St. Edmund's Church, Crickhowell

Encounters with Jesus -




Two people come to Jesus seeking healing. Their circumstances are very different. Yet they both need the same thing, but is their need for healing or faith ?


Jairus and the woman in the story were both at the end of their tether, and had nowhere else to turn. Who do we turn to in times of crisis, when we feel at the end of our tether ?


Two contrasting healings are woven together into one narrative. Read Mark 5:21 - 43.


  1. What obvious contrasts are there between these two healings ?
  2. What do we learn from these contrasts ?
  3. What do the stories share in common ?

The Woman

  1. Why had the woman sought anonymity in the crowd ?
  2. Her complaint could be cured today by a relatively common operation. Yet she suffered for twelve years, and was in fact made worse by the medical 'care' she received (v.26; compare Luke's approach as a physician - Luke 8:43 !). Was touching Jesus' clothing an act of desperation, or faith, or both?
  3. Jesus knew power had gone out of Him. Is this a rare indication of how costly this ministry was, even for Him ?


"Don't be afraid; just believe." (v.36).

  1. Jesus told the woman her faith had healed her (v.34). He then challenged, or encouraged, Jairus to 'believe'. How far is faith 'responsible' for healings / miracles ?
  2. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue, and thus was seen as a symbol of 'formal' religion. Yet he turned to the itinerant Preacher Jesus in a time of crisis and need. Was this an admission that his formal 'faith' was not enough ? What kind of 'faith' was needed instead ?
  3. Just (or only) believe Easy ? Or close to impossible at times ?
    The actor Alec McCowan wrote:

    He has just told us.
    Only believe.
    This challenge has nagged for two thousand years.
    We would prefer to build cathedrals, compose sacred masses, paint the Sistine Chapel. We would prefer fo fast or fight crusades. We try to evade the ordinary words.
    'Only believe'.
    Stand up ! Sit down ! Wake up ! Only believe!
    ONLY ?
    Easier to fly to the moon.


'For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God ..'  [Ephesians 2: 8]

Thank God for the gift of faith, and ask for an increase of it.



3/10  BL     Last updated 19/10/2004