Church of England Diocese of Birmingham Frankley

Jesus Listens, Jesus Heals

27 Jun 2021, 1:30 a.m.

We are in great need of healing after the pandemic. Some of us have lost jobs, our health and loved ones. We have all lost freedoms. Our mental health has been affected and the losses have come so quickly that we have been unable to grieve properly.

Whether we are rich and powerful or poor and isolated, Jesus loves us, listens and heals.

The two people Jesus responded to who came to him in faith, Jairus and the woman with the haemorrhage were very different. Jairus was a rich, powerful synagogue ruler. The haemorrhaging woman was weak, poor and anonymous.

Jesus had arrived back on Galilean soil where a great crowd surrounded him longing to hear his words and receive healing. Jairus, one of the most important and respected men in the community also came. He was the administrative head of the synagogue, president of the board of elders and responsible for the good management of the synagogue, for the conduct of the services and the allocation of duties. Although, he did not lead services himself, he was responsible for those who did so and that they were carried out properly.

Jesus had disrupted synagogue services by healing and setting people free on the Sabbath, challenging the authority of prominent Jews. The Pharisees and Herodians were consequently out to discredit him. Jairus must have seen Jesus as a dangerous outsider and heretic. But his beloved daughter was dangerously ill and dying!

He knew there was no Jewish prayer or liturgy that had helped. He was desperate. He would do anything he could to save her.

Overcoming his prejudice, his dignity forgotten, he fell at Jesus’ feet. He humbled himself, exposing his need in front of a vast crowd.

Jairus with all his power, position and wealth did not have anyone else to turn to. His religion couldn’t heal his daughter and the doctors had failed to bring healing.

Jairus begged Jesus repeatedly, “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.” He didn’t give up when he didn’t get an immediate answer.

Jairus offers us a picture of intercessory prayer. He comes to Jesus, he kneels, he tells Jesus what he wants and he believes that Jesus will answer. We should pray this way both in private and in public.

Maybe if we were prepared to be more real with God and ourselves, even at the risk of losing our dignity, we would see him answer our prayers more often.

Jairus came himself. He would be expected to send a servant as his daughter was at the point of death showing immense faith.

People in our society who are desperate turn to many different sources of healing, doctors, diets, New Age practices, medicines and healers on the God channels.

Jesus who healed the sick 2000 years ago has continued to heal ever since. When he lays his hands on us we become well. That’s why when churches have a healing services they lay hands on the sick and anoint them with oil, doing what Jesus did and praying in his name. We cannot bring healing but Jesus can.

When Jesus went to Jairus’ home the crowd followed, pressing in on him, touching him on all sides.

A woman who had been haemorrhaging for 12 years, the entire lifetime of Jairus’ daughter, probably as a result of fibroids giving her a continual period should not have been there. Probably weak and anaemic, she would have been considered ceremoniously unclean according to the purity laws in Leviticus 15. No man would touch her. She was lonely, cut off from friends and family. She was not allowed in the temple or synagogue. Jairus, as an elder of the synagogue would be one of those responsible for enforcing her exclusion.

She was unable to bear children, the most important function of the Jewish woman and had endured much under many physicians, and spent all she had. She was no better, but rather grew worse.

The Jewish Talmud suggests 11 cures for her condition including tonics and astringents. Some are superstitions such as carrying the ashes of an ostrich egg.

It is right to go to physicians. God has given the medical profession the ability to do amazing things but they couldn’t heal this woman.

Her illness had stripped her of everything, health, family, formal worship, purpose in life and all her money. Those in countries in which patients have to pay for treatment understand her plight better than we do.

Desperation and embarrassment caused the woman to touch the garment of Jesus in secret. She had no one else to turn to.

Jesus wants us to cast all our cares on him whether we are desperate or not. He cares for us. Often we don’t turn to him until we are desperate. Desperation can drive people to despair or drive people to Jesus. Have our desperate friends heard about Jesus and do they know that you will pray with them and for them?

The woman came up behind Jesus and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”

She came with expectation and faith that a Jewish rabbi would heal and not humiliate her.

Jesus’ outer cloak would have had four tassels on it to remind him that he was a member of God’s chosen people and under obedience to the law. It is one of these tassels she touches. Maybe she was claiming her position as one of the people of God.

When she touched she felt the blood flow stop and strength returning. As she felt stronger, Jesus fells weaker. Immediately aware that power had gone from him, Jesus turned and said, “Who touched me?”

Every time Jesus healed it took something out of him. He was prepared to pay the price of helping others, and that price was the pouring out of his life.

The woman, knowing what had happened, came in fear and trembling, fell down before Jesus, and told him the whole truth. Telling the truth about ourselves is always humiliating. It was particularly so for this woman as she had to share what is private for women in front of men.

Her illness, associated with ritual uncleanness was considered to be a result of woman’s sinful nature. As well as bodily healing this woman would also have known she was forgiven. She, a woman, was one of God’s chosen people, God’s daughter. Her alienation was over.

We can talk to Jesus about anything. Confession is part of the healing process.

Jesus is very kind. He commended her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

In talking to the woman, Jesus spent valuable time which delayed him in going to Jairus’ daughter. While he was speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

He encouraged Jairus to do what the woman had done. What are you frightened of? We can overcome these fears by facing them with Jesus and trusting him.

Jewish mourning customs would involve the wail of flutes, the screams of mourners, passionate appeals to the dead, rent garments and torn hair, all designed to emphasise the desolation and final separation of death.

When Jesus arrived, he asked, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” and the mourners laughed at him. What a turn round of emotions from wailing to laughing at Jesus. What a display of false grief!

Jesus put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and Peter, James and John , and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” and immediately the girl got up and began to walk about. They were overcome with amazement. Jesus strictly ordered them that no one should know and told them to give her something to eat.

Jesus didn’t want to make a spectacle of or frighten the girl. Only Jesus, three of the disciples, plus her parents were present. She was spoken to in her own language of Aramaic and simply woke up.

Jesus had to tell her parents to give her something to eat. They were so stunned they didn’t know how to respond. She was a normal 12 year old with normal needs. She had just become a woman with so much life left to live and bear.

Jesus gave Jairus an important leader and an anonymous woman the healing they could not buy or earn simply because they came to him and asked. Jesus loves us, listens and heals so let us come before him now and pray for our own healing and the healing of God’s broken world.