Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
June 28, 2009 (Lectionary 13)
Lamentations 3:22-33 or Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Psalm 30 (1)
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
Psalm 130 (1)
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Prayer of the Day
Almighty and merciful God, we implore you to hear the prayers of your people. Be our defense against all harm and danger, that we may live and grow in faith and hope, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has a-| bolished death
and brought life and immortality to light | through the gospel. Alleluia. (2 Tim. 1:10)
1a. CONTEXT - Mark 5:21-43
The Healing of the Woman with the Hemorrhage
It is probable that not Mark, but the oral tradition, inserted the healing
of the woman with the hemorrhage into the body of the story of the
raising of the daughter of Jairus. Form critics say that it may have been
done in order to account for Jesus' delay, and to explain why the girl was
dead by the time he arrived at the house. Delaying of the arrival of the
wonder worker is a common feature in stories of resuscitation (cf. John
11:21). Other conventional features of this healing story are: mention of
the length of the woman's illness, of doctors failing to heal her, the
touching of the healer's clothing without his knowledge, and the notion of
miraculous power as a kind of manna whose loss is physically felt by the
healer. These are all popular ideas, and some of them actually border on
superstition. In the raising of the little girl the crowd jeers at the
wonder-worker. The miracle itself is done in privacy (cf. 7:33). This adds
an air of mystery to the scene. The wonder-worker uses a magical
foreign phrase, Talitha, cumi (cf. Ephphatha, 7:34 ), in the manner of a
conjuror's Abracadabra. In response, the girl rises and walks, and Jesus
asks that she be given something to eat: these are proofs of the cure.
The amazement of the crowd is also typical of secular miracle stories.
Yet both of these stories also contain features of a very different kind.
For in spite of their close affinities with the secular miracle stories,
they have an added and a distinctly Christian interpretation. The healing
of the woman with the hemorrhage, if it had been just a popular story,
would have ended at v. 32, extended perhaps with an acclamation from the
bystanders, for the wonder-worker and the power of his deed. Instead,
Mark presents the scene between Jesus and the woman: "But the woman,
knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down
before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your
faith had made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.'" (vv.
33-34.) With this added scene, what otherwise looks like a superstitious
act is transformed into a personal encounter with the Messiah.
The woman falls prostrate at Jesus' feet in the attitude of petitionary
prayer. Jesus addresses her personally as "daughter," and praises her for
her faith. Like the friends of the paralytic digging through the roof of the
house where Jesus was teaching (2:4), like blind Bar Timaeus throwing
off his cloak (10:50), the woman by touching Jesus' clothes attests to her
faith, her reaching out for the help of God (5:27). And, she isn't simply
"made well." She is made whole ; she becomes a partaker in the shalom
that characterizes Messianic salvation. The story of the raising of the
girl is transformed in the same way. Jesus tells the crowd, "The child is
not dead, but sleeping" (5:39b). Most languages use sleep as a euphemism
for death, but here sleep and death are definitely contrasted. When we
fall asleep we expect to awake again in the morning, but from death there
is no awakening. From God's point of view, however, the girl is sleeping
and will rise again. Death is no longer the last word. By telling readers
the meaning of Talitha cumi, Mark shows that it wasn't meant as a magic
formula. By inserting the phrase "I say to you," it becomes a claim to
Messianic authority. Mark thus shows that the raising of the girl is an
act of God. This is the long awaited Messianic intervention; the dead are
raised, at last!
1b. Text(s): Mark 5:21-43
5:21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd
gathered around him; and he was by the sea.
5:22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw
him, fell at his feet
5:23 and begged him 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."
5:24 He went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
5:25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve
5:26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had;
and she was no better, but rather grew worse.
5:27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his
5:28 for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well."
5:29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was
healed of her disease.
5:30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the
crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?"
5:31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can
you say, `Who touched me?'"
5:32 He looked all around to see who had done it.
5:33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling,
fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.
5:34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be
healed of your disease."
5:35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader's house to say,
"Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?"
5:36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, "Do
not fear, only believe."
5:37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of
5:38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a
commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
5:39 When he had entered, he said to them, "Why do you make a commotion and
weep? The child is not dead but sleeping."
5:40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child's father
and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was.
5:41 He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha cum," which means, "Little girl,
5:42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years
of age). At this they were overcome with amazement.
5:43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her
something to eat.
21Καὶ διαπεράσαντος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ [ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ] πάλιν εἰς τὸ πέραν συνήχθη ὄχλος πολὺς ἐπ' αὐτόν, καὶ ἦν παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. 22καὶ ἔρχεται εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων, ὀνόματι Ἰάϊρος, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν πίπτει πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ 23καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ λέγων ὅτι Τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει, ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ ἵνα σωθῇ καὶ ζήσῃ. 24καὶ ἀπῆλθεν μετ' αὐτοῦ. Καὶ ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς, καὶ συνέθλιβον αὐτόν. 25καὶ γυνὴ οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος δώδεκα ἔτη 26καὶ πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν καὶ δαπανήσασα τὰ παρ' αὐτῆς πάντα καὶ μηδὲν ὠφεληθεῖσα ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εἰς τὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα, 27ἀκούσασα περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, ἐλθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ὄπισθεν ἥψατο τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ: 28ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὅτι Ἐὰν ἅψωμαι κἂν τῶν ἱματίων αὐτοῦ σωθήσομαι. 29καὶ εὐθὺς ἐξηράνθη ἡ πηγὴ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔγνω τῷ σώματι ὅτι ἴαται ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγος. 30καὶ εὐθὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ δύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν ἐπιστραφεὶς ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἔλεγεν, Τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; 31καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, Βλέπεις τὸν ὄχλον συνθλίβοντά σε, καὶ λέγεις, Τίς μου ἥψατο; 32καὶ περιεβλέπετο ἰδεῖν τὴν τοῦτο ποιήσασαν. 33ἡ δὲ γυνὴ φοβηθεῖσα καὶ τρέμουσα, εἰδυῖα ὃ γέγονεν αὐτῇ, ἦλθεν καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. 34ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ, Θυγάτηρ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε: ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην, καὶ ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγός σου. 35Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἔρχονται ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου λέγοντες ὅτι Ἡ θυγάτηρ σου ἀπέθανεν: τί ἔτι σκύλλεις τὸν διδάσκαλον; 36ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς παρακούσας τὸν λόγον λαλούμενον λέγει τῷ ἀρχισυναγώγῳ, Μὴ φοβοῦ, μόνον πίστευε. 37καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκεν οὐδένα μετ' αὐτοῦ συνακολουθῆσαι εἰ μὴ τὸν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἰακώβου. 38καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου, καὶ θεωρεῖ θόρυβον καὶ κλαίοντας καὶ ἀλαλάζοντας πολλά, 39καὶ εἰσελθὼν λέγει αὐτοῖς, Τί θορυβεῖσθε καὶ κλαίετε; τὸ παιδίον οὐκ ἀπέθανεν ἀλλὰ καθεύδει. 40καὶ κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ. αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκβαλὼν πάντας παραλαμβάνει τὸν πατέρα τοῦ παιδίου καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ τοὺς μετ' αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἰσπορεύεται ὅπου ἦν τὸ παιδίον: 41καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου λέγει αὐτῇ, Ταλιθα κουμ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Τὸ κοράσιον, σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε. 42καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον καὶ περιεπάτει, ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. καὶ ἐξέστησαν [εὐθὺς] ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ. 43καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἵνα μηδεὶς γνοῖ τοῦτο, καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ φαγεῖν.
Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London
2. ANALYSIS: Mark 5:21-43
The basic structure of miracle stories is tripartite: first, the problem
is stated, second, the solution is given, and third, some kind of proof is
presented, that the solution as presented indeed solved the problem. If
we were to ask how else we would tell such a story, the answer is
simple: It seems there is no other way. Those are the elements necessary
to tell the story. Any further details, not necessary for such a story,
must be accounted for in some other way than the desire to tell the story
of a mighty act. We must remember that none of the material Mark uses
comes from stenographic accounts by eyewitnesses. All material that
Mark had in his tradition has been passed on by word of mouth, and had to
prove its usefulness in the mission of the early church, or it would not
have been preserved. As miracle stories are told and retold, many details
drop out, and they economically assume the tripartite form outlined above.
And so we may say, that the structure of the stories of Jesus' mighty
acts owes more to the way such stories are designed to be told, than to
the way they may have actually happened.
The structure is elastic to the extent that each of the three elements
may be expanded by details. And so the problem may be stated at some
length, with special emphasis, for example, on how resistant it has been
to any solution, up to now (5:25-26). The solution may include a request
for help, either by the sufferer himself (1:40), or by her friends or
relatives (7:25- 26), and may even be recited in great detail (8:23-25a).
The proof may include several indicators that the problem has indeed
been solved (5:42, 43b), and may also be expanded to include a reaction of
bystanders, to demonstrate that they also recognize the solution to be
genuine (7:37). Elastic though the structure may be, however, it is easy
enough to tell whether or not individual details belong to the structure of
the miracle story, or whether they constitute theological interpretations,
or additions to the story. The likelihood is that most of the stories of
Jesus' acts of power originated and were told without theological
interpretation, probably among people who already shared the faith that
the person who had done these things was indeed their risen Lord. Later,
to make them useful for purposes of teaching and preaching, theological
interpretations were incorporated to make them less open to
misunderstanding by the initiates.
There were three basic ways to build in theological interpretation. The
first was to add theological material to the story itself. The second was
to give the story an interpretative frame-work. The third is by the
combining of stories. Mark 5:21-43 is an example of two miracle stories
that have been combined in a very simple way. The story of the woman
with the hemorrhage (5:24b-34) has simply been inserted into the story
of the raising of Jairus' daughter (5:22 -24a, 35-43), perhaps to let the
statement about faith, in the interlude story, interpret the meaning of the
story into which is has been inserted. We know that miracle stories
could circulate in the oral tradition as doublets, however, since Mark has
preserved such a pair of miracle stories in 6:35-43 and 8:1-9. It may be
that other doublets were combined at some point during their
transmission. Scholars have yet to solve the puzzle presented by such
combinations of stories. Mark reinterpreted them to show Jesus engaged
in teaching and dispute.
3. STRATEGY: Mark 5:21-43
From beginning to end, in Mark's Gospel, Jesus is opposed and his
teachings are rejected by the ruling religious authorities. Throughout the
whole narrative, Pharisees oppose and plot against him, as do the scribes
and priests (cf. 2:7; 3:6; 8:11; 10:2; 11:18; 12:12; 14:1; 15:31). They
oppose what he does and what he says, and plot to kill him after their
first encounter with him (3:6). Their opposition is understandable. Jesus
represents a threat to all they hold to be true: the law as they understand
it (cf. 7:1-13). Even more, Jesus responds to their rejection with harsh
language (7:6, 9; 12:9, 38), and is uncompromising in his opposition to
their position. He allows no room for possible error in his own position,
and implies little if any room for truth in theirs. And, it is with such
persons that Mark associates the disciples when he portrays their
characteristic inability to understand who Jesus is, and what he teaches.
There are, of course, times when the disciples are presented in a more
The account of the calling of the disciples (1:16-20), placed before any
of the powerful acts of Jesus, that might have given them stronger
motivation to follow him (cf. Luke 4:31-5:11), shows them in a positive
light. They did, in fact, abandon all, to follow Jesus. When they reminded
him of that fact (10:28), Jesus didn't deny it, and assured them they would
have their reward. Perhaps the fact they followed him as long as they did
puts them in something of a more positive light. In spite of their inability
to understand everything that Jesus said and did, they did stay. The
ambiguity of their position is, however, demonstrated by the positive way
that Mark pictures other groups in responding to Jesus. Two may be
singled out. First, the crowds that surrounded him are generally
portrayed in Mark as responding in an enthusiastically positive way. This
is not only the case in Galilee (1:27-28; 2:2; 3:7; 4:1; 5:21; 6:34; 7:37; 8:1;
10:1) but also in Jerusalem (11:9; 12:37), prior to the trial and the
Secondly, Mark appears to go out of his way, considering the
patriarchal culture that he was raised in, to portray some women as
responding positively to Jesus (5:28; 7:25; 14:3), who breaks many taboos
in speaking to women, and allowing them to touch him. The blood taboo, in
reference to the woman with the hemorrhage, is a special illustration of
this point. In strong contrast to the twelve, the women who followed
Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem remained faithful to the end (cf. 15:40-
47 with 14:50). It is they alone who are left to tend the buried corpse of
Jesus (16:1), and they who are the first to learn of the empty tomb. In
view of their faithfulness around the cross it is least likely that Mark
intended the reader to think, as a result of their fearful reaction to such
news (16:8), that they disobeyed the angelic message to " go, tell" the
disciples. There may be an intended note of irony here: the women are
sent to proclaim the good news of Jesus' resurrection to the disciples,
before they can embark on their own task of proclamation. However we
may want to judge that, it is clear that Mark did not present the ministry
of Jesus in such a way that it was totally open to rejection and
misunderstanding. It is in the realm of God's plan for shalom (that works
itself out in Jesus, and through the church that grows out of his mission),
that we find the most fertile ground for sermon development.
Exegete: Rev. Carol M. Worthing, D.Min., Ph.D. Following an illustrious career in teaching, counseling, and parish ministry , Dr. Worthing retired as executive director of the Texas Conference of Churches in 2003. She moved back to Duluth, Minnesota, where she had been baptized and confirmed at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. She has two adult sons. Her recent activities include retreat leadership at various sites, including the McCabe Renewal Center affiliated with St. Scholastica’s Monastery, a Monastic Community of Benedictine Sisters who live according to the Gospel and the Rule of St. Benedict.
More Information: http://www.duluthbenedictines.org/
4. REFERENCES: Mark 5:21-43
Aland, Kurt, ed. Synopsis of the Four Gospels. Wuerttembergische
Bibelanstalt, W. Germany: United Bible Societies, 1976, pp. 125-126.
Achtemeier, Paul J. Mark: Proclamation Commentaries, ed. by Gerhard
Krodel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975, pp. 55-57.
Fuller, Reginald B. Interpreting the Miracles. London: SCM Press LTD.,
1963, pp. 74-78, 93-95.
( All scripture quotations are from the NRSV.)
Peter and Paul, Apostles
June 29, 2009
Psalm 87:1-3, 5-7 (3)
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, we praise you that your blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdoms. Grant that your church throughout the world may always be instructed by their teaching and example, be knit together in unity by your Spirit, and ever stand firm upon the one foundation who is Jesus Christ our Lord, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Alleluia. This Jesus | God raised up,
and of that all of | us are witnesses. Alleluia. (Acts 2:32)
Today marks the end of the “Year of Paul” declared worldwide by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. For all Roman Catholics, this day also marks the beginning of a year of prayer and reflection on the priesthood. For all evangelical Christians, it could mark an occasion for reflection upon the priesthood of all believing Christians in a church marked by being One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.
July 3, 2009
Psalm 136:1-4, 23-26 (1)
Prayer of the Day
Ever-living God, you strengthened your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in the resurrection of your Son. Grant that we too may confess our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Alleluia. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea | and Samaria,
and to the ends | of the earth. Alleluia. (Acts 1:8)
LEXEGETE © 2009