Go in Peace
CoronaVirus - around the world
Today makes two whole weeks since we’ve been able to assemble together, and I don’t know about you, but I’m sure missing being with you all. In fact, I’m missing a lot about my weekly routine. I miss being able to go down to the diner on Wednesdays for Bible and Coffee. I miss going out to people’s houses and studying the scriptures together. I miss going down to the bank and bothering Don while he’s trying to work. I’m so ready for life to get back to normal again, and it’s only been 2 weeks!
Isn’t it true that about all we can handle from the change of our routine is around two weeks? I’ve only taken a handful of two week long vacations in my life but I recall at the end of those two weeks I was ready to get back to work. I was ready for life to resume to some kind of normalcy. And we as a culture are starting to find ourselves at that point are we not? We’ve watched about all the TV we care to watch, we are tired of rationing our milk and going without bread because 1) we don’t want to go to the store, and 2) even if we did, they probably are out of what we need anyway! Our schedules are all kinds of disrupted. We have all the additional stress of having to constantly hope our technology is going to work for us today, because if it doesn’t we can’t get work done and also, we will lose all access to the outside world. We are constantly being bombarded with the terrible news coming out of Italy, where nearly 1,000 people are dying every day right now because of the virus that we are all trying to keep safe from. I mean I saw a video the other day about how to safely come home from the grocery store and disinfect all of the items by wiping them down one by one and washing each piece of fruit for 20 seconds in soapy water!
The truth is that when we combine all of these things together, the lack of social interaction, the stress of trusting in technology to work, caring for a home and children while also trying to get work done, and on top of that we are constantly worried that we will bring a terrible virus home to our families from the grocery store, we have an environment where it is impossible for peace to exist don’t we?
You know usually when we think of peace, we think of a time without war. But peace is more than a time marked without war, it exists on a personal level doesn’t it? Of course war can affect that personal peace, It’s certainly hard to imagine that the people of Great Britain had much peace during WW2 when they were repeatedly bombed for months, or the people of Europe having much peace living under the rule of an invading dictator. So we clearly understand that peace is something that exists or does not exists for each of us, personally, all the time.
But as we find ourselves each battling an invisible enemy, we’ve all likely found our peace lacking lately. We wonder about food, we wonder about employment, we wonder about our retirement accounts, we wonder about the future, we worry about our loved ones, we lose sleep, in short, we are seriously lacking in peace.
The scriptures speak a great deal about this personal peace.
The hebrew word for peace is a word that I’m certain you have all likely heard on tv or in movies, the word is Shalom, and it’s all over the Old Testament and has been used as a Jewish greeting for centuries.
The greek word for peace is Ireinay, And while it’s not used as a greeting the way shalom is, it is certainly still used a great deal in the NT including in the text that we are going to look at this morning. Peace is a critically important biblical concept and it is something that we are all longing for today.
The peace we long for is wholeness, a completeness that we think comes when everything is perfect. When we have enough food, when we have enough money, when we have enough job stability, when my kids and my wife respect me, when my husband loves me, when my back stops hurting, we can go on and on with the list of things that we think we need to have peace. And to some degree those things can give you a sense of peace.
But there is a place where we truly need peace more than any other, and without that peace, nothing else matters.
The scripture that Don read this morning from Mark chapter 5 is the scripture I’ve chosen this morning as our text as I believe it carries with it some implied hardships that maybe in times past we would have overlooked because we simply could not empathize with the woman and her situation. And maybe today, and in the weeks to come we might see her story in more understanding eyes.
I hope you have your Bibles with you this morning as we remain in Mark chapter 5.
Now just to set the stage of what was read this morning, Jesus and his disciples had crossed the sea of Galilee and the end of chapter 4 tells us that it was not an uneventful trip, but in fact while they were crossing a great windstorm arose and the waves were pounding the boat, and all the while Jesus slept. The disciples wake him up and Jesus calms the storm with the words “Peace! Be Still” and immediately the wind ceased and the waters were calm.
He ends up across the sea in the land of the Garasenes where he is confronted by a man possessed not just by one demon, but by many who call themselves legion. Jesus casts the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs which then rush down the sea bank and into the sea drowning themselves. Well the locals didn’t much care for Jesus drowning their livelihood so they asked him to leave so he heads back across the sea of Galilee, and when he makes landfall he is once again confronted with an emergency, you see a local leader of the Synagogue named Jairus rushes to Jesus, falls at his feet and begins imploring him, saying “please come and save my little daughter who is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she will be made well and live!” And the scripture says that Jesus went with him.
Now I tell you all of that because it is in the middle of the story of Jesus going with Jairus to heal his daughter that we encounter the account that I want to visit this morning.
Because it is in the midst of Jesus going to help Jairus and his daughter that v. 24 says a large crowd began to form around him and to press up against him.
Now when I imagine this scene I think of news footage of someone famous as they are trying to walk through a crowd of fans and reporters and everyone is trying to get near or touch Jesus because no doubt by this time word had spread about the amazing things that he was doing. You don’t think news about how Jesus had made a paralyzed man walk again or the fact that he made a mans withered hand like new hadn’t spread like wildfire? Most certainly word had gotten out that if you were desperate, if you needed physical peace in your life, you needed had to come to Jesus.
And in this crowd there was a woman who was in desperate need of peace.
You see v. 25-26 tells us that this woman had a problem, she had a medical condition where she had not stopped bleeding for 12 years!
Now perhaps in the past you had read this and thought, well certainly that would be very significant medical problem. I mean having to deal with that problem for that long would no doubt be frustrating, the amount of blood loss may even cause you to become fatigued, and as a man I realize that I can’t fully comprehend the true level of pain that this poor soul was going through.
But on top of the already bad medical condition was the social isolation that would have come along with it.
You see, Jewish law required that among many other things, a woman with a problem such as this woman had would remain ritualistically unclean for all the days of her illness. Meaning for as long as she was bleeding, she was unclean. Anything she sat on or laid on was considered unclean, and anyone she touched was made unclean until evening. You can read about all this in if you are interested to see how exactly this would have affected her life.
In essence, this medical condition had not only caused her much physical suffering, but it also made her a social outcast. Imagine in this day and time if there was someone out in the world who had contracted the virus and was known to have it. Would people be running to that persons house for tea? Would they welcome a hug from them? No they would stay away right! And with good reason I might add. In fact we are staying away from one another just because we MIGHT spread this virus faster if we came together. The same would have been true for this poor woman. She couldn’t worship her God or fellowship together with her people.
And as I stated in my introduction, we’ve been living in this world of social distancing and self isolation for only two weeks and we have just about had enough. But the text tells us that she endured this social isolation for 12 years.
Do you not feel more deeply for this woman than you have in the past? You know, one of the blessings that I think will come out of all this when we finally get through it is that I don’t think that we will ever again take for granted the blessing of being able to assemble as a church. It’s clear to see that God has made us social creatures. That we have a need for community and to be around one another, after all it was God himself who said, “it is not good for man to be alone!” Many of us are experiencing that truth for the first time during all of this. And that is with all the gadgets and technology that keeps us somewhat connected. And as thankful as I am for it, it is no substitute for being face to face.
But the poor woman in didn’t have facebook or text messages to keep her connected. She was most likely completely alone.
But not only that, she had tried everything in order to be healed from this disease.
The text tells us She had exhausted all of her financial resources
Went from physician to physician suffering all kinds of who knows what kind of treatments, and not only did she not get any better, but she got worse.
And now she stands no doubt on the outside of this crowd of people, having heard about this great man who does miraculous things, and longing to only touch his garments and to be made well from this terrible physical and social ailment that she has lived with for 12 years.
Now I can’t offer you the opportunity to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus this morning to be healed of whatever physical ailment you might be struggling with this morning. I would certainly love to pray for you, but I can’t offer you miraculous healing.
I also can’t offer you this morning the promise of finding peace with your job situation, with your financial outlook, or your lack of bread on your shelf.
But what I do want to remind you that if you are a Christian, you have peace in the most important area of your life that there is! You have peace with your God.
You see like the woman here in Mark chapter 5 we as christians made a choice to seek help for the disease of sin that separated us from God.
We heard and understood the words of Scripture like
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We understand that without that peace between us and our God, there is nothing else that matters. No amount of things we could possess, no amount of friends or wealth or anything matters if we are not at peace with God!
But then we did that which the woman did in v. 27
We heard about Jesus - We heard about accounts like we read about today. We believed the eyewitness testimony about him being crucified, buried, and raised back to life on the third day! We considered the evidence and therefore believe him when he said
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
“I am the way and the truth and the live, no one comes to the father except through m
We came to Jesus - and so we came to Jesus. We put our faith and our hope in Him.
And we touched Jesus - Not in a physical sense, but through obedience to the gospel, by believing him when he said
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
By believing him when he said
32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
We confessed Him
Be believing him when he said
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
We were baptized, immersed in water and it is there that scripture tells us our sins were washed away, and we were raised to walk in newness of life. And now we can joyously proclaim that which Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a need that we all have for peace.