Tucked in between two acts in the story of a miraculous healing of a synagogue leaders’ daughter, is a lightning bolt of all-seeing, all-knowing, all-compassionate love from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
See the scene with me. A large crowd has gathered around Jesus, as usual. Jesus has just returned from the land of Gadara and His fame has spread even more while he was away. Jairus, the synagogue leader, risks his personal reputation in order to plead with Jesus to come with him and heal his dying daughter.
“So Jesus went with him.”
However, along the way, the crowds literally PRESS into Jesus as he walks.
Can you think of it now? The heat and cooling breezes mixing the smells of bodies, some sick, some sweaty, some who have been dealing in spices, some unwashed, some heavily perfumed, all of them nudging each other for the coveted position closest to Jesus. They want to see and hear him firsthand.
I can imagine many reaching out to touch him to get his attention or just to touch him and be part of this phenomenon who is Jesus the Teacher and healer. I hear the crowd as they each call out to him, asking him questions, telling the one in front to move out of the way, talking to each other about what they have heard or seen previously. The disciples are answering them as they “bodyguard” Jesus through the crowd, telling them to move back and give the Teacher some room—to no avail.
I wasn’t there, of course, so this is speculation, but it is a probable one. Scripture leads us purposefully to recognize the hectic pace, the physical close proximity of the crowd, and the motion of all of them moving together on the road to Jairus’ home. The crowd provides the opportunity for God to act.
The touch of faith
Suddenly, Jesus stops. He begins to look earnestly around at the faces in the crowd. He is looking down and around, searching for the face and bodily demeanor that would match what only He knows has just transpired.
[Jesus] turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”Mark 5:30
Who else knew but Jesus that a healing had gone out from Him! The Holy Spirit of Jesus had responded to one in the crowd. Jesus, the Son of God, is looking to physically verify and publically call out what He already knows; yet the disciples are puzzled. It doesn’t make sense! Everyone is touching Jesus, and yet He is looking for one who touched him! What is happening?
Time is of the essence as Jesus is on his way to attend to a dying girl, but this has changed everything. Jesus is engaged entirely with this one eternal moment. The crowds begin to peel away and thin out from immediately around him; they are confused at this change. They look around to discover who is the object of his sudden attention.
And then he sees her.
She alone is left standing in place—or did she press through the crowd in a great impulse of integrity and present herself, her heart pounding? Her eyes meet Jesus’. Trembling, she falls before Jesus’ feet, her head bowed down in fear. She never meant for anyone to know. She only meant to touch him to be healed. What have I done?!
“My Lord, I have been unclean for twelve long years. I have given away the substance of my wealth to be made clean and well, but the wise physicians could not heal me. Instead, it has just gotten worse! I have suffered for so long, have mercy on me! I reached out and touched the hem of your robe, for I knew that healing is found in you, and if only I could touch your clothes, I would be healed, so I touched you. And I have felt in my body that something is changed! Have mercy on me!”
“And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be healed from your suffering.’”Mark 5:34