The past 3 days the titles of my devotionals have been: “Just Believe”, “Just Ignore Them” and “Just Get up”. They all were based on Mark 5:21-43. Then, ironically, the sermon at my church this weekend was based on Luke 8:40-56, which is the exact same story being related by another disciple of Jesus.
The specific passage for the “Just Believe” story was Mark 5:36 (NET) where Jesus said: “‘Do not be afraid; just believe.’” A man named Jairus, who was influential at the synagogue, had stepped outside of his strict religious comfort zone and came to Jesus asking for a miracle. He wanted Jesus to go back to his home with him because his 12 year old daughter was very sick – near death. Jesus agreed and they were off. But along the way, someone came to Jairus and told him his daughter was already dead so there was no need to bother Jesus. You can imagine his distress and grief.
However, you need to know at this point that as they had headed to Jairus’ home, probably in haste, the large group of people that had been crowding Jesus was suddenly stopped in their tracks. Jesus was asking who in that crushing crowd had touched His clothing? His disciples were shocked because so many people were in the crowd that they did not think it possible to know which person He could be referring to as the crowd pressed into Him. But He would not move on until He found out who it was because He had felt healing power leave Himself. A woman that had touched the hem of His garment finally told her story and confessed that it was she that touched Him and that she had been healed. He then praised her faith. So, can you imagine being that very concerned father having to wait around while Jesus questioned people and the time it took for the woman to finally come forward, then telling her story? I have to believe he probably was not feeling very engaged in the joy that the woman, and possibly the entire crowd, was feeling at that time, especially when he got the word that it was too late, that his daughter had died. But Jesus was not deterred, He simply told Jairus that he should not be concerned that he just needed to keep believing.
The comments made by the author of my devotional book (Chris Tiegreen) made these comments: Jesus “completely ignores the circumstances.” “…fear is at war against our faith.” “…fear wars against our trust.” and “We can fear, or we can believe.” Jesus did not want Jairus to take his eyes off the miracle he wanted because of fear or lack of trust – He just wanted him to continue to believe.
The next day my devotional titled “Just Ignore Them” moved on in this story to their arrival at Jairus’ home, where it was already filled with people crying and wailing in grief. Mark 5:39 (CEV) says: “Then Jesus went inside and said to them, ‘Why are you crying and carrying on like this? The child isn’t dead. She is just asleep.’” What did the people do then? Stop and rejoice and praise God? Not hardly! They stopped the wailing all right, but then they began laughing at Him. But Jesus did not shrug His shoulders and slink away, He just ignored them and sent everyone out of the home except for the child’s parents and three of His disciples.
When we are needing strong faith to believe God for something, we do not need to have doubters and skeptics around us – telling us how it would be great if it happened, but the likelihood is doubtful or impossible – maybe even laughing at us and our faith. Chris Tiegreen’s comments here were: “Don’t be intimidated. The laughing has no impact on the truth of Jesus’ power. Just as He ignored the report from Jairus’ men (v 36), He ignores the ridicule of an unbelieving crowd. We should, too. Faith knows things they don’t know. God’s reality is higher than human expectations – always. Raise your expectations to reflect His reality.”
Then the third devotional titled “Just Get Up” continues on with the story. After the doubters were sent away, Jesus took those five people with Him into the little girl’s room then simply reaches for her hand. The Aramaic translation of what He then speaks to her is “‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’” (Mark 5:41b AMP). We are told that she immediately got up and started walking around and he told her parents to give her something to eat. Just like that, it was done and life was moving on.
Chris Tiegreen says this: “We face a lot of distractions in life. We have the negative reports of those who think every situation is a hopeless one. With Jesus, no situation is hopeless…Let the wailers wallow in disaster, if they must. We need to tune them out and listen to the gentle voice of our God.”
Pastor Tim Ross that preached this weekend said this – and these two quotes are not going to be exact quotes, but close:
“There were a lot of people that wanted to be around Jesus, but few of them that wanted to fully interact with Him.”
My personal take on that comment is that there were a lot of people around Jesus because they were attracted by His “celebrity” – they wanted to see the show, so to speak. They were not really there to learn from his life-giving words and live the life He was teaching about.
“Don’t always seek to press into God, just seek to touch Him. The press was moving Him, but the touch is what stopped Him. The deliberate touch made the difference.”
And again, my personal take on that comment is that many in the large crowd were gathered around Jesus pressing in, probably trying to get near enough that they could then boast about how near they had gotten to this celebrity. But some of them did not truly want to receive the touch of God. But, the woman that had been very ill for 12 years and considered by society to be “unclean”, had spent all she had on doctors and had only gotten worse; however, she risked being chastised, pushing through that crowd, believing that if she could only touch His garment she would be healed. That simple, deliberate touch of the fringe on Jesus’ robe changed her life forever.
Mark 3:9-10 (ERV): “And He told His disciples to have a small boat stand ready for Him because of the many people, so that they would not crowd Him; for He had healed many, and as a result all who had diseases pressed around Him to touch Him.”
Mark 5:24 (AMP) tells about when Jairus came asking for His help: “And Jesus went with him; and a large crowd followed Him and pressed in around Him [from all sides].”
Luke 5:1 (TLB): “One day as he was preaching on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the Word of God.”
Now let’s review the story mentioned above from Mark 8:40-45 (RSV): “Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Ja′irus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and falling at Jesus’ feet he besought him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As he went, the people pressed round him. And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, ‘Who was it that touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!’
The lesson seems to be that it is not necessary for us to be anxious and constantly press into Jesus, we simply just need to seek and reach out for a touch.
I believe that every single day we need to live our lives doing these things – just believe, just ignore the doubters and just get up. We need to be going about our lives, seeking just a touch from Jesus – allowing Him to simply reach out His hand to us and guide our lives.
[All emphasis is mine]
Written by Karran Martin – June 19, 2022