The Unclean

Note: Today’s reading is Mark 5 if you’d like to read through the NT with me this year. Also, we’ll take Saturday and Sunday off.  Let me recommend Psalm 19 and Psalm 104 for weekend readings.

Mark 5 contains a beautiful story about Jesus’ interaction with two women who are in desperate need.

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.

– Mark 5:22–24a ESV

As Jesus is going with Jarius, Jesus meets another woman in the crowd along the way.  In some ways, this woman is the opposite of Jarius’ daughter.  She had a “discharge of blood” (v. 25) and had no money left (v. 26). She’s not the daughter of a wealthy ruler. Of course in another way, she’s just like Jarius’ daughter isn’t she?  She’s desperate, and she’s knows she needs a power outside of herself to fix her problem.  So she goes to Jesus.

She reaches out from the crowd and touches Jesus, and he heals her, telling her her faith has made her well. (v. 30-34)

Meanwhile, someone comes to Jarius and tells him the bad news. It’s too late, his daughter is dead.  Jesus tells him not to fear and then goes to his house.  There he finds people crying over her death. He goes up to her bed side and….

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.

– Mark 5:35–43 ESV

Jesus’ words not only calm the storm they bring the dead to life!

So, what’s going on in these two stories that Mark stitches together?  You have a daughter of a ruler, and a woman who doesn’t have a penny to her name.  But they are both in desperate situations and Jesus saves them.

Here’s the part that struck me. When Jesus meets them, they are both “unclean.” In the Old Testament, a woman with a “discharge of blood” was considered unclean.  This meant no one was supposed to touch her until she cleansed herself (Lev. 15:25).   The little girl has died when Jesus get’s to her.  Touching a corpse is also considered unclean in OT law (Num. 19:11). To touch the unclean is to become unclean.

What does Jesus do?  He touches the unclean.  He takes their uncleanness on himself and heals them.  Rich or poor, it doesn’t matter.  And this is what he does for us in the cross!  He takes our sinfulness on himself and heals us.  Gives us a new life.  Even raises us from the dead.

We get to live in that joy.  Knowing that Jesus has loved us with all our uncleanness. Not only that, he heals us of our sin-sickness and gives us new life.

God bless! Have a great weekend!

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