MAIN TEXT: MARK 5:21-43
And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling 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 disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
In an effort to convey who Jesus is and what He did, Mark, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has rushed into powerful stories that carry cosmic implications to the broken world in which we live. We can all relate to the desperation of the people in today’s text. Nearly 2000 years later, we experience similar brokenness and helplessness. Mark shows all readers that there is One who brings hope, wholeness, and ultimate authority to even the worst of life’s shattered situations.
Jesus came back from the far side of the Sea of Galilee, where He restored a demon-possessed man (at the expense of many pigs). Jesus was asked by the terrified residents of the area to leave. As He returned by boat, He was once more surrounded by multitudes that wanted to gain something from being close to Him.
Our text begins and ends with one story and has another one inserted in-between. This is done intentionally to make comparisons. The themes in these two stories are similar to the ones we have recently read regarding the calming of the storm and the deliverance of the demon possessed man:
- Jesus cares for those in trouble.
- He can do what is impossible for you and me. Nature, demons, diseases, and even death surrender completely and immediately to His sovereign authority!
Jesus hears the cries of the distressed
We see Jesus showing the care of our God for people. His actions on these verses match His teaching in Matthew 10:29-31. Our great Savior cares about those in distress.
We can come to Jesus with our request (verses 21-23).
Jairus, a respected synagogue ruler, shows up. On his knees, he begs Jesus to come and lay hands on his daughter who is at the point of death. The Jewish religious establishment is opposing Jesus but Jairus bucks the trend. According to Luke 8:42, this is his only daughter.
We must come to Jesus in faith (verses 23-24).
Jairus came to Jesus because he believed that Jesus could do for him what no one else could. He had humble faith. His request was straight and to the point and showed dependency and urgency. Jesus’ response was simple and immediate. He went with him.
Jesus responds to the pain of the diseased
In order to fully appreciate the urgency and rare moments of the next few verses we have to know that Hebrew laws concerning ceremonial uncleanness would be in effect for this woman.
We can approach Jesus in our suffering (verses 24-27).
While mayhem reigns with crowds all around, a woman appears. She has been sick for 12 years with a discharge of blood. Historians believe that she would have been approximately 85 pounds. Her condition made her unclean and she was forbidden from the temple. She is probably unmarried and childless which were additional cultural curses that no doubt caused more suffering. She had spent all that she had trying to get well.
Somehow she had heard about Jesus the miracle worker. Likely with pagan superstition, she believes that if she can just touch Him or His clothing she could be healed. Her theology was weak but her faith was strong! God honors imperfect faith from a sincere heart when the object of that faith is Jesus!
We must approach Jesus in faith (verses 28-34).
Hundreds were gathered around Jesus with their needs, but only one woman connected to Him in faith. Spiritually and physically desperate, she did the unthinkable and unacceptable – she reached out and touched Him in faith.
She is instantly healed and knew it. Can you imagine her joy? It is the first time she was well in 12 years!. The amazing grace of God through Jesus Christ healed her body just as it heals our soul when we place our faith in Him.
Jesus perceives that power has gone out from Him. He took her uncleanness and sickness and imparted to her His purity and health. This is a picture of Jesus as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:2-5).
Jesus looks for the one who had touched Him in faith. The woman falls and confesses everything. Jesus commends her faith and blesses her with “shalom”. She has experienced salvation both physically and emotionally.
Jesus has authority over the power of death
Jairus must be beside himself with anxiety and frustration. His daughter is at death’s door – this woman has been sick for 12 years. There are some similarities between Jaiurs and the woman:
- They knew only Jesus could help them.
- They knew that they were unworthy.
- They fell down.
- They believed that Jesus could heal.
She got what she wanted but now Jairus looks like he has lost his hope.
We can believe Jesus in spite of circumstances (verses 35-36).
Jesus is interrupted with the news that Jairus’ daughter is dead. Jesus’ response is “do not fear, only believe”. Jesus is neither distracted nor disinterested in his need. Jesus works in His time, not others’ time. He will not be hurried or dictated to. He instructs Jairus to believe and watch.
We can believe in Jesus regardless of the skeptics (verses 37-40).
The scene must have been tough. Professional mourners had arrived “weeping wailing loudly”. Jesus rebukes them with a shocking statement that invited ridicule. He kicks them out of the house.
There will always be hard-core realists who spout their skepticism. They will mock our faith in a crucified Jew and ridicule our trust in a God we cannot see. They will laugh at your love for a Savior who cleansed you by His work on the cross. Nevertheless – we must believe and have faith. Not faith in faith – that is spiritual nonsense. Our faith must be in our all-powerful Lord Jesus whose spiritual authority is absolute and unmatched!
We can believe in Jesus because He can be trusted (verses 41-43).
Jesus does the unthinkable in that culture – an enormous taboo – He touches the unclean dead body of the girl. As Mom and Dad look on through tears, Jesus tells the little girl to get up.
She gets up and the parents (hear the understatement) were “overcome with amazement”! This girl had been restored to full health. Like the woman with the issue of blood moments before, her gender, namelessness, uncleanness, and impossible condition did not stop Jesus – the Great Physician – from healing!
Come to Jesus with any and every request. Trust Him regardless of the circumstances or situation. He can be trusted to heal our diseases and conquer the great enemy of death. The cross and empty tomb are our proof.
We can believe in Jesus no matter what!
APPLY TO LIFE
This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
DISCUSS THE MESSAGE
Read: Mark 5:21-43
Do you know anyone who came to Jesus in desperation, convinced He was the only One who could help? Have you ever felt this way?
What does the woman’s healing tell us about the role of physicians and the role of faith?
Have you ever been frustrated with God’s timing? Have you ever felt He waited until it was too late–but then He came through?