I am just a person who loves Jesus. I am a wife and mom and most of the time I have more questions than answers.
I lead a women's Bible study but there are plenty of Tuesday nights where I learn more from the women in attendance than they do from me.
With my Tuesday night gals, I have been studying the upcoming Sunday Gospel readings. (Which is nice because when we go to church, I am almost always taking at least one little boy to the bathroom during the readings and/or sermon).
As another way to study and process each week's Gospel, I am going to attempt to write about my thoughts here. I say attempt because you know how I am with the follow-through. Ahem.
So, read along if you like. And as I said, expect no major revelations here. :)
GospelMK 5:21-43When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to Jesus,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
Um, wow. As if I need to say anything after that. Here we read of two miracles: Jesus heals Jairus' daughter and he heals a woman afflicted with hemorrhaging.
I asked the ladies at Bible study to think about three questions as we read through:
1. From this passage, what can we learn about the heart of God?
2. From this passage, what can we learn about our relationship with God?
3. What is a practical application for your life this week?
I'll tell you what I felt God teaching me in regards to each of these questions, but by all means, ask Him what He wants to teach you. These are great questions to think about no matter what scripture passage you're meditating on.
God has a compassionate heart. And not just in a way where he says "I'm sorry that your daughter is dying. That's not what I desire for you". But in a way that says "I will come. I will walk with you. I don't want you to go alone. Let me come and touch her. Let me gather your family and speak life to your daughter. Let me prove my faithfulness by making her alive again."
I also learned, though, that Jesus doesn't mind interruption. Remember he is on his way to heal Jairus' daughter. When a woman in the crowd touches him, an unclean woman at that, he not only grants her healing but he stops. God himself stops. He sees her. He encourages her and he grants her peace. He is not too busy for someone who is lowly and struggling and desperate.
As they continue, we see that Jesus has a bigger plan than what we can see and understand in our humanness. Yes, it's beautiful that Jesus is taking his time and helping people along the way, meanwhile Jairus' daughter has died. Died. Jesus could have prevented her death-- either by hurrying the heck up or by curing her from afar. But he didn't. I don't know about you, but if I were Jairus, I might be more than a little ticked here. He comes to Jesus trusting that he will make his daughter well and then she dies. I am guessing that some of the people that were at Jairus' house missed the miracle. Have you ever missed it? I know I have. And I know there are times when I probably missed a miracle and I didn't even realize it. These people come to announce the girl's death, they mourn for her. And I bet some of them walked away before the miracle because Jesus didn't do what they wanted him to do. Can you relate? You pray for something miraculous and it doesn't end up the way you wanted it to. I have prayed these prayers, friends. I have felt this let down when we get to the eleventh hour and Jesus still hasn't shown up. Can we trust him? Even in death? Can we trust him in the disappointment? Can we trust that the miracle might be happening in a different way? In a different time? This story helps me to say "yes". Even when I don't feel like it.
I learned that Jesus is less about big spectacles and more about making disciples. And the way to do that is in smaller groups, in meaningful relationships. Don't get me wrong, there were obviously times when He worked in the big ways! But, here are all these people at Jairus' house, doubting, and Jesus? Jesus puts them all out. What matters to him in this moment, is taking a few people (the girl's parents, and Peter, James, and John) in to witness this miracle. In to be changed by what they saw. Disciples are not usually made in big crowds (of course there are exceptions!) But, often, disciples are made in quiet, difficult moments, one-on-one with the Lord.
I learned that coming to Jesus takes humility. In order for us to have an authentic relationship I need to be able to come to him, even when I am unclean. As one of the ladies at my study pointed out, I sometimes need to be able to push my way through the crowd to get to Jesus. It's not always an easy task. Sometimes there is so much standing in our way we wonder if it's worth it. Sometimes the "crowd" between us and Jesus seems daunting, even impossible. But if we can just get to him. We know He can make everything right. I need to come sinful and sorrowful like the woman. I need to walk with him and wait on his timing like Jairus.
I am called to trust Jesus. When I am embarrassed. When the way to him is crowded and overwhelming. When I don't understand what he is doing. When his ways are not like my ways. When he doesn't answer my prayer the way I hoped he would. He is still good. Jesus, I trust in you.
I need to remember that some interruptions are God-ordained. Most of the time I am busy and running around trying to be "efficient" with my time, and, let's be honest, probably annoyed about something or other. I need to slow and still. I need to listen to that small voice telling me to reach out. I need to seize that teachable moment with my kids instead of rolling my eyes. When we are in true relationship with God, we are listeners. We are doers. Regardless of what is happening around us.
I was reminded that I can trust Jesus to care for my children. It might not look the way I want it to. But Jesus desires life for my children. He does not want me to fear. He wants me to have faith. Faith in his timing and in his power. Faith that He loves them more than I ever could. Faith that He knows the way to give them life.
3. Practical application? Well, obviously I have a long list here. I could have chosen all of these things. I wanted to narrow it down to one so I am praying about/working on embracing interruptions this week.
Jesus, help me to speak and act intentionally in each moment.