Day 25 – The Problem of Reducing People to Their Problems

Mark 5:21–29  

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

Consider This

Did you catch what just happened? Jesus is now back on the other side of the lake. It turns out he went to the region of the Gerasenes for the sole purpose of delivering the demon-­possessed man from evil. That was it.

It’s Father’s Day as I’m writing this. As I reflect on this story, something new strikes me about the ministry of Jesus. I have only ever thought of the demon-possessed man as “the demoniac,” or “the man among the tombs.” I saw him as the sum total of his problem. Consequently, I saw Jesus as his solution, or his Savior.

While that’s undeniable, there’s something much bigger going on here. Jesus didn’t see this man as “the demoniac.” He didn’t classify him according to his problem. Jesus saw him as someone’s son. No one planned for his life to turn out this way, living in bondage to satanic enslavement. Imagine the heartbreak of his mother and father; a son who was for all practical purposes dead, yet endlessly suffering in agony.

The mission of Jesus, the Son of God, sent by the Father, is the restoration of all sons and daughters. His was and remains on a mission to reclaim and restore what has been lost; the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve. At the heart of the heart of God beats the love of a Father.

Learning to see people as God sees them means I can never label them according to their suffering. I must see them as sons and daughters. Everyone on earth is someone’s son or daughter. What if we could see them like that?

The theme continues in today’s text with the leader of the synagogue—also a father.

“My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

Jesus likely needed little convincing as the little girl was only twelve years old. As they turned toward this bleak scenario, yet another impossible situation presented itself. We will pick up with that one tomorrow.

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

  • Do you tend to see people in need as the sum total of their problems, especially people in need that you do not know (i.e., the poor)?
  • What if we saw them as God sees them?