Devotional Message: The 6th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 8B (7/1/2018)

Lessons

Lamentations 3:22-33
or Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Psalm 30
2nd Corinthians 8:7-15
St. Mark 5:21-43

Semicontinuous Series

2nd Samuel 1:1, 17-27
Psalm 130

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and merciful God, we implore you to hear the prayers of your people. Be our strong defense against all harm and danger, that we may live and grow in faith and hope, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Text for This Sunday

5:21 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 hemorrhages 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 hemorrhage 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.

St. Mark 5:21-43, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Message: “I Believe that It Would Make Me Whole”

There is an old bluegrass standard that I enjoy singing. It was recorded by Merle Travis in 1947, The Byrds in 1968 and Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys in 1989. But it goes a good ways farther back than that. It was printed in The Southern Zion's Songster in 1864, and in Hymns For the Camp in 1862.

As I go down to that river Jordan
Just to bathe my weary soul
If I could touch but just the hem of his garment, good Lord
I believe that it would make me whole
I am a pilgrim and a stranger, traveling through this wearisome land
I’ve got a home in that yonder city, good Lord, and it’s not made by hand

Every time I hear this song I think of Jairus, his daughter and the suffering woman in this week’s Gospel lesson. Jesus has just returned from his trip to the country of the Gerasenes when he is approached by Jairus, a respected leader of the local synagogue. He begs Jesus to come and lay his hands on his sick daughter so that she might be made well. As he walks through the great crowd, on his way to the home of Jairus, an unknown woman touches his cloak because, as St. Mark reports, she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ And when she admits to Jesus that she has touched his cloak, he says to her: Daughter, your faith has made you well.

Made well. Can’t you just hear these three singing? If I could touch but just the hem of his garment, good Lord, I believe that it would make me whole. Made well. Interestingly enough, the Greek word translated made well in verses 23, 28 and 34 is σῴζω (sōzō). Strictly translated, it means to rescue from danger and to restore to a former state of safety and well being. The Bible often translates σῴζω as saved. To be saved means far more than to be forgiven. It means far more than to be assured a place with God when this life ends. It mans to be made well. To be made whole. To be restored to a former state of safety and well being. This is what Jesus wants for Jairus. This is what Jesus wants for his daughter. This is what Jesus wants for the woman who touched him in the crowd. And this is what Jesus wants for us.

Jesus, here, is making a statement about salvation. It is not only a reality, far off in the future, that we’ll receive one day when Jesus returns, or when we die. But salvation is something that he wants for us in this life — right here and right now. He wants our bodies and hearts and souls to be well. He wants our relationships to be whole. He wants us to experience the fullness of living together in a community of faithful brothers and sisters. He wants us to be made well. To be whole. And when the brokenness of this world crashes into our lives he wants us to be restored to a former state of safety and well being. In short, Jesus is interested in our whole lives — our whole selves.

What’s more, Jesus has the same interest in those who surround us in this world. He wants to work for their well being too, and invites us to join in the effort. What a gift to have a God who loves us this much! And what a blessing to participate with God in making it happen. Come to us, Lord Jesus. Call us, and strengthen us for the task!

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel

  1. What does Jairus want, from Jesus, for his daughter?
  2. What does the long-suffering woman want from Jesus?
  3. How is what he gives them much more than what they had requested?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. In what ways has Jesus made me well?
  2. How do I express my gratitude to Jesus for what he has given me?
  3. How might I partner with Jesus in his efforts to bring well being to all people in this world?