The Old Testament reading this weekend is from Lamentations 3 – “The LORD’s compassions never fail; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness!” “New every morning” – that’s a true promise from God!
As I have the privilege of preaching and teaching, I am always looking for something “new,” something that I hadn’t seen before in God’s Word. This weekend in the Gospel reading, we have “Two Touching Stories” – something that may be “new” to you too?
Last weekend we read of Jesus teaching in parables (four parables in Mark 4!) This weekend, we see Jesus’ ministry from teaching to touching…
Note with me in Mark 5:21-43 (the Gospel reading) how Jairus asked Jesus to come and “put His hands on his sick daughter” (v.23). But on the way, Jesus was delayed because a faith-filled woman “came up behind Jesus and touched His cloak” and was healed (v.27). Jesus blessed this woman further by assuring her that her faith in Jesus had made her whole (revealing her secret – but now her complete healing!). And when men came to tell Jairus not to bother Jesus because his daughter had died, Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (v.36) and Jesus took the little dead girl by the hand and raised her back to life! (v.41) Wow! Two “Touching” stories of Jesus’ power over sickness, death and all our enemies!
The Gospel of Mark is full of “touchings” – see Mark 1:31 (Peter’s mother-in-law); 1:41 (a leper!); 3:10 and 6:56 (many with diseases); 10:13 (Jesus and the little children – a favorite of mine!)
But in contrast, there were other “hard touchings.” In Mark 11:15-16, Jesus cleared the Temple (a warning against those who would get in the way of people who come to Jesus for His blessings!) Also in 14:45 – the betrayal with a kiss! And 14:65, the brutal beating and arrest of Jesus! Not to mention the flogging and crucifixion of Jesus!
But back to this week’s Two Touching Stories – there are three ways of “touching” – 1) like Jairus, coming / asking to be touched by Jesus. Today Jesus “touches” us through our Baptism and His Word. 2) like the faith-filled woman, our coming to Jesus (maybe too with our “secret needs”) knowing that only He can remove them from us. And 3) the random, unintentional touching that happened as the people “pressed around Him” (see Mark 5:24, 31) – probably a lot of “touching” but no real benefit of healing. All these people are like those around us who still need to have the “healing touch” of Jesus in their lives, to come to Jesus for the blessings He gives.
Someone has written, “Over 60% of church members expect so little to happen in worship that they won’t be in public worship.” They are like those being near Jesus, but no personal benefits because they were not “touched” by Him in His Word and Sacraments, and they did not come “in faith” to receive His touch, nor to bring Him their “secret needs” to have Him “save” them. Those of us who have the blessings of Jesus’ “touch” must share the Good News and invitation of what Jesus loves to do – give His loving, healing touch to all people! We all certainly NEED His touches! How can we share this in a “touching” way this week?
Pastor Dan Myers