“Are You There Yet” Mark 5:21-43 FBC Rhinelander
For review of the book of Mark, Jesus spent His ministry in northern Israel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The crowds heard Him declare that He was Lord. He would heal people and cast out demons all to validate that He was God. There were crowds of people that gathered to see or hear Him. But Jesus wanted to free people from their sin and give eternal life. We get to look at two more people today.
In the book The $64 Tomato, author William Alexander asks the question, “If you were doomed to live the same life over and over again, would you choose the life you are living now? The question is interesting enough,” but … the point of asking it is really the unspoken, follow-up question. That is, if the answer is no, then why are you living the life you are living the way you are? Stop making excuses, and apply yourself to change. (William Alexander, The $64 Tomato, Algonquin Books, 2007, p. 245; www.PreachingToday.com)
Most people have an option for change, what about a person that feels that there are no options? What does a person do when life feels hopeless?
I invite you to study Mark 5:21-43 with me, about desperate father who finds himself in just such a predicament or hopeless lady who also searches for help.
When a situation seems hopeless, we would do well to do as this father did. He continued to look and work and to try all he knew, but found himself to finally believe and obey Jesus.
The bible makes an important note about him. He was one of the synagogue rulers, a man responsible to follow religious tradition. Most likely he tried every offering and method that a Synagogue ruler had at his disposal. He would have known and even heard Jesus teach in the Synagogue in the recent past. He would have watched the healings and power over the demons. Yet, all his religious effort and zeal could not help him. This man like many people became desperate and finally turned to believe only in Jesus, who was the same person his co-rulers despised (Mark 3:6). At this point he wouldn’t care what his peers thought. His little girl was dying, and Jesus was his last hope.
His desperation took him to Jesus, and many times that is where desperation will lead people, after all else has failed.
For more than 30 years, Gordon MacKenzie did creativity workshops for elementary schools. And those workshops led to a fascinating observation that he shares in his book Orbiting the Giant Hairball.
MacKenzie would ask the kids upfront: “How many artists are there in the room?” And he said the pattern of responses never varied.
In the first grade, the entire class waved their arms like maniacs. Every child was an artist. In the second grade, about half of the kids raised their hands. In the third grade, he’d get about 10 out of 30 kids. And by the time he got to the sixth grade, only 1 or 2 kids would tentatively and self-consciously raise their hands.
He went on to suggest a phenomena he called “the suppression of creative genius.” It wasn’t that this suppression was done on purpose, but that he picked up on a cultural trend, which was to make an individual least likely to look foolish in a group. As MacKenzie noted, “From the cradle to the grave, the pressure is on: Be normal.” (Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Multnomah, 2006, p. 152; www.PreachingToday.com)
People are taught to follow expectations within our families and society. But if all we do is what others think and do, then we might not find the change (repentance) that we need. Sometimes God sends traumatic experiences to open up your eyes.
Pastor and author John Stott went on a mission trip to India. He met a little Hindu girl brought up in a strict Hindu family. Then she met some Christians, where she was asked what she thought a Christian was? She thought for a few moments and replied, “Well as far as I can see, a Christian is somebody who is different from everybody else.” Stott comments, “Would that it was true.” (John Stott, “Christians: Salt and Light,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 109; www.PreachingToday.com)
A real Christian is a person who believes in Jesus even when nobody else does. A real Christian doesn’t conform to this world but rather lives to transform and renew in their mind that Jesus as LORD OVER ALL.
In desperate times and in good times we should be “a standout” with faith in Jesus Christ even if it is opposed to do so. Yet when life seems hopeless to us, we need to believe Jesus’ word even if none of your friends do. More than that…we need to believe Jesus even if He delays meeting our needs
A faithful person will trust Jesus Christ even if He seems slow in coming to your aid. We need to depend on the Lord even if it seems to us that nothing is going to happen.
That’s what this father did in this account in the gospel of Mark. Can you put yourself in his shoes? You’re desperate and go for Jesus. Your little girl is at the point of death, and you need Jesus to heal her and there is a crowd pressing in on Jesus, slowing Him down.
This woman had a chronic disorder which made her “unclean” and she was put out from her family and friends, lest they too become “unclean” (Leviticus 15:25-27). Maybe from the father’s point of view, this woman’s issue wasn’t near as urgent as his daughter’s. She had had her condition for 12 years. She could certainly wait just a little while longer until AFTER Jesus took care of his daughter.
12 years is an important descriptive phrase. It means that she tried all that the world offered for help. She tried all offerings to priests. Her family and friends kept her isolated from them because she was unclean. Following a religion wasn’t the answer, medical or herbal methods did not work. She needed to go into the crowd and find Jesus. By the way this action was not allowed for her to do in her condition.
There is no miracle in Jesus’ clothing. It was her faith that had made her well. The most interesting part of this is what Jesus calls her – “daughter” (vs.34). Everything else in the world failed her, and yet she turned and believed Jesus. She received healing – not just physical healing, but spiritual and emotional healing, as well.
Jesus told her, “Your faith has healed you” – literally, your faith has SAVED YOU. The endearment term daughter conveys that she is in a new relationship with Jesus. She is part of His spiritual family (cf. Mark 3:35).
The point that I hope you can pick up on in this account is that faith only matters when you act in faith. If your situation seems hopeless, we need to believe and obey Jesus word enough to follow and reach out to Him. As this woman did, and as this father did even though Jesus delayed.
Yet I believe that Jesus stopped not just for the woman, but for the father’s benefit, as well.
This man learned an important lesson and his faith was strengthened in the process. 1st, he learned that Jesus really does care – for a wealthy, respected man like himself, but also for the poor, like this woman. And 2nd most importantly, he learned to obey Jesus word.
J. Hudson Taylor, a 19th century English missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission, once said, “If we are kept waiting, the spiritual blessing that is the outcome is far more precious than exemption from the trial” (“Money II,” Christian History, Issue 19).
And Christian author Eugene Peterson said “Waiting does not diminish us any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting” (The Message).
When life seems hopeless, believe and obey Jesus even if none of your friends do. Believe and obey Jesus even if He delays His help, and believe in Jesus even if it appears hopeless.
Trust in the Lord even after time has run out and there is no prospect of help. Depend on Christ even when a death occurs, because Jesus specializes in resurrections. That’s what this father had to do.
Mark 5:35-36 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?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (NIV)
The man had already exercised faith in coming to Jesus. Now, he shouldn’t let even his daughter’s death stop him from believing anymore. The important part is that he obeyed Jesus Word while all others told him the opposite.
Mark 5:37-38 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. (NIV)
Mark 5:39-40a He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they They didn’t believe Him. They didn’t believe that this child would get up again. Oh, she was certainly dead, but Jesus can raise the dead just as if they were only asleep. And so… laughed at him. (NIV)
Literally, “they were out of their minds with great amazement.” It’s the same word used in Mark 3:21 where they accused Jesus of being “out of his mind.”
Mark 5:40b-42 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. (NIV)
Mark 5:43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. (NIV)
The girl needed to eat. Jesus not only raised her from the dead, but importantly, He knows of our daily needs in life as well.
We need to trust Him for everything and depend on the Lord for the little issues as well as the impossible ones. For even death is not the end for the believer in Christ.
In the fall of 1991, Jerry Sittser was driving a minivan when a drunk driver jumped its lane and smashed headfirst into the van. Sittser and three of his children survived, but his wife, his 4-year-old child, and his mother died in the crash. After many years of reflecting on loss, grief and suffering, in 2010 Sittser wrote a book called A Grace Revealed. In the book, he shares the story about how his son, David, responded to the tragic accident.
David became quiet and reflective; and after the accident, he was the least likely to talk about it. But when he chose to talk, he usually had something significant to say or ask. Sittser says, “Our best conversations happened in the car.”
On one occasion, when David was eight, they were driving to a soccer match some distance from their home. Typical for those occasions, David was quiet. “The car was full of silence – not a heavy silence,” Sittser says, “but a liquid silence, as if some question was brewing inside him.”
Then suddenly David asked, “Do you think Mom sees us right now?”
Jerry paused a moment to think. Then he said, “I don’t know, David. I think maybe she does see us. Why do you ask?”
David said, “I don’t see how she could, Dad. I thought Heaven was full of happiness. How could she bear to see us so sad?”
Again, Jerry was forced to think: “Could Lynda witness our pain in Heaven? How could that be possible? How could she bear it?”
Finally, Jerry said, “I think she does see us. But she sees the whole story, including how it all turns out, which is beautiful to her. It’s going to be a good story, David.” (Jerry Sittser, A Grace Revealed, Zondervan, 2012, pp.138-139; www.PreachingToday.com)
For everyone who believes and obeys Jesus no matter what happens, no matter how tragic the scenario, it’s going to be an amazing outcome!
• So believe and obey Jesus Word even if no one else does and things may turn out different than you think they should.
• Believe and obey Jesus Word even if He delays His help.
• And believe and obey Jesus’ Word even in the face of death.
• Because for the believer there is a resurrection and all things will become new!
April 8, 2018 “Are You There Yet” Mark 5:21-43
“Are You There Yet” Mark 5:21-43 FBC Rhinelander