16 February 2020 The Story of Two Daughters Martin Baker
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." 24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." 29 Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" 31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, "Who touched me?' " 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." 35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader's house to say, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?" 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, "Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping." 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha cum," which means, "Little girl, get up!" 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Let us Pray….
Earlier last month we were on a short tramp and in the afternoon, the sky got darker and redder. And we kind of knew that that was caused by the bush fires in Australia.
My brother and his family who had been with us, has a house on the edge of national forest at Bendalong on the south cost, and he was ringing neighbours as the fire got closer and closer. The houses in his community survived. And then there was the emergent news of the coronavirus almost on the same day that our son got offered a job in Beijing. And the water tanks were getting lower. And someone spotted a big string ray in the surf and there was a report about all these sharks nearby. And the old car started making this grinding noise from the back.
I don’t know about you but it is not hard to build up a list of anxieties is it? I do know people I guess who don’t seem to have too many worries, but on the other hand I also know people who frequently mention to me how much worse things are becoming. Or in the tradition of a family I know well who recall a child’s voice from the back of the car saying ‘what are we going to worry about now?’ but it is not that hard to build up quite a list.
And perhaps all of us are caught in his strange tension. On one hand there are so many good things about our lives, so many blessing and yet these worries and anxieties they do creep in and can even diminish the joy and blessings of this moment.
There seems to be all these forces at work.
Mark, in our Gospel today starts off by weaving these two stories of misery and worry and fear and anxiety, he weaves them together and them sort of bounce them off each other.
We start off being told:
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.
The leader of the synagogue ‘archi synagogus’ , Jairus, he’d be a major figure in the community - wealthy faithful benefactor - and he’s in a hopeless situation. Come lay your hand on her so that he might be made well and live. The biggest anxieties many of us have perhaps somehow relate to the wellbeing of our children or the children in our lives. So this leader he sets aside, as we would probably, his reputation, his status, what other people may or may not think, and falls at Jesus' feet and begs for his help.
That’s a huge fear isn’t it – not being able to fix it, or do anything. No doubt he has been able to afford the very best medical help of his day. But there still comes this point.
So then we are told 24 so he, (Jesus,) went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
So he is on the way to see Jairus’ daughter and a large crowd is pressing on him. And then this other story emerges - this story within the story. The daughter of the synagogue leader, and then this other woman, one that later who will also be name by Jesus as daughter, touches the hem of Jesus clothes. Two daughters both in bad ways for different reasons.
25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years.
26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.
No one can be quite sure what the woman is suffering from. Most likely some gynaecological problem. But what we are sure of is the levities law, which would render her permanently unclean. Similar to a leper. There is an intentional irony here.
Remember we have two stories here. This other daughter would not have been allowed to even enter the synagogue that Jairus aas in charge of.
There is a new phrase I’ve come across called cyber chondriacs. It is this massive phenomenon now of people who spend their days searching the internet for medicines to fix the medical problem , imagines or real that they think they are suffering from.
They will self-diagnose and then on the internet as well click the online chemist who will supply the drug they need to fix their problem. There is billions involved in this industry. So when we hear today that this woman had spent all she had and was no better but rather had grown worse we are talking about an ancient and a modern fear. A drive than can be both wonderfully positive when it unties great minds in finding a cure - but also negative when it is fed by fear and manipulated by those who seek simply to grow their own fame or fortune.
As the story progresses " 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
So the two stories have these parallels: Powerlessness, fear, desperation. Two forms of uncleanliness blood and death. Two daughters.
But in our story there is one word for them both. In Greek the word is sozo. Jairus wants Jesus to sozo his daughter. Heal here. Jesus says to the bleeding women your faith has sozoken you.
The word here is translated as healed but the same word is the word used for save salvation. It is also used in the Greek Old Testament for describing God’s work of delivering the people from slavery into freedom. So just think - when we use those words salvation, we are drawing on all those ways that it is used in scripture. Deliverance out of slavery, freedom, restoration and healing. Something God does. We sometimes hear that question asked ‘are you saved?’ Let’s remember in scripture it means all these things.
As Jesus moves to the girl’s home we are told he ‘He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha cum," which means, "Little girl, get up!" 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age)
These two stories the girl and the woman, desperation, bleeding, death and faith, healing deliverance, salvation. These are the dynamics that the Gospel wants us to hear. Moving between them. This movement between fear and faith.
The gospel is talking about something many of us know is very real. Mark knows that trust in God comes hard at times. We grasp it. We lose it. We reach again. We trust—God, replenish our lack of trust.
Later on in the Gospel, if you want to know how hard faith is in Mark, we hear over a long night in Gethsemane, Jesus himself prays for escape from the inescapable (14:32-42).
We are told at three one afternoon on the cross , Jesus cries to God why have you abandoned me?
This morning Jesus takes the hand of a little girl and whispered, “Get up little girl”. And the language here reminds us that what Jesus does, is exactly what his heavenly Father would do for him at Easter. The same words, the girls is told to Egeire: “Get up!” And the same word used for the story of the resurrection. Egerthe: “He has been raised”. The father has gotten Jesus up from the grave. He has been raised. This is what God does.
We know the power of fear to manipulate and infect us. The virus spreads and a wave of racism against Chinese people spreads before it. That sense of helplessness that so easily follow the accounts for global warming. Some fears are reasonable. Others are sometimes manufactured by political leaders, power, mongers, corporations for no reason other than to secure for themselves even more wealth and control. Typically, they present themselves or the products they are selling as saviours of the populace they frighten. In this election year lets listen for this language of fear. This morning Mark redirects us to the true Saviour, who subverts fear and fortifies faith. The message today - Trust in God, not paralyzing terror.
But also to be conscious of the truth. To be aware of how our fears affect the way we see others and ourselves. Will I never be healed or saved. Is this hopeless. Is death going to be the victor here?
We all have faith in something – and today we are being told that there is only one you need to trust in all we face. The saviour Jesus who raises and has been raised by God.
Remember how the sky turned red and we saw the images of the terrible fires that were so destructive.
A month after my brother sent me this picture of blackened the tress near his house….
It is a symbol of a message we hear repeated in the Gospel: Isaiah’s wonderful words -
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid.”
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