Week Seven, Day Three, The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter Five
Jesus in the midst of miraculous ministry. His signs and wonders are drawing a crowd of admirers and onlookers. Skeptics and believers alike were following Him. In Mark five, Jesus heals a man afflicted with a multitude of demonic possessions, and then is asked to follow a religious official named Jairus to his house to heal his daughter.
On the way to Jairus' house, Mark introduces the reader to a woman. Her name isn't given, and everything written about her paints her as the outcast of the outcast. She had been suffering from a disease for years. She had found no relief from what passed for a doctor in the first century, and she was now penniless and living on the street. The nature of her affliction would have made her "unclean" by the religious rules of the day. Her affliction, which was not her fault, would have cut her off from society.
If you were touched by an unclean person, you became unclean. For this woman to have the guts to touch Jesus as He passed her, shows how desperate she was for help. She is completely destitute, in pain, and alone so she makes a move, having faith that maybe this new teacher would have mercy on her.
Jesus notices her. Even though the disciples argue there's no way to find out who touched Him in the crowd they were in, He knew she was there. Instead of cutting her off further, instead of labeling her as a sinful woman--or as unclean--Jesus heals her and calls her "Daughter."
This statement wasn't degrading, it was uplifting. To call her daughter was to identify as being with her. She is one of us, she is worthy, she is a person. Jesus heals her from her disease, yes, but He also affirms her identity. He sends her on her way, telling her to be healed of her affliction.
But she was already healed.
What was the affliction He was talking about?
Her loneliness, her status as outcast, her lack of social or material capital would have been almost a worse affliction than the disease. Jesus heals her of both with one word. He identifies with the outcast, the destitute, and the afflicted. Jesus is with us.
Jesus calls us His family, and that is our identity. It means we are wanted.