If you’ve ever been on a cruise or to some resort area in Mexico or the Caribbean, you’ll notice an astonishing dichotomy. Along the coast, multi-million dollar hotels dot the beach, but travel a few blocks off the coast, and in most places you can find abject poverty and slums. The crystal clear water and pristine beaches quickly transform into filthy piles of garbage and a tremendous amount of human suffering. It is a painful reality of which many of the resort-goers never become aware. You don’t have to travel too far from home to see this dichotomy at work. Traveling through Atlanta, it isn’t uncommon to have high-rise, high-price condominiums and apartments with homeless people living under a bridge on the very same street. These two very different worlds often exist side by side. Culturally speaking, they are like oil and water. Spiritually, they are both identical.
In Mark 5, we are introduced to two very different cultures, but they are identical in their needs. First we meet a man named Jairus, a powerful man in Jewish culture. He is known as the ruler of the synagogue. He was undoubtedly wealthy and certainly well respected. Today, he would’ve driven a nice car, had the nicest of clothes, and had his hair just like he liked it. Culturally, Jairus was as “GQ” as you could get.
We also meet a woman. We never learn of her name. We don’t know of her occupation. All we know of her is that she was recognized as the other end of the spectrum from Jairus – an unnamed, poverty-stricken, culturally outcast, bleeding woman. We’re told that she had bled for 12 years, which means for the last 12 years, she was all alone. Most scholars believe that this bleeding was some sort of uterine or pelvic bleeding. Anyone who touched her would’ve been unclean. Whereas Jairus had everything going for him in a culture that respected him, the unnamed woman was a complete outcast.
Isn’t it interesting how their individual needs brought them together on this particular day?
Even though they were worlds apart, they both had debilitating needs that caused them to seek out Jesus on this day. Jairus was facing the death of his daughter. The woman was facing her own calamity. Both legitimate needs, both met in Jesus. Both ends of the social spectrum pulled dramatically together there on the road to Jairus’ home.
Jairus and the bleeding woman serve as excellent reminders of the universality of the human condition. We all need Jesus. Our great need pays no attention to social status. It pays no attention to 401k’s or balance sheets. It doesn’t regard status as anything of significance. We would do well to recognize that no one part of our culture needs Jesus any more or any less than other parts. The poor are no more lost than the rich. The rich are no more insulated from needs than the poor. All have sinned and all are in need of a touch from the Savior.
Over the last 4 years, we’ve seen the economy play magic tricks with trillions of dollars. Money has appeared and disappeared in seconds. Wealthy neighborhoods have seen foreclosures just like poorer neighborhoods. We’ve all been in the same boat as we’ve muddled through the Great Recession. But Jesus is still in the business of meeting people where they are and offering them the grace, mercy, and love that only Christ can give.
Aren’t you thankful for a Savior who loves both the wealthy and the without and offers to come to the rescue of both.