12 years, if you’re 12, is just a short while. Life is just beginning. You’re just starting to experience real life. But 12 years, if you’re sick, can be an eternity. Every day stretches on and on without relief and, though you’re alive, you never really live at all.
In Mark 5 beginning in verse 21, we are first made aware of a little girl. She’s 12. She’s dying. Before she’s ever had a chance to really live, she’s on death’s door. Her father, Jairus, is convinced that Jesus can solve this problem.
While Jesus and his followers are on their way to see to the little girl, we meet another girl. A woman. She’s been sick for 12 years. Since the time the little girl’s life began, this woman’s has been miserable. She’s suffered at the hands of doctors to no avail. While the little girl’s life was beginning, the woman’s life was literally draining out of her.
But, like Jairus, this woman knew that Jesus was the answer. If only she could get close enough to touch him, her days of suffering would be over.
I believe that, in the moment the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, the little girl died. One life was restored while the other was destroyed.
When Jesus felt the healing power leave him, he didn’t have to stop. The woman already knew that she’d been healed. I like to think that this was Jesus showing off a little. He made a point, while being crushed by a crowd, to single out the one person who’d touched him with enough faith to draw the power from him.
Side note: When you approach Jesus, do you just bump up against him like the rest of the crowd or do you go after him, like the woman, intent on pursuing him until you get what you need?
The woman presented herself to Jesus and he announces to the crowd—remember, she already knew she was healed—that this woman’s faith has made her well. Jesus made sure that everyone had stopped and was listening. They all heard his announcement that the woman’s faith had made her well.
When Jesus got to the house, he booted out everyone who had no faith. This left himself, the girl’s parents, and three disciples—considering this man went around healing people all the time, the faith of the crowd was weak.
At Jesus’ word, what had died the moment the woman with the issue of blood was healed, was revived. The little girl got up and walked around.
We would understand the gravity of what Jesus accomplished if we didn’t know how long the woman suffered from her illness or how old the little girl was at the time of her first death. So why is 12 so important?
Jesus’ first recorded words were taken when he was 12 years old. There were 12 tribes in Israel, 12 disciples chosen by Jesus. The number is referred to 187 times in the Bible. So what does it mean?
12 is considered a perfect number symbolising God’s authority. It’s a picture of completeness or perfection as well as the authority given to man by God.
Jesus showed the fullness of his authority by healing a woman who’d been living with illness for 12 years and by raising to life a girl who died after only 12 years. He proved to be the God of the living as well as the God of the dead. It was a display of perfect, complete authority. The same authority he gave to us.
Daily Bible reading: Numbers 11-13, Mark 5:21-43