Feb. 21, 2017

Your faith has made you well!

Mark 5:21-43 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

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. 22 One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet 23 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.” 24 And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.

25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 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— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 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?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 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. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”

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?” 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” 37 And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. 39 And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” 40 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. 41 Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. 43 And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat.


In today’s text we see another two miracles of healing. One was of a woman who had suffered for twelve years, the other was a twelve year old girl who was suffering “at the point of death.” As different as these two people and their circumstances were, there is a similarity between them. Both Jarius, the father of the twelve year old and the woman who had suffered so long had faith that Jesus could and would change their circumstance, heal them. Jarius said:  “please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.”   The woman:  thought, (believed) “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.”   Both used the phrase “will get well,” not might, not maybe, not hope, but will. Even as I wrote the word will, the Lord impressed on me the importance of the other word in that phrase, well. They did not believe that they would get better, that their situation would improve, but rather they believed, through Christ, they would be made well, fully restored. I believe that far too often we are satisfied with getting better when we pray, rather than seeking to be well. We see an improvement in our circumstance and we joyfully accept it as our healing or our deliverance. Jesus doesn’t want us to be better. He wants us to be well. He wants us to be fully restored to all that God intended. When we begin to see a change, an improvement in a situation or circumstance, we should rejoice and thank God. But it is not the time to pause, to rest in our partial victory. Jesus wants us to be well, not better. When we see a small victory, rather than pause and rest, it is the time we need to press in, to get even closer to God. When we have gained a small victory against the enemy not time to pull back and rest in the victory, it is time to push the attack, to pray even more. Jesus did not subdue sin and death, He conquered it. We need to believe that His complete victory is ours.

I want to look again at the faith of these two. It is true that they believed and that they received according to their faith. Yet for all of us who have at times struggled in our own faith, there is another similarity in these two accounts. The text says:  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.   Of the woman it says:  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.      In both of these accounts, their faith was born out of desperation. It seemed like there was nothing left but to believe. How often is it that we too come to Jesus, whether with great faith or little, only when there seems to be no other way?  Please hear me, I am not saying we should not seek the care and advise of medical professionals, or even the counsel of others in other areas. We see in the text that Jesus was not offended. He didn’t rebuke them for making Him their last resort. Jesus responded to their faith and they were made well. What if rather than making Jesus our last resort, we made Him our first? What if we prayed first? What if we prayed on the way to the doctor and believed the doctor would only need to confirm that we are well? What if rather than trusting only in the medicine, we prayed that God would bless it and use it to complete our healing, our victory in Christ?

Hebrews 4:16 says:   Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.    Whenever we come to Christ, to the throne of grace, whether as our first option or our last resort, we will find mercy and grace for our need. Proverbs 18:10 says:  The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.       Indeed, we can come boldly to the throne of grace, we can run to God, even as a last resort and be safe. But there is another way, a better way. In Psalm 91, the psalmist speaks of the protection and provision of God. He says that the provision and protection of God, being made well, restored is not for the one who runs to God, but rather for the one who dwells and abides there.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. “With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.”     

“Talitha kum!” Get up!  Believe and receive. Press in to God, dwell and abide in Him through the grace and mercy of the cross of Christ. Press on. Do not be satisfied with being better. Rejoice and be made well.  Amen.