A woman is healed - a dead girl is raised Hunch 34
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him where He had arrived. Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and lay your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had; yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, `Who touched me?'" But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?" Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John, James' brother. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw the gathering of mourners crying and wailing loudly. He went into their midst and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." They could only ridicule him but when he put them out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
In this part of Mark's story there are two healings. Both of them came about because a ruler of a local synagogue, from one of the cities along the coast of Galilee, begged Jesus to come to his house and help him. In the crowd that went with them there may have been those who still wanted to pin Beelzebul's badge on Jesus. So the pleas of this man would have surprised them. As a ruler of the synagogue he was doing something unusual. Usually religious leaders did not like Jesus, objecting to what He taught, how He related to ordinary people. We shall see later (Mark 7) that Jesus was not obsessed with cleanliness like the religious leaders who wanted everyone to do lots of washing and cleaning, making themselves presentable to God. That was how they saw their duty when they went to meet God in Jerusalem's temple. In the local synagogue all the washed men would gather to listen to God's Law. Maybe that's part of why they said Jesus was on the side of unclean spirits. He tolerated a lot and taught in the open air, away from the synagogue, where the people were, and didn't fuss over whether His disciples did lots of washing or not.
Mark tells us that this synagogue ruler was at the end of his tether. His little girl, his belovéd daughter, was at the point of death. Jesus went with him straight away. We don't know what they discussed or even whether they had a discussion. Jesus went to see this man's daughter. The crowds came too. Then Mark tells us another story within the bigger story.
A woman in the crowd touched Jesus and Jesus stopped. This woman knew immediately that she had been healed. It was not just a graze on the elbow, or a cut finger. This woman had been bleeding for twelve years! The Old Testament has strict laws about human blood, bleeding and women who bleed. According to those laws she was unclean and not allowed to touch anyone. But here she was in a crowd where everyone who bumped into her could have been made unclean.
Jesus stopped. "Who touched me?" He was concerned. He asked those questions up front to show the crowd He was concerned for the woman. He was not afraid but He was concerned for her. She had touched Him and that meant, strictly speaking, that He too was unclean. He stopped. Remember they were in a hurry to see the sick little girl. This was not something that could be ignored. It was not something to come back to later. Jesus stopped. He let the woman know He knew what had happened. God had healed this woman who had been bleeding for so long. She came up to Jesus and admitted that she had touched Him. Jesus sent her on her way and then they could all rejoice! But Jesus had insistently delayed in order to see her face to face. This was no en passant healing! He was making sure that He had looked the woman square in the face, to show her that He was delighted with what had happened. He was truly the Son of God who was aware of the immense privilege granted Him to share in the healing work His Father had called Him to do.
But what about Jairus? There is the rest of the story. He may well have been agitated. And now the One he had asked to heal his daughter had Himself become unclean. What was he to do?
The healing of this elderly woman became part of Mark's story not only because her life showed that God had blessed her and given her health and happiness. Her story, and that of the little girl, increased in importance after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus had freed them from medical worries and the knowledge of this became an important part of the Good News of God's kingdom, particularly in the Galilee region but also wherever this same Good News about Jesus would be proclaimed.