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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mark 5

Mark 5
Jesus’ compassion even extends to the demons in the demon possessed man. He should have banished them, but Jesus shows mercy to them. And the man, healed, becomes the symbol of the gospel message to the people in the area. Here the demons beg Jesus to stay, and the people beg Jesus to leave. Fear rules both the people and the demons. But in the midst is the man, calmed, the message of health and peace that Jesus brings everywhere.

That message is beginning to reach into the religious structure of the day. A Synagogue ruler responds with faith in Jesus’ ability to heal. And in the midst of Jarius’ story of faith, another story occurs. Here a woman of faith is healed. Although it serves as a comma to create a pause to ponder faith, really it serves as an exclamation point about how it is faith that brings healing, not Jesus. Jesus merely blesses the event that has already happened. But holding to faith in the midst of fear, doubt or dismay is hard. Especially when friends or family tell you otherwise. But healing only comes through faith. Jesus is already willing to show mercy on any and all who come asking for it. Jesus confirms the faith that is already present. “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

At this point we could have a spirited debate about faith healing, and if faith is a works, if faith starts with the believer, if healing that does not happen is because of a lack of faith... and the list on faith could be endless. But all that discourse, although it might (or might not) be edifying and thought provoking, misses the point. Jesus heals, and healing is available through faith. But Jesus is not a faith healer. Jesus came with a message, as a pointer, towards repentance and the Kingdom of God. Healing comes when one walks in Jesus footsteps towards the Kingdom of God. That kind of healing only comes to those with open hearts, eyes and ears to see and hear and respond to Jesus. In the next few chapter this will be made clearer. Jesus is heading towards confrontation, one that will define what it truly means to live a repentant life with eyes on the Kingdom of God.

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