Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sermon for 1 July 2012, Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 8B)

The Rev. Paul J Cain
Mark 5:21-43
Proper 8B, 1 July 2012
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, WY

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
The word repeats throughout Holy Scripture.
You know of the twelve tribes, the descendants of the twelve sons of Israel, aka Jacob. And Jesus has His twelve disciples, whom he later calls apostles.
We hear the word “twelve” twice in today’s Holy Gospel. Jairus’ daughter, we are told, was twelve years of age. And the woman with a hemorrhage has been suffering for twelve years. One account seems to interrupt the other. Both show Jesus’ compassion. Both show Jesus’ healing touch. Both show Jesus’ authority over all creation for our good.
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “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 And he went with him.
Jesus had calmed a storm while on the aforementioned boat. And he healed a man with a demon, performing an exorcism. Are we surprised a great crowd throngs about Him? Earlier, the scribes from Jerusalem claimed that he cast out demons by the power of the prince of demons. The rulers of this synagogue—think of them as equivalent to our congregation’s trustees and lay elders rolled together—they did not share the view of the religious leaders of the Jews. These synagogue rulers had faith in Jesus as more than a rabbi. Jesus had healed by a touch before. He is being asked to raise the dead.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
“Who touched Me?” Jesus asks. He speaks not in anger. Jesus gives this woman—this no longer suffering woman—an opportunity for her to exercise her faith and publicly confess that Jesus had healed her. She had been immediately healed. He responds to her trembling and reverent awe: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But 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 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
“Your daughter is dead.” Can a parent get any darker news?
Jesus says, “Do not fear, only believe.” His words echo those of the angel to Joseph, of the angel to Mary, of the angels to the shepherds. “Fear not,” or more accurately, “Stop being afraid.” Jesus calls for us to fear, love, and trust in Him. We are to have faith in Him.
The people weeping and wailing one moment are laughing at Jesus in the next moment. His words, “Little girl, I say to you, arise” mean that immediately the little girl got up and began walking. Jesus has power over death.
On the Last Day, Jesus will call you forth from death and the grave to everlasting life, resurrected bodies, and reunited bodies and souls in the new heaven and new earth. And there and then Jesus will be joined by twenty-four elders, twelve plus twelve, given to judge angels and worship the Lord and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The word repeats throughout Holy Scripture.
We hear the word “twelve” twice in today’s Holy Gospel. Jairus’ twelve-year-old daughter has been raised from the dead. She passed away while Jesus was on the way to heal her at the request of the rulers of this town’s synagogue. Jesus was delayed, in part, by someone who also needed Him, a woman that had suffered for twelve years, a woman who was healed immediately.
Whether we’re talking about twelve tribes, twelve disciples, or twelve years, twelve is a number of completeness. Jesus shows His compassion, healing touch, and authority over all creation, saying with His actions of restoration: “Enough. Life has come in Me. The child is not dead but sleeping. Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.
Jesus’ healings and the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter give us a preview of the Resurrection of our Lord, yet also of how John describes the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [1]

TLSB: Jesus heals Jairus’s daughter and a woman with a chronic ailment. Like Jairus, we often worry that the Lord’s delay in answering our prayers may end up in catastrophe. But the Eternal One, who overcame death by rising from the dead, never runs out of time. In fact, His gracious promise is that we shall share eternal life with Him.
TLSB: Lord, grant us to believe without doubting that You can heal every illness. Give us patience, as well, that we might be unmoved while waiting for You to act in Your own good time and in accord with Your gracious will.[2]Amen.

In the Name of Jesus . Amen.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Re 21:2–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[2] Engelbrecht, E. A. (2009). The Lutheran Study Bible (1666). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.