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  • Writer's pictureLou Hernández

19-11-23 - BE NOT AFRAID - ONLY BELIEVE - Mark 5: 21-43






Mark is a tell-it-like-it-is Gospel that is heavily weighted toward Jesus’ miracles rather than his teaching. It focuses on what happens when people encounter Christ and how lives are immediately changed. The writer uses the word ‘immediately’ 41 times which is noteworthy when it appears only 19 times elsewhere in the New Testament. When a man is commanded to extend a withered hand, it is immediately restored. When a paralytic is commanded to walk, he immediately stands. When demons are commanded to leave, they immediately go. And when disease is commanded to end, it immediately leaves.

Among the things this suggests is that an encounter with Jesus is intended for response.

Many years back, I was seated at a table with Justin Trudeau. This was long before his marriage and long before any prominence in the Liberal party. With me were a number of colleagues, all female. True to his upbringing, he was engaging and charming, his good looks undeniable. And enthralled by these, the woman at the table were captivated.

They were in the presence of a Trudeau and because of that, their behavior was significantly different. When he spoke, they listened. When he quipped, they laughed and when he grew serious, they zoned in.

Though I’m certain their reactions would be different today, then they were greatly impressed. At the time, they were in the presence of someone with a measure of fame, yet the encounter nothing more than a story to tell but nothing that changed lives.

Not so with Jesus. When people encountered Him, the words most commonly heard were but despite that, their experience did not bring large numbers to faith. Instead, people more amazed than devoted, more intrigued than transformed. But as Scripture tell us, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be transformed – 2 Corinthians 3:18 states, We are being transformed into Christ’s likeness while Romans 8:29 informs God predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. It's for this reason, Mark repeatedly stresses that as believers, we are to encounter Jesus and follow. “Follow” appearing 17 times in Mark.

So what does it look like to encounter and follow a transforming Christ?


When Jesus arrived in Capernaum, He’s just come from a confrontation with a demon possessed man and that, along with other miracles, brought the crowds. It was a popularity movement but popularity for all the right reasons. They wanted to be around Jesus but among those were some like a desperate woman and a desperate man who needed far more than a curious look. Their lives had insurmountable problems and so they came with intentionality, with expectation and with great need. Those who came this way with great awareness of their need, discovered a Jesus others did not. Jesus not present to impress the intrigued, but present to impact the invested – those who come to follow Him.

Which begs the question, how do you and I come this morning? Do we come with intentionality? Do we come with expectation, believing we will meet God? Do we come with faith that we will hear from God, that His word is a living, speaking Word?

Coming to Him, humbling ourselves, where we set aside what others may think. As we see with Jairus. Mark tells us he was a ruler of the synagogue. That meant day after day he rubbed shoulders with the rabbis and scribes who spent much of their time preoccupied with traditions and regulations, determining which behaviours were lawful and which were not. But outward appearance, they appeared so holy but underneath their hearts were anything but.

Being this close, Jairus knew their hypocrisy better than most. He heard their curiosity when Jesus’ name was first spoken, then watched as curiosity turn to contempt. But as their anger grew, Jairus’ curiosity also grew – not away from Him but drawing closer. The evidence before him, compelling. This Jesus doing the unthinkable, the unimaginable and with that, his wonderings, Was it possible, could Jesus be who He said? Such thoughts were costly.

Any allegiance with Jesus would cost him his job, his relationships, his community of faith. But none of that mattered. His, was life and death need. His daughter was dying and no need was greater than that which meant getting to Jesus and casting his need before Him.

I think the reason many of us don’t experience a deep encounter with Jesus is because in the day by day, we minimize our need of Him. Important – yes but the foundation of our life? Not so much.

Oh, most of us know it should be that way. Many of us want it that way but we get busy. There are the soccer games to attend, the businesses to run, the families to raise, the careers to get established. All worthy. All good. But pursuits that if we’re not careful, take center place as we schedule Him in alongside everything else.

But here’s the point – knowing Jesus will never be accomplished by casual encounter. It is not accomplished by surrounding ourselves with the right songs and the right words. It’s not drawn in by osmosis by being in the right church or being overcome by some special experience.

Knowing Jesus is accomplished by coming with intentionality of having an encounter with Him. Coming to worship. Coming to bow. Coming to hear Him speak and coming to listen. On His terms, not mine. Coming to, then living in obedience as He calls me to live.

All because He came to us with forgiving love long before we even thought of coming to Him.

When we undervalue that love we are left with an insipid, cost free faith. We accept Christ and then live as we’ve always lived, doing as we’ve always done. Our values the same. Our actions the same. Our entertainment the same. But as we are beginning to see, living for Christ is increasingly putting us at odds with the world’s belief system - our faith being put to the test in ways we’ve never known. And in this living as Rom 12:2 reminds, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will or as 1 Jn 2:15 warns, Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

A second thing we learn about faith from Jairus is that:


As a father Jairus would have struggled mightily as he left the bedside of his dying daughter. I’m certain he wanted to be there to stroke his daughter’s hair, to hold a cup close to her lips, to moisten the washcloth for her forehead. He needed to be there speaking peace when the pain got too much and speaking hope when her struggles for breath became excruciatingly hard.

But he also would have known that staying put was postponing the inevitable. He had to go because no answers remained where he was. So too, many of us need to go to a different place than where we’ve settled into - treating God as the important but not the imperative. Doing good things just not imperative things. We attend church. We serve in worship. We shake hands as greeters. We hope something said will inspire. We hope something sung will transform. But in the end, leaving not much different than when we came. God making it clear, He’s not after our contribution, He’s after our heart. He wants our worship not our activity. Jesus waiting to be given first place in our lives because until our heart is fully given, pursued as our imperative, we just circle around faith without knowing what life altering faith really is.

But when God has our heart, everything changes. Our perception of church is different. Our hunger for God’s word is different. Our passions are different. A changed heart means obedience – in the priorities we follow, in the choices we make, in the values we live by.

Jairus understood that the important things to which his life was devoted as good as they were, couldn’t answer the deepest needs of his life. And so he did the only thing he could do, he did the imperative and went to Jesus. And, Seeing Him, he fell at His feet. Mark notes that everyone he references in chapter 5 as those whose lives were transformed by Jesus, all bowed before Jesus. Why? Because He IS LORD. LORD over the demons. LORD over disease. LORD over death. Why? Because HE is the author of LIFE!

Jesus - my little daughter. You alone have the answer I seek. Jarius bowing in worship, bowing with a heart that readily admits – no resource in me.

That is hard in a world that’s been taught to develop all the resources within. Navigating life by our strength, adding on the ‘God piece’ just to make certain all bases are covered. Not Lordship but partnership. But Jairus reminds, there’s no life in that. There’s only robotic activity and slow, life robbing death. The truth is there will come times when life makes that painfully clear. Times when we can’t muster up triumphant songs and rousing worship. Times when answers don’t come. Faith testing times.

I wish I could tell you differently but Scripture tells us, “In this life you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It also states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Pet 5:8

What that tells me is this, we need a faith strong enough to hold when storms are fierce and waves are strong. A faith more than flannel graph stories and pot luck fellowship. Faith that holds to Christ and bows to Christ. Faith in an ongoing encounter with Christ. It is not about a time we look back on, sacredly remembering when we gave our heart to Jesus. As vitally important as that is, it was no more than a first step into a relationship with Him as a Christ follower not a Christ chooser.

Let me clear – to be a Christ follower, we must first be a Christ decider. That is, there must be a time in our life when we have asked Jesus to forgive our sins, giving our life to Him. You weren’t born into it by nature of your family or absorbed into it by a great week of camp or uplifting worship at church. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men whereby you must be saved. Acts 4:12

BUT as Christians we are called to live in a day by day relationship with the living Christ.


Sometimes faith doesn’t make sense. We step out in faith and just when our feet hit solid ground, a tsunami hits. That must have been how Jairus felt as he came to Jesus, ‘There’s a reason for hope – Jesus is coming. Everything’s going to be all right. And then an unwelcome and incredibly disturbing interruption, “Who touched me?”

Matthew describes the scene as so crowded that the multitude was pressing in as if to crush Him. So the disciples logically answered, “Jesus, who touched You? Everyone is touching you.”

Jarius’ thoughts would have been far less logical. “Jesus, are you kidding me? Who cares who touched You? Don’t stop here! Don’t stop now! We don’t have time for this. She’s been like this for 12 years. What are two more day? 2 days more days when she’ll still be here.

My daughter doesn’t have more 2 days. She may not even have more 2 hours. Jesus, your actions don’t fit what I need You to do. They don’t fit who I need You to be.”

And in those few seconds, Jairus’ faith is placed into a pressure cooker. But there she was, a woman who had an issue of blood 12 years. :26 tells us that her condition hadn’t affected her life, it had stolen it. Taken her money, taken her friendships, taken her place in society.

She had seen the best the medical world could offer – the herbalists, the therapists, the health food advocates, the mind over matter gurus. But all had come up empty. She had filled the pockets of the healers as she emptied her own.

According to Lev 15:19-27, a woman with an issue of blood was regarded as unclean and anything she touched was unclean. For 12 years she was regarded as an outcast. She knew loneliness. She knew how it felt to be cast out. And her solution, If I just touch His garments. The answer - one touch away. One touch in a place she should not have been - among the crowd.

Being there was high risk. The penalties harsh but after 12 years of pain, 12 years of grief, 12 years of loneliness, she was long past caring. After 12 years of hopelessness, she was going to get to Jesus. She had to get to Christ

But she wasn’t a fool. She would do her best to remain unnoticed, to act surreptitiously. She wasn’t worthy to take His time, wasn’t worthy to stop Him from dealing with everyone else. What right did she have to come? And in the light of what was at stake with Jairus and his daughter, her needs, as bad as they were, were far down the scale.

In fairness to the woman, she had no intention of stopping Jesus, no intention of interrupting what Jairus needed, she just wanted to slip in and slip out. She just wanted to touch. And she had – bending down where others would not see, touching in a way no one else would care.

And at that touch, 12 years of pain and grief were swept away. She was healed! For a split second – an avalanche of joy and a millisecond later her plan of anonymity exploding in her face; His question, Who touched me? seemingly done to expose. Yet as she, fearing and trembling, will soon learn, His question not to expose but to take her faith to a deeper place. He needed her to know - it wasn’t a touch of some clothes that had made her well, not some religious act. She was well because she had come to Him in faith.

But as the woman’s faith was taking triumphant flight, Jairus’ faith must have felt like a balloon disappearing from sight as he heard the words of those who came to him, While He was speaking (to her) messengers came to say ‘Your daughter is dead: Why trouble the Master any further?’ :35 It’s too late. Don’t bother Jesus!

Moments before – great hope – especially in seeing what Jesus had just done and then ??

Ever been there? You step out in faith being given evidence of Christ’s power. You’ve seen how someone else’ broken life has been made whole, how their situation was changed. With these, your reason for hope, your reason to believe. And then a voice comes in, The curtain’s closed. It’s over, your daughter is dead!

In that place of deepest despair, Jesus says, Be not afraid, only believe. Jesus is saying, “Jairus, don’t believe what you hear, :35. Don’t believe what you think you know :38-39. Don’t believe what you see :40. Trust Me!” One more observation and that’s to do with this word, ‘believe’. Here the tense is KEEP ON believing. As Jesus is saying, Daughter your 12 years of praying is done – go in peace, you are well – Jarius’ life is not well as he hears, your daughter of 12 is dead. When answers haven’t come and the time for answers is past. Jairus, keep on believing.

Trust even when you do not see. Trust even when you don’t understand. Trust though you’ve asked again and again. Because trust is about HIM which brings me to the last thing I want to note about faith and that is,


Her faith doesn’t escape His attention. It isn’t ignored. Isn’t dismissed. The same God that says there’s not a tear you’ve shed that hasn’t been noted, is the same God that says He loves you with an everlasting love.

Jesus is pleased with our faith, our faith not going unnoticed; not going unrewarded. Heb 11:6 Our answers may not come as we like or when we like but His answers always framed in His love. Romans 8 tells me that nothing can separate me from God’s love which is in Jesus – not angels, not demons, not events, not circumstances and not people. Nothing.

In this case, He makes His love known in His question, “Who touched me?” Jesus isn’t asking because He doesn’t know the answer. When God asked, “Adam where are you?”, He wasn’t losing in some game of hide and seek because He couldn’t see past a fig leaf. Don’t you think He knew where Adam was? When He asked, Who told you, you were naked? God wasn’t scratching His head trying to determine how some snake gummed up His plan. Don’t you think He recognized Satan’s handiwork?

God knew. The question wasn’t for God, it was for Adam and for us. Adam where are you, when you aren’t where you need to be?

So too when Christ asks, Who touched me? He’s not engaged in detection, He’s engaged in declaration – directing her to see who she is to Him and how she’s seen by Him. His question designed to do something far beyond the physical healing she’s already been given. If being healed was the issue, she could have gone on her way with no more being done. But it wasn’t the issue.

What she didn’t know and needed to know was that Jesus saw her. What she didn’t know and needed to know was that Jesus knew her. What she didn’t know and needed to know was that Jesus loved her. For that, Jesus needed to turn the private into the public. This woman who had heard voices that said: unworthy, unloved, unclaimed, unwanted. And instead Jesus letting her know: your healing comes from Me; your worth is given in Me; your name DAUGHTER is given by Me. I Jesus, give you back the life that’s been taken. I Jesus, give you peace with God.

Which brings us back to Jairus whose faith has reason to be as dead as the funeral scene that wailed around them. Let’s read, They began laughing at Jesus. 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. :40-42

These words, completely astounded are more literally, overcome with ecstasy. Out of their mind ecstatic. This morning, this is where Jesus is wanting to take you – instead of the faith you’ve come to accept.

This morning coming and allowing Him to give you with a fresh encounter with Him. For some it may be a touch of healing in a place long hidden. It could be physical. It could be emotional. But know this, it will be spiritual – a place where God wants to make you entirely new

Only come and see Him afresh.

Be not afraid, only believe.

Prayer: For all the sick who need a miracle in their lives, our beloved brothers and sisters. Humbly asking Father Eternal God, you cover them with your arms giving healing to their bodies they are your adopted children Father, we know that you love us all equally since we are part of your people chosen by adoption, your love sustains us in this life that is going through critical moments with wars and devastation in the wonderful world that you gave us to care for. Beloved Father, listen to our plea, enlighten the leaders of the Countries with your grace and wisdom to find peace between brothers, protect the children who do not know why this is happening, give everyone peace in their hearts and give them strength so that their faith is not broken and they could believe that you are in control of everything. We ask this in the name of your son Jesus Christ our Lord of Lords and King of Kings. AMEN!

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