Faith To Be Made WellSeries: The Gospel of Mark
The Master’s Touch
In a long story like we looked at today in the sermon—the healing of Jairus’ daughter and the woman with a discharge of blood—there are often so many things going on at the same time that it’s difficult to focus in on one idea to draw from for a sermon. What I usually end up doing, as a preacher, is pick one or two big ideas and leave the rest on the table for another day.
One of the ideas I left on the table from this story is the significance of touch in the story. The woman with the discharge first touches Jesus’ garments. Jesus, even in the midst of a large crowd, notices that someone touched him, asking “Who touched me?” When Jesus gets to the house of Jairus and finds the little girl has already died, he makes his way to her room. Inside the room, he takes the girl by the hand. He touches her hand.
While both of these touches—the woman to Jesus and Jesus to the little girl—may go unnoticed by us, there is incredible significance here. In the world of Judaism, both of these people would have been considered unclean and “untouchable”—the woman with her discharge and the little girl having died. Bodily fluid and death made one unclean and anyone making contact with either would have been become unclean as well. Jesus breaks through barriers of cleanliness laws to demonstrate his compassion for these two ladies.
In the Gospels, we continually see Jesus breaking cultural norms because there was something greater at stake. The healing of both of these women was more important than ritual purity. How many times have we been guilty of sticking to “the way things are” instead of taking a risk and reaching out to help someone? How often do we shy away from difficult or uncomfortable scenarios because it would require us to go outside of a cultural norm to help someone? Let’s not let the significance of Jesus’ touch be lost on us. Jesus calls us to do the same. In a lost and broken world, we continue the healing ministry of Jesus by our touch as well, by our breaking through barriers and cultural norms to reach the “untouchables” of society, broken and in need of someone to care.