JUST BELIEVE

Mark 5:21-43

Key Verse: 5:36

“Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’”

            To find out why Jesus is stepping out of a boat at the beginning of this passage we must first briefly look back at the previous passage. Mark 5:17 reads: “Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” Pleading with Jesus to leave their region, as these on the east side of Lake Galilee did is by far the absolute worst possible request these people could ever make. Only God knows how many little children in their region had to pay with their lives because their parents pleaded with Jesus to leave their region. Moreover how many of those people suffered their whole lives under many physical and spiritual sickness with no hope of ever being healed. Worst of all when people reject humble Jesus how can they ever expect to find mercy on the judgment day? In contrast to those people who pleaded with Jesus to leave, today we will see Jesus raised from the dead a little girl because her father went to Jesus and pleaded with him to come and heal his daughter. We will also see how the faith of one poor, weak woman found complete healing by coming to Jesus in faith. Let us learn from those who went to Jesus to plead for his help and who placed their faith in him to find the healing they needed.

 

Part 1 Daughter, your faith has healed you (5:21-34)

 

            After traveling by boat for about seven and a half miles from the east side of the Sea of Galilee to its west side, Jesus and his disciples stepped out of their boat. The moment Jesus’ feet touched land he was surround by a crowd of people. Before anyone had time to decide what to do next, verses 22-23 tell us: “Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 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.” This man who flung himself at Jesus’ feet to plead to come to heal his daughter is not the kind of person we would expect to see pleading for Jesus’ help.  He is a synagogue ruler comparable to a pastor and deacon in a church. He is in charge both of the spiritual and material up keep of the synagogue. In John 9:22 in some of the synagogues the Jews had made a decision anyone who acknowledge that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.” It is not certain if Jairus had been one of these anti Jesus Jews. What is certain we see he was now putting his job on the line by pleading with Jesus to come to his home to heal his daughter.

           

            Jairus gives a wonderful picture of a truly responsible, good father. A good father should be protector and shepherd of his family. At the same time a father is very weak and limited in how much he can help his children. Some fathers try to be a good father by just working hard in order to provide shelter, food and education for their children. As for Jairus all the money in the world could not help his daughter who was dying. What she really needed now was a father who had faith in Jesus. For this little girl to live and not die she needed a father who was willing to humble himself at the feet of Jesus in prayer and plead with him to come and touch and heal his dying daughter. How many times have we read about fathers who provide all the material needs for their children but neglect praying for them and giving them a spiritual example of confessing Jesus’ name and obeying Jesus’ words? By neglecting to give their children Jesus their children have no power to overcome their fears, sinful desires and Satan’s many temptations. I have five children. I never have had money enough to send them to private schools or get them involved in many after school activities. Not withstanding what I do have I give them. I gave and give them the Gospel of God I have accepted. I give them the word of God I have accepted. I try to teach them to pray to Jesus to overcome their fears and weaknesses.  One missionary suggested I should ask people what their fears are as a way to find areas this message could touch people’s lives personally. I asked my little son Joshua. “What are you afraid of?” He told me, “Nothing.”   I then asked him, “How is that you are afraid of nothing?” He told me: “Because I believe in Jesus.” To that reply all I could say was “Amen.”

 

            At the same time we know many young people are not blessed with fathers who have faith in Jesus. Young people like this need a spiritual father or mother who will plead to Jesus for them. As Missionary Jacob pointed out the YDJ video made this summer revealed many people actually come to this ministry because of the sincere concern and love they find among people here. When Matthew's car engine seized up two summer conferences ago on Interstate 80, Missionary James and Maria Park risked their lives to stay with Matthew on the side of the Interstate as he waited for a tow truck to pick up his car. Countless books have been written on the subject of how to be a good father or mother. We learn from Jairus when it comes right down to where the rubber meets the road, where the bible student or child’s life is in the balance, the good father is the one that will risk it all to bring Jesus to their children. 

 

            Verse 24a tells us Jesus went with him. Jesus never turns away from those who humble themselves before him and plead for the life of a loved one. As Jesus and his disciples followed Jairus to his home a large crowd pressed around him. Luke 8:42 using stronger language writes the crowd was crushing Jesus. In other Bible version they describe the crowd choking Jesus. The point is this crowd was pressing against Jesus with such great pressure they were actually making it difficult for him to breath.  With this great thong of people around Jesus the last thing we would expect to hear Jesus ask would be: “Who touched my clothes?”  Let us see who and how one person among this huge crowd pressing against Jesus moved Jesus to ask: “Who touched my clothes?”  Let us read verses 26-29. “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 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. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” While other people pressed Jesus so hard as to impair his breathing, this fragile woman barely touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.

            First, we must ask the question what brought this woman to the point very secretly press her way through the crowd to touch Jesus’ garment? She had a chronic bleeding illness. God’s holy law in Leviticus 15:25-27 declared anyone she touched while she was bleeding would become unclean. God’s holy law declared this woman unclean. Doctor after doctor not only couldn’t help her, they made her worst after each visit. Doctors after taking all her money gave up helping her. In the mean time nations and kings had risen and fallen during the 12 years of her nonstop bleeding and suffering. Couples had married and had 3, 4, 7 even 10 children all the while this woman kept trying to find a way to be healed of her chronic bleeding.   One unwritten amazing aspect of her life story is that she never gave up struggling to find a way to find a cure. One woman had a terrible allergic reaction to sunlight. Finally she committed suicide.  But this woman never gave up trying to find a cure for her chronic unclean bleeding and suffering. Missionary Hannah Kim has a rare blood sickness that not even many doctor visits have been able to heal. From this passage we find she is not the first woman to have such a sickness. We must keep praying for M. Hannah and encouraging her never to give up hope to find 100% healing.

 

            Finally one day the Holy Spirit gave her faith to believe if she just touched Jesus’ clothes she would be healed. At the risk of breaking God’s law and being condemned by many people she pressed her weak body through this crushing crowd. Finally just the tip of her finger touched the edge of Jesus clothes. Instantly, healing power flowed in her body. She could feel her bleeding stop and all her suffering that racked her body for 12 years completely leave her body.

 

            From a casual medical stand point all looks good. The woman is healed and Jesus has more important matters to attend to. Jesus Christ on the other hand sees a serious spiritual reality no one else is able to see. He sees that this woman is still under the condemnation of God. She is physically healed but she is not spiritually healed. If she was asked the question: “Woman, if you were to die today would you be welcome into the heavenly Father’s kingdom?” she would not know how to answer that question with absolute assurance.

 

            Let us see what Jesus does to give her assurance she has peace with her Heavenly Father. Look at verse 31 and 32: “At once Jesus realized that power gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” You see the people crowding against you, his disciples answered, and yet you can ask “Who touched me?” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.”  We know Jesus who knows all things could have yelled out to the women: “Hey you, you come here and tell me why you just touched my clothes.” This is not how Jesus works. Confession is the free will God has given us. God knows every sin we think and do. He could always be in our face demanding us to confess them. Instead he gives us a free will to confess to him or not, to be free from the condemnation and addiction to sin. To find forgiveness and cleansing power over our sins, confessing to Jesus by faith is the only way. 1John 1:9 the word of God promises us; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” These days my daily spiritual prayer and struggle is to fulfill Galatians 5:16:”  “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” I am discovering to live by the Spirit does not mean I will not have sinful thoughts and desires. What it means to live by the Spirit is not to dwell on my sinful desires. To do this I immediately confess them to Jesus. He then not only forgives me but helps me to walk by the Spirit.

 

            Read verses 33-34: “Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and trembling with fear told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be feed from your suffering.”   Jesus didn’t condemn her. He blessed her. He called her “Daughter.”  No one claimed this woman to be their daughter. They were too ashamed to acknowledge her as their daughter. Jesus was not ashamed of her. Before this entire large crowd to hear, Jesus called her his daughter. Then he gave her his eternal word of God. He put into words how she was healed. He told her. “Your faith has healed you.” Now when she leaves Jesus and shares with others how Jesus healed her she can tell them: “By faith in Jesus I was healed. By faith in Jesus I have peace with God.  Hebrews 9:14,15 explains this amazing power  of Jesus blood this way: “How much more, then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”    

 

Part 2 “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (35-43)

           

            Look at verse 35: “While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “You daughter is dead.” They said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” At first glance it would seem Jesus in his effort to bring full healing to this woman inadvertently missed the opportunity to heal Jairus’ daughter. Nor can we fault these men for at least bringing the bad news Jairus’ daughter had died. It could be Jairus gave them direction to come and tell him any news whether good or bad concerning his daughter’s sickness. However we can see they unwitting allowed themselves to become Satan’s advisories when they took it upon themselves to also advise Jairus: “Why bother the teacher any more?” Actually Jesus always wants us to bother him when we have a need or problem. Every teaching Jesus gave about prayer Jesus placed an example of someone bothering someone else until they finally received what they ask for. Again and again our bible teaches us: nothing is impossible God. As for application we learn we should not take it upon ourselves to tell people what not to bother Jesus for. Even Apostle Paul the most fruitful, hardest working of all Apostle when it came to prayer he gave no limits on prayer.  "Pray continually… for this is God's for will for you in Christ Jesus." 1Thessalonians 517, 18

 

            Read verse 36: Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” First we see our Lord Jesus ignored every word of bad news and bad advice these eye witnesses shared with Jairus. Why is this? It is because Jesus Christ is 100 % good news. When Jesus was born the angle of the Lord said to shepherds living out in the field: “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord” Right now on this earth until Jesus comes to Judge both the living and dead, Jesus is this earth’s only one hundred percent pure good news. Practically what this means is that through Jesus Christ we can find the power of God to change all our bad news into good news.

 

            Let us see what Jesus taught Jairus how to change the worst possible bad news into good news. Read verse 36 again: “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”  The first step in changing bad news into goodness is to struggle to obey Jesus’ words; “Don’t be afraid.”  I didn’t make up these words: “Don’t be afraid.” It is Jesus Christ himself who told Jairus “Don’t be afraid,” after he was told his daughter had died. Hollywood movie directors who use the power of death to sell their movies do not want us to obey the words: “Don’t be afraid.” They know if we do we will stop paying money to see their movies. Many kinds of criminals, tyrants, bullies and Satan himself also do not want us to obey Jesus’ words: “Don’t be afraid.” They know if we do, then Jesus’ words will put them out of business. People who use the fear of death to sell their product do not want us to obey Jesus’ teaching because frankly if we do we will not be inclined to use their product.

 

            There is a reason why Jesus first told Jairus: “Don’t be afraid.” Fear is the obstacles that stand in our way of "just believing". There is only one way to overcome the obstacle of fear. It is by fixing our thoughts on Jesus’ words; “Don’t be afraid” and choose to obey Jesus over surrendering to our fears. In other words we must have a soldier’s obedience to simply obey Jesus: “Yes, Sir Jesus, because you say: Don’t be afraid. I will do my best not to be afraid.” I grew up being afraid. I thought being afraid was normal therefore I became a coward. Then through bible study I met my good shepherd Jesus who was not afraid of the savage wolves when he saw them coming. I was so impressed with Jesus who stood between the sheep and the wolf and was willing to lay down his life for his sheep. When I fix my eyes on Jesus my good shepherd and struggle to obey his word; “Don’t be afraid” this is how I overcome all my fears.

 

            Second, Jesus told Jairus: “just believe.” The word Jesus used to encourage Jairus to believe is “just” It is interesting the various definitions the Webster Dictionary gives for the word: “just.” Here are some of the definitions given. “1. having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason. 2. correct & proper and 3. morally or legally right.

“Just” also means “exactly”. Taking all these varying definitions of the word “Just” together we see “Just is actually the perfect word to lead into “believe.” Jairus was given the bad news his daughter had died. As the girl’s father he must now do something. The question is: What is the best course of action for his daughter? Exactly what now should Jairus do upon hearing the news his daughter has died? Jairus should exactly believe in Jesus Christ. “Just believing in Jesus Christ when faced with the death of a loved one is exactly the correct, reasonable and morally right course a person should take. In our life time sometimes we face events beyond our control; at the same time we must choose a course of action. We can either choose to surrender to our limitations or we can just believe in Jesus Christ. To just believe in Jesus Christ is always exactly the right and moral decision to make.  Those who choose to “just believe” in Jesus Christ choose hope and life over death. They choose victory over defeat. They choose justice over injustice. Even if we don’t accept any other word from today’s passage let us at least pray the Holy Spirit may help us to obey Jesus’ words: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.

            After telling Jairus what he must now do, Jesus now uses his divine authority to demise this crowd pressing around him. Additionally he chooses only three of his 12 disciples, Peter, James and John, to accompany him to Jairus’ home.  Jesus knows crowds of spectators poison a person's ability to have just-believing faith. On the other hand a small core of sincere believers can strengthen one anther to “just believe.”

 

            Look at verses 38: “When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.” It looked as if every member of Jairus’ synagogue was at his home crying and wailing.  Many of us here have seen people cry and wail at funerals. Standing before such wailing people one feels helpless to offer any comfort. Not so with Jesus. As he stood before these crying and wailing people he had wonderful words of hope to give them. Look at verse 39; “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” Jesus had not even examined the girl; yet he confidently declared to these wailing people the girl was not dead but asleep”. Before the power of Jesus this is true. To a medical doctor this little girl would be declared dead. Jesus Christ declares her asleep.  Jesus is God Almighty in the flesh. Death before Jesus is nothing more than sleeping. When this crowd heard Jesus say the little girl was asleep their emotions switched suddenly from wailing to laughter. How is it possible for people to go from wailing to laughter? The answer is unbelief. When people do not struggle to have faith in Jesus’ words they become unstable and double minded people. One moment they are as high as a kite. The next moment they are completely empty of all hope.

 

As Jesus did to the crushing crowd Jesus now put this emotional crowd out of Jairus’ house. Look at 40b-43 and study how Jesus raised this little girl from the dead. We notice in raising this girl from the dead Jesus not only held her hand, he then commanded her using the first person: “I say to you, get up.” The Bible records other servants of God who raised the dead, but they prayed and God then worked through their prayer. Jesus Christ commanded the little girl “I say to you get up!” This shows for us death which refuses to listen to any man or woman obeys Jesus immediately.

 

            Moreover this little girl stood up immediately. Not even sick people stand up immediately when they are feeling a little better. Then Jesus told her parents to give her something to eat. Sick people have no appetite much less dead people have absolutely no appetite. Jesus quite literally raised this little girl from the dead by the same almighty power God his heavenly Father possess.   

            Jesus’ three disciples, Jairus and his wife were all completely astonished at what they witnessed. They wanted to immediately go and tell others. Jesus stopped them. He gave them strict orders not to tell anyone. Readers of this passage ask: “Why did Jesus give them strict orders not to share with others this miracle they observed? The reason is Jesus had even greater work of God he needed to perform. He didn’t want news of this miracle to cause even larger crowds to get in his way to complete his most important mission to offer his life as ransom payment for the sins of mankind.

            As we know Jesus obeyed God. He offered his life for our sins. God then raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand side. What does this good news have to do with this passage? It means the words Jesus spoke to Jairus are even more applicable to us. Since Jesus died and God raised him, Jesus now with greater authority ignores death. As he said to Jairus, he now tells all people who will listen to him:  "Don’t be afraid, just believe.” Today let us pray the Holy Spirit will help us to obey Jesus’ words: “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”