A cursory reading of the scripture before us today might lead one to conclude that the point of Jesus ministry was to relieve misery and suffering in the world. And by extension, the ministry of the church should be the same. Our mission should be one of social justice. I was reading the website of a very large, old Presbyterian church that I saw in Wilmington the other day. And on their website they mentioned they were about the transformative power of God’s grace. That sounds good. But if you read further, they defined their ministry as dismantling structural racism, eradicating poverty, and furthering the inclusion of LGBTQIA + people.
But I have to tell you that was not the ministry of Jesus. Jesus came to seek and to save those that are lost. He came to save sinners, to provide a way for man to be reconciled to God. He came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, how a person might be delivered from the condemnation of death, and born again into new life in Christ.
The gospel then must first cause a person to understand that they are lost. That church I read about is not concerned about sin. It doesn’t believe the Bible says that the wages of sin is death. And that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement. And so as a result of their distortion of the gospel, they are condemning people to death by telling people the lie that there is no sin, there is no need for repentance, and God will not judge sinners.
But Mark is presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is not just telling a biography about Jesus. So Mark has given us in this chapter three illustrations of a lost person who is saved by the power of God. In the first picture, we saw a demoniac. A person whose life was given over and controlled by the evil one. A life destined for destruction. And Jesus delivered that poor man from thousands of demons that had tormented him and controlled him, so that he was seated at the feet of Jesus in his right mind.
The second example of a lost person is presented as the woman who had the discharge of blood. Because of her illness, she was under the law considered as unclean. She is a picture of a person who is unclean before God because of their sin. She was hopeless, having tried everything to no avail. Her only hope was Jesus.
The third example of a lost person is the little daughter of Jarius. She was suffering from an illness which actually took her life before Jesus could visit her. Being under the sentence of death is another picture of a lost person. Being spiritually dead is what is means to be lost. And only Jesus can give life to the dead.
When Jesus was at home in Capernaum earlier He had performed the miracle for the paralytic that had been lowered down through the ceiling. And you will remember that at first Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And the Pharisees in attendance there were indignant that Jesus said that, because they said that only God could forgive sins. They were right. But what they failed to see was that Jesus was God sitting right in front of them.
So Jesus responded to the Pharisees, “In order that you may know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sins, I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” See, the important thing was the forgiveness of sins. The miracle of healing was only physical evidence that Jesus could forgive sins.
So as we study this text before us today, let’s not lose sight of the point of Jesus’ ministry. Now I’ve really already given the conclusion of the story before I’ve expounded it, but nevertheless, let’s look at it in more detail and see what else we might learn from this event.
First, we note that there are two miracles which take place, one of which happens as an interruption to the first. Mark says in vs 21 “When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; [please] come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.’”
So they have left the former demoniac on the shores of the Gerasenses, and gone back over the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, Jesus’ home town. It’s important that we recognize that, because we are going to assume that these people must have known who Jesus was. Capernaum wasn’t large town, and Jesus lived there, and it would seem that Peter lived there. And Jesus had performed so many miracles there that He had to leave town to get some rest and even be able to eat. So everyone in Capernaum must have known who Jesus was and have known someone who had been healed by Jesus, or at least have witnessed Him healing someone.
Mark says Jairus was one of the synagogue officials. Jesus had most likely attended his synagogue on occasion. Maybe Jesus had even preached at his synagogue. So I would be inclined to believe that Jarius was a believer. He may not have progressed very far in his faith at this point, but I’m going to assume that he is a believer by his actions. First of all, notice he falls at Jesus feet. That’s a posture of worship. That’s a posture of prayer. That’s a posture of submission. And I will say that was not the typical approach of the average Pharisee or Jewish religious official we see depicted in the gospels. So I would think this man shows that he is a believer. He has saving faith in Jesus as Lord.
And that’s further illustrated by what he says to Jesus. ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; [please] come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.’” Now he may have said that because he had seen Jesus heal many people of many diseases. And so he knows by experience that Jesus had the power to heal. But he knows she is going to die if Jesus doesn’t come. Jesus is the only hope that she has to live.
But this request shows this man’s faith. I believe it indicates that he has faith that Jesus is the Son of God. And at first everything seems fine, because Jesus agrees to go with him to his house. But there is an unforeseen interruption. Vs.24 “And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him. A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse– after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind [Him] and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.”
I said there was an unforeseen interruption. I don’t mean Jesus, I mean Jarius did not foresee this interruption. I imagine that he is almost beside himself, knowing that they have to hurry. Maybe his daughter has been sick for some time already, and when Jesus got off the boat, he had been right there to beg Him to come home with him and hurry, before his child died. And now this woman interrupted their little journey.
But in the providence of God, this interruption will serve a greater purpose. It will display the glory of God much more brightly than it might have otherwise. Sometimes God allows circumstances to get beyond all hope, so that the glory of God might be more fully revealed.
Let’s consider this woman for a moment. She had a hemorrhage for 12 years. It’s interesting that Mark will tell us that Jarius’s daughter is 12 years old also. I’m not sure what to make of that. But it’s obviously a significant correlation between the two. We’re not told what this hemorrhage was. But the Jewish law considered any hemorrhage to be a matter of uncleanness. So this woman was an outcast from Jewish religious society. She couldn’t go to the synagogue in that condition. If she touched someone, they would become unclean as well and have to go through a series of ceremonies to become clean again. So as I said earlier, she was a picture of someone who is lost. They are unclean, cut off from fellowship with God.
Mark says that she had spent all her money on various doctors, and had actually gotten worse instead of better. I’ve known people like that. They tried everything, went to every doctor that promised hope, even went to foreign countries to try experimental medicines in order hopefully find a cure. The other day I met a woman who was selling her home to pay for some experimental medical procedure that was not covered by her insurance. That’s the state of this woman, and she has only gotten worse, not better. That’s a picture of false religion. It offers hope of salvation but it is not able to provide it, and so the person is in even worse condition.
I think we can safely assume this woman had heard of Jesus. She believed that if she just touched his garment that she would be healed. She had faith, albeit an imperfect faith. Jesus said if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could move mountains. Saving faith doesn’t have to be perfect faith, all knowing faith. You don’t have to understand every doctrine of the Bible to be saved. But you must have a believing heart that continues to believe, continues in faith as God reveals more truth to you.
Her faith was in Jesus, not in HIs clothes, nor the tassel that hung from his cloak. Perhaps she thought that there had to be physical contact with Jesus for her to be healed. Jarius seemed to think that as well. Jarius had said “if you lay your hands on her she will live.” So maybe this woman knows that she can’t have Jesus lay His hands on her because she is unclean, but if she just touches the fringe of His garment, then she will be healed. But the point is, that she has faith that Jesus can heal her.
And you know what happened? She was immediately healed. Jesus never seems to heal people the same way twice. Those fake healers on television like to use a formula, a method. I like the kind of faith healer that smacks people on the forehead. If I was a healer, I think I would like to use that method. Maybe if I hit them hard enough on the forehead I could make them forget about the pain in their back or wherever it was. I offered that to Randy the other day, and I’m surprised he didn’t smack me on the forehead.
But as I said at the beginning, physical healing is not supposed to be a model for Christian ministry. It was to provide evidence that Jesus was the Son of God, that He had the power to forgive sins, and the power to give life.
Vs 29 “Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power [proceeding] from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.”
I’ve read some commentators who said that Jesus’ response indicates that He was unaware of who had touched Him, but He knew that some power had proceeded from Him. They attribute that to the human nature of Christ which limited Him in certain areas, at certain times. I’m not sure I buy that explanation. I think Jesus knew full well who had touched Him.
Remember the conversation Jesus had with Nathanael in with John 1:48? Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Jesus wasn’t limited in His spiritual power. He was in a human body which was limiting, which got tired, which got hungry, which could bleed and die. But spiritually, He was fully God and so He knew all things at all times. He knew what people were thinking. And He knew that this woman had touched Him to be healed.
So then why does Jesus ask this question? One was for the sake of the disciples, so that they would know what had happened. And secondly for the sake of the woman’s salvation. According to Romans 10:9, you not only need to believe in your heart, but confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord to be saved. And so I think Jesus wanted to progress this woman’s faith. And He does that by getting her to confess with her mouth what she had believed in her heart.
Vs. 33 “But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
I want to point out that in the Greek language, what Jesus says is not has made you well, but “sozo” which means saved you. So it should read, “Daughter, your faith has saved you, go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” We are saved by faith. So her faith was the means by which Jesus saved her, forgave her of her sins, gave her new life, so that she was born again. And He healed her of her affliction.
By the way, we aren’t told that her illness was the result of some sin on her part. Illness is not always the result of sin, though at times it could be. But we should not assume that in this woman’s case, and I stress that you shouldn’t make that assumption in anyone’s case. If sickness is of the Lord, then I believe that the Lord should reveal that to the person.That’s not our job. But most illnesses are from natural causes, which are due to the original sin at the fall, but not a particular sin of the person suffering from it.
Remember the disciples asked Jesus about a blind man who was born blind. In John 9:2-3 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “[It was] neither [that] this man sinned, nor his parents; but [it was] so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
So the woman is saved by faith, and healed of her disease, but poor Jarius is beside himself with worry while all this is going on. And then as if on cue, his friends come and tell him it’s too late, his daughter has died. Vs 35 “While He was still speaking, they came from the [house of] the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid [any longer,] only believe.” And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and [people] loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”
Jarius must have almost died himself when the word came that his daughter had died. Nothing causes more fear and anguish for a parent than that possibility of a child’s death. And now what he had feared had come upon him. But Jesus is telling him don’t be afraid, only believe. What does that mean? I suppose it means that fear and faith don’t mix. He had believed that Jesus was able to deliver his daughter from this deadly illness, and now that the worst had happened, don’t give in to fear, but continue believing that what Jesus had begun to do, He was able to still accomplish. Tthe giver of life was still able to save, even from death.
Jesus said the child has not died, but is asleep. Notice how the mourners turned from grief to ridicule. But one thing that ought to be noticed here, is that in the New Testament, being asleep is always a reference to a believer that has passed away. It’s never used to refer to the death of an unbeliever. It means the spirit is alive, but the body is sleeping, awaiting the resurrection of the body. Whereas the unbeliever is spoken of as dead, being both spiritually dead and physically dead.
Now if that is the case here, then it means that this girl was a believer. Or it means that since her father was a believer, and she was under the age of accountability, then she was sanctified by her parents. I don’t have the time to spend this morning addressing that particular doctrine. But I want you to pick up on Jesus’s choice of words there, which is very similar to what He said about His friend Lazarus when he died. Jesus isn’t talking nonsense by saying she is asleep, nor is He ignorant of what has happened. But she has died, albeit died as a believer.
Vs40 “They [began] laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered [the room] where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and [began] to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that [something] should be given her to eat.”
The mourners laughed at Him because they all knew she was dead. They laughed in derision at Jesus. They scoffed at Him. But Jesus put them all out of the house. Unbelief will not see the glory of God. Those who challenge God to reveal Himself, to prove Himself to them according to their standards, their agenda, will not see the evidence that they claim they want. But only those with eyes of faith shall see God. Jesus is not interested in offering a spectacle for the viewing pleasure of skeptics. He wasn’t providing religious entertainment.
So Jesus speaks to the girl in Aramaic, the girl’s native language. Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” Jesus spoke to a dead girl as if she were alive, because her spirit was alive. And He was able to do this because He is God. Romans 4:17 says that God gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Jesus spoke to this girl with the power of God and she was raised from the abode of the dead. Luke says that her spirit returned to her.
And Mark says she got up and walked because she was twelve. I guess if she was a lot older, she would have sat there for a few minutes and thought, “what just happened?” But being young, she just hopped up and started walking around again as if nothing unusual had happened. Maybe she hadn’t actually been dead longer than a few minutes or so and didn’t realize what had happened to her.
Then Jesus says for them to give her something to eat. I suppose that was to help her regain her strength after probably not eating during her illness. And also there is nothing like a healthy appetite to show people that you are in good health.
So as I said, I think I gave away the concluding statement at the beginning of the message. But to remind you, the purpose of Jesus’ ministry is that He came to seek and to save those that are lost. He came to save sinners, to give life to the spiritually dead. Don’t miss the message of the gospel. God is concerned about human suffering in the world. But the cure for the world’s ills is not social justice or racial inequity, or acceptance of sinful lifestyles, or eliminating poverty. The cure for the world’s illness is the forgiveness of sin which is given as a gift of God’s grace. The pardon for our sins is paid for by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on our behalf, and we receive new life from Him. I pray that you have received that new life by faith in Him, that you might have an eternal inheritance in the kingdom of God.