If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it. I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified. I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you. You have my permission to alter it and use it however God leads you. God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.
For now – Mark 5:21-43
We meet Jairus – a ruler of the synagogue – as such, he was in charge of taking care of the building and the services withing the building – not a rabbi, but a lay person.
He comes to Jesus, like so many others – begging. And who could blame him? What won’t a parent do for their kids? Especially in this case – the scripture says that the father tells Jesus his little girl is “at the point of death.”
RC Sproul – says the translators would have struggled with the translation in how to adequately relay this idea “at the point of death”. She was not simply sick.
We have this phrase I learned in seminary – eschatology – from the Greek word eschatos – of final things – “the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.”
The Scripture from 2 Timothy 3:1-7 – “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power…. always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Eschatology – the study of the end.
The little girl is at her eschaton – literally at her death bed. And her dad is helpless…. except that he knows of the healing Rabbi… Jesus…..and he seeks him out… But if Jesus doesn’t do something, the little girl will surely die. Jesus, will you come with me?
It is as the leper – if you are willing, you can make me clean… Just as Jesus said – I am willing, be clean.
So Jesus is obviously willing and the Scripture says Jesus went with him…
Next to when his daughter was born, this had to just about be the second best moment of this dad’s life-
Jesus was willing to heal his daughter.
But all these people… they had to get through this multitude of people who “thronged him”. And Jairus knew time was of the essence.
The Scripture tells us that among this throng of people was a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years. It is a story that may cause a parent to give a human anatomy lesson to their kids – but this woman had female problems for 12 years. And as bad as this sounds to us who live in the 21st century – and it does sound bad, right?
But think about that time – In Leviticus, there are detailed instructions about the uncleanness of one in this situation – and the cleansing rituals that had to take place – not unlike the uncleanness of the lepers of that time. The woman could not marry, could be part of the worshipping community, nobody was allowed to touch her or her clothes or they would be considered unclean as long as she had this blood flow. Think about that – no touch for twelve years.
One of the most devastating things about the covid for many people over this last year has been kids not getting hugs from teachers, grandparents not getting hugs and hand holding from grandkids, nursing home residents not being touched. When you walk through the nursing home at a normal time, people often reach out their hands to you… almost like you are a celebrity walking by a group of adoring fans and they reach out their hands to touch you….
This woman was not only suffering with physical misery, but would have had social misery (the original social distancing) and spiritual misery because of her situation.
And Mark tells us that her misery also extended to her finances – she was flat broke and busted… She had spent everything she had and the doctors had only managed to make her worse – and it was not medical malpractice – the doctors 2,000 years ago had limited knowledge and abilities…. And everything they tried failed and only managed to make her worse – yet the doctors would have still required to be paid. No refunds and no injury lawyers.
RC Sproul said the amazing thing about this story is that she had any hope left….
All my hope is in Jesus… Crowder –
All my hope is in Jesus….Thank God that yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven….. I’ve been washed by the blood…
She gets close enough to Jesus that she is able to touch his garment – Matthew 9 says “the hem of his garment”. Even thought the low forbid her from touching anyone.
We do not have time to go into this, but there was this idea at that time that if you touched a great man or healer, that would be all you needed to do to be healed – almost like magic. Sproul says sarcastically, “thank goodness nobody would believe that today” – while you would think that we were past that, yet we know many are not – with tv preachers willing to mail you a handkerchief they touched and prayed over – for your generous donation to “their ministry”, of course.
But for whatever reason, let’s not get bogged down in that conversation, in this case the woman touches Jesus’ robe and she immediately knows she is healed. And Jesus knows something happened as well – he can feel that power has gone out of him. And he says – “who touched me?” This is another case that makes it difficult in understanding Jesus’ fully God, fully human status when he physically walked the earth – Some things he knew and some he did not. For example, he knew about Lazarus – he waited until Lazarus was dead, knowing He was going to bring him out of the grave. Yet other times, he said he did not know – like when he told the disciples only the father knew the end time.
Again let’s not get bogged down here either – obviously at times He knows things and other times he does not.
And so he says, “Who touched me?”
And the disciples respond (in my best, “Whachu talking about Willis?” impersonation) – “Whachu talking about Jesus?” Who is NOT touching you?
But when Jesus said, “who touched me?” Two people knew it was something intentional – Jesus and the woman.
And she came forward, fell before him, and told him the whole truth.
What is the whole truth? I have had this problem for twelve years and it has cost me dearly. I have tried everything. I am desperate. I had nowhere else to turn. I know the law says I am not supposed to touch anyone and by touching you I have made you unclean.
And what does Jesus say?
Your faith has made you well.
There are so many possible pitfalls and stopping points in this scripture – here is another – what does it mean that her faith has made her well? I can tell you what it does not mean – It does not mean if you or someone you love has not been or is not healed that it is because your faith in insufficient. that’s what the phony faith healers would have you believe. It couldn’t be them and their power, it has to be you. You know phony faith healers when, like Bethel church healing centers shut down due to covid – Good Lord, when did we need the healing more than during covid? How in the world do they ever open those back up and get gullible people to give them money for healing? But I digress.
Sproul says her faith was not the cause of her healing, but Jesus was the cause of her healing. It’s the same as in our salvation. Ephesians says, “Saved by grace through faith”. Do you need faith to be saved? Absolutely. Does the faith save you? No. The grace of God through Jesus saves you. If you have faith in that, you will be saved.
The woman had faith that Jesus could save her…. save her from 12 more years of physical weakness that must have occurred as a result of losing blood…. save her from 12 more years of isolation as a societal outcast… It was not the robe that healed her – it was Jesus.
The translators tell us that Jesus then tells her, “Go in peace and be healed of your affliction”. The woman already knows she has been healed. The verb tense here tells us that we need to see this more as “Go in peace. You are healed now and forever of this affliction”.
I often tell you all to go in peace at the end of a worship gathering, and it’s like when we pray “give us this day our daily bread”…. It is nice, but we are not begging God to give us something to eat today. Most of us need to pray, “keep me from eating too much of the daily bread”. imagine what “Go in peace” meant to this woman. How long do you think it has been since this woman has had peace? I would guess at least 12 years.
And before Jesus even finishes talking the Scripture tells us that people come from Jairus’ house and tells him that he need not bother Jesus any more – your daughter is dead.
But Jesus told him not to pay any attention to what they say. So Jesus only permits Peter, James, and John to go with him and they go to the house and there was a big scene – wailing. Do you know who would have been doing the wailing? Professional wailers. Have you ever heard this? There were people who would be hired to come to a home of someone who has died to make a scene – to cry and rip their clothes – to show what a calamity has befallen this household. And the more money you had, the more wailers you would hire. And the ruler of the synagogue would have had some wailers….. Yelling, screaming, weeping… And Jesus says, hey folks, knock it off, you’re not needed here. The girl is not dead, but asleep. And they mocked Jesus. These folks are pros and they know a dead person. But Jesus puts them out of the home and takes in the parents, takes her by the hand and says, “Talitha, cumi” which means little girl, arise. Lazarus, come forth…
And the twelve year old girl immediately gets up and walks. And Jesus says, hey, don’t tell anyone about his – and get her something to eat. She’s probably hungry.
Think about this – twice today Jesus has been defiled according to the law – touched by a bleeding woman and touches a dead girl.
Diane often asks me, what are you preaching about Sunday? This past week she asked and I told her I was talking about this Scripture – Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the 12 years bleeding problem. I think I’ve pretty adequately covered it in the time I had available. But I usually like to send you home with a “lesson for me”. Information is good, but what does the Scripture mean in light of what we know now – 2,000 years after the fact…. what message can we glean from it in light of the resurrection. For the next couple few weeks we’re skipping forward to the triumphal entry and the death and resurrection of Jesus – I try to help you see Scripture from the perspective of those at the time (such as when we talked about the uncleanness of the woman), but also from today and the other side of the resurrection.
What can we glean from today? I told Diane that in this story I saw what appeared to be an interruption. I can not imagine, Jairus, knowing time was of the essence, having to watch Jesus deal with this woman. Come on, come on….
Picture yourself in a car in a hurry to get somewhere or in line at the store– I mean frantic to get somewhere – and you have people in your way – Woman with birthday card and kid at dollar general
Two thoughts –
things along our journey that we consider interruptions that are really divine appointments and pit stops
God never considers your cries an interruption –