Pentecost 5, 2015
Mark 5:21-24a, 35-43
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Two sisters were going to stay overnight at a friend’s house. As they were packing their things, Kristin, the older of the two, took her teddy bear and packed it in her bag. She couldn’t sleep without her teddy bear, and it gave her comfort knowing he would be with her. After she finished packing, she checked on her little sister. It was the first time Katie was staying overnight away from home, and Kristin knew she was a little nervous. As she walked into Katie’s room, to her surprise, Katie was trying to take a picture off the wall above her bed. “What are you doing?” Kristin asked. “I’m taking my picture of Jesus with me.” “Katie, we’re just staying overnight. We’re not moving. Pick something else to take. “No,” Katie answered, “Daddy told me that Jesus watches over me, and I’m not going without him,” she said, clinging tightly to the picture! Not a bad idea! When doubt and unbelief assail you, hold on to Christ!
“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.” (Mark 5:21) Crowds came from all over the place to see Jesus. Some came just to see the spectacle while others came to touch Him, see Him, and have Him heal themselves, a friend, or a loved one. Most people didn’t cling to Jesus as their Lord but sought Him out as a miracle worker, magician, or great prophet. People came because Jesus had power to heal.
Out of this crowd of people stepped an important person. “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.” (Mark 5:22-23) The man’s daughter was dying…he would do anything to help and save her. This man, a synagogue ruler, knew that he couldn’t save her himself. He sought out the only one that could.
How often we are in need of help with sickness and disease. As parents you would seek out the best doctors, nurses, and hospitals for your child. You would travel anywhere if it meant healing for your child. As adults we try to choose the best doctors for ourselves. We look for those with the best credentials, those who explain what is going on so we understand it, those who truly care. Yet we need so much more help then doctors, nurses, and hospitals. We have so many other problems as well. Truly each and every day we are in a time of need…and we cannot fix all of the problems ourselves. Truly we need Jesus just like Jairus.
“So Jesus went with him.” (Mark 5:24) What wonderful news for Jairus. Jesus was going with him…to save his daughter. His prayers were answered! Soon, however, Jairus’ faith would be tested. In the same crowd were two women who also sought Jesus for healing. One woman that had bled for 12 years stopped Jesus and was healed. The other woman touched Jesus and was healed as well. These were wonderful acts of healing by Jesus…great miracles for the two women. But they were not good news for Jairus.
“While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler.”Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher anymore?” (Mark 5:35) Jairus' prayers of Jesus coming to heal his daughter were in jeopardy. The delays, the distance, the time it was taking…cost them dearly. News came that Jairus’ daughter had died. What sad and horrible news that was. If only Jesus would have come without delay. If only…those women…you can feel the doubt that must have entered in; the same doubts we have had in our own situations of life…if only…God would have done this or that…if only we had more time…if we only knew what would happen…
Faith that holds on to Jesus will not be disappointed! “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36) Jesus does not work by man’s standards. Jesus is not some miracle worker or prophet…Jesus is God. In the midst of troubles it is faith that clings to Jesus that has hope and a future.
“When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him.” (Mark 5:38-40) Jesus assures Jairus that his daughter is not dead…but sleeping. The crowd that is there suddenly turns from crying to laughing and mocking Jesus. These people had no faith. Not only were their tears a mockery of mourning but their laughing a mockery of God.
This sinful world does not understand God. As unbelievers mocked Jesus on the cross they mock the faith of Christians today. The world does not believe that Jesus can or does help anyone in need. The world does not understand sin, life, or death. For unbelievers there is no sin, there is nothing but enjoying life now because there is no hope or life after death. How sad it is to live without hope in the resurrection.
“After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!") Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mark 5:40-43)
Jesus takes charge and sends the unbelievers away. He leads the girl’s parents, Peter, James, and John into the girl’s room. As her parents’ thin thread of faith believes, Christ raises the child to life again. That faith that clung to Jesus was not disappointed but amazed.
Many times we are disappointed in God because miracles do not always occur when we want them. We are disappointed when loved ones are diagnosed with cancer. We are disappointed when loved ones die even though we prayed for them to live. Is it a lack of faith? No. The same power of God that raised the little girl in our text is the same power of Christ that overcame sin, death, and the devil.
Jesus faced death head-on at the cross and conquered death by rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. That miracle; that eternal victory over death is ours by faith. Our victory over sin, death, and disease may not occur right now in this sinful life when we want it…but it will come at the last day when we need it. Faith in Christ never disappoints. Jairus had his impossible request fulfilled when he placed his trust in the Lord of Life. By clinging to Jesus, his faith grew and his daughter was given back to him. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” May our dear Lord grant you a faith that constantly clings to Him. Amen.
Now may the peace of God which passes all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.