TEXT: Mark 5:24-34
The students will be able to use the example of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment to illustrate that through perseverance we gain the blessings and benefits God has for us.
At the time of this incident, Jesus was well known in the villages around Galilee. He had just been across the Sea of Galilee to the area called Decapolis and had healed a demoniac. He was asked by the people of that country to depart from their coasts. How it must have grieved the Lord, but He was gladly received upon His return to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Decapolis was a region east of Jordan; a league of ten cities. People still dwell in the cliff tombs around Gadara where the demoniac was healed.
According to the Law of Moses, every Jewish man was supposed to wear a fringe or tassel at each of the four corners of his tallith, the rectangular or square outer garment worn over the upper part of the body. Two fringes hung at the bottom of the cloak, and two hung over the shoulders where the cloak folded over him. The woman probably touched one of these fringes of Jesus’ cloak at He passed through the crowd.
The Talmud says physicians had at least 11 remedies for chronic hemorrhage, and the woman had evidently tried them all, but not one worked. She tried to be healed secretly by touching Jesus’ cloak, but He wanted her to tell her story publicly.
The woman mentioned in our lesson exhibited perseverance and determination. The crowd that surrounded Jesus would have been an obstacle to a well person; how much more to one weakened by illness! She did not expect Jesus to lay hands on her, speak to her, or any such thing. She simply believed that she would be healed if she could just touch the hem of His garment, and because of her persistence she was healed.
- What obstacles did the woman face which might have discouraged her perseverance, and what were the results of her determination to reach the Lord? What obstacles may appear when we desire something from God?
Response: The press (or crowd of people) hindered her in reaching Jesus, but her persistence resulted in her healing. Allow some time for your class to discuss the second part of the question. Some of the obstacles mentioned might be: negative pressure from family or peers, lack of faith, and slacking off.
- Take special note of Jesus’ question to the crowd (verse 30) and his reply to the woman (verse 34). How does this incident encourage us?
Response: With such a large crowd of people around Him, even Jesus’ disciples were surprised by His question. But the woman knew what had happened to her and gave her first public testimony, at that time. Thus, many witnessed what Jesus had done because of her faith and perseverance. This incident lets us know that no act of our faith will pass unnoticed by Jesus.
- Four men carried a man who was sick with the palsy to a place where Jesus was speaking. How did they demonstrate their perseverance in bringing this man to the Lord? See Mark 2:3-4.
Response: They removed a portion of the roof to put him down before Jesus. This demonstrates to the students that external obstacles may be in the way. Discuss what some of these could be in their daily lives. It should be brought out that as they overcome these obstacles, they can be assured of spiritual victory.
- How did Jacob show perseverance and what did the angel tell him? See Genesis 32:28.
Response: Jacob wrestled with the angel for the blessing he desired. Help your class see the victories that are won by “holding on” in prayer. Discuss the meaning of the phrase, “praying through,” a phrase often used in testimony.
- Jesus told the Jews that believed on Him that they should “continue in my word.” Explain what you think is meant by this phrase. See John 8:31.
Response: The students will recognize the need of “continuing in the Word” to be one of His. The point should be made that before they can “continue,” they must have a start. By continuing they prove to those observing their Christian life that they truly are followers of Christ. How does this apply to our lives today? Encourage your class to support their conclusions with specific illustrations.
- What are some areas in our daily Christian lives where we may need to practice perseverance?
Response: Allow time for students to give examples. Some suggestions may include: in our prayer life, in study of God’s Word, in faithful church attendance, in faithful performance of the duties given us in God’s work, in giving the Lord our tithes, and in Christian witnessing.
- We equate conversion with being “saved.” Use Matthew 10:22 to find when we are really saved.
Response: The students should know that to be saved one must continue, or endure to the end.
- There is a goal—something to be obtained through perseverance. Look up Revelation 3:11. What things should we “hold fast” in order to retain our crown?
Response: Allow time for your students to discuss this. After they have brought out the fact that they should treasure and guard the benefits and blessings God has given them, ask them to name some specific ways this can be done. Point out that their greatest benefit is gaining Heaven—certainly a goal worth persevering for.
Even animals and insects have perseverance. Show what perseverance is by using examples (pictures would help) such as a spider weaving its web, or a beaver building a dam. Ask the students to give other examples.
Share an experience in your life which is an example how God rewards those who wait upon Him.
Cut out some paper hearts and have students write on one side anything they have been praying for and are waiting for the Lord to answer, and on the other side write “I will persevere because I believe God will answer.” Make a mobile out of them.
Bring an intricate piece of needle work, a detailed painting or model to class. Discuss the fact that perseverance is needed to complete the project, but the end result will justify the time spent. Just so, persevering in prayer will bring results.
A simple object to use in illustrating perseverance would be a Rubic cube or similar puzzle.
Examples to illustrate trying until you succeed might include threading a needle or opening a stuck jar lid.
Print PRAYER on heavy paper. Have students add a phrase about perseverance. Example:
P — Persevering in prayer
R — Revealing to God the problem
A — Accepting help and direction
Y — Yielding self
E — Effort
R — Result: Receiving the blessing
Bring a pay check to class. Explain that a pay check is the reward for faithfully applying oneself to a job. Liken the rewards for earthly effort to the rewards we can receive by persevering in seeking the Lord.