Study Guide

Gospel of Mark Chapter 5:21-6:6

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Chapter 5:21-6:6

The Dying Daughter and the Bleeding Woman—Two Stories in One

  • Jesus returns to the other side of the lake, where a great crowd awaits him on the shore.
  • The leader of a synagogue named Jairus falls at Jesus's feet, while he requests Jesus to revive his daughter who is dying.
  • Jesus goes with him, and the crowd follows, giving Jesus very little personal space.
  • Meanwhile, in the crowd there's a woman who's been suffering from worsening hemorrhages for twelve years.
  • After spending all her money on doctors, who have utterly failed to treat her, she touches Jesus's clothing with the expectation that doing this will provide a cure.
  • Simply touching Jesus's clothes does what money and doctors couldn't do. The woman is healed.
  • Jesus inwardly recognizes that his power has been exerted, stops dead in his tracks, and asks, "Who touched my clothes?"
  • The disciples suggest that his question is kind of dumb. After all, a huge crowd has been pressing in on him.
  • The woman is afraid because she knows she's been healed. Now's she going to get in trouble for accosting Jesus.
  • She falls before Jesus and confesses the whole truth.
  • But Jesus doesn't mind. She didn't accost him—she had faith, and that's what saved her. Good job. She should enjoy her health.
  • The narrator now resumes the frame-story that started in 5:21-24, as people inform Jairus that his daughter has died and shouldn't waste Jesus's time.
  • Death's not going to stop Jesus, who tells Jairus not to fear and to have faith.
  • Jesus takes Peter, James, and John, and they all enter the house of Jairus, where people are mourning.
  • Jesus tells them not to mourn because the child is not dead, but only sleeping.
  • They all scoff at this ridiculous suggestion, but Jesus sends the mourners out. They go to the child with her mother and father.
  • Jesus takes her hand and says, "Talitha cum" (5:41).
  • Here's your lesson in ancient languages for the day. This is an Aramaic phrase, which Mark subsequently translates into Greek for at least some members of the ancient audience who must not have known Aramaic.
  • Back to the story: the little girl gets up and walks.
  • The narrator adds the detail that she was twelve years old. That's interesting, but why is it important?
  • Jesus orders them not to tell anyone about this. Oh yeah, and he tells them to get this girl some food. She was just dead for crying out loud.
  • Jesus and his disciples go to Jesus's hometown, which we all know to be Nazareth (call to mind 1:9).
  • As he usually does, Jesus teaches in a synagogue on the Sabbath.
  • Everyone's truly astounded, but come on, he grew up with these people, who remember changing his diapers. So they're offended.
  • Jesus informs them that it's actually normal that prophets are without honor in their hometowns.
  • As a result, almost everyone misses out on getting healed. Jesus finds their lack of faith remarkable. The contrast with Jairus and the bleeding woman, who have faith, should be obvious.
  • The narrator summarizes: Jesus continues to teach in Galilean villages other than Nazareth.

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