Mark 5:21-43 – Learn to read the Bible #19

I’ve just published the next part of the Learn to read the Bible series on Mark’s Gospel. This week we are looking at Mark 5:21-43, where Jesus heals a sick woman and raises a dead girl.

For those who are coming to this new, the idea behind this series is not for me to simply explain everything to you, but rather to give you things to think about yourself. This is about training you to read the Bible for yourself, rather than just giving you all the answers!

See this page if you’d like a few pointers for how to use these videos. Don’t forget to pray!

You can read the passage online here (although I’d suggest it’s better in a physical Bible). You may also want to have a pen and paper handy to jot down notes and things you want to look into more.

Key points from Mark 5:21-43

  • This passage is unusual because it has two healings. Are the two events related? I think Mark intends for us to see that they are – e.g. the girl is 12 years old, and the woman has been suffering for 12 years.
  • One of the things we need to look out for when we read the Bible is repetition – often things which are repeated are significant.
  • Something repeated in this passage is touching – significant given all the social distancing we’ve been having to do over the last 12 months! Might be worth spending some time thinking about how touch can be used to bring help and healing.
  • The woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years would have been “unclean” – you might like to look up some background about what made someone clean or unclean. She would have been isolated from the community and from God.
  • Lots of people were pressing around Jesus – it wasn’t the physical touch which healed the woman, but her faith. Maybe we could think about our own faith – what would we have done in that situation? Would we have had that kind of faith in Jesus?
  • The second thing which comes up again is faith – Jesus says “don’t be afraid, just believe”. It speaks to how confident Jesus was in God and his power!
  • Jesus takes the child’s hands. Touching a dead body is something else that would make you unclean – but cleanness flows from Jesus to the one he touches. Jesus is not made unclean, instead the girl is made clean.
  • Think about our faith and trust in Jesus: do we have the kind of faith that we need to come to Jesus and ask? Can we bring to him the things that we can’t do ourselves?

Explore Further: You might be interested in this post I wrote a few years ago on this passage.

Take a few moments to re-read the passage, think, and pray.

Looking for more?

You can see the rest of the videos in this series on the this page. If you’d like a more focussed series teaching the Christian faith, check out the teaching programme.

You might also want to see the previous episode in the series on Mark 5:1-20.

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Faith Alone (Heidelberg 23)

In this session we are looking at one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith – that we are right with God (or “justified”) by faith alone. Not through the good works that we do or by earning in any way.

This is really taking the things we’ve looked at over the past few weeks (the Apostle’s Creed) and asking, “Why is it important to believe all of this? And how do we benefit from it?”

There are three questions in this Lord’s Day:

  • Q59 “But what does it help you now that you believe all this?”
  • Q60 “How are you righteous before God?”
  • Q61 “Why do you say that you are righteous only by faith?”

“Faith alone” is one of the most important topics that Christians can think about – it makes a huge difference to the Christian life. It’s hard to overstate how important it is.

Want more?

If you enjoy this, you can do the whole series right here on the website, or on the app (see links on the right hand side of the page). Alternatively, I am uploading them regularly to YouTube and Facebook. All sessions on YouTube are available on this playlist.

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Can we please God without faith? | Hebrews 11:1-6 | Justification #5

Many people have the view that, on the day of judgement, God will tot up our good deeds and – if we’ve done enough – will let us into heaven. Many people think it doesn’t matter whether you have faith, just that you’ve done enough good deeds. But what does the Bible say?

The podcast episode is available here.

To support Understand the Bible, see the support page.

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