Reverse Uncontamination (v. 29)
The entire mindset of the Jewish culture was to avoid contamination. You had to know what was clean versus unclean so that the unclean things could be avoided. Life was much more like dodge ball than freeze tag (the variety I played as a child everyone who was not it could “unfreeze” the frozen by touching them – I acknowledge the legitimacy of the dozens of other varieties of freeze tag).
Recognizing the world-view of those surrounding Jesus makes this event all the more amazing. It is not “just” that Jesus healed her. Jesus made her clean rather than her making him unclean. That is the equivalent of dropping an apple up.
Jesus has this tendency of breaking the rules – not the moral ones; but the rules of expectation, nature, social structure, and sin. This is the incarnation. Jesus enters the “rules” of our world and frees us from them. No longer are we bound to food regulations, ceremonial cleanness, racial divides, superstition, rituals, or sacred occasions.
Reflection Question: What fears or cautions immediately come to mind as you read these thoughts? What appropriate limitations need to be put on these statements? How have statements like these been abused? Transition: How would your life be different if you properly applied these statements? What non-moral laws do you live by that limit your ability to serve God? What traditions (your personal history) were those non-moral laws built on? How does the life and teaching of Christ “reverse uncontaminated” those non-moral laws?
I believe we often miss something about this unnamed woman – she was honest. She had broken several major social rules. She was being called out in the midst of an overwhelming crowd. She had suffered long and was just tasting relief. And Jesus shocks everyone by saying “Who touched me (v. 31)?”
In the midst of this, although she was trembling with fear, she “told him the whole truth (v. 33).” Wow! Amazing faith! In the face of a guilty conscience, public pressure/embarrassment, and justifiable reasons for her actions, she chose honesty over silence and complete truth over selective-revised history. Let us all be humbled.
Consider the following statements as you seek to be a person of total truth.
- It is wrong to say you can protect someone from the truth.
- Lying is playing God, because you are trying to write (or rewrite) history.
- Lies cast shadows upon your true statements so all communication is defiled.
- Lying means that we believe something is more valuable than Christ-likeness.
- We are only free (emotionally and relationally) when we are honest.
- Redemption cannot occur where sin is not confessed.
- To lie is to live in fear and become addicted to the power of lying.
- When we lie we know we are false and have a hard time receiving the love of others.
- Secrets perpetuate our sinful patterns.
- Secrets create a climate in which vulnerability seems foolish.
- Hiding sin is a violation of James 5:16.
Closing Thought: “God is not limited by our weakness and failure. God is limited by our dishonesty.” May we glorify God with our honesty like this unnamed woman in Mark 5.
Don’t Be Afraid; Just Believe (v. 36)
Can we all agree that Jesus is not telling this father who just received the news that his daughter was dead to be unmoved? This is not Jesus advocating that faith in God will make any unpleasant emotion unnecessary or wrong.
I do believe we can find an important distinction between sinful and sacred fear in this passage. The difference is not the emotional sensation (i.e., increased heart rate, rapid paced thinking, tears, sporadic questioning pattern, intense desire to find refuge, etc…). The distinction is the presence or absence of hope.
Jesus is not saying be calm, chill out, or relax. Jesus is saying maintain hope, don’t lose sight of me, and remember I am still active in your life.
As we weigh our emotions, this criterion of hope is one of the primary measures we should use to determine the virtue of sinfulness of an emotion (pleasant or unpleasant). If an emotion actively hopes in God it is good and plays a significant role in our sanctification. If an emotions ignores, attacks, or flees from God, then it is to be taken captive (2 Cor 9:3-6).
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.