5th Sunday after Pentecost – B (Proper 8) LSB #’s 702, 552, 684
Text – Mark 5:34 & 36
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, & be healed of your disease.” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
FAITH FINDS HEALING
There are many ways in which life is like a scavenger hunt! You have just spent four or five years full-time in college, & more years if attending part-time. Along the way you’ve had plenty of occasions to wonder if you were on the right path.
You’ve finally graduated with a degree & now you’re searching for that full-time job. You’ve had numerous interviews but are still waiting for an offer. Finding meaningful employment, even when everyone is hiring, can be something like a scavenger hunt. There are so many opportunities to question if you are looking in the right places.
The diagnosis is in & now you’re on a scavenger hunt trying to discover the best treatment. You’re having to learn a whole new vocabulary of words that come out of the Latin language. There are new doctors, new treatment locations & new medicines to take, all of which you are extremely unfamiliar with. It’s like a scavenger hunt with your life on the line.
The woman in the Gospel reading knows our troubles all too well. Her situation tugs at the heart – “bleeding”, “suffered”, “spent all”, “no better”, “grew worse.” For 12 years she has suffered one blow after another in a scavenger hunt that’s revealed nothing but failed results. To top it off, she’s considered unclean & has been shunned & cut off from her community.
And before she shows up, a ruler of a synagogue had just found Jesus & pleaded the case of his daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus is on His way to heal her when the woman with the bleeding interrupted Him. During the delay someone came from the ruler’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Mark 5:35b-c ESV) Jairus had been on a scavenger hunt to find healing for his daughter & he found it. Then it was taken from him. Knowing the temptation that would be crushing in upon Jairus, Jesus gives him another clue in this hunt for healing, “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5:36 ESV) Then Jesus travels to house of Jairus & raises his daughter from the dead.
The woman who’d been bleeding for 12 years heard of the miracle worker & thought, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” (Mark 5:28 ESV) With nothing left but faith in God, the unclean outcast moves toward Jesus. She touches Him & then realizes the effect of sin had been reversed in body & soul. Faith had found healing & salvation! How about you?
Jairus had sought Him out & fell at the feet of Jesus, imploring Him earnestly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come & lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well & live.” (Mark 5:23 ESV) He has faith that just the touch of Jesus will heal his daughter, but will his faith believe that Jesus can heal her once she is dead?
“Taking her by the hand [Jesus] said to her, ‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ And immediately the girl got up & began walking…” (Mark 5:41-42 ESV) Jairus & the bleeding woman offer us real, tangible images of faith that finds healing. Jesus demonstrates that He is the Lord of creation who had come to restore that creation.
These healings from the effects of sin are demonstrations of what the Last Day will be like as the multitudes of believers are made whole or raised from the dead to wholeness. Then, there will be no more scavenger hunts to search for the path to our future. For all of eternity no one there will lack anything, not ever!
Until then, the Spirit of God creates & sustains faith in us that we might find healing each & every day. It’s something we need every day in this life, because the effects of sin are constantly dragging us down. If we forget that, we easily end up looking, in all the wrong places, for what we need in this life. If we forget that God is working with a long-term view we end up trying to find a quick fix to our struggles. That skews how we approach the scavenger hunt of life. In a scavenger hunt, you need to have faith that the person setting it up is being honest & has your best interests at heart. Otherwise, you can end up on a wild goose chase.
That’s what Satan does to us. He leads us on a wild goose chase that takes us nowhere at best, & takes us to destruction at worst. Faith in Jesus, however, does not simply find healing of the body, but also, most importantly, healing of the soul. He has our eternal best interests at heart, & if the soul is healed then the body will be also.
Neither the bleeding woman, nor Jairus, could see with their eyes the healing that Jesus would grant them, but they believed in it anyway. The Book of Hebrews defines the faith they had as this, “Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for & the certainty of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)
In this life, we can’t see it with our eyes, but when Jesus heals it is not simply our body, but we are rescued from sin, from death, from the forces of evil & from all that is wrong & from all that is broken in our world. We know this by faith & not by sight. Faith does find healing even if you cannot see it. And that is the difficulty of living the Christian life.
When the bleeding woman was healed & when the daughter was raised from the dead, it wasn’t difficult for them to believe. They felt it in their bodies in a way that you & I will feel it in our bodies at the resurrection from the dead. The healing of these women was a foretaste of that for them. These events are recorded in Scripture to show us that faith finds healing.
Meanwhile, our lives often seem to be hanging by a thread – another way of saying, “We are living by faith.” We face great challenges & our prospects are often bleak, but we believe. That is why we continue to gather together. That is why we continue to tune in to the promises of Jesus & hang on to those promises – even when it is only by a thread. Our Creator & Savior has promised healing – if not for this temporary life, then perfect healing for the eternal life. He has promised our resurrection just as He raised Jairus’ daughter & as He Himself rose on Easter morning.
We were dead in our sins & unclean before God. While our culture does not readily acknowledge it, nonetheless before God we are unclean. Our misery often manifests itself in an outlook of helplessness & hopelessness. At Baptism God moves to change all of that. By the touch of water & word, our outcome changes, we are freed from bondage & made His children.
This is done without merit or worthiness in us, but purely out of God’s divine goodness & mercy. Christ’s rendezvous with these two women is a powerful illustration of how God touches everyday lives, no matter how bad things may be. It is faith alone that sees past death, empowering us to continue living even when all seems lost & hopeless.
Sin & death are still the greatest problem that human beings have. Jesus remains our only solution. Faith finds healing & faith finds Jesus. Continue to hang on to Him, especially when life seems like a scavenger hunt. Cling to Him with confidence. Cry out to Him for help, trusting that He has already come, & He will come again.
When life seems like a scavenger hunt, & you’re not at sure which way to go, know that our Creator is good & He will guide & direct you even at times without your knowing it. As St. Paul wrote, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV)
With faith in that promise, the thread by which we hang will be enough, & there will come a day when you know that with all certainty just as the two women who were healed in the Gospel reading. Faith does indeed find healing. Amen.
O Christ, who shared our mortal life & ended death’s long reign, Who healed the sick & raised the dead & bore our grief & pain: We know our years on earth are few, that death is always near. Come now to us, O Lord of Life; bring hope that conquers fear! A ruler proud but bent by grief knelt down before Your feet: “My precious daughter’s gripped by death! Come now & death defeat!” A multitude had gathered round to hear the truth you taught, but, leaving them, You turned to help a father sore distraught. Death’s power holds us still in thrall & bears us toward the tomb. Death’s darkening cloud hangs like a pall that threatens earth with doom. But You have broken death’s embrace & torn away its sting. Restore to life our mortal race! Raise us, O Risen King! Amen. LSB 552:1, 5, 4.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet