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Mark 5 21-43
[Mk 5:21] 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.”  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.”  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.  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.”
 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.”  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. (NAS)
[Mk 5:21] 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.” (NAS)
The point of death
What is at about human nature that makes us put off the most important things until a crisis looms? So often we coast in our relationships until they skid into a crisis. We think nothing of spending thousands on a car and blindly drive it by the homeless shelter everyday. We think nothing of a sixty-hour workweek but can’t find time for dinner as a family.
We live lives of loneliness and sorrow because those things that could build our friendships, family, and faith get our leftover time.
Then, one day it is too late, we have waited too long. We are like the Rabbi who did not run to Jesus until his daughter was “at the point of death [GSN2079 eschatos].”
Take a moment to examine your life today. What is at the “eschatos”—the point of death—in your life right now? What part of your spiritual or relational life is barely breathing? Find ways to make those areas (family, friendships and faith) a higher priority than career and income. Do something different this week. Before scheduling anything else, book time with God, schedule an appointment with those in your own family. Then, after prioritizing God and your family, then set up the rest of the week.
She will get well and live
We know that Jairus’ life ends in good news despite the fact that he waited “to the point of death” to call upon the Lord. Yet, here is a critical point in this reading about the character of God: When is it too late to call upon Christ? We will never be too late in this life. As long as there is life—there is possibility.
There is beauty in the Greek translation of Jairus’ question of Jesus. The term “to get well,” is summed up by one word; “If you touch my daughter; she will be saved [GSN4982 soza].” The word is very particular, it means:
1. “You can make my daughter whole.”
2. “You can protect and deliver my daughter from illness.”
3. “You can save my daughter.”
Did Jairus have any idea what he was asking beyond the physical healing of his daughter? My sense is that—as the town Rabbi—he spent a long time sweating over this conversation with Jesus before he actually called upon him. Like many of the Rabbi’s and religious leaders at that time; Jairus would probably have been pretty dubious of Jesus, if not outright hostile. It took a lot of nerve for him to admit that Jesus might be the only one who could truly; “Save his daughter.”
Where am I in my walk with Jesus? Have I called upon him fully yet? Have I reached the point where I am ready to cast aside my “religious beliefs” for a relationship with Jesus? Am I yet needful of the one relationship that will “save, deliver and make my family whole?”
To be “saved” by Jesus is not an existential experience. It is not just an emotional moment. To be saved means that Jesus brings wholeness to my relationships; protection and delivery from “near death,” and eternal salvation.
What am I waiting for? Am I—like Jairus—not moving because of pride or “what others might think if I turn to Jesus for help?”
When will I finally be willing to sacrifice my pride for my family’s salvation?
 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.”  Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. (NAS)
Immediately... She was healed of her affliction
Mark wants us as caught up in this woman’s story as much as when he heard it the first time (probably from the lips of Peter). He wants us to understand how long this woman waited, the agony of her isolation, the inability of the doctors to offer any comfort, and the indignities of her life because of the religious prejudices in her society. He wants us to understand this because he wants to contrast the failure of the world with the ‘immediate’ (Mark’s favorite word) healing touch of Jesus Christ.
I have seen this touch at work first hand on nearly a daily basis. I have witnessed men and women who were overwhelmed by isolation, emptiness, compulsions, and addictions that were “immediately” healed by the touch of Christ. Even though the long work of recovery lay ahead of these people; I was privileged to watch at the moment they moved from victims of their circumstances to victors over the binding habits of sin.
“Immediately;” should still be part of the fresh vocabulary of Christians today.
 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.  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.” (NAS)
“Who touched Me?”
Here are the major points of the story of the bleeding woman:
1. No one is unclean to Jesus;
2. Jesus is abundant hope to the absolutely desperate;
3. The touch of Jesus heals even the one who seeks to hide their woundedness;
4. There is nothing hidden in Christ;
5. There is no reason to hide from the God who restores dignity.
The story of this woman is the story of every wounded sinner condemned by man. God saves; restores, makes whole, recovers, sets free. This reading dramatically tells us: “We have nothing to hide from this Savior.”
The true healing for this woman came at the moment Jesus called this woman; “Daughter.” [GSN2364 thugater]
For eleven years she had been the excluded outcast. Through Christ she became intimate family. However, Jesus doesn’t stop with his own act of inclusion. Notice how he publicly includes her. He also publicly pronounces her healing. These acts of Jesus not only include her in his family but give notice to others to take her in as well.
Jesus restores her to health; but even more he restores her to family. From the moment her bleeding began until the moment when Jesus turned his eyes upon her, we can be assured that she had not been called “family,” or “daughter.” The healing was total, salvation, cleansing, and restoration. She was not just restored to health; she was restored to family.
It is apparent that, to Jesus, this relational restoration was just as important (if not more so) than the woman’s physical restoration. We need to do a better job of understanding that aspect of Jesus’ healing if we are going to salve to a broken world. In the culture of the hemorrhaging woman, religion was exclusive. To Jesus, the first words of healing were inclusive. He doesn’t call her “friend,” or “woman.” He calls her “daughter,” even before he speaks the words of healing.
Is that the sequence of faith in our lives? Do we begin healing, restoration, indeed salvation, with the words of inclusion? Do we make the outcast “family?”
Your faith has made you well
This sentence clarifies the miraculous works of Jesus. The phrase, “your faith has made you well,” is really an extension of our theme word “to save” [GSN4982 sozo]. Both terms actually come from the same source; they are really one word instead of four. The phrase, “Has made you well,” is simply “Sozo.” To say, “Make my daughter whole,” or “Your faith has made you well,” is no different than saying, “Save my daughter,” or, “Your faith has saved you.”
And, Jesus offers this salvation. He does it without hesitation. He doesn’t care if it is the daughter of the most-elite or the woman who is most outcast. He immediately “saves” them.
Can you see the multitude of sorrows that salvation covers? It is Christ’s immediate response to sorrow, sickness, isolation, and the loss of a loved one. What do we have that cannot be brought before our Savior? Who do we think cannot be lifted before him for restoration?
It is important to also note that what Jesus calls “faith”; we might call “desperation.” This poor woman tried everything and everyone else. Jesus was her last resort after eleven weary years of total rejection. We can confidently cling to this beautiful passage; “Your faith has healed you.” We can turn to Jesus in desperation—even after we tried everything else—and he will not reject us. He will not say; “Well I could have told you that wouldn’t work.” He won’t sneer and state; “It’s too late now.” He will immediately restore, heal, and include us; he will “save” us.
The desperate sinner is the beloved of God, the child of God. The lamb sought by the shepherd. In Christ, they are restored, included, healed… saved!
 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. (NAS)
“Why trouble the Teacher anymore?”
How often we hear that in our culture. As if our efforts make no difference or we don’t have time to change an injustice. Yet, the world is reshaped daily by those few who do “bother” themselves on behalf of others. No one in their right mind sets out to change the world. The ones who move worlds really start out with one injustice in mind, one life that needs help.
The sorrow is how very few really do bother and how many are just like this crowd saying to Jairus; “It’s too late to make a difference anyway.”
Truly, herein is the substance of this story. Why bother, why be concerned (troubled), why put yourself on the line? Why? Because Jesus bothered! It was never too late for him. His is the hand that reached through the mask of death to restore this little girl—and Lazarus as well. How can we ever say; “It’s too late to bother.”
It is precisely when others give up, at the point where everyone tells you that it is not worth trying anymore, that we who follow Christ must switch from diminishing hope to unconquerable faith.
I am reminded of this everyday when I walk home. The name of my street is Liberty and, as I head south, it is just one block south of a street named Hope. The saving [sozo] liberty of our Lord can also be found just one block beyond hope.
“Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”
Often, it is the simplest phrases of Jesus that are easy to believe and hardest to obey. We need to remember that what makes these words—“Do not be afraid any longer, only believe”—so astounding is not only their content but also their context.
Someone might stand in front of a congregation on any given Sunday and preach; “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe!” Heads would nod, the preacher would be patted on the back and people would drive off to their homes still troubling over the next economic downturn. Yet Jesus did not preach these words to a congregation. He said them looking deep into the eyes of a man who had just been told that his daughter had died. “Only [GSN3440 monon] believe [GSN4100 pisteuo],” Jesus tells the religious leader, the message is not to the crowd, not to the disciples, but to this devastated father.
Who can tell what was on Jairus’ mind. He had waited “too long,” but the crowd had overwhelmed them and why in the world would Jesus stop for an unclean woman when his little girl lay dying? “I am the city Rabbi,” he might think, “isn’t my daughter more important than that woman?”
Time, precious valuable time, was wasted. After all those years of holding his little girl’s hand, talking about God, and playing with silly games, all that time gone in an instant, in the span of time it took to lift a sinful woman from the dirt. Time; it was gone. Jesus had wasted it. Now, his daughter, the Rabbi’s daughter, was gone.
And Jesus has the audacity to say to him (and us); “Don’t be afraid?” “Only believe?”
Such a command would be impossible if Jairus was not standing their seeing Jesus’ eyes; close enough to breathe his breath. “Only believe.” Only...
The most powerful words of Jesus were rarely spoken in a synagogue. It was Christ’s words in the context of the street, under pressure of the Pharisees, in the lands of Samaria or the Geresenes, in the last Passover meal before his death. It was content in context. We can have all the right content but if we don’t place ourselves in the context where Jesus was found then we rob his words of their greatest impact.
The words of Jesus were meant for the streets. They were meant for the grieving and the broken. “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe!” These words are meant for a heart torn by loss and sorrow. This ain’t Sunday preaching, it is the word of God where the rubber melts on pavement. His words were rarely a “pleasant thought” we can muse over at Sunday brunch; his words are the restoration, healing, and salvation of Christ preached where most of us do not want to go. It is where Good News makes the most impact, in the most desperate circumstances, beyond hope, in places where people are saying; “It’s too late to bother.” It is unbelievable content in unimaginable circumstances.
 And entering in, He *said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”  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. (NAS)
“The child has not died, but is asleep.”
The reality that Jesus presents is 180° different from the reality seen by those around him. Whereas they see death and finality, the Lord sees life and peace. The reality that Jesus sees is so at odds with the reality those around him see that they attack him verbally. One day the crowds will kill Jesus in their hatred of his reality; on this day they just laugh at him.
Should we expect less? To follow Christ is to have a different reality from this world. We can expect to be derided by some and even hated by others. Yet, we no longer live at the whim of other’s opinions. The cynicism and derision of this world cannot possibly overshadow the reality of Jesus.
In Christ there never is a “beyond hope.” Not in our relationships, communities, or world. All creation “groans towards salvation.”
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
When the reality of other’s tells you, “don’t bother, you may as well quit, it’s too late for him,” look instead to the reality of Jesus. Let the “Talitha kum” reality become yours.
Taking the child by the hand
We might underplay this statement; thinking that Jesus held this little girl’s hand and gently woke her. Not so! The actual term [GSN2902 krateo] implies that Jesus ‘seized’ her hand. He ‘yanked’ her from her state.
Jesus takes command of the situation. He doesn’t sneak in with a bowed head and say; “Oh please, pleeeze get up, my reputation is on the line here.”
He chases out the naysayers and the professional mourners, he allows only his closest disciples access to the room along with the desperate mother and father. He takes command!
Let’s not whine our way into God’s kingdom. Let’s not display his light to the darkness apologetically. Seize the hand of loss and yank it back from the jaws of death.
[Ps 138:3] On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul. (NAS)
[Pr 28:1] The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion. (NAS)
[Ac 4:31] And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (NAS)
[Ac 14:3] Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. (NAS)
2 Corinthians 3:12
[2Co 3:12] Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,  and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. (NAS)
There are so many characters in which we could imagine ourselves in this play. We could be the anxious Rabbi and father, Jairus; waiting until the last moment before asking Jesus to come to his house. We could be the woman who snuck up to Jesus out of desperation after trying every other possible cure. We could be in the anonymous crowd observing or with the Apostles admonishing Jesus for asking; “Who touched me.” We could be the cynics snarling and chiding our Lord for his miscalculation of reality. Yet, almost all of us fit the state of the little girl lost in “near-death.”
As we already know, Jesus “seized” her from the brink. He “yanked” her back from what appeared to all observers as death. Jesus commands this little girl to; “Arise!”
The Greek term for arise [GSN1453 egeiro] is fascinating. The root word is “agora [GSN58]” and means to gather—as in a crowd assembling for a march. The word “egerio [GSN1453]” was used in rousing someone from sleep or disease, but it was also used for shaking someone from a stupor. It would refer to a life-changing event, command, or challenge that would pull someone out of obscurity, inactivity, nonexistence, or, in our case, near-death.
Jesus commands each of us to “Arise!” To pull us out of our stupor, out of the darkness, out of obscurity, nonexistence, or near-death and into his reality.
We are not supposed to be “living lives of quiet desperation” as Thoreau so aptly put it. We are called to a new reality, a larger mission, indeed an incredible commission. We have a world full of people to reach. Our lives are to be lives of joyful anticipation.
This passage has been about desperate people and how the reality of Jesus Christ can miraculously save the despairing from the brink of despair. It is about the transition from helplessness to purpose and hopelessness to joy. It is about never closing the door on God’s ability. It is about salvation as a way of being: Restoring, healing, and making family of outcasts.
It is about being woken up, being alert, being “yanked back” from near-death. From all these situations, our Lord commands us: “Arise!”
Copyright © 2005 Jerry Goebel. All Rights Reserved. This study may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Jerry Goebel: 2005 © http://onefamilyoutreach.com.
“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988. Used by permission.”