Restore – Mark 5

Why bother?

Maybe it’s just me. I have prayed and prayed for people to be healed of horrendous illnesses, physical and mental. You just can’t be a Christian, in ministry for very long (or otherwise), and NOT be swept into circumstances that threaten the people you lead or the people you love. In my early days on staff, we had to walk with one of our student leaders thorough his battle with testicular cancer (between his sophomore and junior year at Illinois Wesleyan University). We prayed fervently for Matt’s healing. We lost Matt to cancer in less than a year. Did our prayers and faith even matter?

Why did Jesus heal people? He used his power and authority again and again to restore life. Miraculous power brought to bear on the humblest of needs. Repeatedly it says Jesus would stay after class and heal everyone they could bring him! They bashed in a roof, just to get a paralyzed man to Jesus! Jesus also gave this power to his disciples. The early church saw people healed (Acts).

Where did all the healings go after the early church? Where are they today? Of course compared to Jesus’ day medicine is able to bring proportions of healing unimaginable in antiquity. But disease is still with us today. Young and old even in developed nations die unhealed – even on the watch of the most engaged doctors and intercessors. Why?

Restore, study number eight in our series, looks at two simple healing accounts in the Gospel of Mark. Let’s take a fresh look at Jesus healing. Why did he do it? Why did he leave many un-healed even though he had undisputed authority over disease? What do we make of prayers for healing today? Get a fresh copy of Mark 5 and jump in with your colored pencils! This study as well as RE-07 features the Marcan Sandwich (scroll down to that post for a study guide on sandwiching)! Let’s dive in.

Daughter Number One – vv 21-24

1- A father approaches Jesus about his daughter who is critically ill. What is important to notice about him and his family?

2- What would his fears be? Why is he so certain Jesus can heal his daughter (consider the typical reaction of other religious leaders to Jesus and his ministry)?

Daughter Number Two – vv 24-35

3- Describe the woman mentioned here. How would you describe the extent of her problem?

4- Take a minute to look up this Old Testament reference: Leviticus 15:25-30. How would this woman’s physical condition impact the risk she was willing to take to get to Jesus?

5- What do you notice about how her healing miracle actually takes place? What do you think is meant in verse 30 that “Jesus realized power had gone out from him?”

6- Why does Jesus tell her that her faith has healed her? Wasn’t it Jesus’ power that seemed to bring it about?
7- Discuss the various levels at which this healing act would bring restoration to this woman (physical, emotional, etc)?

Back to Daughter Number One – vv 35-42

8- Assuming the report about the girl’s death to be credible, why might it be difficult for Jairus to understand what Jesus tells him in v 36?

9- The clean and unclean theme emerges again. With Numbers 19:11-22 as a background, what are we learning about Jesus and his contact with things unclean? [He should not have been touched by a hemorrhaging woman. He should not have entered a home where a dead body was located.]

10- How does this miracle compare and contrast with the healing of daughter number two (vv 24-35)?

11- Why does Jesus make his miracle explicit in the case of daughter number two, but gives strict orders to keep the miracle a secret in the case of Jairus’ daughter?

12- Why has Mark so carefully intercalated (sandwiched) these two healing narratives? What is he showing us about Jesus’ purpose for healing? What dynamic between fear and faith is Mark painting for us?

13- How does Mark 5 impact us today in our understanding of healing, fear and faith? Is there a physical, emotional or medical threat in your life you struggle to bring to bring to Jesus?

14- What would it look like for you or your loved ones to draw near to Jesus with your particular needs? Fear is obviously cast as an enemy to faith in Mark 5. What would it take for you use your faith in the face of your fears?

For more background on the healings of Jesus and the concept of clean and unclean, refer to the following articles from The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels and The New Bible Dictionary.

Thanks for looking into RE- study number 8. Watch for two more coming out on the blog by April. Comment here on the blog or email me:

tim.perry@intervarsity.org

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