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Healings, hidden and unveiled

Agnès Adeline-Schaeffer
Translation Tony Dickinson
(Mark 5:21-34)
Here are two stories of healing so closely linked that one is embedded in the other. This is the story of a man’s supplication to Jesus for his daughter, interrupted by the intervention of another woman, herself seeking healing.
A magnificent contrast, on the one hand, Jairus, head of the synagogue, important and well-known, and on the other, an anonymous woman, haemorrhagic, ostracised from society because of her infirmity and religious law.
Jairus throws himself at the feet of Jesus and implores him: “Come and lay hands on my sick daughter, so that she may recover.”
At the same moment, the anonymous woman discreetly approaches Jesus and manages to touch his garment, with the crazy conviction that this will be enough for her to be healed. And immediately her bleeding stops. The healing is invisible from the outside, visible only to the woman concerned. But Jesus asks, “Who touched my clothes?” The woman owns up. Jesus replies, “My daughter, go in peace, your faith has saved you.” However this healing slows Jesus’ progress. The situation worsens, confirmed by the deathly messengers from Jairus’s house: “Your daughter is dead, it is no longer worth bothering the master.”
But Jesus’ answer is quite different. He tells him, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” Jesus goes to the little girl’s bedside and says to her “Talitha koum”, “Young girl, get up!”
Regardless of their social backgrounds, and defying religious prohibitions, Jairus and the haemorrhagic woman take the same action: daring to move towards Jesus. But Jairus is asked to trust, where the woman has trusted of her own accord, by touching the garment.
At the end of Jesus’ intervention in his daughter’s illness, Jairus rediscovers his place as a father with his daughter. The woman, for her part, regains her dignity and the possibility of renewing relationships when Jesus speaks to her and calls her “my daughter”. Jesus raises her and restores the initiative to her by questioning her. She can explain herself. And she leaves in peace.
The little girl, on the other hand, does not speak. But she gets up and resumes her daily life. She is given something to eat.
Fundamentally, there are three characters and three complementary healings, with one thing in common: the meeting with Jesus. Jesus meets each of these people where they are, with a word which allows them to break with their past. Addressed personally, this word frees and restores them.
Restoring, awakening, setting on one’s feet, these are all terms to evoke the resurrection. Because this is indeed about resurrection, in every meaning of the word. Not only in the fact of coming back from death to life like the little girl, but of being freed from the bonds which imprison, of being freed from the gaze of others, of crossing social barriers, of breaking down the walls of separation imposed by family and religious education, by lack of self-confidence, by prejudices, by taboos linked to male or female behaviour. Here, each of these people receives a word that invites them to set out on a journey.
“Do not fear, only believe,” said Jesus to the despairing Jairus.
“Go, your faith has saved you,” he said to the haemorrhagic woman, now healed.
“Young girl, get up!” He said to the child in the grip of death.
Which word will help us out of our personal prisons? Which one will succeed in stopping our internal haemorrhages, whether of blood or loneliness? Which will generate in us an impulse of faith, a confidence that we lack? There are three possible ways for us to receive this Word:
• To let ourselves connect, like Jairus, with a word from Jesus which allows us to throw ourselves at his feet with our whole being. It will then be a call to trust beyond what we hope and desire.
• To try to make our way to Jesus, like the haemorrhagic woman, in order to touch, each in our own way, the hem of his coat, in a last-ditch, discreet gesture which is both desperate and full of conviction.
• And why not hear for ourselves this word that Jesus addressed to the little girl: “Come on, get up! This is the price of your new birth!”
And what if the fourth healing was ours?

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a été pasteur à Amsterdam et en Région parisienne. Il s’est toujours intéressé à la présence de l’Évangile aux marges de l’Église. Il anime depuis 17 ans le site Internet Protestants dans la ville.

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