Tragedy brings a great
dose of reality into our lives. No family is immune
I know what it is to hear
the medical doctor on the phone saying, "Wil, you
need to come to the hospital. Your son will not live
much longer." Ann and I know what it is like to have
a beautiful daughter with cerebral palsy and hear
her ask, "Dad, why can't Jesus fix my hand?" We have
been there when the phone call comes saying your
loved one has just died. We have sat by our loved
ones in the nursing home and have heard them cry out
for the Lord to come and take them home to be with
Him. We have sat in silence and waited for the last
Where is God when the
family hurts? We prefer that there be no surprises
in life. We love it when the day is bright,
beautiful and sunny. But please, no hurricanes. We
can thank the Lord that life comes one day at a
time. Adversity does not skip your house or mine. It
comes, and sometimes it comes in truckloads.
George Washington Carver
once said, "How far you go in life depends on your
being tender with the young, compassionate with the
aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of
the weak and strong. Because someday in life you
will have been all of these."
In the gospel of Mark,
chapter five, we encounter a father with a daughter
near death. There is an emergency in the home of
THE PEOPLE IN OUR
There are four people we
want to watch carefully in this historical event in
the life of Jesus. There is a synagogue official
named Jairus who has a twelve-year-old daughter near
death, and an unnamed Jewish woman with an incurable
disease. We will watch Jesus as He ministers to each
of these individuals.
The synagogue official
held a position of honor, responsibility and power
in Israel during the time of Jesus. The ruler of the
synagogue was a respected Jewish layman with
responsibility for the physical upkeep of the
synagogue and the worship services. He was chosen
from among the elders and would decide who would be
called upon to read the Scriptures, preach and keep
order during the services. He was not doubt wealthy
and a man of influence in the community.
This Jewish man came to
Jesus out of desperation for his twelve-year-old
daughter who was at the point of death. We see the
various stages of her illness. Evidently she was so
ill when he left home that he did not think she
would be alive when he returned home. Mark says, she
was "at the point of death," and Luke the physician
said, "she was dying." The man was faced with a
crisis in his home. Matthew sees the ultimate issue;
"My daughter has just died."
At various times in my
ministry I have had medical doctors say to me, "Wil,
it is out of our hands. We have done everything
medically possible. You call your missionary friends
together and pray." This was the situation in the
home of Jairus. It was out of his hands. Not all of
his earthly possessions could change his daughter's
health. She lay dying when he left the house to look
for his only hope for her.
Almost as soon as we meet
Jairus in the crowd following Jesus we are
introduced to a nameless woman.
The woman is already
bankrupt because she has spent all of her money on
doctors and medication to no avail. She "had endured
much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent
all that she had and was not helped at all, but
rather had grown worse" (v. 26). Her illness has
lasted the lifetime of Jairus' daughter. The woman
had an incurable hemorrhage that has wasted away her
body over the years. Her condition had steadily
grown worse. Moreover, according to the Jewish law
she was ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 15:25–27).
She was an outcast. Anyone who came in contact with
here was considered "unclean." We see her slipping
silently through the crowds trying to get to Jesus.
Both of these individuals
need the urgent attention of Jesus.
THE PLEA OF FAITH
Jairus makes his
Jairus came up to Jesus
and "fell at His feet, and entreated Him earnestly,
saying 'My little daughter is at the point of death;
please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may
get well and live'" (vv. 22-23).
Observe the confidence of
Jairus. It is the language of assurance. We don't
know when he first encountered Jesus. Perhaps it was
in his synagogue. Not all of the religious leaders
were hostile toward Jesus. Here is a man of faith
coming to Jesus and humbling himself before Him and
making his plea for help.
The woman's plea is
This unknown woman
interrupted Jesus. Not intentionally, however. She
tried her best to keep anonymous. The last thing she
wanted to do was attract attention to herself. She
had heard about Jesus so she "came up in the crowd
behind Him, and touched His cloak" (v. 27).
The Gospel writer lets us
listen in on her faith. She is talking to herself.
Literally, "she was saying." There is a conversation
going on in her mind and heart. Faith is always
talking. She was saying to herself, "If I just touch
His garments, I shall get well" (v. 28). She kept
telling herself that if she could "just touch His
garments," she would be healed and then she could
slip away unobserved. No one would ever know!
So she crept up in the
crowd and touched the hem or border of his garment
(Matthew 9:20; Luke 8:44).
THE POWER OF FAITH
The interruption by
Life is full of
interruptions. There are always people with needs
who reach out and touch someone like the Master.
This woman slipped up behind Him because He was her
last hope, "and touched the fringe of His outer
garment; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped"
(Luke 8:44). Mark writes, "Immediately the flow of
her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body
that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately
Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power
proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in
the crowd and said, 'Who touched My garments?' And
His disciples said to Him, 'You see the crowd
pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’"
(vv. 29-31). It is almost comical. The question was
absurd to the disciples of Jesus. Many people were
crushing in on Him and touching Him. "A great
multitude was following Him and pressing in on Him"
(v. 24). A huge number of people gathered about Him
and pressed the flesh. She had tried her best to
keep her secret. But she is the only woman in the
crowd that was healed. Jesus distinguished the touch
of faith from the touch of the crowd. Jesus "looked
around to see the woman who had done this. But the
woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had
happened to her, came and fell down before Him and
told Him the whole truth" (vv. 32-33). Jesus kept
looking with a penetrating look into the crowd. She
knew from experience what had happened to her body.
It was not the touch of His clothing but her faith
in Him that healed her. Jesus said to her,
"Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace
and be healed of your affliction" (v. 34). Jesus
rewarded her faith.
The interruption of
With Jairus it was a
different story. He had made his urgent plea to
Jesus to come at once, and Jesus "went off with Him"
(v. 24). However, during the interruption of the
woman even worse news arrived by messengers from his
home. While Jesus "was still speaking, they came
from the house of the synagogue official, saying,
'Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher
anymore?'" (v. 35).
They reasoned it was all
over; she was dead. Don't worry Him any longer. They
concluded that her death ended all hope. People did
not expect Jesus to raise the dead. Don't aggravate
or annoy the Teacher any longer. Why trouble Him
with your tragedy?
Such a message jars us to
our foundations. How would you have responded? I can
hear the babble in our day saying, "I was here
first! Why didn't He come on? Now it is too late.
This outsider has stepped in and now my daughter is
dead. I was at the head of the line. She pushed her
way in and now she has stolen my opportunity."
Thank goodness, Jesus
overheard the emotional conversation and said
literally, "be not afraid; go on believing." "Keep
on believing." "Stop fearing, only be believing."
Don’t quit! Keep on believing! Again, we hear faith
talking. Jesus encourages the man's faith. It is
easy to trust when things are going great. When we
sense Jesus is walking with us we have no trouble
putting our faith in Him. But suddenly the bright
sunny morning changed into a tornado of grief. You
have been there when the circumstances and feelings
of crisis have overwhelmed you. What do you do when
God seems to delay His coming? That is when the
intimate love relationship with God is needed. When
the hurricanes of life blow hard upon our faith, if
we are walking with Him we lean upon His breast and
draw our strength from Him knowing that He is the
sovereign Master of the circumstance.
The circumstances were
against hope and against faith. Jesus is always
coming when we are hoping against hope. Jairus
walked by the side of Jesus in a faith that may have
been trembling, imperfect and full of questions. Do
you wonder what was going on in the mind of Jairus?
I think Jesus stimulated his faith. "Don't be
afraid, only believe." If we could have put a tape
recorder up to his head and recorded everything he
was saying to himself and played it back for the
whole world to hear we would have listened to faith
talking. "Keep on believing . . . be not afraid . .
. you saw what Jesus did to the woman who believed a
few minutes ago. If He can do that for her He can do
the same thing for my little daughter. 'Don't be
afraid any longer, only keep on believing,' Jesus
said. I saw God do it a while ago, and I shall see
Him do it again! . . . Don't be afraid; only
believe. Trust Jesus. Believe on Him."
What kind of stuff do you
listen to when you are facing the sudden onslaught
of a crisis? Do you listen to the rabble in your
unbelieving mind or the stimulating voice of an
intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ?
imagination see Jesus and Jairus with Peter, James
and John arriving at the home. As they arrived they
could see the "commotion, and people loudly weeping
and wailing" (v. 38). The hired professional
mourners had already arrived at the home of Jairus
and they could hear the monotonous wail at a high
level of hysteria a block away. They had already
gathered and were wailing loudly, weeping, and
leading the family and friends in expression of
grief. Matthew tells us the flute-players had
already arrived. Jesus entered in the home and said
to the assembled group, "Why make a commotion and
weep? The child has not died, but is asleep" (v.
39). The crowd laughed Him to scorn. "They jeered at
Him," translates Weymouth. Note imperfect tense.
They kept it up. They kept on jeering Him.
Jesus "put them all out"
of the house, and took the child's father and mother
and His disciples and entered the room where the
child lay. Jesus took the child by the hand and sad
to her, "Talitha kum!" "Little girl, I say to you,
arise!" (vv. 40–41).
Christ transforms the
popular thinking about death. To the believer, death
is only sleep. Our body will rest until the moment
of resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). It is the
body that sleeps, not the spirit, awaiting the
return of the Lord and the resurrection (1
Corinthians 15:51–58). In the moment of death, the
spirit of the believer leaves the body and goes to
be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians
There is no one else to
turn to when the joys of life are suddenly taken
away. Does your family have this living faith in
THE PLAN OF GOD FOR
Life is full of
How do you handle the
interruptions of life? What is your response to the
press of the flesh as it makes its pressure for your
time and attention? We meet people every day whose
lives are full of needs. Some of the greatest
blessings in the Christian life come from
interruptions. There is the touch of a child needing
a diaper change, the touch of the hand of an elderly
parent needing special care, the phone call of a
family member at the hospital with a friend, the cry
of a teen who needs a kind ear. The interruptions go
on day in and day out. Will you make a commitment to
respond with the touch of the Master? For many of
these individuals you will be the only response
Jesus can give them as He touches their lives
through you. Let Him see through your eyes, feel
through your heart, think through your mind, walk
with your feet and touch with your hands.
Jesus gave Himself
to a soul in need.
Jesus gave Himself to
that one unimportant woman in the crowd. We are
quick to attach labels onto people according to
their relative importance to us. However, to Jesus
she had no man–made labels. She was simply a human
soul in need. He loves each one of us as if there
was only one of us to love. Every time Jesus healed
someone it cost Him something. It always cost to
become involved in the lives of people in crisis.
Jesus gave Himself to this woman in need, and if we
choose to be become involved it will cost us
Don't argue with
When you share your faith
with a member of your family or colleague don't
argue with them. Focus on the person and the saving
work of Jesus Christ who died and rose again. State
your convictions and let the Holy Spirit take it
from there. Jesus knew perfectly well that no amount
of human argument could demonstrate to them the
accuracy of His spiritual vision. The Master simply
rose in the quiet majesty of His presence and put
the whole company of professional mourners outside.
He did not argue with them. I refuse to waste my
time with those who scorn, ridicule and express
sarcastic attitudes toward Christ. Jesus put them
all out of the house. That is what unbelief does.
Jesus comes our way and invites us to join Him in
His activity. If we focus our faith in Him we are
invited to join Him and we see Him in action. If we
turn away in unbelief we will never see what He will
do in our lives. How many times do we miss the
opportunity to join Him in what He is doing all
about us in the interruptions in life?
Jesus is always
coming our way and saying, "Fear not, only believe."
I decided a long time ago
we have a choice. We can listen to the unbeliever in
us as it is influenced by other unbelievers, or we
can let faith do the talking. It is a choice we make
daily. Do I choose to focus my faith in Jesus Christ
or listen to the negative, defeating unbelieving
noise of a faithless wailing crowd? Focus your faith
on Christ. Don't get distracted by the religious
fads. Keep your attention on Jesus Christ.
Only the living
Christ utterly transforms our understanding of
When it comes time to
pull the sheet over our heads, or we stand at the
open grave of a loved one we have a message of hope
in the living Christ. Jesus is alive! Because He is
alive we too shall live. The Bible does not teach
soul sleep. It teaches the resurrection of these
bodies on some glad morning when Christ returns.
Please don't wait
until a time of crisis to turn to God.
Decide today to establish
a mature intimate love relationship with Jesus
Christ. It is on a day like today that we decide to
follow Jesus into a more intimate fellowship with
Him. It may be that you need to believe on Jesus as
your personal Savior. Confess to Him your need of
His saving grace and believe on Him as the one who
died for your sin and rose from the dead. Here is A
Free Gift for You. that will share with you
how to be saved right now.
It may be that you
already know Christ as your personal Savior and you
need to grow in your relationship with Him. Set
aside some time each day to read His Word. Begin
your day with a simple commitment. "Lord Jesus, this
day is yours to live it through me to your honor and
glory. Reveal yourself in me throughout this day and
touch people's lives. Help me to grow in your love
and faith in you."
Title: Mark 5:22-43
Family Foundations: Faith in Crisis