They came to Jesus and saw the man who used to be demon-possessed. They saw the very man who had been filled with many demons sitting there fully dressed and completely sane, and they were filled with awe.
Her bleeding stopped immediately, and she sensed in her body that her illness had been healed.
Suddenly the young woman got up and began to walk around. She was twelve years old. They were shocked! – Mark 5:15, 29, 42 (CEB)
Mark moves quickly in his Gospel. At the beginning of chapter five, Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee into pagan territory, and by the end, they are back in Judean territory (probably Capernaum) in the house of a synagogue leader.
Mark often moves at a breathless pace, stacking story upon story like a greatest hits montage of Jesus’ life. I don’t know if these events took place on the same day, although I think Mark suggests that they do. What struck me as I read this chapter today was the breadth of Jesus’ interactions. These three people, whose lives Jesus changes forever, would never cross paths.
They wouldn’t be found in a group together.
They are different in almost every way: ethnicity, religion, economic class, social class, geography, gender.
Except for Jesus.
Our country, our world – even the Church – are divided, fractured, really. There will always be conflict and division as long as humans live in the world, I know this. I know Jesus says in Luke 12:49-53 that he came to bring division. But I believe that Jesus is talking about choosing to believe in him – not that we are called to form (or define) the divisions.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” – Luke 2:10 (NRSV)
As we find ourselves in the midst of a divisive election season, in cities ravaged by violence, in a world becoming too afraid to live – may we remember that Jesus crosses every divide and chasm we create. May we remember that diversity and love are God-ordained but divisiveness and hate are not. May we let go of fear and remember that Jesus said, “Fear not!” May we remember that faith in Jesus was never a prerequisite for experiencing Jesus. And may we remember that Jesus never called us to beat one another with the Gospel.
What do a demon-possessed pagan man, a chronically-ill outcast woman, and a young girl have in common?
May the same be true for us.