Mark 5:21-43: Arise!
April 13, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Two daughters, two healings, two acts of faith met with gracious love and merciful power. First we have one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus, who comes to Jesus about his daughter (5:22-23). He was a powerful man, presumably, a religious authority figure, an elder, pastor, overseer, a member of the council. Respected enough for his piety to be elevated to this position, and yet—coming from the synagogue—he is now so desperate that he is even willing to trouble the attention of that wandering trouble-maker, the one so many synagogues and synagogue rulers were rejecting: Jesus.
As Jesus goes with Jairus, a “great crowd” throngs around him (5:24). Jesus had achieved significant celebrity status, and now wherever he went, people came to see and be in the middle of what was happening. Without any secret service detail keeping the crowd at a safe distance, Jesus is jostled by the crowd and pressed by them. When he asks who touched him (5:30), the disciples reply incredulously—there are so many who were touching him (5:31). But Jesus meant the touch of faith.
This woman, another “daughter” (5:34), had been ill for many years, and no physician had been able to help (5:25-26). While the dead husks of the old religion could not help the synagogue ruler, the latest medical treatments of the time could not help this woman. Both came to Jesus for help. Astonishingly, she is healed by a touch (5:27-29)—but it is the touch of faith, as Jesus makes clear when he calls her to him and says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (5:34).
Now, immediately, a messenger comes from the ruler’s house saying that the synagogue ruler’s daughter is dead (5:35). There is no more need for Jesus. But Jesus insists on going still: “Do not fear, only believe” (5:36). Mourning has begun by the time they arrive (5:38). The professional mourners have been brought in, and there is wailing and commotion.
Jesus goes in just with the inner core: Peter, James and John (5:37). They laugh at him for his confidence that he can help, that she is only sleeping (5:39-40). Then in beautiful and famous words he says, literally, “Talitha cumi”—“Little girl, I say to you, arise” (5:41).
One day we will all be in the grave, and for those with faith in Christ we too will hear the voice of Christ calling us to arise. What a great hope! Let us this morning trust in Christ and his resurrection for our resurrection from the dead to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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