"Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don't be afraid; just believe.'"
1. Read verses 21-23. When Jesus arrived, why did the large crowd gather? Who was Jairus? What was his attitude toward Jesus? What was his desperate problem? What did he ask Jesus to do?
2. Read verses 24-29. How did Jesus respond to Jairus' request? Who hid in the crowd and intercepted Jesus? Describe her condition. What did she think and what did she do? What happened? What can we learn from her?
3. Read verses 30-34. Why was this woman's touch different from that of the pressing crowd? Why did Jesus keep on looking for the woman? Why was it so important for her to confess? How did Jesus bless her?
4. Read verse 35-36. What happened while Jesus was speaking to the woman? What advice did the messengers give Jairus? How did Jesus counsel him?
5. Read verses 37-43. What did Jairus do? What did Jesus find going on at Jairus' house? What did Jesus do? What can we learn here about Jesus? About "just believe" faith?
"Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don't be afraid; just believe.'"
For the last two weeks, the message has been a story about the disciples' hilarious vacation. It was indeed a good vacation–for five minutes. As Jesus and his disciples got on the boat, the western horizon was colored with light purple. The lake water was gentle and sweet, and the boat began to glide on the lake water smoothly. They began to sing joyfully, even though their singing was out of tune. Soon a furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" (4:39) It was a surprise to the disciples. They said, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" (4:41) They sensed that Jesus is God who controls nature. After the furious storm, the disciples' minds echoed with Jesus' words, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (4:40) After the storm, they arrived somewhere. As they put their feet on the soil, they found it was the graveyard of Gerasa. Suddenly a Gerasene demoniac, who looked like Frankenstein, appeared before them. He shouted and yelled and jumped and rolled and tossed his body. He was a man who was possessed by 6,000 demons. Jesus' disciples wanted to get some sleep after the storm training. But they were fully awakened and were even terrified by the Gerasene man. Jesus healed him from demon possession by sacrificing two thousand pigs. The disciples were amazed that Jesus destroyed the pig industry of Gerasa all at once, without the permission of the owners to save this one man. It was the compassion of Jesus. Today's passage, Mark 5:21-43, is the story about Jesus healing two women. One is old and one is young. Let's see how Jesus healed these two women and learn "just believing" faith.
I. Jairus' faith (21-24a)
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 (21). That is to say, Jesus came back to the same place he had started from for the retreat with his disciples. Already, many who were needy and helpless were waiting for Jesus. The crowd of people did not give Jesus and his disciples even a few hours of sleep. Among the crowd, there was a synagogue ruler, Jairus, who came there (22). As soon as he saw 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" (23). Verse 24 says, "So Jesus went with him." It is certain that Jesus' disciples went too. At that time, the ruler of a synagogue was a man of standing in his community. He must have looked austere and dignified. Obviously, he had been happy with his family. In light of this passage, he had a one and only daughter who was twelve years old (42). Undoubtedly, this pre-teen girl had been a source of joy in her family, especially to her father. Whenever she called him, "Daddy!" he felt indeed happy and he would answer, "Oh, my cutie-pie," feeling deeply in himself that life was indeed worth living, and the world looked so beautiful.
But one day all the elements of tragedy knocked at his door. His daughter fell ill all of a sudden; she was getting worse and worse, and she was dying. Jairus hoped it was not reality, but a dream. So he pinched his leg several times. Yet it was not a dream, but reality. He had heard about Jesus. He simply believed and went to Jesus for his daughter's healing.
Look at verses 22-23. "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.'" Historically, the Israelites were known as men and women of pride and prejudice. Jairus was a man of standing in his community. So he was willing to help others, but not so willing to be helped by others. Therefore, his going to Jesus for the healing of his daughter was a very unusual event. For the sake of saving his daughter's life, he abrogated his dignity as a synagogue ruler. It was not easy for him to humble himself. Not only for him, but for all human beings, it is not easy to humble oneself. Especially as a classic Jew, it was hard for Jairus to ignore the fact that he was a Jewish synagogue ruler. It was hard for him to come to Jesus, who was known as the son of a carpenter and leader of a newly rising sect of the Nazarene. Jairus may have expected that he would be ex-communicated by the Jews. All these things did not matter to him. Jairus came to Jesus to beg Jesus to save his daughter's life.
How did Jesus respond to Jairus? Look at verse 24a. "So Jesus went with him." Jesus had to take care of a large crowd of people pressing around him. But Jesus heard Jairus' humble cry and went with him. Jesus was willing to heal the little girl because of Jairus' humble faith. Jesus wanted to heal Jairus' daughter, even though Jairus could have seen Jesus as one outside of Jewish tradition. It was because Jairus had faith. In this part, we learn that when we come to Jesus we must come in the way in which Jairus went to Jesus. First, he had faith. Second, for the sake of saving his daughter, his tradition and pride were nothing. Third, he humbly beseeched Jesus to save his daughter. Look at verses 22-23 again. "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.'" We cannot forget Fanny Crosby. She was blind, but she received Jesus Christ and wrote many beautiful songs. Among them is "Pass Me Not." "Pass me not, O gentle Savior; Hear my humble cry. While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by." This kind of petition was in Jairus' heart: "If only my daughter can be saved." How beautiful it is!
When we confront hardship or discouragement, we must come to Jesus with a humble cry. There are many human virtues. But humbleness is the best virtue. We can see in Jesus divine humbleness. He was the Son of God Almighty. But for the salvation of the world, he renounced his glory and power and his kingdom and came to this world in the form of a man (Jn 1:14). When he was born, he was laid in a manger of a stable (Lk 2:7). In this world, all people of all nations want to climb the ladder of success to the peak–no matter what happens after that. A woman doctor was the director of Family Practice in a clinic. In this clinic there was another doctor who had been a surgeon at the SNU hospital. The woman director saw that he was not humble enough. So she wanted to dismiss him at any time. In hospitals, in schools, and especially in the political world, dog-eat-dog fighting is always there. We are very happy that we know Jesus and we are comforted by his word. We are happy when we think about Jesus' humbleness, that he renounced his heavenly glory and came down to this world to live among us for a while. Moses is known as the most humble man (Nu 12:3). He took care of 600,000 people of Israel in the wilderness after the Exodus. Even his sister rebelled against him, saying, "Is Moses the only leader among us?" (Nu 12:2) The world is full of pride and passion, competition and defeat. But in Jesus we are abundantly comforted when we see his humbleness. Jesus found in Jairus divine humbleness. Jesus left a large crowd and went with Jairus to his house to save his daughter.
II. On the way Jesus healed a helpless woman (24b-34)
Look at verses 24-25. "So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years." 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" (27-28). We learn from this woman "just touching" faith. However, when we think about this woman, she was not a person who could come to Jesus. She was a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. To a woman, beauty and sweet smell are always desirable. We see that so many women who have inner problems use too much German and French perfume. So people around them feel bad. One woman studied the violin at Juilliard Music School. She was from another country. She came as an orchestra member, went to Juilliard Music School, and received admission to study violin. She was so happy that she drank several bottles of wine. And the next morning she found that she was with a Japanese man in a bed. Since then, she was possessed by demons. She could not study violin properly. When she was possessed by innumerous demons, she felt herself smelly. So she used too much perfume and other people felt it was stinky. There is a piano teacher. She divorced because of her temperament. She must have found something wrong with herself for she uses too much perfume. A servant of God wanted to visit her and talk about piano study for kids. But he was very reluctant to see her, because of too much perfume smell.
It is a common factor that all women want to be beautiful and lovely like Mary the mother of Jesus or Ruth, the daughter-in-law of Naomi. So they overcome themselves to keep their beauty and purity as women. They struggle hard. Not to mention women only, but men also want to marry beautiful Christian women whose purity is well-maintained. While Russia was the Soviet Union, all Russian people and Russian taxi drivers hung from the rear-view mirror of their cars the picture of Maria, the mother of Jesus. According to the observation of one tourist, there was no exception to this. Each taxi driver hung Mary's picture from his rear-view mirror. When a taxi driver was asked why he hung Mary's picture in his car, he answered, "The picture is so beautiful and it comforts my soul."
This woman, however, had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. As a woman, she was shameful about herself and suffered much to heal her bleeding. She could not go near others because of her bleeding smell. She was a woman who had no beautiful dream of marriage, and no dream of a sweet home. She had no dream of having several kids around her because of her bleeding. She just wanted not to emanate a bad smell to others. She had been in deep despair for twelve years. She had been a shameful woman and a loner for twelve years. She had lost all her money to physicians (26). She suffered because she could not go near others. She was gradually getting old and dying in her mind. She was alive but she was one of the "living dead." Man's ambition and woman's beauty are the elements of human beings.
One day the woman heard about Jesus (27). A beam of hope started in her heart and spread and spread to the sky. She had been a woman of despair and fatalism. Suddenly despair and fatalism disappeared from her heart. She was full of faith in Jesus. But the problem was that there were too many people around Jesus, and she could not approach Jesus with her smelly body. She was not privileged to stop Jesus and ask Jesus' favor to heal her bleeding. So she went behind Jesus in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she believed, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed" (28). She was still a beautiful woman when she had faith in Jesus. She had "just believing" faith. Look at verse 29. "Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." Now she had no more bleeding problem. She felt no more smell from her bleeding. Jesus' power healed her bleeding problem. She felt she was getting prettier and prettier. She felt she was sweeter and sweeter and sweeter. Just believing faith changed her from a bleeding woman to a heavenly princess.
Mark, the author of Mark's Gospel, once did not have "just believing" faith. So he wasted much of his life in intellectual hedonism. But later, he could have "just believing" faith and he wrote the story in this passage. "Just believing" faith seems to be very easy to have. Yes, it is indeed easy to have "just believing" faith. It is easy and nice. But the evil spirits approach those who have "just believing" faith and snatch their "just believing" faith all at once. The evil spirits' main job is snatching faith away from those who have "just believing" faith. So it is easy, but it is very difficult to obtain power and glory from Jesus through "just believing" faith. Do you think you have many problems? Rather, you only need "just believing" faith.
Look at verse 30. "At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?'" In this verse, Jesus said, "Who touched my clothes?" Peter said, "You see the people crowding against you" (31). John and James said, "You see that all the crowd wants to touch you. So who knows who touched you in this situation?" Andrew just smiled and looked around to see if he could get something to eat.
Look at verse 32. "But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it." It was nonsense to try to find out who touched his cloak. But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth" (33). Jesus made her come out even though she had "just believing" faith and was healed from her bleeding. Why did Jesus do so? It was because she was a loner. She could not be a woman of society. She received Jesus' grace abundantly, but she was like a "hit and run" baseball player. If she were healed from bleeding and ran away without confessing what Jesus had done for her, she could end up as a selfish Christian. So Jesus found her and let her confess what the Lord had done for her, so that she could be a one-to-one Bible teacher on the basis of Jesus' affection and Jesus' healing. It seems to be too harsh to a woman for Jesus to find her out and make her confess. But we also must be found out and know how Jesus has poured his grace on us and saved us. Otherwise, we will be useless. After this, Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering" (34). We have to say, "Thank you Jesus! Thank you for your grace! Thank you for your mindfulness! Thank you for your affection! Thank you for your compassion!" We also must say, "Lord, help us to have ‘just touching your clothes' faith in the midst of the crowd." We must pray that when we have "just touching your cloak" faith, Satan may not hinder our faith. By having "just touching your cloak" faith, we may have victory and a new life and restore beauty and sweetness. And the divine nature will circulate in our souls.
III. Jairus' just believing faith (35-43)
When we look at this passage, the story starts with Jairus coming to Jesus to save his daughter's life. But on the way to Jairus' house, humanly speaking, a very smelly and ugly woman intervened and Jesus spent a long time with her. It was because she just touched the cloak of Jesus and she was healed. And it was because when Jesus asked, "Who touched my cloak?" his disciples and others argued with Jesus in the midst of the crowd, saying that "Who touched my cloak?" is nonsense. Jesus asked, "Who touched my cloak?" And the protesting disciples and others became very excited, and at the same time, totally nonsensical. This argument took much time.
Jesus was happy to save a suffering woman from bleeding. He spent time limitlessly with no sense about Jairus' waiting for him. Look at verse 35. "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 any more?'" While Jesus was healing the woman, Jairus' daughter was dying, and finally breathed her last. Some men from Jairus' house came and informed him that his daughter was dead. They urged strongly, "Why bother the teacher any more?" What they said was very reasonable. But reason is thinking from man's mind. It is different from faith. After learning something, people want to live with reason or escape from reason. If we do so, we are going nowhere. We must intently look for the spiritual realm. In short, we must look to believe in Jesus. We must not only be people of reason, we also must be spiritual people. It is because man is body and spirit.
Look at verse 36. "Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don't be afraid; just believe.'" Wow! What Jesus said indeed surprises us. Jairus' daughter was dead. How could he just believe? Let's look at verse 36 one more time. "Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don't be afraid; just believe.'" Here we learn Jairus' long-suffering, patient faith. We also learn his absolute trust in the word of Jesus. He did not grumble that Jesus was talking and talking with a smelly woman and arguing with his disciples and others and rejoicing about her with onlookers. He was quietly waiting for Jesus to come to his house. I guess his ruler's costume was all wet with sweat and his yarmulke disappeared in the crowd sliding down on his sweat. Even though he was patient and humble, worry about his daughter burned his heart and his blood pressure went up from 120 to 199. Not only was his daughter dying, he was also dying. And the world looked blank. He could not sense whether he was dead or alive. Still, in his heart, thoughts of his daughter were endlessly streaming together with his sweat and heartbeat.
Just when Jesus was about to go forward to Jairus' house to heal his dying daughter, some men came from his house. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more? (35) What's the use of it? You are usually very kind and worthy of receiving our honor. But right now you look like a haunted man." What they said could have planted doubt in his heart. He could have said, "Okay, Jesus. I waited so long. You didn't save my daughter. You saved a smelly woman. You are totally unreasonable, Jesus. I will see you again sometime." But he did not do so. As Jesus said, he just believed and followed Jesus' further instruction.
Jesus did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James (37). When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly (38). Jewish people had a strong community system. There were professional mourners at the funeral. They didn't cry and wail loudly before Jairus came. But at the news of Jairus' arrival with Jesus they began to make loud crying and wailing noises.
Jesus went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep" (39) What was the response from the mourners? They laughed at him (40). Jesus drove those unbelieving people out. He took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was (40). He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!") (41). Jesus' spiritual authority was that of God. Immediately the little girl stood up and walked around. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were completely astonished (42). They were not just amazed at the power of Jesus; they were completely astonished at Jesus' life-giving power. Where Jesus' life-giving power is present, a family is happy, a nation is happy, and even the animals in the house are happy. When Jesus' life-giving power is with us, the world is happy. When the little girl got up, she didn't run to her father and cry "Daddy! I love you!" Instead, she was asking for some cookies to eat. Next, to her daddy she said, "Good morning, Daddy! Hug me."
The world is tough. And human competition is tough. Human strife is endless. Human sorrow and the anxiety of separation are extending in the hearts of all people. But today we learn that in this hard world we must have "just believing" faith. Do you have "just believing" faith? Suppose you were a bleeding woman. Could you just touch the cloak of Jesus? Suppose you were Jairus. Could you wait so long for Jesus to arrive at your home after hearing the news that your daughter was dead? Suppose you were Jairus. Would you listen to Jesus' instruction instead of giving up? This world is too noisy. Only "just believing" faith gives us peace and new life. May God's grace be upon you.