Have you ever wanted something so much that you were willing to do anything to get it? If so, you can appreciate what Jairus and the woman did in Mark 5:21-43.
Jairus was one of a group of key people who oversaw some of the administrative duties of local synagogues. He was not a priest. In this passage, he fell at Jesus’ feet. Jairus was a Pharisee, so how did the word of the Gospel penetrate the hardened heart of a Pharisee? The answer is simple. He had a daughter who was sick, and like any parent, he was willing to do whatever it took to heal her. That included risking ridicule and embarrassment by falling at Jesus’ feet and asking him to heal his daughter.
Jairus came to Jesus in faith, and the woman reached out to Jesus in faith also. Jesus felt her tug of faith on his robe. He ignored the disciples’ response to the question of who touched him. It was no ordinary touch. He wanted to bring the woman out of the crowd and into a public profession of faith. He responded to her need and Jairus’ need by giving of himself just like anyone who responds to human need by giving something of themselves.
Both Jairus and the woman had given up on human efforts. They reached out to Jesus as a last resort. We are often the same. We often try to solve our problems by human means, and only when human means fail do we turn to God. A better alternative is for us to turn to God first for help. Sometimes that means God will use human means to help us.
In this passage, Mark shows Jesus’ power over physical ailments and death. When Jesus uses this power, he shows that he is equal to God. Jesus’ resurrection of the girl shows his authority, his identity and his power to give life. Death will not have the final say.
God does not always act immediately. For example, when Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was sick, he waited for three days until he went to see Lazarus. Sometimes when we wait for God to act, things can go from bad to worse. When that happens, we start to wonder if God loves us or if we are worthy enough for God to answer our prayers. Jesus invites us to have faith in his power. The voices of death and suffering are strong in our world, and we can’t face them on our own. When we hear these voices, we must listen to Jesus when he tells us not to be afraid and just have faith. We have to take a risk by reaching out to Jesus in faith for healing. Jesus can release us from our suffering and then use our story to encourage others. He hears our cries when we hurt. He feels the touch of faith from us when we reach out to his heart.
When God acts in our lives, he acts with authority. When Jesus felt the woman touch him, he called her to come out from the crowd. His aim was not to embarrass her or to ridicule her. He called her to a reckless faith-a faith that includes taking risks when necessary. Likewise, he did not condemn Jairus. On the contrary, he went to Jairus’ house.
Jesus healed or restored people regardless of the amount of faith the person had or the expectations of the person being healed. Sometimes he healed because the person or their loved one had faith in his power to heal. When Jesus heals, he makes the person well-complete or whole. Even though Jairus heard that his daughter had died, he does not stop Jesus from going to his house. Why? Because unlike his friends, who believed that death is final-Jairus believed that Jesus could still help him. Many of the mourners were probably either onlookers or professional mourners because unlike genuine mourners, their tears turned quickly to ridicule. Death doesn’t have the last word thanks to Jesus. Jesus’ statement that the girl was asleep was a statement that death is not final. In fact, in Luke 8:53-55, which is part of Luke’s version of this story, Luke states that the girl is in a comatose state.
Jesus does not exercise authority as a mechanical response in a clinical setting. His decisive action as the Son of God is mixed with his emotions as the Son of Man. When he cures people, he mixes the raw power of God with feeling respect for a woman who has become a full partner in the faith. When he raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, his all-seeing, all-knowing nature carried the touch of a father’s love.
Jesus allowed only his closest disciples-Peter, James and John-to go with him. These special few were allowed to see a special miracle. There were the same three disciples who later saw Jesus transfigured. Jesus did not want large crowds to hinder his ministry, so he told onlookers not to tell about the miracle with others. He told the girl’s parents to give her something to eat to relieve her hunger and to prove that she was not a ghost.
Jairus and the woman were given the gift of peace. Only God can give peace. Our sin-filled world can never give us peace. It can give us the absence of war, but there will still be conflict. God can give us peace in our hearts and minds-and it’s no secret that many health problems are caused by the lack of peace that we have in our hearts and minds.
Faith is not the belief that God will do what we want. It is the belief that God will do what is right, such as healing the woman and Jairus’ daughter. The more hopeless the circumstances, the more likely salvation will happen. The circumstances in both cases in this reading were very hopeless. Healing happens when we do something. Healing begins when we reach out. Healing starts when we take a step in faith. It started when Jairus and the woman reached out by taking a step of faith. It happens to us when we step out in faith and reach out to Jesus.
We have to take a risk by reaching out to Jesus in faith for healing. Jesus can release us from our suffering and then use our story to encourage others. He hears our cries when we hurt. He feels the touch of faith from us when we reach out to his heart.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing, 2013)
- McKenna, D.L. & Ogilvie, L.J. : The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 25: Mark (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASB (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2006)
- Jude Siciliano, O.P.: “First Impressions, 13th Sunday (B).: Retrieved from www.preacherexchange.org