I’ll never forget my favorite professor from Norther Kentucky University who always told me, “You have to put yourself out there! You will never know what you can be until you do!” At the time, I was applying for a job at Procter and Gamble. I could think of a million reasons for them not to hire me…I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, and on and on. I was afraid of rejection! I was afraid of failure! Putting ourselves “out there” is hard because it makes us vulnerable. Vulnerability makes us feel uncomfortable. No one wants to be rejected, hurt, or feel like they don’t belong.
In Mark 5:21-43, there is a man named, Jarius. He is a religious official, well-known in his community, and high up on the socio-economic ladder. He probably could have had anything he wanted and needed. But, he had a 12-year old daughter who was deathly ill. He could not make her well. When Jesus got off the boat, Jarius was there falling at Jesus’ feet, begging him to come lay hands on his daughter. Jesus begins to follow him with crowds of people closing in on him.
A woman, with ‘no name’ who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years wanted to get near Jesus. She had spent every penny on trying to get well. She lived on the margins of society, was considered “unclean,” and at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. She believed that if only she could touch the clothes of Jesus, she might would be healed. And, she was right! Soon after she touched Jesus’ cloak, she could feel the illness leave her body! With the crowds closing in, Jesus wanted to know who touched him. She came forward in ‘fear and trembling.’ She admitted and confessed to Jesus that she was the one.
Excruciating Vulnerability…both Jarius and the ‘no name’ woman put themselves “out there” where they could have easily been rejected by Jesus. For Jarius, it would have been complete embarrassment. A man who could have had ‘anything,’ but could not heal his daughter. For the ‘no name’ woman, she had nothing to lose. She was already at the bottom, ostracized, and rejected by her family and the community . From one end of the spectrum to the other, Jesus loved them both, had compassion for them, and not only healed the daughter and the woman, but also made them whole again within their community. Their ‘excruciating vulnerability’ gave them power to be alive and free!
You see, putting yourself “out there” – making yourself vulnerable to the Lord, gives you the power to become free, whole, and filled with joy! To say, “Jesus, here I am…broken, a sinner, in pain, and hurting…An excruciating vulnerability – to admit before God all the things that are wrong with us – but yet, we are never rejected by the One who came to save us! We have a God who loves us so much, in spite of everything we are and not who we should be. A God that forgives, heals, and restores our lives. A God who makes us whole, giving us a sense of belonging that brings us complete joy!