Some of you might have heard of this unwritten version of the creation story. It began with the question, “Why did God create Eve after Adam? Why wasn’t God satisfied with Adam alone? After all, he was created after God’s own image.”
The answer is, after creating Adam, God looked at him and said, “Hmm, I can do better than that.” So, God decided to create Eve!
Then when Moses was writing down Genesis, God told him not to include this behind-the-scenes story because there is something like a little flaw in Adam that might make men unable to handle this truth. Being a man, Moses agreed, so he kept this story off the record.
That is not entirely a joke because the proof is in front of your eyes if only you are willing to see it. For example, women, in general, live longer than men. Visit any nursing home, and you’ll see more women than men. The latest data show, on average, women live five years longer than men.
If longevity does not prove women are a better creation, here’s another example. Harvard Business Review published a research report that shows “Women Score Higher Than Men in Most Leadership Skills.” Out of 19 leadership abilities, women score higher on 17 of them.
Most importantly, women are more spiritual. In other words, they are more spiritually sensitive or conscious. You can see more women in the church, Bible Study groups, or fellowships. The first person who discovered Jesus’ resurrection was a woman. It’s like daddy’s little girls tend to be closer to daddy.
I have a suspicion that women are God’s little girls in secret. Maybe it’s not so secret for those who have an eye to see. So, today, let’s look at the status of women in God’s own heart based on this week’s scripture lesson. Warning: if you are a man and susceptible to envy, this sermon might disappoint you, but you still want to learn this secret because it might make you a better father or husband!
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper. You are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you, and you are satisfied in God.]
The scripture lesson for today is from the Gospel According to Mark 5:21-43. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mk 5:21–43).
[This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!]
That is the tale of two daughters—the daughter of Jairus and the daughter of Jesus. Of course, the latter was not literally Jesus’ daughter, but it is very significant that Jesus called her “daughter.” Interestingly, all three synoptic gospels recorded this story, and all of them have Jesus calling her “daughter.”
The statuses of the two daughters are very different—one is like a princess, and the other a pariah. Mark’s stories have deeper meanings than the miracles themselves. In fact, Mark does not want his readers to focus on the miracles but to gain intimacy with God. So, don’t just read them as mere miracle stories.
This story begins with a remarkable humility expressed by Jairus despite his high social status as a leader of the synagogue.
Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him. (v. 22-24).
Jairus put his reputation and status on the line to come to Jesus and fall at the feet of the itinerant rabbi and begged him repeatedly to heal his daughter. At the time when daughters were not valued as much as sons, his behavior shows the depth of his love for his little girl.
Based on his status, he could have sent a servant to ask Jesus to come to his home, but he came personally instead. Action speaks louder than words. Jesus may have been touched by his love for his daughter and went with him without hesitation.
However, something that happened on the way gave Jesus an opportunity to reveal God’s heart to Jairus.
Jesus wanted Jairus to realize that God is aware of the marginalized women in the community neglected by the synagogue. They were not as fortunate as Jairus’ daughter, who had a loving father, but God cares about them no less. Here’s one of them,
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, (v. 25-27).
She had been suffering from a gynecological disorder which made her ritually unclean and unfit to enter a synagogue or be present at public gatherings. The disease also made her not able to become pregnant and impossible to get married or have a family.
She was now at the bottom of her social and religious status. She is in poverty after spending all her money on physicians, and yet her condition worsened. She was not even supposed to be in the crowd, far from touching a rabbi. But, having nothing left to lose, she decided to touch Jesus’ cloak believing it would make her well.
It’s incredible that after all sorts of failures, she still had faith. In such a bleak situation, many people might give up and complain, like Job’s wife, who suggested he “curse God and die.” However, Mark said that she had heard about Jesus and believed what Jesus was capable of. Having no access to him personally and publically, she had to sneak up in the crowd and touch Jesus’ cloak.
For she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. (v. 28-29).
Miraculously, her twelve years of suffering stopped immediately, and she felt it in her body. The New Age thinkers might say it was the manifestation of her faith. Others might say it is the power of the placebo effect, meaning if you believe it, it will happen. If her healing is all due to her faith and placebo effect, Jesus wouldn’t have felt anything at all. But the Bible says,
“Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” (v. 30).
So, it was not a self-healing instance but a two-way street. Her faith had drawn the healing power out of Jesus. Just as her body felt the power entering, Jesus body felt the power leaving. Twelve years of debilitating disease might require a significant power to heal that could not leave Jesus unnoticed.
Like in a science fiction movie, Jesus wanted to know who had sucked his power away. He was in a hurry to heal Jairus’ dying daughter. Why was he wasting time on someone who was already healed? There are two reasons. The first reason is a mystery we see in Jesus’ healing stories. It seems that someone’s healing is incomplete until they confess their problems. Jesus wants to heal the root cause than just curing the symptoms. It says,
But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (v. 33-34).
We have seen similar situations elsewhere in the Bible. Confession and thanksgiving are integral parts of a complete course of healing. By telling the whole truth, she received Jesus’ ultimate declaration of healing. She is now not only physically healed but also spiritually restored to health.
The second and more important reason he wanted to talk to her is revealed by using the term “daughter.” Jesus never used this term to address any women. Considering the context, it seems Jesus wanted Jairus to hear it.
“Jairus, this is my daughter neglected by your synagogue. Do you know God loves His daughters as much as you love yours?
“Your daughter is privileged to have the best physician available within your jurisdiction, but why is my daughter forgotten by the community after enduring the healthcare injustice, religious injustice, and social injustice?
“I saw your tears when you fell in front of me and begged me repeatedly to heal your daughter. You must also understand that God is weeping when His daughters suffer.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” (v. 35-36).
Jesus’ delay on the way had cost the little girl’s last hope to recover. But, Jesus said, “Do not fear, only believe.” (That is in line with the subject we discussed last week from the previous chapter when we talked about Sleeping Through The Storms.) When you begin a journey with Jesus, he will make sure you arrive at the destination whatever happens on the way.
The little girl was dead, but Jesus kept his promise to heal her, even when it is too late from a human perspective. Fear is the opposite of faith, and they cannot exist together. Jesus wanted Jairus to have the same faith as the woman who touched his cloak.
This story also reveals that Jesus loves the father who loves his daughter because he reflects the heart of the heavenly father. Mark has a way to present profound truths between words. You can meditate on Mark’s Gospel and learn a lot about the heart of God to grow in intimacy with Him.
Like the calming of the storm in the previous chapter, this story is not just about the miracles. You will be touching only the surface if you focus on the miracles. This story is about God’s secret little girls, especially those that are forgotten by society. Whether they are princesses or pariahs, Jesus wants you to know that they are precious in God’s eyes.
Meditate on this passage this week and see what else you will learn about God. Let me know if you discover something profound.
Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest happiness.