AGCC Sun. a.m. 2/20/00
TEXT: Mark 5:21-43
INTRO:God has no preference for certain people over other people, He loves all equally. Skin color does not matter, educational background does not matter, ethnic origin does not matter, and even our sinfulness doesn't affect God's love or willingness to touch people's lives.
Like many societies in many ages there were those in Jesus' day that felt that certain people should not warrant God's touch on their lives, that they were unacceptable people. Ironically, it was often the religious leaders that helped propagate this attitude.
As was so often the case however, Jesus demonstrated that His love and His touch were for anyone who came with faith … this is the good news for today also, no one is rejected by God that comes by faith, no one - but it is necessary to come by faith!
So often the world wants proof first, then they will believe, but this is not the way God's kingdom works.
ILLUS:Most of us, in our desire for meaningful faith, seem to be saying to God: "Show me, and I'll believe!" This approach never works. God has made it very clear to us, in the life and teaching of his Son Jesus, that the process must be reversed. He is saying to us: "Believe in me, and I'll show you." -- John Powell, S.J., in Through Seasons of the Heart. Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 2.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches that even the most rejected person is welcomed to be touched by Christ if they come by faith. God does not reject anyone with faith … He welcomes the "clean" and the "unclean" who will come in faith.
I. UNITED IN CRISIS 5:21-28
A. The Clean 5:21-24
1. A good moral and godly man named Jairus found himself in desperate need, his 12 year old daughter was dying.
a. Jairus was a synagogue leader
(1. This meant being highly respected.
(2. A man respected by his own peers.
(3. Someone with a proven record.
(4. Someone who knew God's Word.
(5. A spiritual leader.
b. His 12 year old daughter was ill and dying.
(1. Apparently nothing could be done for her by the doctors of that time.
(2. No doubt he had exhausted all other means of helping her.
(3. He must have sought man and God for help … but nothing had changed.
2. Though many of the synagogue rulers had found Jesus a threat, and like so many of the Pharisees they had rejected Christ's claims, Jairus' need was so great that he was open to anything that could help his daughter.
3. The Jewish image of God that he knew offered no hope, he was open to Jesus being God's son and helping him, he had no other answer!
ILLUS:The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is. -- Patrick Morley in The Seasons of a Man's Life. Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 3.
4. Jairus was not concerned about his standing at the synagogue, only his daughter's life!
a. This is evident by the fact that when he gets to Jesus through the crowd "he fell at His feet" … a position of humility and need.
b. Jairus pleads with Jesus for help.
c. He is not thinking about his position at the synagogue, or how it might look for the local synagogue ruler to be seeking Jesus out, only how he can save his daughter.
5. When we are really in need it won't matter how much money we have, how important we are, how our reputation may be impacted … we are only concerned about our need.
a. God is always open to a desperate heart that comes to Him by faith!
b. Painful events can strip away our pride … and this opens the door to faith.
B. The Unclean 5:25-28
1. Besides a desperate Synagogue ruler there is another desperate person who shows up for help from Jesus … an "unclean" woman with an issue of blood.
a. Ironically, she has suffered 12 years with no help, the same number of years as the age of Jairus' daughter.
b. No doctor or treatment had helped this woman either.
2. Since she was bleeding she was considered "unclean" by Jewish law.
a. This meant she could not attend the local Synagogue where Jarius was the leader - he would have had to stop her from entering to worship.
b. It may be that at one time she belonged to this synagogue and had Jairus as her "pastor" … and yet for 12 years she has not been accepted at the worship services.
c. This also meant not being invited over to family and friends houses for meals or special events because her presence or touch would make others ceremoniously unclean.
d. She must have been lonely and discouraged, not even her own family could touch her without becoming "unclean".
3. She is desperate like Jairus … and while Jesus is on his way to Jairus' house to heal his daughter this unclean woman interrupts their travels! (see 5:24 - Jesus was already on his way to Jairus' house … and now is stopped by this woman.)
a. Imagine how Jairus must have felt about Jesus stopping to deal with this "unclean" woman while his daughter is slowly slipping away!
b. Perhaps Jairus even knew this woman from days before she was "unclean," her family may have attended his synagogue.
c. Jairus however does not protest … perhaps the fact that they both were desperate allowed him to have had pity on her also!
d. Though one was "clean" and the other "unclean" they both had desperate needs and needed Christ … they were united in crisis!
ILLUS:God uses broken things. Broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever. -- Vance Havner, Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 4.
4. One had a suffering 12 year old, the other had suffered for 12 years … but they both needed Christ and Christ would not ignore either one of them.
a. To Jesus Jairus wasn't more important because he was a good man, a synagogue ruler … he got Jesus' attention because he came in need and with faith.
b. To Jesus the "unclean" woman wasn't less important because she was religiously unclean … she got Jesus' attention because she came in need and with faith too!
5. Since she was "unclean" she tried to sneak up to Jesus as he was walking to go to Jairus' house … she felt she would be healed if she could only touch the hem of Jesus' garment … an act however that could not be done with public notice since it would make Jesus "unclean" also!
a. Her decision to sneak up on Jesus was to prevent public recognition of her uncleanness and her desire to keep Jesus from being made "unclean" publicly.
b. She wanted no attention, just Jesus' touch to heal her.
c. No doubt she was afraid of being found out or recognized, but the heavy crowd would give her the opportunity to touch Jesus without others even knowing … she just knew that one touch from Christ was all she needed to be made whole again.
II. UNITED IN CHRIST 5:29-43
A. The Unclean 5:29-34
1. She is healed immediately upon touching Jesus' garment!
a. Her suffering and her "uncleanness" would now be gone!
b. This meant not only good health, but the possibilities of being allowed back into the synagogue and her family and friend's life.
2. Jesus however does not just let it pass … He stops and asks who touched Him!
a. The question surprises the disciples, how could Jesus ask "who touched me" when there was a crowd pressing around Him the whole time He was walking toward Jarius' house?
b. What was Jesus doing, didn't He know this would expose the "unclean" woman publically? EXACTLY! … this was precisely why He was doing this, to make her "CLEANSING" public so there could be no question of her acceptance back at the synagogue and in society … both were present after all, the synagogue ruler and the friends and family members of the area in this crowd!
c. Jesus wanted to be sure to let the entire crowd know she was healed, not to embarrass her but to set her free from being ostracized!
3. This stopping on the way to Jarius' house could have been nerve wracking for Jairus .. every moment counted for his daughter … no doubt he was anxious to get Jesus moving again toward his home, yet he does not protest, why?
a. like her, he too was a desperate man, no longer could he look upon her in judgment as an "unclean" woman, he himself was in great need, he may have understood her desperation since he too was desperate.
b. under other circumstances he might have denounced her touching Jesus and making Him "unclean" by Jewish law … but he was in her shoes now too - desperate for help!
ILLUS:Instead of putting others in their place, try putting yourself in their place. - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 3073.
4. Jesus had brought hope and life back to this woman, and even acceptance publicly.
a. At first she fell at His feet fearful (remember Jairus had also fallen at Jesus' feet at first!) and admitted she had touched Him, but instead of being scolded Jesus commends her for her faith and publicly declares her healed so she can be accepted back into the synagogue and her family and friends without fear of rejection anymore.
b. What a release must have come into her soul as well as her body, Jesus had restored her physically and spiritually … and even socially!
5. This touch of God's love was so unlike the religious leaders … and so was the results so unlike the religious leaders … instead of fear she found faith, instead of guilt and rejection she found healing and freedom!
ILLUS:I read recently of a teaching hospital that found one of its young resident students had a marvelous effect on children. They responded to him with delight. They would do things for him and yield to his ministrations in a way that they wouldn't do for any other person on the staff. They assigned a nurse to discover what the secret of this young resident was. It wasn't until the second week when she was on night turn that she found out the secret. It was simply this: Every night on his last round he would kiss, and hug, and tuck in every one of the children. It was in that act of compassion, you see, in that act of sympathy, that he made his contact. And it's this--this sympathy, this compassion that belongs to Jesus--that reaches out to us. It's this about him that charms us more than anything else. -- Bruce W. Thielemann, "Telltale Tears," Preaching Today, Tape 40.
6. She is free, now what about Jairus' daughter?
B. The Clean 5:35-43
1. While Jesus was still speaking (to the woman probably) some men from Jairus' house show up and tell Jairus, "Your daughter is dead, why bother the teacher any more?"
a. This stopping to touch the "unclean" woman cost the time needed to get to Jairus' daughter … she dies!
b. What might Jairus been thinking, "if only this unclean woman had not sidetracked Jesus we might have made it on time!"
c. Notice the attitude in the friend's comments … "why bother the teacher any more?" - it would seem that they were embarrassed by Jairus' coming to Jesus, and in fact won't recognize Jesus as nothing more than just a "teacher".
2. Notice the text says, "Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, 'don't be afraid; just believe.'"
a. These were no friends of his, Jesus ignores their cold approach and instead turns to the broken-hearted father Jairus.
b. Jesus encourages Jairus to yet believe and all would be well.
c. The "unclean" woman did not cost him his daughter's life!!
3. It is never too late for Jesus!
a. Jesus had the crowds stop following Him to Jairus' home … He was not about to put on a "show" for them.
b. When He arrives at Jairus' house he tells all the professionally paid mourners that Jairus' daughter is not really dead, she was just "asleep".
(1. These so called "sympahtizers" then LAUGH at Jesus … hardly the kind of folks you want around at a time like this …
(2. So Jesus gets rid of all of them, and only allows His disciples and Jairus and his wife in the room with the 12 year old girl.
4. Notice Jesus touches the dead girl by taking her by the hand … Jairus was not concerned that Jesus was ceremoniously unclean from his touch earlier with the unclean woman … He was glad to have Jesus in his house, and by his daughter's side, Christ was his only hope!
a. All the pain and suffering had made a different synagogue ruler out of him, he wasn't so concerned anymore over all the correct religious rules, he was humbly concerned about others!
b. Sometimes all the painful events in life have a way of making us better!
ILLUS:When they first manufactured golf balls, they made the covers smooth. Then it was discovered that after a ball had been roughed up one could get more distance out of it. So they started manufacturing them with dimpled covers. So it is with life; it takes some rough spots in your life to make you go your farthest. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 12.
5. Jesus simply says to the little 12 year old girl, "little girl, I say to you, get up!" and she comes back to life immediately!
a. Though everyone in the room had faith they are still astonished! (5:42)
b. Jesus instructs them not to tell anyone (Yeah, right - how do you keep a dead 12 year coming back to life a secret!!!) - Jesus wasn't interested in spectators, he wanted changed lives.
c. Jesus very practically tells the parents to get going and feed their daughter, give her something to eat! Miracles don't exempt us from normal responsibilities, in fact, they make them necessary!
6. Christ met the need of the "clean" and of the "unclean" - and both received the touch of God they needed.
a. How about you? It doesn't matter what category you fall into, Christ will meet your need if you come in faith!
b. Jesus didn't discriminate in His ministry, He only looked for faith and need!
CONCLUSION: No one was excluded from Christ's love and ministry. Jesus touched the acceptable and unacceptable in society. God looks for faith, not social standing. No matter who you are, what you are, or where you come from - you can come to Christ and you will be accepted, just come as you are with faith.