Thursday, July 10, 2014

Restoring Life in Rags or Riches

As I read my Bible, there is a one particular story that catches my attention and my heart every time. This story is found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter five. Jesus, who had just healed a demon possessed man on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, comes back across the sea and is met with a crowd. Among the crowd is a man names Jairus, who is described as a “ruler of the synagogue” or a “synagogue official.” He falls on his knees before Jesus and begs him to come and save his dying daughter. As Jesus is on his way to Jairus’ house, a woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years touches the edge of Jesus cloak and is instantly healed of her affliction. By the time Jesus makes it to Jairus’ house, the young man’s daughter had died. Jesus enters the house and with a few words, restores life to the little girl.

I know what you might be thinking; “It’s amazing that Jesus healed that woman, and brought a young girl back to life!” Yes, it is amazing, but that’s not why this story gets me. The story gets me because of the life situations at play. In Jesus’ time, the rulers of a synagogue, or the synagogue officials were persons of power and usually wealth. They were known to be well versed in the Jewish law and generally live very comfortable lives. As Jewish believers, they were also not terribly big fans of Jesus. That’s what makes this story so incredible. Jairus’ plea goes beyond religious tradition and beyond his comfortable lifestyle. We don’t see a wealthy official, we see a worried and desperate father. Wow! A father doing whatever he can to save his daughter… falling at the feet of Jesus, the healer.

What is even more amazing about this story is Jesus’ interaction with the hemorrhaging woman. In that time, if you had any sort of bleeding or affliction, you were basically kicked out of the community. You couldn’t offer sacrifices at the temple; you couldn’t practice your faith in the synagogue…you were basically left on the outside of everything until you were better. In fact you were supposed to yell, “unclean” as you travelled the streets so that nobody would come in contact with you. Anyone who did touch you would be considered unclean as well. So for the woman, touching Jesus’ robe was risky business. She risked making Jesus unclean by doing so, but knew that he was the only one who could make her well. After she is healed, Jesus stops and acknowledges that someone had touched him, and the woman confesses what she had done. He blesses her and sends her away clean, healed, and restored to life in the community. Wow…another desperate situation cleansed at the feet of Jesus.
You might be thinking, “That’s awesome, but Jesus healed a lot of people,” and you’re exactly right. But what blows my mind about this story is not the healings themselves, but rather the situations of those being healed. It didn’t matter that one was a wealthy young father and the other was a poor, out-casted woman. It didn’t matter that one had stature and title, and the other had desperation and humiliation. Jesus restored life to both, whether in rags or riches. For one it was the life of a daughter, for the other, it was being restored to the community and getting her life back. Healing was found at the feet of Jesus. That’s what we, as believers, need to remember. Regardless of our stature, social standing, titles, or wealth, healing can be found at the feet of Jesus Christ, who pays no attention to such things. All he cares about is that we believe in him, and he can restore life in rags or riches.

-Jake Houf

No comments:

Post a Comment