Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalm 80, 77; Genesis 44:18-24; I Corinthians 7:25-31; Mark 5:21-43
Today’s Writer: Lauren Surber
In Mark 5:21-43, Jesus heals two women: First, a woman who suffered from chronic bleeding, and second, a young girl who had died just before Jesus’ arrival to her home. As I read these two different stories, I noticed an important commonality between them. Both healings were done in secret.
For the woman, a secret healing makes sense. The woman would be shamed if she spoke of her chronic feminine bleeding out loud. Instead, this woman desired a more private healing. As Jesus was passing through a crowd of people, she grabbed his robe. Even as Jesus passed through a crowd of people, bumping into them and making his way between them, he knew that one particular woman purposefully held his clothes. Jesus heard the prayer done in secret, and he healed the woman.
The second story is quite different. The daughter of Jarius, a powerful ruler, has died. Many people are mourning the daughter’s death. This is a high-profile miracle. Even still, the miracle is done in secret. Jesus sends the mourners out of the room when he takes the girl’s hand and tells her to arise. Then, as the people stand in awe of the dead girl’s restored life, Jesus turns to the crowd and tells them to keep this occurrence a secret. A secret. How can a father not tell of his daughter’s raising from the dead? It seems that God really does prefer faithful acts done in secret.
In Matthew 6:1, Jesus commands, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your father in Heaven.” Jesus commands us to give in secret, pray in secret, and fast in secret. As we press onward through this Lenten season, I pray that we too may learn to keep holy secrets. May we resist the temptation to use our righteous acts to bring glory and attention to ourselves. I pray that as we continue to prepare for the death and resurrection of Christ, we will remember the lessons he commanded to us and modeled for us, and practice our faith in secret.