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Healing Touch

June 28, 2015 Speaker: Rev. Jack Meehan Series: Lectionary

Topic: Biblical Verse: Mark 5:21–5:43

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
June 27-28, 2015
Mark 5:21-43

“Healing Touch”

Many years ago, when I was a college student, I attended a Reformation worship celebration and one of the clear images – both sight and sound – I have from that occasion is an anthem that a children’s choir sang. It was beautiful and moving. The anthem’s words were these:

O praise the Lord, who made all beauty,
Whose gift of the senses we enjoy.
O may we live each day, in constant wonder,
To see all of life in simple pleasure.
O praise the Lord, who made all beauty.
Sing “Laude, laudeamus te” [Praise, let us praise You].

Praise Him who makes each day an adventure.
Praise Him for eager eyes to see the world.
Praise Him for budding flower.
Praise Him for stars and moonbeam.
Sing “Laudeamus, laudeamus, laude, laude, laudeamus te” [let us praise You].

Praise Him for voice and music.
Praise Him for touch that loved ones share.
Praise Him for fragrant springtime.
Praise Him for winter’s bleakness.
Sing “Laudeamus, laudeamus, laude, laude, laudeamus te” [let us praise You].
(composed by Hal H. Hopson and published by Choristers Guild, 1972)

“Praise Him for touch that loved ones share” – that line came to mind with today’s Gospel lesson as Jesus’ healing touch brings renewed life and health to two individuals: the unnamed woman and the young girl, Jairus’ daughter. It is that image of healing touch that is the focus of today’s message, and we’ll look at this under three brief sections: 1) real hurt; 2) real hope; and 3) real help. May the Lord’s rich and abundant blessing rest upon the preaching, the hearing, and the living of his Word for Jesus’ sake.

First, there is real hurt. Two people come to Jesus in great desperation and need. We don’t know how long Jairus’ daughter had been sick: hours, days, weeks. Whatever her sickness, it was obviously life-threatening. When something is wrong with a loved one, especially a child, it’s all we can think about. If that child is in pain and there is nothing you can do, you start to become frantic. You’d gladly trade places with your child if you could, taking their hurt on yourself. When they hurt, we hurt – that’s how it works. The woman who had had a blood discharge for twelve years was also desperate. Like so many today, she had been to countless doctors, spent all she had on medical bills, but no one could help her. How many sleepless nights must she have had, wondering if she would ever be well again? Because of her condition, she was considered ritually unclean, and anyone who touched her also became ritually unclean. She was an outcast. Certainly she was hurting physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. She was cut off from the mainstream of life – isolated and alone. You may know what this feels like – to be cut off because of illness. After awhile, even friends may start to forget about you. Jairus and this woman come to Jesus out of a desperate need, and maybe that is why you are here today. You also have come out of a great need. But Jairus and the woman also came with something else: hope.

Second, there is real hope. The woman suffering with the blood discharge could have stayed at home, thinking to herself: “After all, what’s the use? None of the doctors could do anything for me.” Jairus could have been swayed by his friends and chosen other means to help his daughter. But both of these individuals come to Jesus with hope: “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” (Mark 5:23). “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well” (Mark 5:28). How much did either Jairus or the woman know about Jesus? We don’t know, but what we do know is that they had complete confidence and trust that Jesus could help where no one else could. Their hope was in Jesus. What about us? In our time of need, where do we turn? Where is our hope? Hear the promise of God’s Word: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

There is real hurt, real hope, and finally there is real help. A desperate woman and panic-stricken father come to Jesus because they are hurting, but also hoping in Jesus. Even the bad news that Jairus’ daughter had already died was overcome by Jesus’ power to restore life. He is the Lord of life, and all the effects of sin in our broken world – illness, isolation, even death itself – give way to his power. Jesus is able to help not only Jairus’ daughter and the sick woman, but he is also able to help us. And the help of Jesus is rooted in the love of Jesus. This is what Paul the apostle writes in today’s Epistle lesson: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). In touching the body of Jairus’ daughter, Jesus became unclean. But this is what he came to do for her and for you: to take the sickness of our sin and death upon himself, becoming unclean for us, and giving us life and peace. Jesus came to restore all things, and this means more than physical healing so that we might live longer. He came that we might have hope beyond this earthly life. In our suffering, he gives us strength. In our despair, he give us victory. In our death, he gives us life.

What Jesus said to Jairus’ daughter, he says to us today: “I say to you arise” (Mark 5:41). People of God: arise, get up and live! Live in him whose healing touch brings life and peace. Amen.

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