As a young child I often wondered how God could be in more than one place at one time. As a Christian you may be beyond asking such a question, but on other occasions I have heard Christian believers say. “There is no need to pray for me, you don’t need to trouble God with my insignificant problems, he has better things to do -He has a whole world to look after”.
Have ever felt that your problems are too insignificant for God to worry about. I would like to speak into that perspective, because there is something that happened when Christ walked on this earth that vividly illustrates a response to that way of thinking. Mark chapter 5 is an interesting section of scripture, no less because it starts by telling us a story about the ruler of the local synagogue and his sick daughter. Then in the midst of that story the narrative is suddenly interrupted by the actual intrusion of an sick woman into the proceeding. A woman suffering with what we would today call an uncontrollable haemorrhage literally pushes her way into this story.
Jesus again finds himself surrounded by a large crowd pressing in to get his attention, when then ruler of the local synagogue comes, and we are told he pleads with Jesus saying,
“My little daughter is dying. Please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”
However, this story is put on hold because the crowd “thronged” Jesus, and then;
“A certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse”.
This lady had a problem that was very, very serious not just physically but socially, as well. The physical problem is obvious she suffered from continual bleeding. The social problem was that according to the Mosaic law a woman who was bleeding was declared ceremonially unclean and anybody she touched or came into contact with was also automatically ceremonially unclean. These two seemingly separate narratives together show a massive contrast in the people Jesus interacts with. We have a ruler of the synagogue a highly respected member of the community. A man who would have been in charge of maintaining the rules to insure the community remained ceremonially clean. In juxtaposition to that we have this woman who is a social outcast and had been ceremonially unclean for at least 12 years because of her illness. Worse even than that because the text tells us she had suffered at the hands on doctors, she had spent all her money and was no better, in fact she had got worse. She understandably felt hopeless, but then….
“She heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
She had probably heard he was healing the sick, but it seems to me her first thought was probably, “I can see he is in the middle of dealing with the ruler of the Synagogue”. I don’t want to interrupt him, he is too busy with important people. What if, she thought, I just touch the hem of his garment as he passes by, that will be enough. So, with a mustard seed of faith she makes her way through the crowd and she touched Jesus, and this happened…
“Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”
Jesus responds to her by saying;
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
Notice he called her “daughter”, then he says, “your faith has made you well”. There is much more going on here than just a physical healing.
At this point the narrative goes back to the ruler of the synagogue and some people come from his house and tell him, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
There was never even a thought that anything more could be done about this, they knew he could heal, but it had never even entered their minds that he could raise the dead. “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.
Jesus take just three disciples with him to see the daughter of Jairus, his inner circle, so to speak, Peter James and John. When they arrive, the family are just beside themselves with grief because they believe she is dead. Jesus’ response to this situation is he says, “The child is not dead but sleeping.” Let me be categorically here, this girl is dead, really dead! However, if that is so, when why did Jesus say, she was sleeping. This is because in the New Testament, the death of a believer in Christ is said to be no more than soul sleep. When Lazarus had died and had been entombed for four days, the word Jesus used then is the same as the one used today, on both occasions he said they were asleep. The literal translation of the word cemetery means sleeping place. (from the Latin coemētērium or the Greek koimētḗrion a sleeping place).
Jesus then takes the girl by the hand and says, “Little girl, I say to you, arise. Then this happens
“Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it and said that something should be given her to eat.”
In both of these current situations there is more going on in these situations that just physical healing. Sometimes Jesus worked miracles as a way of confirming who he was and authenticating his message. Sometimes he just healed people out of compassion. However, sometimes he did it to communicate spiritual truths. Physical healing was on some occasions an illustration of spiritual healing and salvation. At the point of healing Jesus called the woman, daughter? That’s because he did more than heal her physically, he spiritually adopted her. Furthermore, he said, your faith has saved you. Granted he had saved her from the effect of the disease, but these words also echo spiritual salvation. This woman was not only healed, this woman at that moment was made right with God, she became a child of God.
In both cases it was their faith that made them well. Jesus is on his way to heal the dying daughter of a highly respected leader of civil society, and he stopped to heal a social outcast. (Who had faith). Jesus always pauses to pay attention to those who have faith. The critical part of this story I believe lies in recognising the contrast between the highly respected member of society and this social outcast. She was nobody, he was a somebody. He was wealthy, she was broke. He was important, she felt unimportant, but they both had faith. She may have even felt too unimportant for Jesus to care about her, but she didn’t let that thought have the final say. This man was a highly respected member of the community, but he has humility enough to say to Jesus, help me, please come to my house.
Maybe sometimes you too think, I’m not important enough to trouble God with my problems. That may sound self-effacing but maybe that’s just another way of saying, God doesn’t care about me.
Yes he does. Just have faith.
The Lord has time and pays attention to anyone who believes in him. In this case both the poor old woman and the wealthy influential man with the dying daughter had faith, and Jesus paid attention to them. God’s got time for you, and all you have to do to get his attention is to believe in Him and ask him to help.