Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at 3 stories (selected by Mark) that aim to influence your view of Jesus and the power of His Word.
First, in the last few verses of Mark 4, we see Jesus bringing calm to the storm. In doing so He demonstrates authority over the natural world.
Secondly, in the first 20 verses of Mark 5, Jesus liberates a man by casting out the demons possessing him. In doing so He demonstrates authority over the supernatural.
Lastly, in our final story beginning with Mark 5:21, Jesus heals a woman of a debilitating ailment and raises a little girl from the dead. In doing so He demonstrates authority over death and human sickness.
Scene of Activity
Mark 5:21-23 “Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side....” Jesus originally left Capernaum for Gadara because He had a scheduled appointment with a demoniac. After liberating this man from bondage - Jesus equips him with a commission to “go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord had done for you....” Jesus then makes His way back across the sea toward Capernaum.
We’re told that upon His arrival “a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea.” You can picture the scene unfolding.... as the boat nears the shore, word begins to spread that Jesus is returning. The excitement spreads throughout the town and people immediately begin flocking out in droves.
We discover that within the crowd waiting on the shore for Jesus’ arrival, “a ruler of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Jesus, fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”
This is a powerful scene.... this religious ruler (a man of renown and prestige) comes to Jesus (dressed in his ornate robes and imperious attire) pushing through the crowd of onlookers. When he arrives he falls down into the dirt and sand - laying prostrate at the feet of Jesus - begging that He might come and heal his daughter.
1. Jairus was willing to take a risk....
For a “ruler of the synagogue” to come and associate with Jesus would have been radical, and risky. Don’t forget.... Jesus was a wanted man! The political and religious establishment had already hatched a plot to destroy Him. The gears were in motion. All they were waiting for was the right time and place.
Jairus was indeed taking a huge risk.... in coming to Jesus.... he was risking his position and power within the community. He was risking his reputation and relationship with his peers. By aligning himself with the enemy of his superiors Jairus was undoubtedly risking his current livelihood and future employment.
Coming to and associating with Jesus at such a time and in such a public way was indeed risky business. So.... why did he do it?
2. Jairus was a desperate man....
To think “coming to Jesus” was Jairus’ first option would be missing the obvious. Mark is clear it was only when his daughter had reached “the point of death” that he came. There is no doubt Jairus had exhausted every other resource available before he finally broke down and came to Jesus.
Because money was no obstacle, his daughter had been taken to the brightest doctors of the day. However, despite their best efforts.... science and medical expertise failed to provide a remedy.
Because he was a religious leader, we can conclude they had exhausted every religious exercises or tradition recommended to deal with disease. Sadly, these religious traditions had also failed to provide a remedy.
You have to consider.... As a member of the religious class Jairus was familiar with Jesus’ ministry. He heard Jesus speak - had witness the miracles - had personally seen lives transformed, but like the rest of the religious establishment he too had rejected Jesus’ Messiahship and actively participated in the plot to destroy Him. What changed for Jairus that he would come and fall at the feet of Jesus?
Please understand.... Jairus didn’t come to Jesus because it was his last option, he came to Jesus because it was his only option!
This is insightful.... I have found that it is much harder to reject the truth in a moment of absolute despair than it is from the place of blissful ignorance.
- You can refuse to believe smoking causes cancer (blissful ignorance) until.... you get cancer and start coughing up blood (absolute despair)!
- You can refuse to believe you’re overweight (blissful ignorance) until.... you can no longer wear your favorite jeans (absolute despair)!
- You can refuse to believe a high school diploma isn’t important (blissful ignorance) until.... the only job you can get with your G.E.D. was featured on the show “Dirty Jobs” (absolute despair)!
You can refuse to believe your children are out of control (blissful ignorance) until.... you get a 3 AM phone call from the police saying your kid was arrested for possession and driving 300 mph down highway 316!
It’s easy to reject the truth when you’re in the state of blissful ignorance, however absolute despair has a way for forcing you to face reality.
This is what happened to Jairus.... It was easier for him to reject the truth about Jesus when he had no personal need for Jesus. But.... when his daughter became ill and nothing he tried seemed to help, he could no longer logically choose to be ignorant. Jairus was instead forced into a much more honest examination of the truth. The result.... he came running to Jesus!
3. Jairus demonstrated humility and brokenness....
Knowing the climate that surrounded Jesus, Jairus actions this day would draw the scorn of his contemporaries. His actions were even scandalous.
It’s easy to conclude the manner in which Jairus approached Jesus was reverential and respectful, but understand, from a cultural perspective, the way he approached Jesus reveal much more than this.
Though we’ve seen examples of “sinners” coming to Jesus in a similar manner as Jairus.... never would a member of the religious class act in such a way.
The only other mention we have of a member of the religious class approaching Jesus in a honest way was Nicodemus in John 3, but even then we’re told he “came to Jesus by night.”
Jairus didn’t approach Jesus as a superior! He didn’t send for Jesus to come to him, and he didn’t present a list of demands he felt entitled too!
Jairus didn’t approach Jesus as an equal! He didn’t pull Jesus aside so that they could speak in private, and he didn’t ask for a professional courtesy!
Jairus approached Jesus as a servant!
He didn’t care about the whispers of the crowd.
He didn’t care what his colleagues might have thought.
He no longer cared about cultural position or religious posturing.
He didn’t come barking orders, making demands, or seeking favors.
Jairus came as a man broken of his pride.
Jairus came in humility begging that Jesus would heal his daughter.
4. Jairus demonstrated faith in Jesus....
Faith is the spiritual muscle that connects what a person claims to believe and how that person chooses to behave. Faith bridges beliefs to obedience!
Please realize “belief” was never Jairus’ problem. Even his enemies believed Jesus had the power to heal people of sickness. His problem was that his belief had produced no action - revealing a total lack of faith.
Jairus demonstrated faith only when he was finally willing to act upon his beliefs. “Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”
Actions Speak Louder.... Jesus always responds to faith.
Mark 5:24-29 “So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. There was a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.”
Scene of Activity
Jesus is making His way to Jairus’ home when Mark tells us the multitude that followed Jesus “thronged Him” making the journey more difficult and definitely more laborious.
I am sure Jairus is on edge. His daughter in on-the-clock. Death is at the doorstep! He needs to get Jesus to his house before it’s to late. I’m sure he’s shouting for people to get out of the way!
I’m also sure the disciples are on edge. Don’t forget the reason they stayed near the shore was for crowd control. So many people piled into such a confine space as an Arab street could prove dangerous. I’m sure the disciples are shouting for people to back off and give Jesus a little space!
The scene is hectic when something unforeseen begins to unfold. Mark tells us that within this mob of people packed into this street was “a certain woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years.... she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.”
Consider the Woman:
1. She was physically ill.... Mark provides two reasons for her ailments:
A) We’re told she had “a flow of blood for twelve years.” Though it’s difficult to say with complete certainty what caused this continual menstruation, it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see why a 12 year period would be terrible.
B) We’re also told she “had suffered many things from many physicians....” In many instances the medical practices of the day were barbaric. Not only had the doctors failed to successfully diagnose her condition, their treatments had only made matters worse for this poor women.
2. She was financially broke.... Mark says, “she had spent all that she had and was no better.” I guess the health insurance companies had failed to get the memo that you couldn’t rejected a person on the basis of pre-existing conditions. This poor woman ended up spending everything she had trying to get better, but was worse for it.
3. She was ceremonially unclean.... according to Leviticus, during a woman’s menstrual cycle she was considered “unclean,” and therefore banned from “religious exercises.”
Because her cycle never ended, she had been banned from temple worship and ostracized from the religious community for the last 12 years!
4. She was socially scorned.... According to the Law, “uncleanness” was transferable. Because her condition had made her ceremonially unclean, she had been forbidden from human contact.
Though we’re only left to speculate, it’s not out of the realm of possibility this woman had been divorced by her husband - was forced to watch her kids grow up at a distance - and was abandoned by all her loved ones!
5. She was spiritually condemned.... it was a common belief that a condition like this was evidence of sin and the judgment of God.
You can imagine the emotional torment this woman experienced having people question her character and integrity when she had done nothing wrong!
6. She had faith in Jesus.... Mark provides this woman’s own reasoning as to why she had made such a daring move to reach out and touch Jesus. She said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” She believed and acted upon her beliefs!
Like many others recorded in the Gospels, Jairus believed that if Jesus touched his daughter she would be healed. In contrast, this woman believed that if she could touch Jesus she would be made well.
Could it be that there is just as much power when you reach out and touch Jesus as there is when He reaches down to touch you? Sometime instead of sitting back and waiting for Jesus to reach down and touch you, you should instead reach up and grab hold of Him!
This morning if you find yourself physically ill or financially broke.... if you’ve really messed up or made a real mess of things.... if you’re sitting there condemned in your sin.... may I encourage you to reach out in faith and grab hold of Jesus!
This woman grabbed hold his garment and “immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.”
Scene of Activity: Continued.....
Mark 5:30-34 “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him....” Though no one knows how this happened there were two people who knew what had happened: the woman, and Jesus for He stopped “turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” “But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
Needless-to-say the disciples have no clue what’s going on. Here they are in a packed street when Jesus stops and asks who’s touched him. Their response is understandable.... “Jesus, everyone is touching you!”
“And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
At first glance you can’t help but wonder.... why on earth Jesus would treat this woman the way He did by calling her out in front of everyone? There is no doubt her “ailment” was private in nature and probably embarrassing. Why would Jesus choose to make a spectacle of this woman when it could have easily remained a private matter?
Three Reasons Why Jesus Called Her Out:
1. She needed to understand why she had been healed.
If left unaddressed it might have been easy for this woman to have falsely concluded her healing had come as a result of her actions. She might have even been left to conclude there was something mystical about the robe or fabric Jesus was wearing. Jesus made it crystal clear, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” She had been saved by her faith!
2. There was an important lesson the disciples needed to learn.
In a crowded street where everyone was bumping into Him these disciples couldn’t figure out why Jesus would ask “who touched me?” On the surface it seemed like an absurd question. Imagine their reaction when this woman emerged from the crowd to tell her story.
I believe Jesus wanted to illustrate to the disciple that day this one important lesson..... it is indeed possible to bump into Jesus even hang around Jesus - without ever actually touching Jesus.
The key distinction between the mob “thronging Jesus” and the woman who reached out to “touch Jesus” was “faith in Jesus.”
3. Jesus knew Jairus’ faith would need bolstering.
There are two ways you can view Jesus’ interactions with the woman:
A) Jesus’ dealings with this woman were unrelated to His dealings with Jairus.
Problem: Does anything really ever happen by accident with Jesus?
B) Jesus intentionally orchestrated the interaction with this woman because He knew Jairus’ daughter was already dead.
We’re told that (Mark 5:35-36) “While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
I personally believe this little girl was already dead when Jairus made his initial request to Jesus. Because Jesus knew the news of this girl’s death would arrive before they would make it to her bedside, I am convinced Jesus intentionally choreographed His interactions with this woman for the express purpose of bolstering Jairus’ faith.
The parallels are simply to strong to be accidental.
A) Jairus came with a little faith believing that Jesus could work a miracle. This woman came with a little faith and Jesus did work a miracle.
C) Jairus’ daughter was 12 years old. This woman had been sick for 12 years.
D) Jesus refers to this woman as His “daughter” (a term He only used for this occasion)! This little girl was Jairus’ only daughter - the love of his life!
It’s true Jesus called out this women, because she needed to understand her faith had made her well. It’s also true there was an important lesson the disciples needed to learn. But.... I believe all this happened to bolster Jairus’ baby faith to handle the storm Jesus knew was on his horizon.
It makes since why Jesus says to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
Scene of Activity: Continued.....
Mark 5:37 “And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly.”
Since funerals would often happen the same day a person died, friends, family, and supporters have gathered at the home. This 12 year old little girl had died tragically. Everyone was in shock! Emotions are high when we’re told....
Mark 5:39 “When Jesus came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him.” Literally, “they laughed him to scorn.” “But when He had put them all outside....” Better translated, “Jesus violently drove them from the house.” Jesus kicks out all the doubters and naysayers, before “taking the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him (Peter, James, and John), they entered where the child was lying. Then Jesus took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement." The KJV translates this as “they were astonished with a great astonishment.” They were literally “thrown into a state of blended fear and wonderment.” “But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.”
Like He did with Jairus, sometimes God allows moments of absolute despair to move us out of our blissful ignorance and into an honest examination of the truth. Sometimes God allows “desperate times” to produce a “desperate faith.”
But understand.... desperate faith demands we’re willing to take a risk.... Jairus and the women were both desperate enough to put it all on the line and humbly come to Jesus in their time of need. They were both willing to take a step a faith - convinced Jesus could work a miracle. And you know.... Jesus always responds to faith.
In a mob of people surrounding Jesus, there were only two people who had an actual, life-changing encounter with the Lord of Life. This woman witnessed her life (robbed by sickness) restored to health. And Jairus witnessed his little girl raised from death to life.
If you want to see a similar work accomplished in your life, I encourage you to have a faith desperate enough that (though it might be risky.... and demand a humble and brokenness spirit.... and though it might require you cast the doubters out of your life) it brings you to the feet of Jesus!
I’ve heard it said “desperate times call for desperate measures,” well I’m of the opinion “desperate times call for desperate faith!”