Lectionary Year B
June 29, 2003
Mark 5:21-43

Step IV: Cross-Section

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) Parallels appear in Matthew 9:18-26 and Luke 8:40-56. The Gospels tell of many miracles of healing Jesus executed, Williamson lists 20 or more in Mark on page 19 of his Interpretation commentary. We read, in Grant's Historical Introduction to the NT, "Exorcisms were characteristic of first-century Palestine, and Jesus therefore performed them." Grant cites Luke 11:20 and Matthew 12:28, as well as Mark 1:34 and 2:11. Peter's shadow is thought (in Acts 5:15) to be able to heal the sick. Falling at the feet representing respect for persons. It occurs frequently in early times, see Acts10:25. Taylor reminds us that "laying hands on the sick is common in ancient stories of healing." Tabitha, perhaps a corruption of or a slight change from Talitha, seems to be a first name of at least one woman in Acts 9:36. "Going in peace" is a common farewell wish then, too, see Mark 9:50, Luke 1:79, 2:14 and 29, 7:50, 8:48 and especially from Jesus in John 14:27 and Acts16:36. And, see, especially, where the greeting sometimes goes without any follow through, as James 2:16 suggests.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) In the Exodus (20:5) version of the Ten Commandments, we read, ". . . for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquities of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me." Such pre-scientific primitives sought to explain unexplainable causes and to find miraculous solutions for sicknesses and deaths. Leviticus 15:19 declares that, "When a woman has her discharge of blood that is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening." I Kings17:17-24 and II Kings 4:8 and 17-37 tell of Elijah and Elisha healing ones thought to be dead to show God's power and the prophets' integrity in service. Loud and emotional crying in grief was customary since the Old Testament times; see some lamenting for the dead in II Chronicles 35:25, Jeremiah 9:20 and Amos 5:16. Taking greetings of "Go in peace" was common in the Old Testament, too, see Numbers 6:26, I Samuel 1:17, 25:6 and 20:42. C. Hellenistic World (JFC) These patrician thinkers might have some trouble with the emotions this account expresses and with its very subject, too. Sicknesses must have bothered them who discounted the material aspects of bodily beings. Surely they approved of Jesus' hospitality for both the synagogue official and the woman with the issue of blood. They might have had an ironic laugh at the physicians' failure to cure the woman with the hemorrhage. Yet, the touching of Jesus' garment and the sensing a transfer of power could have provoked them to discuss such elements here. They would most likely endorse Jesus' separating the three disciples to go with him to the synagogue officer's house and child. Perhaps they could support, if not applaud, the synagogue officer's being told to believe rather than to fear. And, they might have taken special note of the Aramaic words Jesus uses to raise the official's daughter, it smacks of magic.

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