TWO HEALINGS Mark 5:21-43

A sermon with the congregation of St. John's, Storrington in the Anglican Parish of Kingston North, June 26 , 1994
by Robert Brow (

In our Gospel reading we have heard the account of two very different persons being healed on the same day. One was a child of 12, apparently happy and healthy, then suddenly went into a coma and died. The other was an adult women who had been bothered by constant bleeding for 12 years. The little girl's father was a leader of the synagogue, and so she came from a respected and wealthy home. The woman was probably poor, and we read that "she had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and she was no better, but rather worse" (Mark 5:26).

The third person in our story is Jesus, the Son of God. In the Old Testament he was called Jehovah Raphah, which means the Lord who heals. He had many other names such as the Friend, the Forgiver, the Light, the Lamb, the Shepherd, the Rock, the Fortress. Those names pick up aspects of his work in various situations, but in the case of these two women we see his healing power. Notice the words, "Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt that she was healed of her disease." Knowing that healing power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" (Mark 5:29-30).

Of course that healing power is at work in us all the time. Every day we have cuts and infections which heal themselves. In an accident the doctor sets the broken bone, and sews up any wounds, but it is our bodies that do the healing. We recognize a divine intervention, as did this woman, when all the doctors had failed to help her. And when we are healed from something more serious, we quickly forget that Jesus the Healer was at work in our body.

The problem is that when there is a miraculous healing by obvious divine intervention there are preachers who tell us that if we had enough faith we could be healed from anything. That is obviously false. All the apostles, Peter and John and Andrew and Thomas died in due course. Death is not a disaster from God's point of view. It is his way of enabling us to pass from this life to the perfect life of heaven. And there we will be perfectly healed.

But the opposite attitude of helpless resignation is equally wrong. The Lord wants us to look to him for healing for what we need to do in this life. In both cases recorded in our Gospel the doctors had tried and failed. Only Jesus could intervene. But he responded to the faith of the little girl's parents, and he came in to where the girl was lying dead, and took her by the hand. And the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years expressed her faith by coming up in the crowd and touching Jesus' cloak.

In both cases the touch was important. Jesus can certainly heal from a distance, but he liked to make contact and touch lepers and the eyes of the blind. And he gives us the right to lay hands on people in Jesus' name. It is amazing how often miraculous healing takes place, but it is Jesus the Healer who does the healing. So as we hear this Gospel today, I would like you first to turn to Jesus for your own healing. As you take the communion bread and wine in your hands you can picture it as your personal faith contact with his Body and Blood.

But then could I recommend you go in person to visit someone who needs healing, and if they are comfortable for you to pray for them, touch them in Jesus' name. If you can't actually make physical contact, Jesus understands and accepts your faith from a distance. And when a miraculous healing takes place, remember to give thanks that Jesus' power is still at work to touch and to heal you, and your family, and your friends.

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