“Just Believe!” (Mark 5:21-43)

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“Just Believe!”

Mark 5:21-43 (Key Verse: 5:36)
“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.””
Today’s passage is the climax of Jesus’ four miracle stories (4:35-5:43). Jesus showed his
power over the forces of nature and over the demonic forces. Now he exposed his power over an
incurable sickness and even over death itself finally. Today’s passage contains two events: Jairus
daughter’s story is sandwiching the bleeding woman’s healing story. This passage includes two
very different people: the synagogue ruler Jairus and the unnamed bleeding woman. Jairus was a
prominent man, but this woman was a marginalized woman; Jairus came to Jesus publically, but
this woman came secretly. Jairus’ situation was an emergency, but woman’ problem was chronic
one. The only one thing in common is both of them have faith in Jesus and experienced his glory
and miracle. Both of these desperate people in the end were rewarded because of their faith.

I. “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” (5:21-34)
After restoring the demonic possessed person at Gerasenes, Jesus had again crossed
over Capernaum. At this time a large crowd was waiting for him and welcomed him. (21)
Among these people, there were two people who were very anxiously waiting for Jesus. At the
front of crowd, Jairus was standing restlessly, looking over the sea, and behind the crowd was an
unidentified woman looking around cautiously. Look at vv. 22-23. When Jesus arriving on the
shore, Jairus hurried up and fell at his feet. And Jairus repeatedly appealed to him, saying, “My
little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and
live.” How desperately Jairus must have pleaded while lying down at the feet of Jesus that
everyone around him was speechless. Even Jesus was moved by his humble pleading and went
with him (24).
Luke 8:42 says his daughter was his only daughter and was about twelve. To him his
only daughter was everything. But now she was dying and had no hope of living. Jairus was one
of the synagogue rulers at Capernaum, who had an social outstanding position. The synagogue
ruler had the right of ordering the worship service, and worked as messenger and ruler of the
congregation, and respectful elder. Because of enmity between Jesus and religious leaders and
his social/religious reputation it was so difficult for him to come to Jesus and fall down at his
feet. Rather it is easy to give business card of his synagogue and showed his social position. Yet
he realized that all of these things were nothing before his daughter’s urgent situation. He casted
aside all his reputation and fell at Jesus feet. He knew that before Jesus, he was nobody and that
he absolutely needed Jesus’ help. Jesus accepted Jairus’ father’s humble and earnest prayer to
heal his daughter.


Today is Mother’s Day and we celebrate the greatness of a Mother’s love and their
sacrificial life for their family. A Mother is not a mother simply because she has children. Rather
she is a mother when she loves her children more than herself and is willing to sacrifice herself
for them. Likewise, Jairus’ humility and his earnest prayer for his dying daughter shows who is
the real Father. He cherished her daughter more than his face and social reputation and fell at
Jesus feet publically. By faith he prayed for his daughter’s life to the Everlasting Father, Jesus
earnestly. We are now in the pandemic situation and God wants us to have humility before him
to pray earnestly for our children and family and church. As a father I repent of my lack of
humility and earnest prayer for my two daughters and church members during this pandemic
situation. May God help me to have Father’s heart and humble prayers toward my family and our
church members.
Jesus began to make his way to Jairus’ house. It was a shocking event in Capernaum that
Jesus went with the Synagogue ruler Jairus to heal his dying daughter. So a large crowd followed
and pressed around him (24b). Look at vv. 25-27. In this one sentence, the author Mark employs
7 participles describing this woman’s terrible disease for 12 years (having been bleeding, having
suffered, having spending, getting better, getting worse, hearing about, coming behind) and
finally finishes her race of life with the main verb “and touched his cloak.” (27b) Ironically, this
woman’s disease of bleeding began in the same year when Jairus’ daughter was born and and she
endured it for twelve years. In Jairus house there was a growing hope due to his daughter’s birth,
but in this woman’s house the despair has grown. Apparently, she experienced feminine bleeding
randomly and frequently. Usually, a woman is likened to flowers, but this woman because of her
12 years of bleeding became like a withered and crooked pasqueflower. Moreover, according to
Jewish law (Lev 15:19-30, 25), everything and everywhere she sits and touches would be
unclean. The hands of Midas made everything turn into gold, but everything whatever she
touches with her hands becomes unclean. Like Covid 19 patients, she always have to practice
self-quarantined and keep 6 feet social distance. At every moment the scarlet letter of
uncleanness and stigma followed her. Imagine the deep despair and the constant shame she felt
for 12 years! In addition, she visited the doctors again and again, spending all of her savings, yet
instead of getting better, she got worse. Because of this unceasing bleeding she gave up the
dream of marriage and the dream of being a happy Mother. There was no hope in herself!
Look at vv. 27-28. “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.” When
this woman heard about Jesus, Jesus’ hands touched her hearts and something happened in her
hearts. Faith comes from hearing the words about Christ, and the confidence and assurance in
what we hope for. (Rom 10:17a; Heb 11:1a) This is the reason why we should proclaim the
words of God in season and out of season. When we preach the messages of God, the hands of
God will touch the hearts of those who hear of the gospel. During my army service, I was
misunderstood as having leaked second grade military secrets and was sentenced to military jail.
I knew well what would happen in my life afterward. Because of fear and despair I lost 15


pounds during a month, waiting the jail. One day, one military chaplain came to me and said,
“Pray earnestly to God, and something amazing will happen!” This one word touched my hearts
miraculously, and then I prayed earnestly for a month, grabbing this one word. God was alive
and rescued me from the slimy pits, out of the mud and mire.
The words of Jesus grew in her hearts, and she produced her own faith in Jesus’ power,
“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (28b) (Greek, imperfect… was saying repeatedly, )
She kept the absolute faith in Jesus’ divine power and mercy of healing her just by touching his
clothes. This woman did not stay only in thought but did the action. James 2:22 emphasizes the
action of faith, saying, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his
faith was made complete by what he did.” However, it was not easy to get through the crowd and
to overcome many obstacles to reach out to Jesus. Many big, strong men were pushing to be
close to Jesus. Besides, it was a disease considered as ceremonial uncleanness, so that her contact
was polluting. People would, not without reason, upbraid her for coming among them, or thrust
her away from them. Yet, somehow this woman broke through all regulations and barriers and
touched Jesus. What happened? “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that
she was freed from her suffering.” (29) Just as Jesus calmed down the furious storm at once, he
healed her bleeding of twelve years immediately. Jesus is the creator and the mighty healer of
incurable diseases!
Look at vv. 30-31. At once Jesus knew that power had gone out from him. He turned
around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples pointed out that many
people had touched him, and answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” Obviously,
they did not know what had happened between Jesus and this bleeding woman. Jesus has the
sensitive barometer of faith which recognizes and feels the work of faith in any time. Many
people may hang around Jesus. Some may follow Jesus thoughtlessly along with the mass of
persons. Others, and perhaps the major part of crowd, were attracted by curiosity to see some
miracle. Someone may push Jesus intentionally to draw the attention. But only the touch of faith
releases Jesus’ power. Jesus’ barometer of faith pays attention to those who have faith. Mere
contact itself is not sufficient. In the same way, we could follow and call Jesus’ name with
mannerism habitually like the mantra of monk. Some of us could pray regularly but without faith
and desperation it does not touch Jesus’ barometer of faith but just become a powerless
harangue. Without any desperation and faith we could come to campus for fishing weekly, but it
would just be to trample the campus yard. This woman, overcoming the repeated failure and
people’s stigma, came to Jesus and stretched out her hands of faith and touched Jesus. The hands
of faith and desperation could move the throne of God and unleash the mighty power of God in
Jesus. Now Jesus is looking around us to find those who has the real faith and stretches out
their hands of faith, and touches him. Do you have the hands of faith to touch Jesus? Or just
follow Jesus with religious duty or mannerism? May God help us to overcome the repeated
despair and to stretch out our hands of prayer and faith!


Look at vv. 32-34. Despite disciples’ answer Jesus stopped and looked around again and
again to see who had touched him. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came
and fell at his feet. Before Jesus’ divine authority she trembled with fear and told him the whole
story of healing. It was said that she told Jesus “the whole truth.” She told Jesus ‘Part I’ [the time
of darkness]: how she got sick with bleeding and how terribly she suffered for a long time.
However, in ‘Part II’ [Jesus touched me, and something happened], she raised her voice of joy
and happiness with much tears. It may have been more than 10 pages, taking an hour to share. At
first this woman planned to steal the healing power of Jesus and then to disappear silently. But
through this confession she met Jesus as her Lord and got a salvation in her hearts. Rom 10:9-10
says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God
raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are
justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” The power of
the confession of faith makes us meet Jesus personally, and through the confession of faith our
salvation become complete.
Among Saint Augustine’s books the most amazing one is “Confession.” Through this one
book many people confessed their sins and faith and were born again. In the UBF church
ministry the most outstanding and unique thing is the sogam-writing (confessional reflection
writing) and sharing. In Summer conference and worship, most people are moved by the holy
spirit and meet the living God with sogam confession. Through sincere and personal confession
of sins and faith many people were born again and met their personal Savior, because our sogam
confession is the work of the Holy spirit and the confession before God. Through this woman’s
confession of faith Jesus wanted to become her personal Savior.
When she confessed her testimony and the work of faith, Jesus said to her, “Daughter,
your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (34) Jesus addresses
her affectionately as “daughter” (θυγάτηρ), exalting her as a cherished child of God. Further,
Jesus praised her faith and action of faith to heal her incurable disease. Heb 11:6 says, “And
without faith it is impossible to please God…” Our diligence, devotion, and spiritual passion are
important to our life of faith. However, without our faith in Jesus it is impossible to please God.
May God help us to have faith in Jesus, overcoming the despair and obstacles like this woman.
Let’s us stretch out the hands of faith and touch Jesus’ cloak so that we may find favor of his
merciful healing.
II. “Don’t be Afraid; just Believe.” (35-43)
The longer the woman’s graceful testimony proceed, the more Jairus became nervous and
was biting nail anxiously. Furthermore, Jesus did not even seem to be leaving soon. Look at v.

  1. “While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue
    leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”” During Jairus’
    daughter dying there was a little hope of living yet, but now “Your daughter is dead,” tolled the
    bell of the end of hope. It meant “That was it! Don’t bother Jesus anymore, but just go to prepare


the funeral.” In this world ‘the Top 5 most stressful Life events’ include: job loss, major illness
or injury, moving, divorce, and ‘death of a loved one’. Jairus’ joy of life had been to watch his
only daughter blossom. His hope for the future was wrapped up in his daughter’s growth and
happiness. To see her suddenly die is the end of his life. If death rules one’s heart, first he loses
his humanity, next he becomes a slave of Satan (Heb 2:14, 15)
Ancient peoples were deeply concerned with death and there are many expressions of
deep sorrow and despair over death. In my doctoral dissertation of 1 Thessalonians I explored
pagan philosophy of death in ancient times. Seneca in his consolatory letter consoles in nihilism,
“Nothing can heal his wound but acceptance of the inevitable, lapse of time, and a surfeit of
grief.” Many epitaphs express a nihilistic philosophy concerning death, saying, “We are
nothing…We mortals return from nothing to nothing.” (a father, losing his daughter in epitaph
‘death snatched my dove…’) All consolation and sorrow over beloved one’s death shows their
limitation and deep despair of sorrow. The symbolic attitude of the pagan world toward death is
succinctly summarized by Theocritus: “Hopes are for the living, but the ones who die are without
hope.” Before death all human beings are like a trembling frog to a snake. To live in this gloomy
world we are constantly bombarded by the stings of death. Living in this society, it is easy to
become like a walking dead person. In this pandemic situation, all the world is bombarded by the
power of death and despair for the future. Like Jairus, we are being assaulted by unbelieving
words and the stings of despair and fear. Then ‘Do we have really no hope in this situation?’
Look at v. 36. “Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just
believe.”” In another version, Jesus ‘ignored’ what they said. In this critical moment Jesus cut the
power of death, commanding to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid.” When he heard of his daughter’s
death, the fear of death grabbed his minds and soul. This fear comes from Satan, who gives the
spirit of fear. But Jesus, ignoring satan’s voice, command, “Don’t be afraid.” Heb 2:14-15
teaches us savior Jesus, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the
devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” We must
not allow fear to enter and to grab our hearts under any circumstance.
Jesus then commands again, “Just believe.” At first with faith and hope Jairus came to
Jesus and pleaded to heal his dying daughter. But at his daughter’s death his faith stopped and
staggered into destruction. Jesus awakened his first and absolute faith. “Just believe” means
Jairus should keep his first faith and persist in his absolute faith in Jesus. Jesus commands us also
our persistence of faith, not giving up in any situation. Even though death has stiffened his little
daughter’s limbs, and silenced her tongue, Jairus should keep his faith. Furthermore, “just
believe!” means Jairus should just believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. (Jn 11:25) In
Exo 14, the Israelites had experienced God’s miraculous works through Moses and with faith
began their Exodus from Egypt. But when they encountered the Red Sea and were chased by
Pharaoh’s army, all of Israel cried out with fear of death and grumbled to the Lord. At this
moment Moses commanded them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance


the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” They
should keep their persistent faith in God and just be still by faith. God delivered all of Israel with
his mighty hands through the Red Sea. All warriors of faith got their triumph and salvation
through this “Just faith.” The bleeding woman was saved from sufferings with “If I just touch…”
faith. The Roman centurion also healed his dying servant with the faith “But just say the word”
(Matt 8:8); Jesus commanded Jairus, “just believe.” The common thing is “just” (only) faith”.
During our faith pilgrimage, we encounter unexpected bad things or be put into the
situation in which we could do nothing in our capacity. In the present time we are under the
unexpected and invincible pandemic situation. We are constantly hearing bad news around us
every day. The unprecedented unemployment rates, the gloomy and tragic forecast for the future,
the rising death toll of COVID patients in US and Prince George County, and lock-down of
campus and the dark prediction for God’s ministry. The only good news is Trump
administrations’ $ 1200 relief funds. Personally, some are encountering jobs losses, uncertain
future matters, and the deteriorating health etc. We could be locked down with depression and
despair and fear. Danish theologian Soren KierKegaard claimed that all human beings are
suffering “the sickness unto Death”, that is, despair. Only by faith in Jesus can we overcome the
sick unto death, despair. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:8)
Jesus awakens our staggering faith, “Just believe.” We must just believe that God is the
Almighty Creator and that God loves the world. We must just believe Jesus works all things with
his goodness and be with us. May God help us to keep our persistent faith in Jesus and just
believe in Jesus to the end.
Look at vv. 37-38. Jairus’ faith was resuscitated by Jesus’ command, “just believe,’ and
followed Jesus. Jesus did not let the crowd follow him this time. Only Peter, James and John
were allowed to follow Jesus. When they came to Jairus’ home, Jesus saw a commotion, with
people crying and wailing loudly. Even the poorer families had mourners that usually included
two flute players, a woman to lead in antiphonal singing or chanting accompanied by hand
clapping. Given the social status of a synagogue ruler, the size of the mourners and the
commotion would be appropriate. Jesus told them that the child was not dead but asleep. To
Jesus, the death of the body is not the end of life, but just like a sweet sleep. Death was a short
resting time for the new life of resurrection. Dan 12:2 says, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of
the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Then
hearing this, the mourners ridiculed. However, when Jesus, coming with a loud command, with
the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, descends down from heaven, the
fallen asleep in God will rise and all the living will be caught into heaven.
After putting them all out except the child’s parents and his three disciples, Jesus took
the child by the hand and said, “Talitha koum!” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”
Jesus called her as her mother called her child every morning to wake up. Immediately the girl
stood up and began to walk around. This event foreshadows the final resurrection of life. Praise
Jesus our Lord of life and the Lord of our resurrection on that day!


In this passage, we learned about two people’s living faith. Though both of them were
in desperate situation, they did not give up their faith. Without faith it is impossible to please
God. Despite our current difficult situation, let us remember such faith to overcome our worries.
May God help us to keep “One-touch Faith” of this woman! May God help us to keep Jesus’
command, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe!”