Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Why do you think the availability of healthcare is a perennial issue in American politics? What do we hope universal availability of medical treatment will accomplish? Will those hopes ever be fully realized? Explain.
2. How does a disfiguring accident or chronic health condition change someone’s life? Give an example or two to illustrate your thinking.
Read Mark 5:25, 26.
1. The chronic health condition of this woman who lived two millennia ago sounds familiar. How were the physical, psychological, and financial consequences of this illness like those of someone you know?
2. Read Leviticus 15:25-27. In addition to the physical, psychological, and financial burdens of her condition, what social and religious stigma did her condition carry? Are there health conditions or physical disabilities today that isolate sufferers socially and even religiously? Explain.
Read Mark 5:27-29.
3. Those who are chronically ill often rejoice when they hear of the possibility of a new treatment or experimental cure. Try to explain the thoughts of this woman assuming she is one of many referred to in Matthew 4:23-25. Why would she seek out Jesus though knowing little about him?
4. Matthew is more specific about the part of Jesus’ clothing that people who sought healing touched (Matthew 9:20, 14:36). The edge of the garment often denoted the authority of a person (Zechariah 8:23). What do we mean today when we use the idiom “to ride someone’s coattails?” Even though this woman knew little about Jesus, what didshe know?
Read Mark 5:30-34.
5. Note that the story of this healing is sandwiched between the two parts of the account of another healing (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43). The woman was isolated from the synagogue because of her condition. How does that compare to the girl who was healed? What significance do you see in both being referred to as “daughter?”
6. Believing that Jesus is all-knowing, why does his question in verse 30 seem strange? If he was not asking to gain information, why do you think he did ask?
7. Although we wish to be always healthy, why is that an unrealistic wish? How is our wish for health and long life in truth a desire for something more? Explain.