A friend once asked Isidor Rabi, a Nobel prize winner in science, how he became a scientist. Rabi replied that every day after school his mother would talk to him about his day. Instead of asking him what he had learned that day, she always inquired, “Did you ask a good question today?”
“Asking good questions,” Rabi said, “made me become a scientist.” Source Unknown
When you study the life of Jesus, one of the things you learn is that Jesus was a master at asking the right question at the right time. Like any great scientist, Jesus asked probing questions. His questions could reveal the motives of his enemies, disarm those who were seeking to undermine his credibility, teach the meaning of a parable, and show that he had insight that exceeded a normal person.
If Jesus were to ask you one piercing question today, would he ask about your marriage, your relationship with a son or a daughter, your job, your health, an addiction, someone that’s abusing you, something that happened in your childhood years ago that still troubles you, a tempting sin you can’t break away from, a big decision or a confession you need to make, or unanswered questions you have that trouble you?
The Lord knows where we hurt, struggle, and fail. He knows where we succeed, excel, and prosper. He wants to help us find our way through a maze of all of these things that make up life.
Jesus is a soul healer. He is concerned about our entire life.
It’s true, Jesus is concerned about your eternal destination, but read the gospels. Jesus doesn’t just focus his ministry on trying to lead people to a heavenly home. Instead he talks about the Kingdom of God. If you listen carefully, you will hear that Jesus is trying to get us to live out God’s Kingdom right here on earth.
If you follow Jesus, he will lead you to heaven but your life is more than just about the final destination; it is also about the journey.
So when I tell you that Jesus is concerned about your soul, that means Jesus is concerned about all of your life, every single day, not just about whether you end up in heaven or hell when you die.
We are spiritual beings. However, we also have physical, social, financial, and emotional needs. All of these work together or against one another. When one of these is out of balance, it can affect the others.
This is a good text to illustrate this truth. Mark tells us the story of Jairus, the Synagogue ruler, who came to Jesus pleading with him to come to his house because his young daughter was dying.
There is this huge crowd following Jesus and Jairus, perhaps curious as to whether Jesus can really heal this little girl. They are pushing their way through the streets of the city and people are pressing against Jesus and suddenly he stops and asks, “Who touched my clothes?”
This has to seem like an insane question to Jairus and a huge waste of time. People are pressing all around Jesus. Clearly there are many people that are brushing up against Jesus and he stops and asks, “Who touched my clothes?”
Imagine you are a family member following an ambulance with a loved one inside on the way to the hospital. Once you get to downtown Athens, the ambulance driver suddenly stops because someone came up to his door and started banging on it. The driver gets out and is guided to a person lying in the road.
Understand, your family member is dying and you see the ambulance driver get out of the ambulance to go give aid to someone else in the road of a busy downtown Athens street, and it doesn’t even appear to be a life threatening situation.
While the driver’s compassion is commendable, how are you feeling about his choice?
Now you can feel the anxiety of the disciples and the synagogue ruler. The moment Jesus wanted to know who touched him, the disciples said, 31 “You see the people crowding against you and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.”
Thankfully, Mark has already given us the back story. We already know why Jesus stopped and asked the question.
Mark has told us about an unnamed woman who is likely still in her childbearing years who has been suffering 12 years with a continuous bleeding issue. Now this is much more of a problem than a mere inconvenience. She has suffered under the care of many doctors. They have likely prescribed many treatments that were painful, and instead of getting her better, they have made things worse. They took her money so she was broke.
This kind of problem would have made her unclean so she either had to stay isolated from people, or she kept her problem a secret and broke the spiritual laws of her religion. Either way, she had to feel like an outcast.
This condition would have also kept her from bearing children and this would certainly have caused great social and emotional pain.
We know one more thing about this woman. She believes Jesus can heal her. She has so much faith in Jesus that she believes if she can touch his cloak she will be healed.
So she pressed through the crowd, breaking her religious laws in order to make her way to Jesus. When she touched his clothes, she felt the bleeding in her body stop. She knew instantly that she had been healed from her suffering. When her bleeding stopped, she was whole.
Jesus felt power leave his body. “Who touched my clothes?” was more like, “Somebody just got healed. Who was it?”
Do you think Jesus didn’t know the answer to his own question? If so, why did he ask it?
Jesus wanted this woman to receive the full benefit of her healing. It’s not like she can go and show evidence of her healing to anyone, but some people knew why she had lived in isolation. They knew why she had suffered in secret and they were not likely to believe she had been healed. Now she was being called out. Jesus wanted people to know of her healing so she could be restored to the community.
Jesus could have kept going. He had important business down the road. But the soul of this woman was important to him – her emotional, financial, social, sexual, physical, and spiritual wellbeing – her soul was what Jesus was interested in restoring and healing. So is yours.
That’s what Jesus wants to heal within all of us—our souls.
Every week I discover someone that is dealing with pain I never knew about. One reason I am in ministry is to remind people that Jesus is interested in healing their souls. Jesus knows about your pain and Jesus cares.
Jesus absolutely wants you to go to heaven. Your eternal destination is important to Jesus. Jesus left heaven to show us how to get there.
However, I misrepresent the gospel if I stand here and tell you every Sunday that Jesus wants to you go to heaven but don’t tell you how much Jesus is concerned about your journey.
Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b). Yes, Jesus is talking about eternal life but Jesus is also talking about and the life that we experience every day.
One way to lead people to heaven is to show them how we experience a God who repairs the brokenness in our lives.
When Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?” this woman was healed on many different levels. She came and fell at his feet, trembling with fear, and told him the whole truth.
What a freeing and healing thing it is for us when we open up to Jesus and tell him the whole truth. Jesus already knows the truth about us, but part of our healing comes when we are honest with God.
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
God can heal us in an instant, but healing often comes in the journey. It happens in counseling. It happens through confession. It happens through forgiveness. It happens as we move through grief. It happens as we learn to have faith, hope, trust, and love. It happens as we learn to let go of guilt, shame, anger, and pride. It happens as we learn to be courageous, humble, and grateful. It happens as we open more and more of our lives to the Holy Spirit.
However, did you notice that even as Jesus’ compassion for this woman brought healing to her, it seems to have come at the expense of helping Jairus’ daughter?
This very important man, a synagogue ruler, was put on hold as Jesus attended to the needs of a woman many would have considered far less important.
As Jesus was finishing ministering to this woman, word came that Jairus’ daughter was dead. There was no need to trouble the teacher anymore.
However, Jesus tells Jairus not to be afraid; just believe. At this point, he doesn’t allow the crowd to continue to the house. Because death has come to this family, this is now a private matter.
Jesus is sensitive that there is grief in this house. He takes only Peter, James, and John as he goes in. However, he asks an odd question. It would not rate very high with those trained in giving pastoral care: “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”
The people gathered at the house to mourn and pay respects to the family laugh at him. They are laughing because they think Jesus’ question is inappropriate. This is nervous laughter. They think he has misunderstood her condition.
Jesus knows that a dead child means separation. Her death means lost hopes and dreams, sadness, the inability to touch, talk, and share the present and the future together. However, her death did not mean separation from God or from other believers.
With the child’s father, mother, and disciples in the room, Jesus took the child by the hand and said in Aramaic, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” This 12-year-old girl stood up and walked around, and in one of the understatements of the Bible, it says that they were completely astonished. Do you think?
With this miracle Jesus demonstrated that He has the power to restore our souls. Jesus has the power to restore the entire self to life, all that we are, from any part of the journey, from the present to the grave.
A day is coming when we will be resurrected, but our resurrection will be like Jesus’ resurrection, which was permanent.
In describing Jesus’ resurrection from the dead in 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul said that Jesus is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. The word, “asleep” is the same word that Jesus uses to describe the girl’s death. Paul uses the word is to indicate that their condition is not permanent, just like when we sleep it is not permanent.
Paul’s use of the word “first fruits means that one day we will all be given the same gift as Jesus, a resurrected body for eternity. We will be raised to new life.
The Apostle Paul says that God will give us a heavenly body, a spiritual body.
But when will all of this happen?
It gets a bit confusing. Here’s why. How we can be in heaven the moment we die, a place where we believe we recognize one another and be raised from the dead in the Second Coming of Jesus, which is when it appears we are raised with a spiritual body like the resurrected Lord? How can both of these be true?
The times I’ve gone into surgery seemed as if no time passed between the time the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face and when I woke up in recovery.
If you have never had that experience, it’s a bit like those nights you’ve experienced a very solid night’s sleep. You close your eyes and your next state of consciousness is when you are awake. You are unaware of how much time has passed.
I believe death and the resurrection happen like this. To the one who has died, time no longer has meaning. When we die, we exit time because we will have no concept of it. Time is for the living so we can measure our days.
After death, the next state of consciousness for those redeemed by Christ is the resurrection and heaven.
But however it happens, I don’t fret about it because God has all of that in control. All I have to do is place my faith in Jesus. Isn’t that what Jesus asked of Jairus? “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”
That’s what Jairus and this woman have in common. They both had faith in Jesus. It was their faith that led to the healing of their souls.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked . Let me assure you, that if you place your faith in Jesus, you will touch his heart.
If you will reach out to Jesus in faith, if you will come and humble yourself before him, Jesus will heal your soul. The life that he will give you will be both eternal and abundant. He will bring wholeness to you that will be with you for the journey and also for the age to come.
What part of your soul needs the attention of the Lord today? The Lord cares as much about you and the pain you carry as he did about the woman and the synagogue ruler. If you have faith in Jesus, we invite you to take Holy Communion today. As you do, bring your pain to Jesus. Share it with him because he cares about everything that you deal with on your journey. He cares about your soul–that is, he cares about all of you, everything that goes into making your life whole and meaningful. Let him begin a process of healing in your life today.