Say something like:
Today we are going to continue looking at people throughout scripture who have experienced a catalyst: an event, person, etc. that is the cause of an important change. Last week we looked at a wacky story where Peter fell into a trance and was given a vision from God—a vision that he initially resisted. Let’s go ahead and look at our catalyst story for today.
Have your students form groups of 3-4 and read aloud from Mark 5:21-34. Once they’ve had a chance to read the text, give them some time to respond to the following prompts.
(Once they have all had a chance to read and hear the text, give them a few minutes to discuss the first prompt within their groups before inviting them to share their ideas with the larger group. Then present the second prompt and so on. During the discussion, make sure to acknowledge all responses as worthy of consideration.)
- In general, what about this story do you appreciate or relate to? Is there anything you don’t understand?
- What do you think the catalyst is for the woman in this story?
- The woman in this story had been bleeding for 12 years and had little hope of getting better. Knowing what you know (or you can make a guess!) what do you think life was like for her in that time and culture?
- Why do you think she was “trembling with fear” as she was confronted by Jesus asking who had touched him?
Say something like…
This is a pretty well known story in scripture, and for good reason! There’s blood and healing and miracles and dying children—the drama is thick! The action in this section of Mark’s gospel is so intense that it’s almost easy to lose sight of some of the important details and context surrounding the action.
Let’s keep these details in mind as we think about why this woman chose this moment in her life to act:
- She had been bleeding for twelve years. Twelve years!
- She had sought out help many times before. The text says “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.”
- In her culture, she would have been considered unclean.
- Because of her unclean status, this woman would have lived in constant isolation. No work, no friends, no community, etc.
- Her medical condition, her status among her peers, and her resulting isolation would have been plenty to cause anyone to feel like they were at rock bottom and in need of a catalyst to help things change.
- She went simply because she had heard about Jesus and believed all she had to do was reach out her hand and touch his clothing. She had hope, and expectation, that Jesus could heal.
Invite your students to re-form their smaller groups) and work through these prompts:
What is the scariest thing you’ve done? After going through with it—was it worth it?
Has there been a time in your life where you knew something needed to change but you didn’t feel like you had the courage to make it happen?
When things in your life feel pretty low, who do you normally look to for help?
You can almost imagine this woman, like the girl on the ski jump, saying to herself, “here I go...” Where in your life could you use a little more courage to reach out to Jesus, expecting healing to come?