Passage: Mark 5:21-43
Jesus asks an extraordinary question in the passage. He is surrounded by a crowd of people all jostling for position and he asks “Who touched me?”
The disciples are puzzled. “How can you ask that?” they want to know? “Look at all these people surrounding you.” But Jesus knows something has changed, power had gone out from him.
The woman who touched Jesus had been suffering for a long time. She had spent her time, money and energy on doctors but to no avail. Her condition meant that she was considered “unclean”. In fact she should probably have never been in the crowd and she should definitely not have been trying to touch Jesus. But she has reached a point of desperation. She is desperate to be healed and willing to face the consequences of risking reaching out to Jesus.
And she isn’t the only one who reaches out to Jesus in this story. The first person we hear about is Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue. We don’t know much about Jairus but we know that he had a daughter who was sick. So sick that Jairus was willing to risk his reputation by begging Jesus to help in front of a whole crowd of people.
I imagine that within the crowd of people that surrounded Jesus there will have been plenty who were sick, suffering or in need of healing. And plenty more who had relatives who needed the same. But we only hear about two people reaching out to Jesus. Two people willing to take the risk to reach out to him.
Mark tells us that as soon as the woman touched Jesus she was healed. Instantly. Immediately.
And what was Jesus’ response? Most religious teachers would have been furious that someone who was viewed as unclean had touched them, making them unclean as well.
Jesus’ response was this: “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.
And what about Jairus. His situation doesn’t seem to get any better as the story progresses. As Jesus was speaking to the woman messengers told Jairus that his daughter had died. It was too late. But Jesus’ response again is unexpected. He turns to Jairus and says “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
The passage goes on to tell us that Jesus goes to Jairus house and raises his daughter from the dead.
Two amazing stories. Two amazing stories that would not have happened if two ordinary people had not taken the risk to reach out and touch Jesus.
What kind of people do we want to be?
The kind of people who were stood in the crowd, willing to watch as Jesus passed by? Or the kind of people who would stop at nothing to reach out and touch him?
May we always be willing to take the step, standing out from the crowd and risking all to touch Jesus knowing that when we do He has the power to change everything.
This passage is a pretty long one so a great way to keep everyone engaged is to act it out. This doesn’t have to be prepared in advance, ask for volunteers for roles as you move through the passage and give them cues as the story progresses. It’s a brilliant way of encouraging participation from people of all ages and a really great way to get the story across in a fresh way.
The stations that followed this talk were: