Sermon wrestling – what do you see/hear?

This upcoming Sunday, we will be focusing on Jesus the healer and one of the scripture passages we will be using is Mark 5:25-34:

Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

The context of this passage is also very important as this event takes place in the middle of Jesus going to help a person whose daughter was dying and who actually dies before Jesus can get there, so reading the verses before and after would also be good.

But this is a strange passage.  Its not a “normal” healing story.  The woman who comes who Jesus does not speak to him, but instead treats him somewhat like a talisman in her thinking that if she just touches his robe, she’ll be healed (which does end up happening).  You also have Jesus feel power leave him as she is healed of her bleeding – what’s that about?  There’s also some contemporary senses in this in that this woman spent all she had trying to be healed, going to many physicians and she was only getting worse.

What questions come to you as you read this story?  What parts speak to you?  Confuse you?  Encourage you?  As I am wrestling with this passage, I would love to be in dialogue with others about what they experience in this passage and also in your overall experience with the healing aspect of Jesus.

Feel free to post ideas, emails, etc.

6 thoughts on “Sermon wrestling – what do you see/hear?

  1. Perhaps, in the rough economic time we are in, the idea of faith plays a significant role in our being able to cope with stress and sacrifice. Also, so many are broken, both in body and spirit. Faith is key in getting well. Most doctors agree that the healing process cannot work without the correct attitude. Maybe some of these ideas, which you probably already have thought of, can help form your sermon. We are singing, “There is a Balm in Gilead” as the anthem. This moving spiritual usually hits home right at the heart, bringing many people to tears. I will try and send you an MP3 of it to hear before the week is out. Blessings for your week. Bill

  2. I wouldn’t pretend to be able to offer any insight beyond yours but what occurred to me when we discussed this with David in our Bible Study last week was that Jesus did not intend to heal her or select her for healing but that God did.

  3. I struggle with this passage and with some of the interpretations that have come from this and other healing stories where Jesus says “Your faith has made you well”. I have walked alongside so many faithful people enduring unspeakable hardships due to physical ailments who were praying for healing and who were not healed. Of course as I type that last sentence I struggle because then I have to say that I am speaking of healing in only the physical dimension of the here and now. Some of my patients dies and so in faith I can say they are healed and whole in a way that would never be possible here on earth. Others continued to live in chronic pain and illness though we could perhaps read healing into their story as something that happens on a spiritual and emotional plane in relation to a kind of wholeness that some of us who are physically whole are too busy to achieve.
    The point remains that the prayers of the family in 2304 are no stronger or more faithful than the prayers of the family in 2306 and why in that one unit does one patient die and one family have their prayers answered exactly as they petitioned? I think of Jeff and Carin and little Ben and wonder why Ben couldn’t have been one of the ‘good’ statistics? Why are some prayers answered and some aren’t?
    Depending upon the day my answers have been ‘sheer dumb luck’, God is fickle, I have no clue and I will have to trust that the answer will be revealed to me in God’s time. Of the four answers none of them is truly satisfying to me. I continue to wrestle. What gives me comfort is that God can handle my anger, I can be honest with God and God STILL loves me and when I am tired of wrestling a peace overtakes me which is past all understanding. For that I am thankful and in those moments of peace I look for the blessings in life.
    Some of my thoughts on healing from my journey as a hospital chaplain.

  4. I struggle with feeling like I can believe this idea of physical healing but I do know that when my heart hemmorages or hurst, I can turn to Jesus and feel very healed. I know that I can give my hurt, pain and anger over and feel healed. Not always mind you but I can feel it. Not physically does it happen but it feels physical.
    By the way, I will be out of town Sunday, going to San Antonio to visit my Dad and celebrate my sister turning 50 (and me 46) so please share the final sermon with me after.
    Peace, Catherine

  5. Jesus healed the woman from just more than the disease itself. The disease was just the physical part. Along with that I would think being a social outcast, and the discouragement from the physicians the hurt in her heart was as painful as the physical. According to the Law of Moses at that time she would not have been able to go to the temple to worship or offer her sacrifice. It would seem she would feel as an outcast or “unclean” not only among her community but possibly also within her relationship with God. Jesus healed her -both inside and out and sent her in peace-something I would think she also longed for.

  6. In this verse, I am most struck by the fact that Jesus knew that someone had touched him, in the smallest way. When I think about a crowd of people, pressing in around Jesus, I am sure that he was bumped many times. What was it about this woman touching his hem that called his attention? It gives me the sense that Jesus is so in tune with what is going on that he knows when the Spirit is moving. It also says something to me about his care. That he took the moment to stop and see who needed him, even while on his way to something that (on the surface) may have seemed more urgent. What would have happened if he had made it to the house in time? Would there have been a healing?

    I also think about the woman… I kind of read that she is thinking that Jesus is so powerful that all she has to touch is his garments to be healed… he is so strong, that she does not need to be any closer to him for him to heal her. Never really thought of it as a talisman.

    As for the many physicians, that says to me that she spent time looking in the world for her cure, but her cure was not there. It is almost as if she needed to try everything before coming to Jesus. I think of someone who has searched everywhere for healing, but the world is not offering what they need. It is only when they come to Jesus that they are fed, healed, filled, nurtured, satisfied… the list goes on and on.

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