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Shalom (Mark 5:21-34)



Most of us already know the Hebrew word shalom. If you wanted to greet someone in Hebrew, you would say, "Shalom." When you leave someone you don't say, "Later, Dude," or all of the American stuff we've come up with. You simply say, "Shalom" -- "Peace!" This is the word Jesus used in Mark 5.


In the context of Mark 5:21-24, Jesus had been in Capernaum on the western shores of the Lake of Galilee. He had sailed southeast to the Gentile section of Galilee and healed a demoniac. When the people of the region begged Jesus to leave them, He returned to Capernaum. Here he was met by a distraught father; but before He could deal with Jairus' problem, a needy woman sought to touch Him.

Vs. 25: "And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years." -- Think about this woman in the context of first-century Judaism. Religious law (see Leviticus 15) had very serious regulations concerning hemorrhaging. The laws of bleeding not only made the woman herself unclean, but whatever and whomever she touched also became unclean. The result was embarrassment, isolation, and religious stigma. Before we think this was too horrible, remember that in biblical times people didn't have the medicines and medical knowledge we have today. But additionally, there was fatigue. Physicians tell us when you lose more blood than you are able to create, you become anemic. This woman was tired, fatigued, exhausted.

Vs. 26: "She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse." -- The Talmud, the collection of ancient Jewish law and tradition, suggested eleven specific cures for bleeding, including sitting at a crossroads with a cup of wine, and waiting for someone to come from behind to frighten you. This woman had tried every cure and spent all she had on doctors who, at that time in history, were scorned and, in this case, ineffective.

Vss. 27-28: "When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, 'If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.' -- Her touching Christ was an incredible act of courage. According to the law, whomever this woman touched became unclean; yet she reached out to touch the Lord, to touch His robe. "If I can just touch Him," she said to herself, "I know I will be healed."

Vs. 29: "Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." -- Two miracles occurred here: (1) her bleeding stopped; (2) her strength returned instantly.

Vs. 30: "At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched my clothes?' -- When you begin touching people at the point of their need, there is a cost, a drain of spiritual power. Nothing fatigues God's people quite like preaching, teaching, or ministering.

Vss. 31-34: "'You see the people crowding against you,' his disciples answered, 'and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?'' But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'" -- Instead of being irritated, Jesus looked at this poor woman as a father would his daughter. He said: "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in shalom." This is the word I want you to remember. It inferred wholeness of body and soul. It implied living a life in harmony with others, to live with the fullness and the wholeness of all of God's blessings.


In Numbers 6:22, the rabbis believed that the giving of peace was the climax of God's blessings. Here was a woman isolated from her family, friends, and religious community. Jesus looked at her with fatherly compassion and said, "Daughter, go in shalom. When you go back to your house, you go to your house in peace. When you eat with your family, you eat in shalom. When you talk, you talk in shalom. When you hug, you hug in shalom. Go in shalom." He was bestowing on her all God's richest blessings (see Isaiah 55:10-12).

When Jesus says to you and me, "Go in peace," He is saying, "Go back to your family in harmony. Recognize that once you were unclean, but now you are clean; you are literally under all of the blessings of God. Go in joy; go with celebration. Go in shalom."

Application: In these days of incredible busyness, where is this shalom available? It's available from only one place. Isaiah 9:6 says: "And His name will be called..."

1. Wonderful Counselor. This woman had sought the advice of rabbis and doctors to no avail, but Jesus had just the words and power she needed. Perhaps you've been spending a lot of money for help and advice instead of just listening to the Lord and His Word. As did this woman, so you should also turn to the Lord Jesus, seek His counsel, touch the hem of His garment, and receive the power of His healing.

2. Mighty God. Only God could have done for her what Jesus did. Only God can bring genuine healing and wholeness.

3. Everlasting Father. Jesus said to her, "Daughter...." He is for us a compassionate "Dad."

4. Prince of Peace. Where can we find this shalom? Only in Christ, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Come to Him today and listen to Him say to you, "Son, daughter - go in shalom."




Annie Sherwood Hawks, 37, a housewife in Brooklyn, New York, looked out her window on a brilliant June morning in 1872. Though busy taking care of her three children, she felt a reassuring sense of God's presence. "I wonder how anyone could live without Him?" she thought to herself. "How could anyone face pain or experience deep and abiding joy apart from Him?"


Almost without thinking about it, she composed a few lines of verse in her mind. She jotted them down quickly between chores, and the next Sunday she handed them her pastor, Rev. Robert Lowry, apologizing for their simplicity. Lowry put the words to music, but neither of them dreamed of how widely their simple little hymn would be sung:


I need Thee every hour, Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine, Can peace afford.
I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.









Copyright 2011. Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.

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