2010-09-26 (am) Mark 5.21-43 Restoration and Resurrection
Let's just go through the text, shall we? Notice the contrast between verse 21, “a large crowd gathered around him by the lake,” and verse 17, “the people pleaded with Jesus to leave.”
This shows the two reactions people have to Jesus: curiosity leading to belief, ignorance or fear leading to disbelief and rejection. They either wonder how could a good God die for sinners, or they wonder how can a good God allow suffering of innocent people?
While Jesus was still by the lake, a ruler sought out Jesus. He had heard about probably even heard Jesus teaching in the synagogue. We can also compare this to the beginning of the chapter. A man comes running at Jesus, physically naked. This man come running to Jesus, emotionally naked.
His precious, darling 12 year old only child, a lovely daughter lay dying at home. Jesus was his only hope for her healing. He ran to Jesus, fell at his feet, giving himself totally to Jesus, hoping beyond hope that Jesus would come.
Did he fear Jesus wouldn't come? Did he think that the way the other rulers treated Jesus would cause Jesus to turn away from him?
Desperate to save his daughter, he gave his best plea, totally confident that Jesus could heal her, if he could just get to her on time. Yes, Jesus will come!
Then, oh, the frustration! The crowd kept pressing in. The progress was so slow! Would they ever get there? Blast this crowd! Why couldn't they just move out of the way? Didn't they know that his daughter was dying and the only one who could heal here was prevented from getting there?
In the crowd was another sufferer. The 12 year old girl wasn’t the only one who suffered. Another daughter of Eve suffered. For twelve years, she was afflicted by bleeding. Twelve years of going from one doctor to another. The illness was simply beyond their ability to heal.
12 years of suffering. 12 years of being ceremonially unclean. Unable to participate in any religious festival. Unable to go to worship, unable to have meaningful contact with her family. She was shunned and ingored.
It is significant for us to stop just a moment and reflect. Here was someone who was suffering from something that wasn't her fault. And yet, it made her unclean. The leaders, the priests didn't change God's laws concerning her uncleanness. They didn't try to work around it. They didn't say, "Well, since it's not your fault, we won't hinder you from worshipping. No, they said, "You're unclean. Until the bleeding stops, you are unable to participate." We have no way of knowing what kind of ministry she was able to receive, but we're certain that they didn’t just throw everything out just because of her condition.
The church today must heed this truth. We cannot get rid of what God has ordained simply to make things easier for people. Here is why: the danger that comes from it is that they won't then receive what they really need.
Sure, being ceremonially unclean was tough, and on top of her bleeding, it was no fun at all. She was living a very, very difficult life. But it was that very hard existence which moved her to sneak up to Jesus to get healing.
Why the secrecy? Remember, as an unclean person, she was not able to touch anyone else; otherwise they would be unclean until evening. So, she thought, she believed, she trusted that if she just touched Jesus tassel, she would be healed.
And immediately she was healed. See what faith did? The problem wasn't not being able to get to church, the problem was not being whole, not being healthy, not being right with God. By reaching out to Christ in faith, in trust, Christ made her whole, he healed her.
If the church compromises on Christ's requirements for faith, then those who come won’t get healed. Jesus won't be able to reach out and restore those who need restoration. Instead, they’ll just be welcomed into club church. And that's no help at all, at least not compared to Christ.
To the consternation and chagrin of Jairus, Jesus stopped and looked for the person who touched him in faith. The disciples derided Jesus. How could he have known? Jesus responded to the woman's faith confessed in her act of reaching out. He finds her and he confirms her. As it says in Romans 10:9. It is not enough simply to believe, one must also confess, aloud, with one’s mouth, that Jesus is Lord! She, believing in her heart, must confess with her mouth that Jesus is the Lord, the son of God. A confession every Christian must make.
She was afraid to speak because she would be found out. Not allowed to touch, not allowed to speak in public. She does both, Jesus demanded it of her. Rather than the unclean making Jesus unclean, the clean makes the unclean clean!
Daughter, your faith has healed you! And the words every Jew longs to hear from God, "Go in peace and be freed." The God of the Old Testament who declares, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, still acts to set people free. Have you let God set you free?
While Jesus is still speaking, Jairus' people come and tell him that while they tarried, his daughter died.
Oh, the pain! Oh the despair! If only the woman had waited!
But even before the words can really sink in Jesus, says, "Don't fear, believe."
Oh, wow. That's tough. Just trust. Trust me. Don't fear. Don't let the worst fear, the fear that your daughter would die before you, don't let it grip you and take you into despair. Believe. Trust me.
So they go to the house, people are in full mourning. Shouting. Making noise. Grieving. In anguish. Jesus tells them to be quiet. She's sleeping.
What a joke. What a cruel joke to play on the parents. How would he know? She's dead. The doctor called it. No pulse, no breathing. No hope. Jesus gets rid of them.
Taking the parents and just a few disciples, they go to the child. He reaches down, picks up her lifeless hand and says, "Little girl, get up." Immediately, just as the woman was restored immediately to full health, the little girl is immediately resurrected to full life. She walked around and everything!
We can well imagine the joy in that house that day! We can well imagine the wonder at this man who can heal, and also raise the dead! What a miracle! Who can do such things? Only Jesus, the Son of the Living God!
Do you believe in him? Have the true stories contained in this book brought you to faith? Are they deepening your faith? This is drama in real life!
Have you placed all your hope in Christ? Are you afraid? Are you in despair, for your life, for a loved one, for someone who has died, for someone who is sick? Jesus’ words come to us, “Do not be afraid. Believe!” This drama in real life is told to prove that Jesus is the true saviour of the world. He is the resurrection and the life. He raised the little girl from the dead. He himself was raised from the dead. He will raise us from the dead!
We conclude with this:
A few days after a certain minister preached on this section of Scripture (Mark 5:25–34 and parallels), he received the following poem from a lady who had composed it after hearing the sermon:
“Who touched me?”
’Twas the voice of the Master,
And the woman’s heart beat faster and faster.
Trembling she came and bowed her head.
“I touched thee, Lord,” was what she said.
But the Master answered, “Go thy way,
Thy faith has made thee whole this day.”
“Have you touched me?”
I heard it. ’Twas the voice of the Master,
And O my heart beat faster and faster.
“You came with the throng to God’s house today,
But I felt not your touch as you went your way.”
I was ashamed and bowed my head.
“Reach out a bit farther next time,” he said.