Sunday, November 2, 2014

A 'Tale of Two Ladies'

Reading in Mark 5 and 6 today.

The story is familiar - especially to me, which I will explain later.  I have been drawn to all the accounts in this as well as the other gospels. But in reading these chapters one after the other today, I noticed something I've never seen before.

The woman who suffered from "the issue of blood" had been afflicted 12 years - the same number of years the young girl had lived. who was to be raised from the dead.

That gave me chills.  Numbers are important in the Word, and I was sure there was something connecting these two that I had not put together yet. This is no simple coincidence.  God's Word is written by design, not some haphazard happening.

So I started meditating on these two stories to see what the Holy Spirit wanted to show me.

For as long as the little girl had been alive, this woman had been bleeding. All her money had been spent on doctors.  The Word mentions no husband or family to nurture her in her isolating sickness.  Was she a  business woman?  Women , as a rule, had no private funds. And in addition to having spent all her money, which must have been substantial to afford doctoring for 12 years, she had spent all that time being unclean.  Being unclean meant that no one could touch her or enter her house without becoming unclean because of her.  In addition, constant bleeding leaves you wobbly and weak from the blood loss.

I say this because I had periodic hemorrhages and severe pain for 21 years. The blood loss was bad enough.  It was the pain I came to fear. I was the only under-age woman in my college with a doctor's script prescribing a shot of brandy every 3or4 hours when the pain  began.  And most likely, knowing what disorders create a medical profile like this (I;m an RN) it was not only isolating, but excruciatingly painful - and it sounds like it was from endometriosis. I especially noted the place where she says, "She felt in herself that she was healed."  Power went out from Jesus, and blasted into her body, going directly to the place where the pain came from, and the bleeding stopped.  Finally.  After 12 years of agony.  Did she have any warning when the pain/bleeding would hit? Endo is notorious for irregular cycles. I know from my own experiences, I never had a clue when it would hit me.  I could be out to dinner with someone, or on a trip, didn't matter. by the end I was bleeding 3 weeks out of four. All of a sudden I would be curled up and trying to hold it together, or, if it was especially bad, I would be on my way to ER and would wind up spending the night at the hospital to get the pain under control. My last year of college I almost bled to death - I was in shock with blood going in each arm and when I moved on the guerney, a waterfall of blood splashed over to the ground. When I found this account of healing it touched my heart deeply.  I  knew this woman -  well.  It bolstered my faith enormously.

What I know for certain is, no matter how much pain she was in on this particular day, she was determined.

To enter a crowd and struggle, weak and shaky from blood loss, to catch up with this Man that folks said healed people, speaks of a finality of desperation. He could heal her.  She knew it.  All she had to do was touch the fringe of His garment.  Can't you hear her, saying this over and over and over and over to keep herself going?  "All I have to do is touch the the fringe.  I just have to get close enough to touch it, that's all.  Just a little closer...I can do this....just a little more..."

Meanwhile, Jairus, the head of the synagogue, had come and asked Jesus to heal his daughter; she was on the verge of death.  It was urgent! He must have been screaming inside - "hurry UP!!! Just hurry UP!!"

They were moving right along when, suddenly, impossibly, it happened.

After struggling and hoping and fighting to get near, she touched Him.


Power blasted thru her, a warm tingling of a fire that shot down her arm to THE spot she knew so very well. She felt in herself, it was over. And I'd be willing to bet you that Jesus replaced the blood she had lost in that moment also. The pain was gone.  The bleeding had stopped. She felt energized, her spirits lifted, SHE WAS WHOLE!

Jesus stopped in His tracks.  He turned.

And then He spoke."Who touched Me?"

His disciples shot Him a look of astonishment.

Then they looked at each other.  It seemed like a million people surrounded them, pushing, jostling, bumping.  "Who touched Me?" He's got to be kidding! EVERYBODY touched Him!

As for her, she knew she'd been caught in the act. She had stolen this healing. She, too, froze, trembling, knowing of a certainty, that if He could tell she'd stolen that power, then He could easily figure out it was her.  The crowd had grown silent, curious. No one was moving.

He asked again, "Who touched Me?" Strong. Commanding. He was dead serious.

The synagogue ruler was there, staring. Tapping his foot.  His daughter was dying!  They had no time for this!

With her heart beating out of her chest, on trembling legs she tottered forward, eyes cast downward as the men began to part, allowing her access to the Healer.  She fell to the ground in front of Him, and sobbed out her story. She expected rage, she expected Him to be indignant.

Instead, she got love.

"Your faith has saved you, My daughter, Go in peace."

And that was all.

No recriminations, no casting of stones, no sarcastic comments. Just the tenderly spoken words: "go in peace."

While all this was transpiring, Jairus was getting frantic.  His need was urgent.  His daughter was beyond sick.  She was DYING for pete's sake! Dying! We need to hurry!

At that moment, one of his servants came to him and said, "Don't bother the Master anymore. She is dead.".


 The very word was fraught with heaviness.  It was over.  His only child, his light, his life, over.

He stumbled, put his hand to his face, turned to look at Jesus, dazed, his eyes filling with the pain of grief.

Jesus speared him with a glance. "Don't be afraid.  Just believe"

And taking with Him the top three - Peter James and John -  they proceed to his house .

I find this so intriguing.

With God's fingertip-control of time, the news of her death doesn't come until after he sees Jesus heal someone, right in front of him, close up and personal.That picture is fresh in his mind.  He had just seen the miraculous power operating in Jesus.

And the key was faith. Trust. Belief.

But his daughter!   She was dead they said.  Dead.

Jairus is trying so hard.  Trying to trust. Trying to believe.

Trying not to panic and crumple, wailing aloud, to the ground.

And all he can think is, my daughter!  My daughter! My daughter!

As they arrive, they hear the loud groans and shrieks of pain from the professional mourners. Jesus says to them "she is not dead, she is sleeping."

Their "sorrow" turned to laughter and sarcasm.  They were experts in dead.  They knew what "dead" looked like.  And they had seen dead lying in a bed in this house.

Stop for a moment and think about the other apostles.  Jesus takes "His guys" and goes off to perform some kind of miracle, and he always takes Peter, James and John. He does, I'm sure, tell them what happened afterwards, but it seems none of the rest of the guys ever get a turn.

Especially Judas.

Is this one of the things that so poisoned his heart that he grabs his chance to betray with both hands?

Just a thought.

So Jesus takes mama, papa, and the three and goes into the house. He tells them again not to be afraid, and to believe. Then He walks over to her bed.

We are not told what it was that she died from.  Most diseases aside from snakebite take a long time to kill. Perhaps measles. Mumps. Chicken pox or polio, diptheria, meningitis - there were so many things that killed in their time, as in ours.

There are few things that kill quickly. So she probably hadn't eaten in awhile, probably ran a high fever, tossed and turned and perhaps her hair was still flayed all over the place.

Jesus is looking tenderly at the child His Father placed in this family,  He smoothed back some hair from her face, and gently said to her "Talitha Koumi" Little girl, I say to thee arise."

She starts to blink her eyes. Her parents gasp.  All eyes are on the face of their little girl.

Her color changes. Blue lips and white face becomes pink lips and rosy cheeks. She sits up and her family is struck dumb, frozen in place with wonder.

Peter James and John are flies on the wall - they are stunned and have let fly a few gasps themselves. Wow.  Jesus really does have power. Unimagineable power.  And they begin to ask themselves, for the 100th time, "Who is this Guy??"

Into the moment of silence Jesus says, dryly, "Soooooooo one of you guys want to feed her?"

I love His wit. It's like when He raised Lazarus.  Everyone was stunned into silence and here is a bound Lazarus hobbling out of the tomb and Jesus says"ummmm you want to untie him and let him go?"

Chaos! Bedlam!

Parents rushing to her, calling for servants - "She's alive.  Alive!!  Get her some food, some water!  Hurry!  She's well!  She is well!!"

The Word doesn't describe this moment.  But in my heart, I know that Papa fell to his knees before Jesus,  overcome with gratitude and wonder and the solace a parent's heart experiences when his worst fear has, in fact, come to bear  - and then - simply undone.

And looking into the eyes of Jesus, I see such joy, such delight in conquering that last enemy, the one that will someday be placed under His feet.

Two women.  One grown, one not so grown.

Two lives.  One little girl, seemingly lost already and in a hopeless state.  The other was a grown woman, alive, and yet everything that made life life had been lost, inch by inch, who faced only a hopeless gray expanse of time until it was all, finally, over.

And what was it that bound these two apparently unrelated miracles together?

I finally saw it.

There wasn't just one person raised from the dead that day.

There were two.