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Devotion for July 19, 2007

Devotions

In any form of writing, the structure of the piece is critically important. Whether scientific papers, news reports, software manuals, short stories, or novels, the way that the material is arranged has significance for how the reader will understand it.

God chose to use writing—His inspired, inerrant Word—to communicate with us, and in Scripture the structure matters as well. In our passage today, the writer of the Gospel of Mark placed one story, the sick woman (vv. 25–34), in the middle of the story of Jairus (vv. 21–24, 35–43) to help us see that each story sheds light on the other.

Jairus and the sick woman lived at opposite ends of the social spectrum. Jairus was a man with a high position in society (v. 22); the woman is unnamed. Her gender and marital status already gave her low rank, and then the nature of her chronic  bleeding completely excluded her from the life of the community of Israel (v. 25; cf. Lev. 15:19–33). The similarities of their situation before Jesus, though, remind us that great faith is possible for anyone—from any social strata, race, or gender—and that Jesus commends faith and offers new life without discrimination. Both Jairus and the woman fall at the feet of Jesus in humble faith (vv. 22, 33); both believe absolutely in the power of Jesus and approach Him for miraculous healing (vv. 23, 27); both demonstrate courage when their faith is challenged (vv. 33, 36).

Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, is the focus here. His identity and power beckon our faith, like the woman who heard testimony about Jesus and believed (v. 27). Also, rather than scolding the woman for her clandestine action, Jesus addresses her as “daughter,” welcoming her back into the community; He completely heals her; and He commends her faith (v. 34). Jesus restores her socially, physically, and spiritually. Jesus must have meant His interaction with the bleeding woman to strengthen Jairus even in the face of hopeless circumstance (v. 36).

Apply the Word

Both the woman and Jairus came to Jesus in desperation. Perhaps you or someone you know feels desperate, too. Your situation may feel as though no cure or restoration is possible. The God who healed the woman and raised the daughter of Jairus still delights in the faith of His people. You can come to Him without hesitation, knowing that He triumphs over hopelessness. He will respond in His love, grace, and mercy.

BY Amber Jipp

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