Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Shalom (Mark 5:21-34)

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “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.” 24 And he went with him.  
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:21-34)
Many of you are familiar with the Hebrew word shalom. If you wanted to greet someone in Hebrew, you would say, “Shalom.” When you leave someone you don’t say, “Later, Dude,” or all of the American stuff we’ve come up with. You simply say, “Shalom” —”Peace!” This is the word Jesus used in Mark 5:34.

In the background of Mark 5:21–24, remember that Jesus had been in Capernaum on the western shores of the Lake of Galilee. He had sailed southeast to the Gentile section of Galilee and healed a demoniac. When the people of the region begged Jesus to leave them, He returned to Capernaum. Here he was met by a distraught father, but before He could deal with Jairus’ problem, a needy woman sought to touch Him.

Think about this woman in the context of first-century Judaism. Religious law (see Leviticus 15) had very serious regulations concerning hemorrhaging. The laws of bleeding not only made the woman herself unclean, but whatever and whoever she touched also became unclean. The result was embarrassment, isolation, and religious stigma. Before we think this was too horrible, remember that in biblical times people didn’t have the medicines and medical knowledge we have today. But additionally, there was fatigue. Physicians tell us when you lose more blood than you are able to create, you become anemic. This women was tired, fatigued, exhausted.

The Talmud suggested eleven specific cures for bleeding, such as sitting at a crossroads with a cup of wine, waiting for someone to come from behind to frighten you. This woman had tried every cure and spent all she had on doctors who, at that time in history, were scorned and, in this case, ineffective.

Her touching Christ was an incredible act of courage. According to the law, whoever this woman touched became unclean; yet she reached out to touch the Lord, to touch His robe. “If I can just touch Him,” she said to herself, “I know I will be healed.”

Two miracles occurred here: (1) her bleeding stopped; (2) her strength returned instantly.

When you begin touching people at the point of their need, there is a cost, a drain of spiritual power. Nothing fatigues me like preaching or ministering. But instead of being irritated, Jesus looked at this poor woman as a father would his daughter. He said: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in Shalom.” 

This is the word I want you to remember. It inferred wholeness of body and soul. It implied living a life in harmony with others, to live with the fullness and the wholeness of all of God’s blessings. 

In Numbers 6:22, the rabbis believed that the giving of peace was the climax of God’s blessings. Here was a woman isolated from her family, friends, and religious community. Jesus looked at her with fatherly compassion and said, “Daughter, go in Shalom. When you go back to your house, you go to your house in peace. When you eat with your family, you eat in Shalom. When you talk, you talk in Shalom. When you hug, you hug in Shalom. Go in Shalom.” He was bestowing on her all God’s richest blessings (see Isaiah 55:10–12). 

When Jesus says to you and me, “Go in peace,” He is saying, “Go back to your family in harmony. Recognize that once you were unclean, but now you are clean, you are literally under all of the blessings of God. Go in joy; go with celebration. Go in Shalom.”

Where is this Shalom available? Isaiah 9:6 says: “And His name will be called...”

  • Wonderful Counselor. This woman had sought the advice of rabbis and doctors, to no avail, but Jesus had just the words and power she needed. Perhaps you’ve been spending a lot of money for help and advice instead of listening to the Lord and His Word. 
  • Mighty God. Only God could have done for her what Jesus did. 
  • Everlasting Father. Jesus said to her, “Daughter....” He is for us a compassionate “Dad.” 
  • Prince of Peace. Where can we find this Shalom? Only in Christ, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. 
Come to Jesus today and listen to Him say to you, “Son, daughter—go in Shalom.”