“The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before [Jesus], and gave him the whole story. Jesus said to her,
“Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.” (Mark 5:32-34, The Message)

It is often easier to tell a neighbor about our church than our Lord. We can describe Bethesda’s ministries, outreach programs, and a few highlights of our time in this community. It is not always so clear or comfortable to speak about day-to-day faith in Jesus Christ. That’s ok; it’s understandable.

Whether we speak of Bethesda or of Bethesda’s Lord, it is good for us to consider the whole story. Stories are about people. Stories involve movement, change, expectation. Stories situate us in relationship to time, place, and people. Stories plumb the depths beneath daily routines and responsibilities.

A frightened woman in Mark’s Gospel knows about the “Jesus Healing Program.” Stealthily, she reached through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe and was immediately healed of her chronic hemorrhage. This was her hope; quickly tap into the Jesus Healing Program and tap back out so as not to be troublesome.

However, our Lord is not interested in simply being a power source for anonymous needs, much less for growing a turnstile ministry that adds up every brief hem-touch of the faceless crowd. He wants to be in personal relationship. I appreciate Peterson’s Message translation for stating that the woman knelt down and “gave him the whole story.” Jesus praises her faith and expresses not only joy for her healing, but blessing for her ongoing wellbeing. Jesus took the time to hear her out even as he was traveling to save a dying girl.

It takes faith to reach out and touch Jesus’ robe. It takes even greater faith to trust Jesus wants to hear our whole story and fit our story into God’s Great Story of Wholeness. And it takes perhaps the greatest of faith to be a church that makes time for the whole story; more eager to listen than to count up hem-touches.

What’s your story?

Pastor Tom