Jesus reveals an immensely authentic, non-hyped, God of love and power!
This last Sunday we continued our walk through the gospel of Mark at both the Desert & Tehachapi campus’. Joshua and Jonathan talked with us about the story of “The Dead Girl & the Sick Woman” from Mark 5:21-43. In this story we find Jesus en route to an important man’s home to heal his very sick daughter. On the way he has an encounter with a chronically sick woman who is at her wits end and hoping to find from Jesus the freedom and help that has so far eluded her. As Jesus is having this encounter with the sick woman people arrive to say that the important mans’ daughter has died. He seems unperturbed by this and eventually goes to the man’s home and raises her from the dead. There are three aspects to this story that overlap to make an incredibly important point about what God is like. Lets look at those briefly.
First…Jesus is gracious toward someone who approaches him wrong!
The woman who came to Jesus for healing approached him all wrong. She was broke, in pain, out of options and simply desperate. In her desperation she approached Jesus more like a magic Jeanie than a generous and relational person. She snuck up in the crowd and just touched the edge of his clothing, hoping “the goods” that Jesus had would simply “rub off” on her. Amazingly, it worked! She was instantly healed and completely restored. Jesus, however, knew that this had happened, but that it had happened in a way which would leave her seeing him as some empowered icon. He wouldn’t leave it at that. He demanded that the woman come forward and own what she had done. Sheepishly the woman did so. His response was to love on her and send her away at peace and totally restored. The amazing thing here is that even when someone came toward Jesus with wrong belief, a wrong approach and a wrong response afterward (to hide), Jesus was all about restoring her, loving on her and sending her away with hope and joy.
Second… Jesus seems to have his priorities mixed up!
The second thing that stands out in this story is that Jesus seems to have his priorities mixed up. He stops to bring a right sense of perspective and understanding to this woman with a chronic issue, all the while a girl with a severely acute issue is dying. He doesn’t seem to operate on the same level of priority differentiation as we do. The important man stands and waits for Jesus to deal with this destitute woman while his little girl is literally dying. This approach seems to backfire on Jesus, as we find out that his delay was a costly one. The little girl indeed dies! Jesus not operating according to the urgency of the important man seems to have failed everyone. His priorities simply seem skewed here! However, we will see that Jesus has authority to transcend our sense of timing and urgency by reversing the irreversible. What had gone too far simply wasn’t too far for Jesus. Addressing the woman of low standing with a chronic (non-fatal) issue AND addressing the acute issue of the daughter of a man with high standing seemed to have equal value and importance to Jesus. The value, importance, standing and urgency he puts on our lives seems to operate according to a different values system than ours. He sees us all with an equality and affection that defies our well-entrenched cultural understanding of who deserves what, what God should do and when he should do it. His priorities are different than what we’re used to!
Third…Jesus avoids making a show of power!
The climactic part of this story is Jesus raising the little girl from the dead. What stands out in the story isn’t only that he raised her from the dead (astounding in its own right!), but rather the way in which he did so. There was no big display, no drummed up spiritual incantation, no hyper-spiritualized ordeal that culminated in this incredible work of power. Jesus simply took the little girls hand and roused her from her sleep, the way a parent would any child who was going to be late for school on a Monday morning! In this, Jesus is making a profound point about God…
Point of Emphasis…The spirituality Jesus offers is about authenticity, not hype!
It is all too common in our culture today for the power of God to be associated with hype. Spiritual leaders on TV or in different segments of the Church have all-too-often made it seem that profound spiritual power (such as healing and miraculous works) are for the hyper-spiritual, the anointed leader or for the cream-of-the-Christian-crop. Let me take this opportunity to apologize to you if this is what you have encountered or seen from the Church at-large. The Jesus we see pictured in Mark 5 is very human, is patiently non-frenzied and is as authentically focused on the need at hand as one can get. He doesn’t ask for money, doesn’t drum up a scene (quite the opposite!) and very simply gives away what he has in touchable, human and accessible way. What we would see in the book of Acts, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, is the followers of Jesus…normal men and women like you and me!…doing the same miraculous works of Jesus in the same accessible and non-hyped way. Simply put, the words and the works of Jesus are for everyone and can be participated in by anyone. As John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard said, “everyone gets to play!” I looked up “everyone” in the dictionary, and guess what? It means YOU TOO!
Have a great week friends.
Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard