Readings: Mark 4:35-6:13
Jesus comes with all the power of the Son of God—one of the chief points of Mark’s gospel—and in his coming, this Son of God shows who God is for the people and for the world.
Where demons corrupt, where storms threaten, where disease tears us apart from one another…Jesus comes to restore, reunite, to establish God’s reign and shalom (peace, wholeness).
This is our base for the month of July. We will hear and allow the stories of Jesus' healing, restorative power to drive our worship. Jesus’ mighty acts of healing will be the focus of our proclamation.
Welcome back to the stories of Jesus’ healing power.
First the demoniac.
When Jesus found him, he was alone. He lived among the tombs and would howl from the hills. His ailment was such that he was not only harming or alarming his neighbors, but he was a threat to himself as well—bruising himself with stones.
In Jesus’ interaction with him he, of course, heals him—casting out the demons. The man’s health and sanity is restored.
The swine-herders come back with the townspeople and they see the man there, now clothed and in his right mind. However, when they see him, they react with fear.
The man is free from his ailment. He is healed! But his neighbors are afraid, and very upset about the swine who paid the price for his healing. He is healed, but he is still alone, rejected.
But Jesus takes his healing one step further. Jesus denies him the request to follow, and instead tells him:
Go home. To your friends.
Jesus restores this formerly demon-possessed man back to his family, back to his friends. He is restored into community.
Next, the woman.
On his way to “save/make well,” the daughter of the leader of the synagogue, Jesus is in the midst of a pressing crowd and a woman touches his shirt.
Something about this woman causes Jesus stop.
It’s not even that he stops to heal her. The healing had been done the text says. But, on his way to bring God’s kingdom to the synagogue leader, to save Jairus’ dying daughter, Jesus stops for this woman—unnamed, unseen in the crowd.
The woman has already been healed.
Jesus goes further. He restores her.
The unnamed woman, Jesus names. “Daughter,” he says. “Your faith has saved/made you well. Go in peace and be healed.”
Not just a physical healing, but a name and a place in the family.
She is restored into community.
Jesus ushers in the kingdom of God on earth. In that kingdom, everyone has a place. Whether you’re Gerasene or Judean, have a recognized name like Jairus, or no name, like the woman, you have a place.
In a world of broken relationships and barriers, Jesus unites us—makes us one in him—one with one another, one with God.
More than healing, Jesus unites.
Union in Christ is a two-edged sword just like the gospel. Sometimes it means we need to learn to care more for the demon-possessed than our herd of swine. Sometimes that means we need our eyes opened to see the unnamed woman in the crowd and reach out a caring arm.
Jesus’ kingdom brings with it a kind of healing that knits together people with one another and with God. It has the power to bring peace among nations, and joy among friends—old or new.
Where we, ourselves must change, Come Holy Spirit with your cleansing fire.
Where others need to hear your promises, Come Lord Jesus and make your body bold to proclaim.
Where intolerance and division reign, Come O Lord and let the love of your Son shine in our hearts.
In the church, we may not be able to promise miraculous physical cures. But what we can promise is this: God’s presence with strength and comfort in the time of suffering, and God’s promise of wholeness and peace through God’s love embodied in us, the community of faith and body of Christ.
May we well be the body of Christ, whose kingdom heals the world and brings all who suffer into restorative community in his name.