1. A desperate request

2. A dramatic interruption

3. A devastating consequence

4. A divine reversal

What does Mark accomplish by sandwiching the woman’s story into the story of Jairus? Jairus and the woman have only one thing in common: both are victims of desperate circumstances who have no hope apart from Jesus. Otherwise their stories diverge sharply. Jairus has a name and a position. As ruler of the synagogue, he has enough clout to summon Jesus to his house. The woman has none of these. Her name is not given (or remembered), and she has no position. Her only identification is her shame, a menstrual hemorrhage. She must approach Jesus from behind, whereas Jairus approaches Jesus face to face. Jairus, in other words, is a person of status and privilege. But in typical Markan irony, he does not hold an advantage regarding the one thing that matters. It is the woman who exemplifies faith, and in this respect their roles are reversed. Despite her embarrassing circumstances, she pushes through both crowd and disciples to reach Jesus. Her gender, namelessness, uncleanness, and shame—none of these will stop her from reaching Jesus. To this undaunted woman comes the healing and liberating word, “ ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace.’ ” When Jesus says, “ ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe,’ ” how should Jairus understand the command to believe? What kind of faith should he have? The answer is that he must have the kind of faith the woman has (v. 34)! The woman exemplifies and defines faith for Jairus, which means to trust Jesus despite everything to the contrary. That faith knows no limits—not even the raising of a dead child! – James Edwards

This is the challenge before Jairus, and before everyone who meets Jesus: to believe only in what circumstances allow, or to believe in the God who makes all things possible? One thing only is necessary—to believe. The present tense of the Greek imperative means to keep believing, to hold onto faith rather than give in to despair. With respect to his daughter’s circumstances, Jairus’s future is closed; but with respect to Jesus it is still open. Faith is not something Jairus has but something that has Jairus, carrying him from despair to hope. Jesus’ authoritative word to Jairus is not to fear but to believe. – James Edwards

BLACK: black

Chris Daukas

Chris grew up in a moral home, but didn’t find the grace of Christ until he was a sophomore in college. He began to devour the Word and was soon helping to lead bible studies, outreaches, and worship at church. He married his beautiful wife, Tara, in the summer of 2002.

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