Mark 5:21-34

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds – April 12, 2012)

 

 

We are looking at the third major section of Mark’s Gospel is from 3:7 – 6:6a.  In this section we have a summary Jesus’ later ministry in the area of Galilee.  In this larger section are six major movements:

1.      An introductory summary of Jesus’ Galilean ministry (3:7-12)

2.      The choosing of the twelve (3:13-19)

3.      Scandalous accusations from His own family and from the scribes from Jerusalem (3:20-35)

4.      Parables about the Kingdom of God (4:1-34)

5.      A series of miracles demonstrating His power (4:35-5:43)

a.       Calming the sea (4:35-41) – Power over nature

b.      Freeing a man from demons (5:1-20) – Power over the spiritual realm

c.       Raising of Jairus’ daughter (5:21-24, 35-43) – Power over death

d.      Healing of a woman with hemorrhage (5:25-34) – Power over disease

6.      Rejection by the people of His hometown of Nazareth (6:1-6a)

In this study we are going to focus on the --- miracle in the fifth movement in this section of Mark.

 

Mark 5:21-24

The last half of Mark 5 deals with the experience of man named Jairus.  He was man who went on an incredible journey of faith in a matter of just a few minutes. I believe his journey is a microcosm, a condensed picture, of the journey many of us take over a lifetime.  Notice the four phases in the development of the faith of Jairus.

 

I.  The desperate phase

1.   There is no doubt that it was desperation which initially lead Jairus to Jesus...his little girl was sick...for 12 years she had been the apple of his eye and the joy of his life...Luke tells us she was his only child...she was his life...nothing in all the world was more important to him...he would do anything to save her...that's clear from verses read moment ago...

2.   Jairus is described as a "synagogue official"...some scholars believe he was head ruler of the synagogue...was chairman of the board...was responsible for the synagogue's operation...he was the leader...that was important position...

3.   Early in Mark's Gospel we saw Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum where this event probably took place...but because of conflict with the religious leaders, probably including Jairus, Jesus was forced to take His ministry to the seashore and mountainsides...must have been incredibly humiliating for this powerful, popular, influential, wealthy man to come fall at feet of Jesus and plead for his sick child...

4.   But he was desperate...had no where else to turn...had no doubt heard (and perhaps even witnessed) some of Jesus' miracles... while at this point certainly wasn't man of great faith, saw Jesus as his only chance...

5.   Like  many of us, Jairus turned to Jesus in desperation and despair...didn't come out of love for Jesus...didn't come with desire to serve...came in great need...and think noteworthy Jesus did not criticize him for that...accepted Jairus just as he was...as someone has said, "Despair is commonly the prelude to grace." [Hughes, p.127]

 

II.   The growing phase

1.   As Jesus made His way toward the home of Jairus, an interesting thing happened...look at how Mark described it in vv.25-34...

2.   Can you imagine what Jairus was feeling while all that was taking place?...here He was trying to get Jesus to his house to save the life of his daughter, and Jesus stops to chat with a woman...and not just any woman, but a woman who by virtue of her physical condition was ceremonially unclean and who would be scrupulously avoided by any synagogue official such as Jairus...

3.   Imagine the anxiety which was welling up in Jairus' heart...Why did Jesus take time to stop and speak with that woman while He was on such an important mission?... she could have been healed without His doing that...while certainly He spoke with her for her benefit, as strange as may seem, think stopped primarily for Jairus' benefit...

4.   His faith no doubt grew from this experience...just think of the important lessons Jairus learned about from Jesus’ brief encounter with this woman…

·         He learned that in Jesus’s eyes there is no privileged class - What a contrast there is between this woman and Jairus…he was an influential leader of synagogue/she had no title or power or influence at all...he was wealthy/she had no money at all...he was accepted, well-liked, member of best clubs, ran right social circles/she considered social outcast because of her physical condition...But there is no indication whatsoever Jesus gave the woman any less attention, any less affection than He directed toward Jairus...He simply did not make distinctions based on class, race, gender, position, education or any of the other things we tend use to separate people into little sub-groups...one of distinguishing  marks of Jesus' ministry was His ability and willingness to relate with ease to people at every level of society...

·         He learned that Jesus can do something for us that we nor anyone else can do - This woman had a serious problem...for 12 years she had been hemorrhaging...she had tried everything...in describing her situation Mark takes a not so gentle jab at physicians...he points out they had taken all her money but instead of improving she had grown worse...it's interesting that Luke, who was a physician, is much kinder toward members of his profession... he doesn't mention money at all and simply says that her condition was such that she "could not be healed by anyone" [Luke 8:43]...while no-one else was able to help her, Jesus did! 

·         He learned something about the tenderness and compassion of Jesus - Someone has observed this woman wanted to be healed but she didn't want anything to do with the healer...she did her best to remain anonymous...and when Jesus turned to look at her, Mark says her response was "fear and trembling" (v.33)...she didn't know if would be offended at her or angry with her for secretly touching His garments...but as soon as He began to speak, she experience the tenderness and compassion of Jesus... verse 34 is a wonderful example of the tenderness of Jesus…

o   The first word Jesus spoke to her was "daughter"...that's a term of tenderness...this is only time in Scripture we see Jesus addressing a woman as daughter...this woman had been called a lot of things during her 12 years of illness...she was called unclean, an outcast, a disgrace to her family...but this was first time in many years anyone a spoken to her with such tenderness and compassion...

o   Then Jesus taught her...said "Your faith has made you well"... she already knew she had been healed, but Jesus wanted her to know why she was healed...wasn't superstition or magic, it was result of her faith, her belief that Jesus could help her...

o   Next, told her to "go in peace"...that's been translated by one person as "go with sweet insides"...in place of sadness, isolation, turmoil which has been inside her, she now has peace...

o   Finally Jesus said to her, "...and be healed of your affliction." ...at first seems almost out of place...but reminder her healing was complete and permanent...Jesus was saying the problem would not return...

      This woman's story is the story of all humanity….

·         We all have an illness that takes a terrible toll on our lives...the Bible calls it sin...our sin alienates us one from the other and more tragically separates us from God...it leaves us isolated, desolate, and desperate...

·         We have spent our energy and resources trying remedies for our sin problem which do not work...the harder we try to deal with the problem ourselves, the worse off we become...

·         Jesus is the solution to our sin...He came to our world to die on the cross to offer us a way out...freedom...forgiveness...

5.   All of that Jairus learned during Jesus’ brief encounter with this woman…But just when his faith was beginning to grow, he was thrust into the next phase...

 

III.   The challenge phase

1.   When first read this story the timing of the events almost seems cruel...here's a man who swallowed his pride and cast himself at feet of Jesus...then was allowed to witness an event which caused him to feel had made good decision...then, it all came crashing in on him...suddenly received a message that must have taken his breath away...look at vv.35-36...

2.   Notice the two contrasting voices Jairus heard...on one hand there was voice of those who came from his house...they said, "It's all over.  Forget it.  Your daughter is dead.  There's no hope."...on other hand there was voice of Jesus saying, "Don't give up now.  You've come so far.  There's just a little further to go.  Keep the faith."

3.   This was the decisive moment for Jairus...was he going to continue with Jesus or turn away?...was he going to believe or doubt?...he came to Jesus with nothing more than "wishful belief" that Jesus might could help his daughter...that immature, uninformed faith grew and was strengthened when he saw Jesus heal the woman...but now Jesus was challenging Jairus not merely to believe him for a healing but for a resurrection!... what a difficult challenge and moment that was for Jairus! 

4.   Have you ever come to point like that in your pilgrimage of faith?...came to time when some sorrow, defeat, disappointment, tragedy made it hard for you to believe?...have you heard the voices of despair and doubt and pessimism telling you to turn away while the voice of God gently calls you to stay the course?...that's an experience that most Christians have had at one time or another...

5.   Experience of Jairus should remind us of importance of not giving up the faith in such dark times...just think what would have happened if Jairus would have heeded the advice of the naysayers...if he would have turned away from Jesus at that critical moment...but because he didn't, he moved on to the next phase in his pilgrimage of faith...

 

IV.   The fulfilled phase

1.   Look at what happened when they got to the home of Jairus... vv.37-43...what's the lesson in that for us?...obviously vivid reminder that Jesus has power over death...raising of the little girl preview of His basic purpose of coming to our world...the purpose of defeating the power of death over us and giving us eternal life...

2.   However, important that we not misinterpret what is being taught here...basic lesson is not that if we have enough faith nothing bad will ever happen to us or our loved ones...not that Christians will never be touched by death or illness or tragedy...

3.   Lesson is that faith in Jesus Christ will ultimately see us through whatever comes our way in this world...faith/belief in Him is not misplaced...it is not in vain...in the end it will accomplish its intended purpose in our lives...

 

CONCLUSION

 

Charles Darwin said that belief/faith is "the most complete of all distinctions between man and the lower animals." [Wiersbe, p.57] ...everyone has faith in something…the option we face is not between faith and not faith…the option we face when it comes to faith has to do with the object of our faith…these two events in Mark 5 demonstrate that it makes sense to place our faith in Jesus…
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