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Pentecost 5–“Faith and Healing” (Mark 5:21-43)

02 Jul

B-69 Proper 8 (Mk 5.21-43)Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. The text for the sermon is the Gospel which was read earlier.

If there is one thing that we don’t like to do, it is waiting. We want food quickly, so we go to the drive thru restaurant. If we want money quickly, we go to the ATM rather than go inside the bank. We don’t like to wait for anything because we are always in a hurry. As we see in our Gospel reading for today, there are two people who do not want to wait but rather seek immediate results to their problems: a woman with a medical concern and Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue.

Jairus had a great need to seek out Jesus. Of all the people to go looking for Jesus, Jairus would have been one of the last ones, for he was a ruler of the synagogue. These were laymen who took care of the administrative duties at the synagogue. They were prominent men, but most of them were opposed to Christ and did not believe in Him. However, Jairus, in his great hour of need, set all of that aside and sought out Christ, throwing dignity out the window and falling at the feet of Jesus. He had a need that only Jesus could fulfill: the saving of his daughter who was near death.

As Mark records this account for us, it is not told to us whether or not Jairus was for or against Jesus and His ministry. He might have been in Jesus’ camp or he could have been anti-Jesus because of his position. Regardless of how he felt about Jesus and His ministry personally, he knew that Jesus had been credited with miraculous healings of people with many types of disease. If Jesus can heal people with various diseases, surely he could preserve the life of a little girl that is near death.

As Jesus is gathered on the shoreline, surrounded by people, Jairus makes his way to Jesus, “and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” What an interesting event this is. Jairus throws out any potential distrust of Jesus and His claims as the Messiah and goes to Him as a father who is deeply concerned for his daughter’s life. Of the utmost concern to Jairus is the well-being of his daughter. In this moment in time, nothing else matters. For Jesus, He puts everything on hold. He leaves the people to themselves and He went with Jairus to his home.

The people follow Jesus because of who He is and what He has done. One of the people there was a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years. This was something serious, as Mark records: she “had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.” She suffered physically because of this illness. She suffered economically seeking treatment but to no avail. She suffered sociologically as well. Because of her illness, she was ceremonially unclean and this kept her from worship in the temple and the synagogue. She was shunned by all who knew her condition. Not willing to make a public request for help, she said to herself, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” As soon as she touched the garments of Jesus, she was healed of her disease. This woman could not wait any longer to be healed. Everything up to this point had not worked and she knew that Jesus would be capable of healing her.

As soon as she touched Jesus, He had noticed that power had left Him. He asked who had touched Him to correct the disciples and to support her in her faith. This woman came forward trembling in fear at the feet of Jesus and instead of rebuking her, He tells her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” What did Jesus mean? Was it her faith that made her well or was it the healing power of Jesus that made her well? Jesus meant that it was her faith in His ability and willingness to heal her. It was her faith in who Jesus was, the Great Physician of body and soul, that brought about her healing. She went to Jesus in faith of who He was and what He could do, and ultimately, what He would do for all peoples.

While all this is happening, some came from Jairus’ house to inform him that his daughter has died and there is no need for Jesus. Instead of turning around and going back to what He was doing, Jesus told Jairus, “Do not fear, only believe.”

What profound words of Jesus! Throughout this earthly life, there will be more than ample reason to fear. At times, it may seem hopeless. It may seem as if the best thing to do is to just give up. However, we have faith and believe. We believe that God will indeed care and provide for us.

Once they get to the house, Jesus sends all outside except the parents, Peter, James, and John. They enter the house and Jesus speaks to the girl who is sleeping and not dead: “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately, the girl stood up and began walking. The waiting was over. The Lord had answered. The Lord had come, and He brought life, joy, and peace with Him, for He is the Lord life and death.

As we see with the woman who was healed, she waited for healing and found it in Jesus. Jairus had found in Jesus the healing that his daughter needed as she slept. We are reminded of the words from our Old Testament, “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” These two individuals looked to Jesus to satisfy their needs, for no one other than Jesus could heal and save.

For you and I, we do not need to wait for the Lord, for He has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. He comes to us in the water to make us His beloved children. He comes to forgive us our sins, that we may stand before our heavenly Father in holiness and righteousness. He comes to us here in His house, where He feeds us with His Word and His body and bood; not only to feed us, but to strengthen us in our faith.

Through the almighty power of Christ, death has been overcome for us, just as it was for Jairus’ daughter. Jesus Himself faced death head-on at the cross, conquering death by rising victoriously over death. That victory over death has been given to us eternally by faith.

Faith in Jesus never disappoints. Jairus had his impossible request fulfilled when he placed his trust in the Lord of Life. By clinging to Jesus and His word, his faith grew and his daughter rose from the dead. By having faith in Jesus Christ, the woman was healed of her disease. Through faith in Jesus Christ, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” You and I cling to those words of Jesus, “Your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” You and I have been healed of our disease because He has forgiven us our sins. In Jesus’ name, amen. Now the peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus, amen.

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