Mark 5:21-43 21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” 36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.
38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Two very different people were part of our Scripture reading. One was a woman with a physical sickness that complicated her life not only physically, but socially and spiritually as well. The other was a well-to-do religious leader whose daughter was teetering between life and death. Two different stories. Two different people, but they had a whole lot in common when it comes to their approach to getting their miracle. I think they both demonstrated great persistence, a willingness to press forward in order to have their need met. I see at least three ways they pressed forward. How can their example help us press forward this morning?
Both of them went to Jesus with their trouble and believed He could do something about it. That leads me to point number one.
When we have a need, we need to:
- Press in to Jesus.
Jairus, the synagogue ruler went to Jesus in faith spite of the potential repercussions. Remember, Jesus wasn’t very popular with the religious elite. It couldn’t have been an easy thing for this religious leader to go to Jesus publicly and ask for help. To ask for His help would be an admission of belief in Him. For Jairus this wasn’t an act of great faith.
The many religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees who were opposed to Jesus would certainly not have approved. How dare Jairus express faith in Jesus, the One they had been criticizing and plotting to have handed over to Rome? For all intense purposes the other religious leaders where he was working would have been Jairus’s colleagues and friends. Just what was he risking to take his need to Jesus? His place in the synagogue? Acceptance in his circle of friends?
It didn’t matter because he was desperate to get a miracle for his daughter. He had determined he would rather lose friends and position than stand by and watch his daughter die. He was going to get to Jesus whether it was popular or not, whether it was costly or not. His faith was revealed in verse 23 when he pleaded with Jesus to just lay hands on his daughter and that she would be healed. He knew the touch of Jesus on her life could do something miraculous.
The woman with the issue of blood also believed Jesus was the answer for her dilemma. Did you read about her faith in verse 28? “If I just touch His clothes I will be healed.” She knew if she pressed in to Jesus and healing would follow. I wonder how she came to that conclusion. You would think after going from doctor to doctor and not getting any answers she might have concluded there was no answer for her. No one had to tell her that the people she had sought for help were limited. She had walked into closed door after closed door, and yet she recognized something about Jesus that was different. She knew that He could do something for her that others couldn’t do. Jesus highlighted her faith in verse 34.
Not only did both people press in to Jesus with faith, but they did so with great humility.
Revisit verse 22. Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. “Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him,” Luke tells the same stories in chapter 8 where we read in verse 44 that the woman with the hemorrhage pressed through the crowd to touch the edge or hem of Jesus’ garment which means she was on her knees or was crouched low. I wonder if she was crawling to get to Jesus.
Jesus didn’t owe Jairus and the woman anything. He didn’t have to heal in either story. Neither one came to Jesus with a prideful, demanding, or with a “let’s make a deal” attitude. Neither one had a “You do this for me, Jesus, and I will do this for you” mentality. Neither one tried to bargain with Jesus for their healing as if they had any bargaining power.
You know Jesus doesn’t owe anyone in this room anything. He has already done more for every person who has ever lived than anyone deserved. We must come to Him not only in faith, but with the realization that He is God. He is high and we are low, and He stoops to intersect with those who know they are low. “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who are mourning and emotionally vulnerable. Blessed are those who are meek, who realize they don’t know all there is to know and who move at the command of the Lord. Blessed are those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Blessed are those who show others mercy even when it could be justified to do something different. These are the people who possess the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the people who receive God’s comfort. These are the people who get to exercise dominion on earth. These are the people who are filled by God to live a satisfied life. These are the people who see God. He reveals Himself to those kinds of people. These are the people God calls sons and daughters. (Matthew 5) These are the people who experience God’s Kingdom in their personal lives and circumstances in great power.
Both people came to Jesus with the right attitude and an open heart. God can enter an open heart. God can move in powerful ways when our lives are open to His work. Does He still heal people? 100% straight up, YES. I was there when the ER doctor told the Escue family twice that Rhea may not recover from this latest illness. Within five days she was off all machines and was fully alert. She was like Jairus’ daughter. She was headed toward death, and God healed her. He has done a healing work in Pastor David’s body that is undeniable. Tami Evans was given 30 days to live now over ten years ago, and she is still cancer free. Eddie Ferrari had his eyesight instantly healed during one of our services.
I could go on, but I will say each one of these people I just mentioned came to God with a humble heart and expressed dependence on Him when they asked for healing. They also have given God praise over and over and over because it was just a gift, it was an act of grace towards them that they didn’t deserve, and they know it was all God. Who are we that God should be mindful of us? It’s amazing.
We know God doesn’t heal every person in need of physical help, and one main reason is because we aren’t supposed to live in these bodies forever. God has other reasons for doing what He does or doesn’t do, and each one of them is good, and right and perfect. So even when we don’t get the answer we want, know that as we exercise faith and humility, God will move in ways that give us help, support, and victory.
Be confident this morning that when you press in to Jesus with faith and humility wonderful things can and will happen.
- Second, I think both characters show us a persistence, a mindset, a determination that reminds us we need to press through all obstacles.
It is one thing to decide that Jesus is the answer, and drawing close to Him is the answer, but it is another level of commitment to be willing to do whatever it takes and pay whatever cost is involved in order to do so.
Both people in our story had to deal with a crowd in order to get to Jesus. I don’t personally like crowds. You will never find me at the Wave Pool Park for the Fireworks on the Fourth of July or downtown Charleston for the big display. Besides the fact that I don’t like crowds, the fireworks display we put on at Teays Valley Acres makes both of those pale in comparison! But I don’t like big, big crowds. Even things like Winter Jam at the Civic Center sort of weird me out. Pushing through a lot of people can be an obstacle some people don’t want to deal with.
We can sabotage our own healing by psyching ourselves out of moving closer to Jesus. We often talk ourselves out of that which could lead us to our miracle. We might think, “I’m just one of the crowd. He would never pay attention to me. I’m not important enough to get Jesus’ attention.” Many times people will contact me for prayer and say, “I know you have far more important things to pray for than what I am going through.” How do you draw that conclusion? That wasn’t something you learned in Sunday School or through one of my sermons. That is a lie from Satan that we have bought. If something is troubling you, it is important to God. The only way to destroy those lies is to push through and get to Jesus.
Putting your need on public display can also be an obstacle. Many people tell me they will never come to an altar of prayer or ask for prayer because they don’t want others to know their need. It is understandable that we all deal with sensitive issues at times that aren’t good or necessary for others to know about, and yet there is an encouragement in Scripture to bring your need to people who will confidentially agree with you in prayer.
There is a spiritual principle called the power of agreement. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” I think part of the reason for this is that someone else can help provide perspective and accountability in some situations when they are known. I think another aspect is that someone else can help bear part of your burden taking some of the emotional and stressful part of the load off of you. God has reasons for asking us to make our need known, but it can be a real obstacle for some people. I get it.
It literally took every ounce of physical strength the woman had to get to Jesus. You don’t suffer with ongoing bleeding for 12 years without losing strength. I don’t know how far she had to walk or crawl or how early she had to start out to get there, but she didn’t let her lack of physical strength keep her from getting to Jesus. I know, however, that when we don’t feel well, when we don’t have lots of energy, it is easy to think it isn’t worth it to press through to get close to Jesus. Rather than having a “press through” mentality we have an “I’m through” mentality. What we think about our situation, and what we have told ourselves and convinced ourselves, if it is anything less than victory, it is a real obstacle.
You may be here this morning thinking, “I’ve got too many strikes against me. There is no way my miracle is possible.” The woman in our story could have thought the same thing. She wasn’t even supposed to be in public. In addition to her physical problem she had social problems and spiritual problems. If people in the crowd recognized her, they had religious reasons to shun her and tell her to get lost. According to Levitical Law she was ceremonially unclean. If she touched anyone else she would make them ceremonially unclean. That would certainly tick people off, and how was she supposed to keep from bumping into someone in such a big crowd? Besides the incidental contact that could take place, she had made up her mind that she was going to touch Jesus, a Rabbi! What kind of risk would that be for Him? She didn’t know.
Those are obstacles, right? She could have let what other people thought about her keep her from getting to Jesus. We do that sometimes, don’t we? We don’t people to think we are “Holy Rollers” or get the reputation that we think we are better than other people so we will make sure our worship and our daily walk and or our witness and our social media all stay within the margin of “acceptable” to the masses. It can be a real obstacle to drawing close to Jesus.
There is no way this woman wasn’t discouraged and depressed. How do you go 12 years with an illness and get your hopes up time after time that this next doctor appointment will bring a cure only to have your hopes dashed again and again? Most people would give up hope and draw the curtains and choose to live in isolation rather than press through those negative emotions. She had to press through her feelings before she could press through with faith. Some of you here today may need to make the same choice.
- Finally, we see in these stories that we need to press past all fear.
Look at Mark 5:32-36 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with FEAR, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” 35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” 36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be AFRAID; just believe.”
I can tell you one thing I know that I know that I know about Jesus. He doesn’t want you to live with fear. The woman with the issue of blood had press past so much and got a miracle, and when Jesus wanted to get even closer, when He wanted to have a conversation with her, she became afraid. Listen, Jesus doesn’t just want to give you a one-time miracle. He wants to give you Himself, and when He does, you not only leave without your suffering, but you leave in peace (verse 34). His continual presence will give you peace. Don’t be afraid of an ongoing, close and intimate conversation with Jesus.
Jairus also dealt with fear. While Jesus had been deterred by the woman with the issue of blood and had been slowed down on His way to Jairus’s house, Jairus likely was thinking, “We don’t have time for this! My daughter is dying. Jesus, please don’t get sidetracked!” Have you ever had fear creep in when you think you are running out of time in a situation? Maybe you are in a situation right now where you think you are running out of time. If something doesn’t happen soon or in the next thirty days, you fear the worst possible scenario. Listen, when God has purposed to do something, time is not a constraint for Him. God will not lose track of time, and He will not lose track of you. He is never late! Don’t be afraid!
Well, the report came that the man’s daughter had died. Death was the worst possible case scenario. Death was the worst thing that could have happened. I think in that moment Jesus was telling Him that even though the worst possible thing had happened he didn’t need to walk in fear. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” Even when the worst possible thing happens, Jesus can still be trusted. We can still walk with Him, and something wonderful and life-altering can and will happen.
So, Jairus followed Jesus. After all, maybe the messengers got it wrong. Maybe she wasn’t really dead. I mean, until he saw for himself, he didn’t necessarily believe it. Jesus’ words to tell him to press past fear and to maintain belief were so strategic because when they got to his house and saw the professional mourners outside the house (as was the strange custom of the day) he would have more reason to believe it was true. The physical evidence sure looked like it was true, but Jesus had just told him to not be afraid and to believe.
Jesus wants us to know He is always at work beyond what we can see even when it looks and feels like the worst case scenario. And He will always reassure us with words of hope. No situation, even the worst case scenario, no situation is a situation without hope for those who follow Jesus. Jesus spoke hope in verse 39: “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” In other words, Jesus said, “There is more to this situation than what you can see, but I can see it so trust Me.” Jesus took the 12 year old girl by the hand and spoke to her, and she stood up and started walking around.
We know not everyone is healed in the way we would desire, but we can still believe and trust in God’s plan for our life and future even when that future takes us into eternity. Even in the face of death which feels so overwhelming and crushing and permanent, when we are in Christ, when our loved ones are in Christ, there are still words of hope to cast out our fear. There is still an absolute reason to trust Jesus with our lives. John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Believers don’t have to live in fear because we follow the One who has gone through this life and into the next life ahead of us and He promises us victory. We are never without hope.
The emphasis isn’t really on the girl’s recovery or resurrection whichever it truly was, but it was on not being afraid and believing Jesus. When your situation seems hopeless, even if others are crying with you and sympathizing with you, don’t be afraid and believe Jesus. He is at work in ways you can’t see.
I like that there was a man and a woman in this story. I like that one was rich and one was undoubtedly poor. I like that one was well-respected and one was an outcast. I like that one came for herself while the other came on behalf of someone else. Who they were, what they were known for, none of that mattered to Jesus. He was there for them just like He will be there for you. Press in to Him. Press through any obstacles to get to Him, and press past fear that would keep you from believing Him and from having any reason for hope even in the worst case scenario.