Sermon, Pentecost 6B, Sunday July 1, 2018
21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round 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.
A large crowd followed and pressed round 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 realised that power had gone out from him. He turned round 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?”’
32 But 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.’
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[a] 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.
Twelve years is a long time.
- It’s the time between beginning grade 1 and being ready to break into the world as an adult at year 12.
- It is the time between being a team at their peak and then at their worst and then at their peak again.
- It is the time from when your marriage began in wonderfully free bliss to coping with the challenges of life that test you both.
- It’s the time it takes to start a business venture and know you are going to be OK, or not.
- It’s the time between learning your craft and practicing it with skill for the life ahead.
It is a long time to bleed. Constantly bleed. Nothing can stop it. Money all spent. Pain endured by quack treatments. Isolation from family, society and church. Beyond all available help. Always alone. Always on the outside of everything and everybody…..
Can you imagine that unnamed woman?
“No one knows what it’s like to be me. No one knows what I’ve been through. No one knows the shame. It’s the blood. Not like the rest. Not every month or so. All the time. All the time! And you know what that means! Yes it means unclean, unclean. No big deal if its just once a month for a few days. That passes. But I’m different. I am the difference walking around; walking around bloody, unclean, unclean! No church, no markets, no easy family gatherings”.
Systems to constantly managing my disease every waking moment. Relentless attention to it that wears you down and takes over your whole day every day. No relationship. No love. Just self-survival.
But she has heard about him; this Jewish rabbi. He heals people. He’s the magic man, the miracle man. “Maybe this is my chance. Maybe if I get close enough and just touch the little tassels on his coat that hand low to the ground his magic will rub off on me”. Anything is worth a try.
“But no one can know. The pain of the shame would be too much. I need magic without relationship. I need what I need on my terms”. I need what he can give me not who he is for me.
“But should I touch him? The pain of stretching. Pushing my way through. Touching. Touching just his dangling tassel on his cloak. No one will know. No one needs to know”.
“I’m driven. I’m, begging. I’m desperate. I am beyond my limits and my disease is way beyond what I or anyone can achieve”.
“Touch his tassel! Touch his tassel. Push through reach out, get in close behind and touch his tassel, just lightly, just enough; no one will see. Here I go, get out of the road, yes I’ve made it, got it; no I didn’t pull it; just touched it. No one saw me. It was like I was reaching out for my life”.
“Something happened. Instant relief. I knew that my body was different. My body still shudders as I think about it. The magic worked. Healing magic came my way”.
“But, then the worst thing that I feared would happen did. He knew. And then they knew. Then everyone knew. He got mad: ‘Who touched?!’ he cried. I squirmed. I’d stirred up that angry God out of reach but now coming to get me for my sneaky behaviour.
She’s like a kid who has stolen a Mars bar from Foodland being caught in the mall for all to see.
The disciples cannot believe the question he asks. “Who touched me?” Are you kidding?! “They all touched you! They are pressing in on you like some rock star and we are the body guards fending of the swelling and desperate crowd!”
She could have melted into the sand when he stopped and turned around and started asking, who did it – who touched me?
“Yes, who touched him? Asks Jairus, the desperate dad. Who slowed us down from where we are going. We are on our way to my daughter who is facing death itself. We don’t have time for this”.
The disciples agree. “We are on the way to respond to someone who counts – a leader in this community. We just saw Jairus do the unthinkable. He of all people, got down on his knees in the sand and pleaded with the teacher to come quickly to his house because his twelve-year old girl is really touch and go”.
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
Why is that? Why did he stop and try and find this woman?
She could not keep the secret anymore. Now, she is the one grovelling in the sand at his feet.
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.
She tells ‘the whole truth and nothing but the truth’. She is like that kid in the mall just blurting out that he did indeed steal the Mars bar.
She is defenceless before this seething group of bearded men and a Jewish Rabbi. They and he can cut he down to size in a word. He could increase the shame, continue the abuse, and keep up this cursed life she has been living…..
And then something wonderful happens that completes the picture, shifts their universe, shows there is another universe at work in theirs. His next word turns the magic into a person – a real person with real intent changing the whole person and not just doing a bit of ‘faith healing’ or superstitious magic.
34 He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’
“Daughter”. One word: new world. One name: new person. One voice: new human being. In his word she goes from unnamed, ashamed and unclean to fully known, highly esteemed and pure.
From no place: now given the keys to family home.
No love: now all loves excelling.
No community: to divine Father-daughter relationship with all the other sons and daughters of God.
From curse to forgiveness, from twelve years a suffering slave to all years and more a free-wheeling daughter of the King of kings.
This is why he had to know who it was that touched him. This is why he puts the other task on hold to find her. To change her magic view to a loving God encounter. He has to speak to do this.
He has to name her to love her and not just fix her. He wonderfully names her in the highest. He shows it by not just healing her physically but resurrecting her whole person.
He names you then and now. He named you, “Son”, “Daughter” of the heavenly Father at the font. One word: new world. One name: new person. One voice: new human being. In his word you have been moved from unnamed to fully named by God; from having no place: now given the keys to family home. No love: now all loves excelling.
His healing is love not magic. His healing is not done by hokus pokus or achieved by our right prayer or knowing the secret formula or being squeaky clean. His healing is HIS healing FOR us and he gives it on our knees in the sand. And his healing is complete.
He will stop on another dusty road soon and be forced to give up his body of bloody scars and reach the full depth of death, disease and suffering – and all for us.
Because he stops there and goes there where we cannot, his love is personal and human and real. His forgiveness is not just legal theory but transforming healing of body, mind and soul – whether we are physically healed at any point or not. His love remains, our status as sons and daughters remains, unwell, disabled, mentally scared, emotionally broken – sons and daughters of the inheritance of hope – always.
His healing is not just about fixing my problems but loving me in total. Indeed, whether the healing is physical or not is not the greatest thing here. It is that other word he bestows on her as he moves on to raise another 12 year old female.
“Shalom”. Now there is a word. “Complete divine wellness and acceptance to you”.
Take this daughter, the young daughter and Jairus courage today. Jesus calls it faith even if it is a bit misdirected or not fully understood. He calls you to take courage to reach out to him and touch him. He calls that faith.
‘Daughter, Son, whoever you are and whoever you think you are or what they say you are, ‘Talitha koum! Arise today. Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’
Use S.O.A.P to reflect on this text…
Scripture – hear it aloud and slowly….
Observation – what do you observe/ what do you learn, what questions do you have…
Application – where are you in this and what is the Word giving you, calling you into..
Prayer – what prayers of thanks, asking, interceding for others do you feel prompted to pray……