Reflections on Mark 5

Jesus Heals Us All

Today I have been reflecting on Mark 5 and the stories of Jesus healing a demoniac, a woman with a bleeding condition, and raising a young girl from the dead. Just a normal Tuesday for Jesus. 

If you have not read from Mark’s Gospel in a while, take a moment to read this chapter here.

All three of these stories are amazing on their own. They can stand as individual stories with plenty to consider and spend time reflecting upon. But together, they provide a beautiful backdrop to a larger story that is taking place in the life and ministry of Jesus. In fact, Mark wants us to do this as he weaves the latter two stories together in his narrative for us to read simultaneously. 

So, what exactly is it that Mark (and Jesus) want us to know as we read this passage? 

From my reflections, there are a few things to consider about these stories all together. First, the themes of fear and faith stand out in all of these stories. The people in the Decapolis are afraid of the demoniac (and of Jesus); the woman is afraid to reveal herself; and Jesus instructs those from Jairus’ household to not be afraid. The demoniac leaves his encounter with Jesus and shares his story; the woman who was healed is healed by her faith; and finally, Jesus instructs Jairus’ house to believe. Jesus’ words are instructive for us all: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” 

Second, these two stories side-by-side tell us of the larger story of what Jesus and God are up to in the ministry of Jesus. In the first story, Jesus is across the Sea of Galilee in the Decapolis. In the second and third stories, Jesus heals a woman who has been sick for 12 years and raises a girl who is 12 years old. These clues should let us know something about what Jesus is up to. Jesus heals both Gentile and Jewish peoples. As Paul helps to make explicitly clear, Jesus’ ministry, his life and death, are for everyone!

And last, Jesus has power over the things in this world that often prove to be our greatest enemies. In the first story, Jesus casts out demons from Legion; Jesus has power over our demons. In the second piece of the story, Jesus heals the woman of her disease and also of her uncleanliness. Where we are broken, Jesus heals us. Where we are unnacceptable, Jesus makes us acceptable. And in the final story, Jesus raises a young woman from death back to life. Jesus has resurrection power. 

Together, these stories tell us something about who Jesus is and what God is doing in the world. God is healing all of the world through Jesus. Our fears can be turned to faith. Our weaknesses can be made into strengths. Even our mortality can be made into something new in the resurrection power of Jesus. 

Today and this week, may we continue to reflect on the person and life of Jesus–the one who heals us all.