In the 5th chapter of Mark’s gospel Jairus, the leader of a synagogue, falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him to come and lay his hands on his daughter who “is at the point of death.” A large crowd then follows Jesus, pressing upon him, slowing his progress to aid the little girl. Heightening the urgency of the situation by Jesus’ further delay, the writer inserts the story of a woman who for twelve years has been suffering from hemorrhages.
The practice of making New Year’s resolutions, at the very least, dates back to the Babylonian Empire. At the start of each New Year, they would make promises to return borrowed items and pay their debts. The Romans began the New Year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Janus had two faces, one looking to the past and one into the future. By making sacrifice-backed promises they hoped to secure forgiveness for their wrongs of the past year and garner success for the new one.