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Posts from 2021-06-27

Mark 5:21-43

It is said about Jesus how He was one of the first who gave women an equal place with men in the sight of God and of a society modelled on the Kingdom of God, which He proclaimed. 

This view might be further established by the events that happened in the gospel of Mark 5:21-43.

The story itself is first about Jairus, who comes to Jesus to ask for help for his dying daughter at the age of 12. Being a kind of CEO of the local synagogue he was a well known and respected person who publically knelt at Jesus feet begging to come with him to heal his daughter. It’s the care and compassion of a father that is publically shown for a much beloved daughter. Jesus answer his call and goes with him to his house.

Secondly, while going with Jesus to his house, a woman came and touched Jesus clothes, also in desperation looking for help. Because she was ritually unclean, as she was suffering from a ‘flow of blood’ for 12 years, it was difficult for her to be publically within the crowd. Besides, she spent all her possessions on doctors and other means to heal her, hence she had no other place left to go to ask for help.

Jesus knew someone had touched Him, because the touch was a touch from the heart and a touch of faith, as Luther said. It is a touch of trust in the salvation and healing through Jesus Christ and as Luther wrote, we should see the story through eyes of faith. Perhaps Martin Luther explained the classical view on this part in the Bible in which he showed how faith and trust go hand in glove together. 

But Mark might have something more to say here than only retelling the story of 2 desperate people whose pleading for help was answered by Jesus. 

The remarkable observation in this story is that both persons who are healed by Jesus are called daughters. Jesus heals Jairus daughter and He heals a daughter of Israel. The young girl in Greek is thugatrion and the woman thugater, so both are called daugthers. 

Whether the number 12 has any significance is possible, but is beyond the point here.

The point is the love and care for daughters shown in this part of the Bible. First it is the father of the young daughter who loves her so much that he pleads for help humbling himself publically, and secondly Jesus who heals the woman and calling her a daughter, while praising her for her great faith.

On several places in the Bible, daughters of Israel are specifically mentioned. Examples are in Song of Solomon where in 5:16 ‘This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem’. And in the New Testament where Jesus said in Luke 23:28 ‘ Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children’.

In accordance to Isaiah 62:11, daughters of Jerusalem are the daughters of  Zion, which is synonym for Israel: ‘Behold, the Lord has proclaimed unto the end of the world, say to the daughter of Zion; Behold, your salvation comes, behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him’. 

Jerusalem, Zion, Israel, it all means the same: What belongs to God and what He will save.

It looks like Mark is making a point here about the importance of the women in God’s Kingdom and how the love of God extends to each and everyone, man and woman alike. 

It is the fulfilling of the promise in Joel 2:28 that I will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, on sons and daughters alike, or as Paul later wrote in Galatians 3:28 ‘In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ’.

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