Omnipotent Son, Merciful Savior – Part 2

Omnipotent Son, Merciful Savior – Part 2

Omnipotent Son, Merciful Savior – Part 2
Text:  Mark 5:21-43

Main Idea: Faith trusts in Jesus despite the utter hopelessness of present circumstances.

I.  A Father’s Desperate Plea (Mark 5:21-24)
II.  A Woman’s Desperate Hope (Mark 5:25-34)
III. A Sovereign Call to Persevering Faith (Mark 5:35-43)

Mark 5:21–43

Where do you go when all hope is gone? What do you do when you realize that you are utterly powerless to help yourself or someone you love and that you have absolutely no ability to alter your present nor redirect your future? If you are like most people, you are tempted to fall into a state of ever-increasing anxiety, depression, anger, and bitterness.

And just in case you are wondering, yes, I’ve fallen into the very same darkness. I know what it’s like to be so hopeless that I hardly slept or ate for more than a year. I couldn’t even find joy in the simple pleasures of life. In fact, every time I thought I’d hit bottom, every time I thought I’d entered the darkest darkness; the bottom fell out again and I tumbled ever-deeper into the void. And even worse, I experienced all of this while I was serving God as a pastor in the local church.

I wasn’t exempt. I didn’t get a pass because of my Christian service. In fact, the more I look back I am rather confident that God led me into that crucible to crush my self-sufficiency and destroy my illusion of autonomy so that I might learn that hope is the result of faith in Jesus not self-reliance.

And as we turn to our text today, we find two people that have no hope apart from Jesus. Apart from Jesus, Jarius’ daughter will die. Apart from Jesus, this woman will never be healed. And the way that Mark weaves their stories together this morning in his signature “sandwich” style—where he begins a story, interrupts it with another, and returns to the initial story—helps us see that the main idea in both of these encounters this morning is this:

Main Idea: Faith trusts in Jesus despite the utter hopelessness of present circumstances.
(Jesus tells the woman that her faith has made her well (v. 34), and he encourages Jairus to have faith despite his daughter’s death (v. 36).)

A Father’s Desperate Plea (Mark 5:21–24)
A Woman’s Desperate Hope (Mark 5:25–34)
A Sovereign Call to Greater Faith (Mark 5:35–43)

A Father’s Desperate Plea (Mark 5:21–24)

As we turn to the text this morning, Jarius looks like just another person in looking for a miracle. But Jaruis is no ordinary man, as a ruler of the synagogue he is a man “who was entrusted by the elders of the community with general oversight of the synagogue and the orthodoxy of its teaching.” So on one hand, Jarius is a man with significant social status. And on the other he is part of a religious system that is increasingly opposed to Jesus.

But, Jaruis doesn’t approach Jesus as a superior or an equal, he throws himself at Jesus’ feet begging for a miracle because his little girl is about to die. He doesn’t understand that Jesus is God. He doesn’t know that Jesus is the Messiah. He doesn’t even care if he loses his privileged status in the community. All he knows is that Jesus is the only one who can keep his baby girl—his only daughter (according to Luke 8:42)—alive.

Yet, as Jesus followed Jaruis home to heal his daughter, the frenzied crowd didn’t follow respectfully behind it enveloped the rescue party in a sea of swarming bodies. A swarm that delayed their progress and provided hope for a hopeless woman.

A Woman’s Desperate Hope (Mark 5:25–34)

Her Hopeless Condition (Mark 5:25–28)

Notice that Mark gives more attention to this woman’s condition that he does Jarius’s daughter. In fact, he literally graphs the tragic life-altering consequences of this woman’s illness in verse 26. This woman was suffering from a 12 year battle against a gynecological disorder. But, her ailment was only the beginning. She spent all of her resources on many doctors who caused much suffering, and to add insult to injury she gained nothing—her condition continued to deteriorate.

But, this was only the physical side of her illness; under the Mosaic Law she was a virtual leper. In other words, anyone who came into physical contact with her or something she touched would become unclean as well. And as a result, the effected individual would have to isolate themselves for 24 hours, bathe, and wash their clothes before they could interact with other people. This meant that she was perpetually excluded from worship, unable to bring sacrifices to the temple, and completely cut off from normal social interaction.

This woman is just as lost and hopeless as the demoniac earlier in chapter 5. Both are in a state of living death, ostracized, alienated, and perpetually unclean. And just as the villagers tried to help the demoniac, the doctors tried to help the woman. But, just as the villagers gave up on the demoniac when they could no longer bind him; so also the doctors gave up when the woman could no longer pay them.

But, for the first time in a long time, this woman has hope because “She had heard the reports about Jesus” (5:27). Notice she has not seen his miracles. She is not allowed to interact with others in public. She has heard from a distance and she believes that “Even if I touch Jesus’ garments, I will be made well” (5:28).

She knows “I don’t have to touch his skin, I don’t have to touch his body, I can just touch the edge of his cloak”—her faith is anchored in the healing power of Jesus. Her hope is not in how strong her faith is, but in how strong the object of her faith is. She is convinced that Jesus can do what no one else can do. And she thinks, “If I can just do this, I can be healed; I can quietly slip back to the crowd and no one will ever know.”

Her Miraculous Healing and Unwanted Attention (Mark 5:29–34)

What happens when this woman touches Jesus’s robe? She immediately “felt in her body that she was healed of her disease” (5:29). Yet, at the same time Jesus immediately “perceived in himself that his power had gone out from him” (5:30). They share a connection—she knows it, and he knows it. But, he doesn’t ask the piercing question, “Who did I just heal?” He asks, “Who touched my garments?” while he is in the middle of a mob.

And how do the disciples respond? They respond like Jesus just asked the most stupid question in the history of mankind! “Um, Jesus have you noticed where you are? Everyone is touching you! A little girl is about to die! Can we pick up the pace?”

But, Jesus isn’t worried about the little girl. Death is not a problem for the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe. And at the same time, as God, he knows who he healed. But, he refuses to take another step toward Jarius’ house until the woman steps out of the crowd.

What do we see in this? Jesus is not trying to embarrassing this woman. She has spent the last 12 years of her life living in the shadows, a social outcast, a religious pariah, an alien to her own family. She thought that her biggest problem was her flow of blood. She thought that a cure would make everything right. And on one level she was correct. She was healed, she is whole, and she is clean.

But, Jesus is not content to perform a miracle; he wants to encounter a person. Discipleship is not simply getting our needs met in Jesus; it is knowing Jesus through faith and delighting in him above all things. And this woman cannot do that if she slinks off into the shadows. She might live her entire life in fear of Jesus because she broke the Law. Even worse, she might misunderstand why she was healed.

Mark 5:34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.

Jesus calls her out in public for at least two reasons:

First, this woman needs to know that she was not healed by some magical power in Jesus’ robe or some impersonal spiritual force residing in Jesus. This is important, everyone is touching Jesus! But, only one person in the entire crowd is healed. She was healed because God responded to her present but ever-imperfect faith in Jesus’ power to heal. Did she understand everything—no. Did she have to muster up enough faith for God to respond—no. The key is that she put her faith in Jesus himself.

Second, Jesus wants to free her from a lifetime of shame. In fact, a number of commentators note that “The word ‘peace’ here does not just mean freedom from shame and anxiety, but the wholesale completeness of life that comes from being in a right relationship with God and other people.” To Jesus, she is no longer defined by her past; she’s no longer a broken, outcast, and diseased woman. She is no longer on the outside looking in, she is a daughter, and she is part of a new family through faith in Jesus. She is a child of the king.

Yet, at the very moment one daughter is healed; sobering news arrives that another daughter is dead.

Mark 5:35–36 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

A Sovereign Call to Persevering Faith (Mark 5:35–43)

A Divine Delay

In modern terms, this an utter failure of triage and medical malpractice. Doctors are supposed to treat life threatening conditions before they treat chronic but non-life threatening illnesses. And I can only imagine that Jarius’ growing faith in Jesus in the woman’s miraculous healing was instantly quenched by the heartbreaking news that his baby girl was dead. But, notice, Jesus does not rehearse what has happened nor does he explain his reasons why. He simply looks Jairus in the eye and says “Don’t be afraid only believe.” See Jesus is calling Jarius to shift his focus from the circumstances of his daughter’s death to Jesus himself.

But, what Jarius doesn’t realize is that his response to Jesus will ultimately determine his daughters fate. What I mean by this is that Jaruis has two options in front of him. He can thank Jesus for his time and send him on his way OR he can continue believing and take Jesus to his daughter. One response is faith and the other is unbelief. One response will bring life and the other will not. And I say continue believing because, the present tense of the Greek imperative “believe” here means to keep believing, to keep holding on in faith, to not give in to despair.

Notice, Jesus is not demanding that Jarius conjure up enough faith so that Jesus can raise his daughter from the dead, as if faith were measured by volume or quantity. Jesus is encouraging him to hold on to hope by anchoring his faith in everything he has seen and knows to be true about Jesus himself despite the news of his daughter’s death. And evidently Jarius believes, because the scene quickly transitions from the teaming crowd to a great commotion (Mark 5:38–43)

A Life Restored

For the sake of time let me make two observations about this miracle.

First, When Jesus tells the crowd that that the girl is sleeping, he is not saying that she was merely in a coma because he used the same language when he raised Lazarus from the dead.

John 11:11–14 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.

I want to point this out because it’s easy to be overly literal and completely dismiss the reality that Jesus raised this girl from the dead… which brings me to the second observation.

In this miracle we learn something new about Jesus—he holds the keys to life and death itself. And notice he didn’t pray to God or invoke any magical incantations. He spoke a simple command, “Little girl, I say to you arise.” Jesus stills the seas with a word. He dismisses a legion of demons with a word. And he raises the dead to life with a word. No one can do this but God alone… Jesus is more than a teacher, he is God. And if he is God, we have every warrant, every reason, every cause to place our faith in him alone.


Faith is placing all of our hope in God’s saving power because we finally realize that we are completely incapable of saving ourselves. Just like a coin, faith has two sides. On the one side is active hope in God for things we cannot see and often in spite of the things that we are seeing and experiencing.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

And on the other side of the coin is an active rejection of anything that prevents us from embracing Jesus with every fiber of our being; whether it be sinful pleasures, self-sufficiency, self-love, or the conscience-soothing praise of other people. We call this repentance.

Luke 15:17–19 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’

Jairus demonstrates this faith by coming to Jesus, despite the fact that he might lose his position in the Synagogue for pursuing Jesus. The woman demonstrates faith in that she pursues Jesus, despite her shame and the ever-present fear of rejection. Both believe Jesus has the power to save. Both actively reject (turn away from) anything that would prevent them from pursuing Jesus. And on account of this faith Jesus is more than willing to meet both of their needs.

But, Jesus didn’t come to earth just to save people from sickness and disease. Jesus came to bear the penalty of your sin and my sin on the cross so that we might receive forgiveness, restoration, and new life through faith in him.

Ephesians 2:8–9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to embrace Jesus in faith.

Finally, let me close with a caution lest we misunderstand the promise of faith.

A miracle does not occur every time we come to God in faith. And the absence of a miracle does not reveal the absence of faith. Faith does not erase the ever-present reality of Evil, or sickness, or the heart-breaking death of little children, spouses, and loved ones…

Rather, faith continues to trust in Jesus despite the utter hopelessness of present circumstances. Faith assures us God is always for us in Jesus Christ. In faith we cast our anxieties on God knowing he cares for us and promises to uphold us in a peace that surpasses all understand when we trust in him.

As the old hymn declares:

I know whom I have believ-ed
And am persuaded that he is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto him until that day.