In the Gospel of Mark is a wonderful combination of stories. Mark 5 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, in which we find three stories of desperation. A man is desperate to be set free from demon possession. A woman is desperate to be healed from a twelve-year sickness. A father is desperate to see his daughter healed from a deadly fever.
2023: A Year of PEACE
This year, my Word of the Year is PEACE. So, as a note of warning, expect to read more than the expected posts on the subject of peace or shalom. Also, remember, desperation is a key to growing from your Word of the Year.
With this in mind, I want to focus on the middle story of Mark 5, the story of the sick woman. Jesus has just arrived from across the lake (where he set free the man from an army of demons), and he is on his way to the home of the little girl. On his way, Jesus stops because he feels healing power exit his body.
This woman, desperate for healing, believes if she can just touch the hem of Jesus’ robe, she will be healed. She’s right, and Jesus senses it. The disciples are incredulous — how could they know which person touched Jesus among the massive crowd pressing around him? Meekly, the woman presents herself to Jesus, and she explains to him her purpose and belief. This is Jesus response:
“And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”” -Mark 5:34 NLT
A Bible Study Tip
A great tip to understanding what we read in the Bible is to read a verse or passage in multiple different versions. I typically read the Bible in the New Living Translation (NLT). When I don’t understand something, or if I’m intrigued by a passage, I’ll read it in another translation. Here are a few of my go-to’s are: English Standard Version [ESV], The Message [MSG], New American Standard Bible [NASB], New King James Version [NKJV] and the New International Version [NIV]).
One version that I don’t often look at, but is a great translation, is the Amplified Bible (AMP or AMPC). The Amplified Bible is a translation that merges a word-for-word translation with a thought for thought translation. Most versions are thought-for-thought translations, because this is how most translation work is done. In most cases, there are a few different ways to translate a word or two within the general thought. Having the meaning of these different words give us more context for understanding.
Mark 5:34 is a great example of this. The intent of Jesus in the NLT version is clear – the faith of the woman is what healed her. Her belief that the power of Jesus was accessible through her faith was next level. Jesus was amazed. But reading it in the Amplified version, we see something deeper when Jesus says, “Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
This is how the Amplified Bible translates Mark 5:34:
“And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health. Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed from your [distressing bodily] disease.” -Mark 5:34 AMPC
2 Thoughts on PEACE.
Again, let’s focus on the second half of Jesus’ statement. Here are two thoughts on PEACE.
1. Step INTO peace.
One of the practices I’ve added to my devotion routine this year is meditation. Meditation can mean many different things, so for me it means taking 5-10 minutes to quiet my mind and heart to focus on God. Since my 2023 Word of the Year is PEACE, I’ve been talking to God about experiencing his peace.
As I’ve read about and meditated on peace, it’s become clear to me that true peace is almost a physical presence. When I walk into a chaotic situation, if I have peace, then the peace enters into the room with me. I can bring peace into that chaos (or vice versa, the chaos can enter into my peace). Peace can almost be an aura that I take with me.
So when Jesus tells the woman to ‘go into peace’ it’s more than just telling her to walk away peaceful. Jesus tells her to enter into a new place of her life – as if she were walking into a new and different room. Peace can be something that comes onto you, but it is also something you can step into. Peace is a new and different environment for you to enter.
To experience true peace, you must choose to step into it. When you are in peace, then you can also take peace with you to the places you enter — both dark and bright.
2. Faith heals. Peace frees.
PTSD is real. Lots of different things in life can cause trauma. Most of us are familiar with PTSD from military combat, but we are also learning about people experiencing long-term trauma from bad relationships, financial difficulties, abuse of all kinds, and illness among others.
This woman suffered from her illness for 12 years. We’re not exactly sure what her illness was — “constant bleeding” is how the NLT puts it. Maybe it was some kind of internal bleeding or an open wound that wouldn’t heal? Possibly it was as issue with her reproductive system? I’m guessing she experienced physical pain with this sickness. The poor woman endured twelve years of constant pain, shame, doctor appointments and failed treatment. There was a high possibility of her suffering from PTSD.
In the NLT, Jesus says, ‘Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Again, the thought is consistent with what Jesus is communicating to the lady, but the deeper thought is stepping into God’s peace will be what truly frees her from the suffering she has experienced. It is peace that will free her from the future suffering she faced – shame, fear, anxiety. It was her faith that healed her from the illness, but it would be peace that would free her in the future.
Faith will heal you – physically, relationally, emotionally, spiritually. Peace will set you free from the shame, fear and anxiety that will try to follow you into your future.
Step into peace. Be set free.