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Mission is Messy (Mark 5:21-43)

October 3, 2021 | by Pastor Peter

We might have an idealized picture of what it might look like when we do mission. But in the story of Jairus and the bleeding woman (Mark 5:21-43) we see that mission is messy.

The gospel doesn’t tell us what Jesus intended to do when he landed on that beach. But whatever plans he had, flew out the window when Jairus asked him to heal his daughter. Then Jesus’ trip to Jairus’s house is itself interrupted by the bleeding woman. But Jesus rolls with it, because human need, not a well-laid plan drives his agenda.

We also see how Jesus refuses to pick favourites. Jairus and the unamed women are social opposites – he is a man; he is wealthy and he has status. She is a woman; she is destitute; and she is excluded. Yet Jesus treats both of them with the same respect. And Jesus addresses both their needs.

Finally it’s important to note that Jesus works with people whose faith and theology are imperfect. The woman thinks Jesus’ robe is magic, so Jesus helps her understand it’s faith, not laundry that heals. The man believes Jesus can heal the sick, not the dead, so Jesus challenges him not to give up hope. As we encounter people on mission, we’ll meet people who have strange ideas. But Just as God meets us when our theology of faith is imperfect, so we must also meet others where they are too.

Keeping these ideas in mind, might help us not become discouraged when experience the ways that mission is messy.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Have I ever tried to serve God only to have my whole plan go wrong? Did I see God at work in the disruption?
  2. How does reaching the community for God look different when we refuse to buy into the idea that some people are more desirable than others?
  3. What odd ideas did I have when I first met Jesus? How does his willingness to work with me in spite of my imperfect theology of faith change how I interact with others?

Other Sermons in This Series

  1. An Invitation to Sail With Jesus
  2. God’s Presence in the Storm
  3. A New Kind of Holy

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