, but desperately clinging to faith, she moved through the mass of bodies, feet, and clamor to reach out as He passed. In an instant, as her outstretched hand brushed the fringe of Jesus’ robe, her world changed. Jesus stopped abruptly because He felt power flow from Him; enough power to heal her chronically ill body, but more importantly, to call her out of debilitating shame.

The Everyday Application

3) Does God care about chronic illness and pain?

When we think of Jesus’ healing miracles, we are quick to consider how He made the blind see, the lame walk, or even the dead live. We wouldn’t normally consider healing chronic pain or anxiety as making the big 10 of Jesus’ miracle list either then or even now.

The world was broken when Jesus lived here, as sublime creation ended in Genesis 3 when sin began destroying perfection. God knew then just as surely as He knows now there will always be trials, struggles, and physical ailments resulting from our broken world wrecked by sin, some of which are chronic.

Can God heal? Yes, He can and He does!

Does He always heal our bodies and minds on earth? No, but we can be absolutely confident He has a divine reason for not granting healing in this world or on our timetable.

Even Paul suffered from what he called a “thorn in the flesh”. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) This thorn was his own chronic illness, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, and he wondered, like any human, why God wouldn’t choose to heal him.

Does a lack of healing on earth equate to a God who neither sees our pain nor cares for our grief, infirmities, or exhaustion? No; absolutely not. 

The God who sees all, sees us and our pain. (Proverbs 15:3) The God of all comfort does indeed care for every burden. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 1 Peter 5:7) He still holds us even in the midst of our struggles (Psalm 56:8) and infinitely loves us enough to use our pain for something far greater than a temporary, earthly healing. (Romans 8:28-29)

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