A study of the woman in the crowd and her desperate courage (Mark 5:21 43)

01 July 2015

This article examines the cameo appearance of an unnamed woman in the gospel of Mark, a member of a crowd following Jesus (Mk 5:24b–34). Chronically ill and probably dying, she thinks she is inconspicuous. The text identifies her in terms of her gender, illness, covenant status, prolonged suffering and penury. Yet, a careful reading reveals her stealth, desperation, courage and eloquence − all elements of character and, it turns out, of a faith focused on Jesus. Combining both literary and canonical insights, this article shows how the story of the anonymous woman, set within the larger context of the healing of Jairus’ daughter, sheds light on the developing concepts of faith, fear, purity, discipleship, confession and family matters in Mark. The woman’s interaction with Jesus adds depth to Mark’s portrait of him and contributes to the ongoing revelation in Mark that Jesus is indeed the Son of God (Mk 1:1).