Jesus said, "Come Follow Me."
Discipleship in Mark's Gospel
Jesus said, "Come Follow Me."
Discipleship in Mark's Gospel
Read Mark 5:25-30
"Who touched my clothes?" (Mark 5:30)
Touch is such a special member of the five senses, together with taste, sight, hearing and smell. But touch/feel is sometimes overlooked despite the fact that we know its importance in everyday life in the genuine hand-shake, hug or kiss. A slap on the back can convey more than words do of congratulations or approval; a carer’s or a doctor’s gentle, soothing touch round a wound or a pain can bring the hope of healing; lovers know the almost electrical exchange of oneness when hands intertwine.
Touch is special. At its best it conveys warmth, understanding and love. Of course it can be the opposite when touch is vicious, degrading or hurtful; but in the story in Mark it is about healing and wholeness. And it is costly! Costly for Jesus because he realised ‘that power had gone out from him’. Costly for the woman because her illness had been humiliating, it labelled her as unclean and thus cut off from worship of God and the fellowship of her friends. So it was very costly for her to brave the crowds, and even to come from behind with that determination to fulfil her aim, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be clean.’ (Mark 5:19) She was healed that very moment. But there was a further costly action involved. When Jesus turned to see who had touched his clothing, she knew it was her and she fell at his feet, trembling and fearful, and told him the whole truth. The crowd must have stopped around this incident and those nearest to Jesus must have heard the story of her destitution, then of turning to seek out Jesus in faith and action which brought this amazing gift of healing. Then another costly demand was to tell that story to others.
Her story can be our story, of coming to faith and knowing what it means to touch and be touched by Jesus and then the necessity to share that Good News with others, and that last part is especially important.
An elderly lady who I knew fell all the way down her stairs. She was badly bruised, shaken and some bones were broken. No one really dared to hope for her full recovery. But she put her faith in God and prayed deeply for Christ’s healing-presence to touch her wounds and to be in the pain. Others joined in her prayers. One by one the damaged places got better. It took time but her faith held firm and she never gave up praying. Healing does not always come in this life however hard we pray, but there is still that amazing gift of knowing the redeeming touch of Jesus, whatever the outcome. “Open our eyes Lord we want to see Jesus. To reach out and touch him, and say that we love Him.”
Written by M. Haskins and quoted in the Christmas broadcast 1939 by George VI when the country faced the uncertainty of war: ‘I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”’
Verse of a hymn by Fred Kaan. ‘As at communion, shape your hands; into a waiting cradle; the gift of Christ receive, revere; united round the table.’
Lord Jesus Christ, we bring to your healing love today all who especially need our prayers. May your healing touch bring them closer to you and restore them to health of body, mind and spirit which is your will. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Article by the Rev Ann Bucknall, one of the pioneer lecturers of Seminari Theoloji Malaysia. She now resides in Lichfield, England.
Read Mark 5:1-20
Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord
has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.
Miracles alone do not tell the full story. In fact they can lead to very wrong conclusions if not explained. A case in point is the passage from which the above words of Jesus were taken (Mark 5:1-20).
In this passage, we are told that Jesus had just healed a well-known and much feared demonized man. He had in him legions of demons. And these demons when cast out by Jesus, were sent into a herd of two thousand pigs which subsequently drowned themselves.
What is the point here? Maybe it is to tell us that even these unclean pigs could not bear these unclean spirits, how much less the man! However the whole event from the perspective of the people of that place, was seen as a bane rather than a boon. Jesus, rather than being understood as a deliver was misunderstood as a disaster. Ironically even Jesus can do nothing for the faith of the people of this place, notwithstanding his power over evil! Thus when this man wanted to follow Jesus, Jesus lovingly tells him to go back to his people. For the first time he rejected an earnest follower! Yet for an important reason, for this man is the best person to help his people to know Jesus, to explain the miracle.
Once he was bound but now freed; once lost but now recovered; once naked but now dressed. In person, in flesh, he is to testify the value of his one soul and the hence the value of all souls which is over above the value of the pigs. If Jesus can show him mercy so can he also show his mercy to all! There is nothing like a living and a speaking testimony.
The point is not the miracle. The point is the mercy and the one who is showing mercy. Are people more amazed by miracles or by how much Jesus has done for you?
Is the greatest miracle that people see in your life the grace and mercy Jesus shown has to you?
Think of the people that you can reach because of who you are, where you are and what you have experienced from Jesus. Live out your new life before them and point them to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, thank you for being interested in me and not passing me by. Even though I was unclean and was bound in my sin. Thank you for clothing me with your righteousness and setting me free from all bondages of sin. Help me to bear witness to those who cannot understand your miracle of love and need someone to testify and explain it to them. Use me for this purpose.
Article by the Rev William Chee, Vicar of Yishun Christian Church Anglican, Diocese of Singapore.