Monday, August 12, 2013

DO NOT FEAR, ONLY BELIEVE!


11th August 2013        Passage Mark 5:21-43                        Hymns:  37, ___, 452 , 150, 16

Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus's Daughter

And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, 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.” And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling 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 disease.”
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?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

We live at a time when many preachers are parading miracles so that they can harvest followers after themselves.
Yesterday, for the better part of the day, KTN was airing a live event from Nakuru: Dr. Owuor was in Nakuru to lead the nation to ‘repentance and thanksgiving after the last general elections’! There were thousands of people who had come to receive their miracle. There were many claims of healing of diseases and salvation of all who attended! Who verifies these claims? No one! But what is the place of miracles now? TO DECEIVE THE NATIONS!
“Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’, and they will lead many astray.” (Matthew 24:5).
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great sings and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect (Matthew.24:24)
Do not be deceived by these men who advertise themselves more than they do Christ. They accept testimonies that elevate them higher and never approve any criticism. They are deceivers.
When Owuor arrived in Nakuru, two people wrote on my blog (One anonymous and the other gave his name) and they said,
I listened to Jesus is Lord Radio on 9th August 2013 and I confirmed with my two ears: The announcer kept on referring Owuor to as LORD...LORD... "look at the way the Lord is entering Nakuru...look at the convoy of vehicles welcoming the Lord...welcoming the Holy spirit....what a mighty mighty crowd...welcoming the Lord to the city...this is how we welcome our Lord..."
Pst Murungi… I am currently in Nakuru and just witnessed "the prophet" ushered by a Kenya Prisons band across Kenyatta street down to the stadium where his followers have been camping since last night (some of whom spent in the cold). Sincerely, something is going very wrong and the this (sic) brainwashing is breaking the banks. I concur with you that these are not followers of Christ but of Owuor. No prophet in the Bible sought to have people follow him but God. God was the focus and not the prophet!...
Many prosperity preachers who I have heard preach from this passage, give a short explanation of how sick these two women were (with additions here and there) and go on to tell people after a short explaination:
“It does not matter how sick you are, it does not matter how long it has been, the Lord is here is to heal you today. It does not matter how much you suffered in poverty, today is the day of your miracle. Are you ready for your miracle?” (Of course everyone is ready to receive his/her miracle)
This is not preaching – it is deception because they are not Jesus Christ, are they?
These preachers go on to paste themselves in the place of Christ.
In this passage we have the most remarkable and glorious work of Christ. We are not doubting the power of Christ and of God to heal. Neither are we doubting the prevalence of diseases in this world. Christ is at work in a world debilitated by sin. Sicknesses and diseases affect people and live many hopeless. There are millions of diseases on earth. The Lord graciously has helped man to be able to discover medicine for many of these diseases and still there are others that are incurable. But having treated one disease does not mean that you cannot contract another. Soon after another one comes. And even having treated all of them, the body is still undergoing corruption so that sooner or later everyone will come face to face with death.
We are always carrying in the body death… death is at work in us… our outer self is wasting away… we live in an earthly tent that is going to be destroyed soon… and while in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling … for while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened and as long as we are at home in the body were away from the Lord (2Cor. 4:10, 12, 16; 5:1, 2, 4, 6).
For those who are in Christ they face death with the hope of eternal life afterwards. For those without Christ, they face physical death into the eternal death – this is sad news for them. This passage is about faith in Christ as the means of obtaining His blessings. In this passage we see Christ’s power and grace, as well as the faith that have access to Christ and what He has to offer.
After the most wonderful deliverance of the man with a legion of demons and so Christ accomplished his mission in the land of Gadara, having left himself a witness among the Gentile, He went back and was received by a great multitude in Capernaum. Jairus the ruler of the synagogue had cast off all his pharisaic dignity because his lovely daughter was sick to the point of death. He fell down before Christ and begged him to accompany him and lay his hands on his daughter. He had seen Jesus recently heal the paralytic (2:1-12). The Lord agreed to go to his home and touch his daughter for her healing. However, the crowd was too much. So while struggling with the thronging crowd, something else happens. A woman who had menstrual flow for 12 years. She had heard about the Lord Jesus Christ. touches the clothes of Christ for she believed that Jesus is the solution of all her trouble. Wou! Her faith was confirmed – She was healed! Then Jesus stops to the shock of Jairus! Jairus was worried about his daughter and he may have been tempted to think that this woman could not have interrupted! He may have argued that if she had waited for 12 years, then she could await one more hour for her terribly sick daughter to be healed. And talks with her and then afterwards the report comes from Jairus’s home that the girl has died. He went on to raise her from the death to the shock of the hired mourners.
What lessons can we learn from this passage?
1.     The misery of sin
In this passage we come face to face with a very strange ailment and a sudden death. We all have seeds of death in our system from the day we were conceived until when we will die or when Christ will come[1]. Death could come slowly as you grow in age or sudden in a sickness or an accident. When Adam fell into sin he brought all his descendants into a state of sin and misery. In this state there is suffering even after we have been redeemed, even after we have been saved there is suffering. For we await the absolute deliverance from this state with the coming of Christ to take us to His eternal glory. But as long as in this body, we bear the brunt of the consequence of Adamic sin. We have to bear with pain, sickness, poverty, lack, suffering and ultimately death if the Lord comes afterwards.
Here is a woman sick for 12 years. Here is a 12 year old girl full of life and energy, whose life had suddenly been cut short by a sudden disease. I would only request that you do not attach much significance to the number of years the woman suffered (except that she was sick for 12 years, we must not put more significance to it) or the 12 years of age of the little girl… all we can say, as the bible says, is that she was 12 years old.
Let us consider the condition of this woman:
Here is a woman who has lived with this terrible condition for 12 years. Mark, tells us that she had gone to every hospital she knew. She has gone to every one hospital that she has been referred but it had all been the same result – no cure for her. She had consulted every physician every doctor but the same result – no cure for her. She was drained of all the money that she had. Therefore, we are dealing with a case of a woman who was contending with:
1)     Physical weakness: This is the consequence of sin. May I ask this very respectfully: If the ladies have the struggles they have for a few days, how about for a month, for a year, for twelve years? This woman lived with constant weakness. She must have been son determined milling with the crowd with all the pushing and shoving in order to reach the Lord.
2)     Poverty: Her desperation had caused her to spend all she had but she was getting worse. She had nothing left, she had spent everything.
3)     Embarrassment: She was suffering in silence; it appears, because of the stigma. She could not dare to share with everyone or with anyone what problem she had. Men could despise her. Women could ridicule her or gossip her. She lived in constant shame. And therefore silence so that she was trembling when the Lord asked who touched Him. she knew she would be exposed!
4)     Barrenness: This condition left her with the terrible condition of inability to bear children. Her family – her family line could not be propagated and culture could not understand inability to bear children because everyone was expected to bear children. This meant that,
5)     No marriage: she could not be married because the Jewish laws did not even allow man to approach a woman physically while in this condition. She must have been a very lonely woman. This is the misery of sin.
6)     Ritually unclean: this was the worst in the sense that the Jewish law could not allow her to worship, and yet it was not her fault. The reason was because these laws attached so much significance to the blood. One could not eat meat with blood. Only by the shedding of blood could one find forgiveness of sin and so blood was considered sacred. She was without God and without men. She was desperate. Thankfully she went to the Lord who is a present help in times of trouble. She went to him with the faith that if only I touch His robes I will be healed.
She had this faith, as imperfect as it was (filled with mysticism) that if she could only touch the robes of Christ, then she could be healed and she was! This is because all that is needed is a faith as little as mustard seed. The pain disappeared in flush. The strength was regained immediately. The blood flow ceased! The disease was gone, gone forever because of the power of Christ. Immediately the Lord turned to find out what had happened. “Who touched me?” He wanted to know? Everyone is pressing hard on you, Lord. How can ask you ask who touched you?” Peter answered, (according to Luke). Was Jesus limited in knowledge at this point? No, because being God, He is omniscient. He knew everything! So why is it that He asked this question. He wanted to restore this faithful woman to wholeness of body and spiritual.  He had the same lesson for the woman as for Jairus, because he must have been worried thinking that the Lord was ‘wasting time’, “Do not fear, only believe.” This is our lesson for us today.
“Who touched my garments?”  Jesus knew what he was talking about! So the woman came out and just like Jairus, also fell on her knees before the Lord. There is no question that every knee shall bow before Jesus and declare that He is Lord. Jesus did not prohibit her from falling before Him in worship because He is God and He wanted them to know that He is God. Apart from the physical healing, her faith was strengthened so that it is directed upon the Person of Christ rather than His clothes. Then Jesus gave her the freedom to go ‘into peace’. This means that He gave her wholeness that cannot be obtained from any physician. She entered into a new life of wholeness, both physically and spiritually[2]. No one else can give this peace, neither men nor angels because only Jesus has brought reconciliation with God. She had found mercy and peace and grace of God all in one package in meeting with the Prince of Peace. This Prince is here to save whoever will fall before Him and implore Him for salvation will be sent into the same peace.
On the other hand the 12 year-old girl died. And the report came, “Your girl is dead! Do not trouble the teacher!” But Jesus was unmoved – He encouraged Jairus to listen to Him rather than his servants. Jairus was encouraged to continue in His faith and not fear. “Do not fear, only believe.” 
2.     The faith needed to enjoy the blessings of Christ
In both cases we witness faith of Jairus and faith of the woman. Both had to “JUST BELIEVE.” Those who thronged around Jesus with all sorts of problems were many. But how many benefited by being around Jesus? Only those who had faith. Jesus had eternal life and physical wholeness to offer everyone. But only a few benefited. Jairus came to Jesus by faith and he was satisfied. The sick woman touched Christ by faith and was healed. While many came with curiosity, only two came with faith, by faith. They both had a deep sense of their needs. They both came to Jesus to receive from Him, blessings and blessings in abundantly for He came full of grace and truth. The message is the same for us, “Do not fear, only believe.” 
How is their faith drawn?
1)     Jairus: He personally went to Jesus. He did not send his servants. He did not care about his pharisaic dignity. He did not go by night like Nicodemus, he went to Christ by day and in public. He did not care what people said, all he cared was to get the attention of God. He implored Christ earnestly. He begged Him for he desperately needed nothing else but His power. He needed divine intervention that only Christ can offer. Faith focuses on Christ for who He is. Faith is unequivocally directed to the Lord Jesus and no one else. It only sees Christ. It only begs Christ. It is not faith that which is directed to Christ and to something else. Because Jesus plus (something) is nothing. It must be Jesus plus nothing that produces something that is eternal.
2)     Sick Woman: She went to Jesus despite all the trouble, all the weakness, all the stigma of being in public, all the poverty (which must have been obvious by now), all the ritual uncleanness – she was not supposed to go near people for she could render them unclean. Yet she went to Christ. She was sure that all she needed is the power of Christ. All she needed in spite of the prolonged ailment is just touching with her little finger the robe of Christ and the problem that no physician could heal will be removed. When it became clear that the Lord had to know who touched Him, she volunteered herself, overcoming her fear and trembling. Overcoming the embarrassment and potential stigma and telling the Lord the whole truth. “Do not fear, only believe.” 
3.     The power of Christ over sickness and death
Reading this story and comparing the two incidences one can’t help to marvel at the power of Christ over sickness and death. Here is a woman who has gone to every known doctor, every known hospital. She has spent all the money on medication. She has exhausted her medical cover. She is getting worse and worse so that she can’t even work or do anything. But thankfully there is only one hope remaining. To look for Christ to look upon Christ. Praise the Lord that Christ does not need any money. He does not need anything so that when she exhausted everything was the right time for Him to heal her.
Yes she went to him. She went full of faith and confidence that the Lord will do it.  Mark records that no sooner had she touched the hem that she was healed: “And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease” (v.29) there was no waste of time, no drama. But the powerful flow of power from Christ into the body of this woman was instant and completely effective. The outworking of this is only God who knows but the result of this amazing work is evident to all.
We read of a well to do man, whose daughter fell sick and her health deteriorated so quickly, that she had not time to take her to the doctor. Yes, he had the means to take her to the best doctors but he could not because the diseases could not wait for twelve years like that of the woman. Her daughter’s health got from bad to worse and led to the worst within hours. She died within a short period. He was helpless regardless of his wealth. Thankfully, he knew that the great Physician was near – for He is a present help in times of trouble for those who call upon Him. Jairus went for Him and healing was granted without money, without favour.
We read that when the Lord was told of the severe sickness of the girl, He turned to go and heal her. When the report of her the demise of the girl came, He was unmoved and continued on for He knew that it is not death to die when you are next to Him. When He met the mourners, He asked them very casually “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” To Him death was just like taking a nap! He was very well aware of the fact that He is the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in Him, though he die yet shall live and everyone who lives and believes in Him shall never die (John 11:25-26). All Christ needed to do was hold the little hand of the little girl and tell her softly, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
After that we read, And immediately the girl got up and began walking The Word Immediately that Mark uses is not an idle word. It is the inspired word of God. Because we believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture, then it at least tells us that the power of Christ was so sure that there was not lapse of time between the command and the miracle. These miracles were signs to authenticate the message and proof that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God. This is what John tells us, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)
“Do not fear, only believe.” Who doubts the power of Christ? Then such a man is yet to meet Him. Because without any scene. The girl was up and playful, walking about! It was as if she was only sleeping and had been woken up. But even then, a twelve year old doesn’t wake up to immediately play.  This girl rose from death and walked about! This was the most amazing thing on earth.
The power of Christ is evident in these remarkable incidences. And for this reason He charged them to shut up their mouths over the matter. Surely a testimony of the girl who had been dead could have led many to salvation. Surely, she could be a preacher! Surely, many would have been drawn to faith by her new life! It is not true. So I do not know where testimonies come from, except they that they are meant to boost the profile of the preacher who is claiming to perform miracles. But the question is, if our Master, Jesus Christ did not encourage it, what makes us think that those who do to the contrary are following Christ as their Master?
Application
v  We need faith to live: You need to have faith to be a partaker of the blessings of God. Salvation is the greatest blessing there is. You need faith to be saved. Faith is gift of God’s grace to a sinner. Beg the Lord for faith to believe in His Son. The evidence that we are exercising faith to live is that we repent of our sins. The evidence that you have faith is repentance.
v  We need to live by faith. How do we live by faith? Faith that we have will soon get encouragement from the Lord when we exercise it. We do not exercise faith by making claims to the blessings of God. We excise faith by trusting and depending on Christ to fulfill His promises. Prayer in accordance to the will of God is prayer based upon the promises of God. How about when we do not have clear promise? Walking by faith means submitting to His will at all times, even times of trouble for He works out all things (even those that are meant for our evil) He works them all out for our good.
v  A genuine faith has to be tested. Faith is tested to find out whether it is genuine: Jairus faith had to be tested. It was tested when Jesus stopped to heal the sick woman. His faith was tested when the servants came to report the death of the girl. It was also tempted when the professional mourners ridiculed Jesus. His faith was tested when Jesus requested him to follow him to the room with the dead girl. It was also tested when he was instructed not to tell anyone.
v  We need our faith encouraged. When we pray and the Lord answers our prayers like Jairus, then our faith is built up. Sometimes our faith is so weak and so we should constantly pray that the Lord may increase our faith. Jairus’s faith needed encouragement. The Lord encouraged his faith by responding to his distress call without any hesitation. His faith was encouraged when the Lord told Him, “Do not fear, only believe.” (v.36). His faith was encouraged when the girl was raised from the dead. This faith in Christ was revived to the point of receiving healing not just for his daughter, but for his soul. The woman’s faith was encouraged by the healing. Her faith was encouraged by the words of Christ, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go into peace, and be healed of your disease.



[1] Steve Wilmshurst, A Ransom for Many, Welwyn commentary series, EP, p. 102
[2] Sinclair Ferguson, p. 74

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