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Lord of Life, Destroyer of Death - Part 2

Tom Pennington • Mark 5:21-43

  • 2009-10-18 PM
  • The Memoirs of Peter
  • Sermons


Well, I invite you to turn with me to Mark's gospel as we continue our study in Mark 5, and really, an amazing series of events that unfold in the life of Christ in a relatively short period of time.

Most of us really know what it's like to truly be without hope. There are those in our congregation tonight who know that there is no hope of a physical recovery for them. They have cancer or some disease that short of a miracle will soon bring death. They are without hope on a physical level. For the rest of us, this sort of experience of hopelessness has come in the life of someone else; someone that we know or knew and loved. The doctors did all they could, but in the end, it wasn't enough, and the day came when the doctors stopped talking about that person getting better, and they begin to talk about making them as comfortable as possible. And we sat in that hospital or that doctor's office, and in a moment's time all hope for that person's continued life in this world was gone. The situation was as we say "hopeless". It was a hopeless case.

Mark 5 is a chapter of hopeless cases. The people know it. The doctors know it. Everyone around them in their lives knows it. But remarkably each of these characters, in turn, find that there is still reason for them to hope although their situation is by every human sense hopeless. And their hope has a name. It's Jesus of Nazareth, because they encounter Him. Let me read for you Mark 5 begin reading in verse 21.

When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side; a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him fell up at His fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live." And He went off with him and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.

A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse—after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, "Who touched Me?" And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came 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 affliction."

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?" But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, "Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep." They began laughing at Him. 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. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat."

In this passage we meet two people whose circumstances were completely hopeless. One has a dying body, the other a dying daughter. And both of them have exhausted all of their options until, at the very same moment in time, their lives collide with Jesus. The primary focus of these verses I've read to you is clearly Jesus. When you put it in the context of Mark's gospel, remember that just the day before Jesus' enemies had come to their own conclusions about who He was. They concluded that either He was mentally unstable, or He was a fraud, actually possessed by the devil himself. In response to those accusations Jesus' Heavenly Father ordered and structured Jesus' life over the next twenty-four hours to make His own statement about who Jesus really is. You remember in the stilling of the storm we see Jesus power over the creation, over nature. We see Him as Creator and Sustainer.

The next morning, in that encounter with the demoniac of Gederah, God shows us Jesus' power over Satan and a whole army of demons and one of the demons, the lead demon you remember, cries out the true identity of Jesus Christ. He says, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God…." Later that same day Jesus arranged, or God I should say arranged in Jesus' life two more encounters, the ones we've just read together to show just exactly who Jesus really was. Again, this is the day after those accusations had come against Jesus. These two stories that I've read for you that are intermingled as one, specifically show us Jesus' power over both disease and death. They show us that Jesus our Lord is the Lord of life and the Lord of death, the Destroyer of death.

Now, the setting for these two stories comes in verse 21. "When Jesus … crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; … so He stayed by the seashore." This is the cove where He taught the parables the previous day. He had left this cove, gone to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee at Gederah where He encountered the demoniacs. And there you remember after healing the demoniac He was asked by the people of that region to leave. Jesus got in the boat with the disciples sailed back across back to the area near Capernaum, and that's where He is when these incidents occur.

Now, when you come to the stories themselves, really, you're looking at two desperate acts of faith because in that crowd gathered there on that seashore among the antagonistic and the curious are two very desperate people. People that are there on a mission. The first was an influential leader. Verse 22 tells us it was one of the synagogue officials named Jairus. He wasn't a priest, but he was lay leader probably a successful business man in the community, but he held the highest ranking religious/social position in town. It was his job to head up the synagogue, to lead the board of elders of the local synagogue, there in Capernaum. He was responsible to arrange the various elements of the worship service that was held weekly as well as many other important duties there. And this man comes running up to Jesus as He's there by the seashore, falls down before Him, and verse 23 says, "Implored … [Jesus] earnestly saying, 'My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.'"

Luke adds that she was his only daughter. She was about twelve years old. It's clear this man had come to have faith in Christ's ability to heal his daughter because he throws caution to the wind. He throws his reputation to the wind, and he comes and falls down in front of Christ and asks Jesus to intervene. And he says, "If you come, Jesus, she will get well and live." Verse 24, Jesus consents and leaves.

Now, as they're walking through the crowd from the seashore they're back to the town of Capernaum nearby back to where his home would have been they are interrupted by a second desperate person. And this is an anonymous woman. We're never told her name. She apparently wasn't known in the community unlike Jairus. She's just a woman with a desperate situation. Verse 24 says a large crowd was following Him pressing in on Him, and there was a woman there who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. This woman has a chronic hemorrhage. Likely her problem was a chronic and constant uterine bleeding. Most likely it was caused either by a fibroid tumor or by uterine cancer; we can't be sure. But whether this woman's condition was chronic or terminal we do know this; Luke tells us it was incurable. Not that she hadn't tried; she had tried.

Verse 26 said she had tried and endured much at the hands of the doctors. She had spent everything she had but in spite of all of that her condition was deteriorating but that wasn't the worst of it. Her medical condition created a huge problem for her be because it cut across every area of her life. This woman by Old Testament law, by Leviticus, had been declared continually unclean. That meant she was an outcast from the people of God. It meant she could never go to the temple. She could never go to the synagogue. Everything she sat on, everything she touched was unclean. Everything she touched became unclean until the evening, and everyone she touched until they had been purified. So, she was effectively cut off from all social interaction. Perhaps even with her own family. It's even conceivable that at this point this woman her husband has divorced her because she would have been a pariah in that culture. This was a very desperate woman.

Verse 27 says that after hearing about Jesus she comes up with a plan. She comes up in the crush of the crowd behind Jesus, pushing her way through the pressing crowd until she's right behind Him, and Matthew and Luke both tell us that she reached out and grabbed one of the fringes that was supposed to be on a Hebrew male's garment; one of those tassels on the outer garment that was to remind them of their commitment to the law of God. By doing that He wouldn't even know that she had touched Him. It was dangling free and loose and there would be no way for Him to really know what had happened. It was her last desperate chance. Why did she do it? Verse 28, "For she thought if I touch his garments I will get well."

Two very desperate people. Jairus had a weak faith driven by desperation. The woman's faith was mixed with superstition and misperceptions, but in both cases, Jesus lets us see that it is genuine faith. They both had been brought to Jesus by personal need. They had a willingness to deny themselves to come to Christ. Jairus was risking everything. Remember that just the day before the Pharisaical leaders from Jerusalem had said that Jesus was possessed by the devil himself. Any hope Jairus had of advancement, any hope he had of growing in the likes of the people down in Jerusalem absolutely went away when he came and publicly threw himself in front of Jesus.

The woman is risking public recognition: discovery of her condition, public disgrace and humiliation, especially when Jesus calls her out from the crowd as He does as we'll see in a moment. So, they both are willing to risk everything, and they have confidence in Christ alone. They have both exhausted all of their resources, and they now come to Jesus as beggars. Falling before Him as it were putting their confidence in Christ alone as the only One able to help them.

Now, certainly a sub theme of these two remarkable accounts is the faith of these two desperate people, but the real center of these two accounts is Jesus. And here He is put on display as the sovereign Lord of life. First of all, we learn that He is sovereign over disease. We see this in the healing of this anonymous woman who has come up behind Jesus. Remember now, for twelve years she has tried everything for the same amount of time that little girl has been alive she's tried everything she can to be healed, and nothing has worked. She's exhausted every other resource, and now her hope is in Christ alone.

She pushes her way through the crowd and touches that tassel hanging on his outer garment; verse 29 says, "Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up. And she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction." That very moment the uterine bleeding that had plagued her for twelve long years and had made her unclean, stopped. Both at its source and where it flowed. It left her body like it had never been a reality. And she was aware somehow in her body that she had been healed. We're not told how. Perhaps there had for many years been a chronic intense pain that had accompanied her bleeding and condition. The very moment she touched Jesus' robe perhaps that pain was gone. We don't know. Regardless, somehow in her body it was immediately clear that she had been healed. But she wasn't the only one who was aware of what had happened to her. Verse 30 says, "Immediately Jesus perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth turned around in the crowd and said, 'Who touched My garments?'"

Now, when you think about what Jesus said there's a couple of legitimate possibilities. One of them is that Jesus really didn't know anything except that the power some power had left Him. In other words, He is at this point locked in His human nature. He is simply aware that somehow something has gone forth from Him and He turns and legitimately asks, who is it. And He looks around trying to see who will respond. That is one possibility some commentators take that view. I personally lean toward the second view which is that Jesus knew exactly who had done it and what had happened. And the reason I lean toward this is because I don't believe there's any record that Jesus' healing power worked automatically. His power didn't leave Him to heal without an express act of His will.

Moreover, as we'll see in a moment, I believe this woman came to genuine faith in Christ which means that it was no accident. It was part of God's sovereign purpose from eternity past. So, I believe that Jesus here was probably directed by the Spirit to use His divine omniscience. Remember, Jesus didn't go through life using all His divine attributes. He set aside the independent use of His exercise of His attributes when He came into the world. But from time to time the Spirit would prompt Him to use those attributes including His omniscience, and I believe this is probably one of those times.

I believe Jesus knew what had happened. He perceived that power had gone forth. He knew how it had happened. Someone touched My garments. Remember now lots of people were touching His garments. He also knew who … notice the text says, "He turned …" verse 32 "… He looked around to see the woman who had done this." Luke adds that when Jesus asked who touched Me all the people around were denying it. Wasn't me. It wasn't me. Jesus knew that there was one desperate woman who had touched His garment in faith. I like what John MacArthur says about this. He says, "Jesus knows the difference between the person who approaches Him out of mere religious curiosity or a sense of adventure and the one who comes to Him in desperation and genuine faith." Jesus knows, and He knew then.

Verse 31, "And His disciples said to Him, 'You see the crowd pressing in on You and You say who touched Me?'" Luke tells us that it was Peter who spoke up for the rest of the disciples as he usually did. He had foot in mouth disease quite often. The disciples here are so dense. They're just like us because they think He's talking literally. Jesus of course knew that many people were crushing and touching Him, but He was talking about one specifically.

By the way, I think that this points out that Jesus was utilizing some ability of His beyond His human nature because it would have been silly for a human being in that crowd to have said, "someone touched me". Verse 32 says, "And He looked around to see the woman who had done this." It's possible that Mark here refers to the woman because the reader already knows she is a woman. It's equally possible that Jesus knew it was a woman, and He knew who she was, and He knew why she had touched Him. And I believe that's true. So why then, if that's true, would Jesus single this woman out? Even risking humiliating her in front of the crowd? Why would He insist that she come forward and risk that humiliation?

Well, I think there are two reasons. I think one because He wanted to correct the object of her faith. At this point her faith was impersonal. She wanted something. Jesus wants us, wants her to see interaction with Him is interaction with some One. Jesus wants to make it very personal. Her faith was impersonal. It was in the power resident within Jesus. But Jesus wants her to know that it was her faith in Him, not the superstitious touching of His clothes, that was the means of her being healed.

But I think there's another reason that Jesus calls her out of the crowd. He turns and doesn't let her just slip away. I think it's because He wanted to call for a public confession. This woman had tried to exercise faith in Christ quietly, with no risk, without being known. She had planned it carefully so that she could slip into the crowd and in the crush of the crowd touch Him and be healed and leave unnoticed. Jesus will have none of it. He wants her to confess her faith in Him as Romans 10 says,

"… confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

She had believed in her heart. Jesus wants her to confess her faith in Him openly. Verse 33 says, "The woman fearing and trembling aware of what had happened to her came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth." Now, why would this woman have been afraid? Well, she now knows that He has miracle working power because she's just been healed and maybe she's afraid of someone with that kind of power. She's also probably afraid because a typical first century Jewish woman would have been very uncomfortable speaking in the presence of so many men and particularly about so sensitive and personal a subject. But I think she was also afraid because the entire crowd would resent her being there.

Think about it for a moment. Because she was unclean, everyone she touched became unclean until evening. They would all know that she had rendered all of them ceremonially unclean, and for the rest of that day they were forbidden to come into physical contact with anyone else or anything that someone else might touch. She had ruined their day. Perhaps she also feared that Jesus might also resent her having rendered Him ceremonially unclean. So, she's afraid, and she's so afraid the text said she's trembling, she's shaking for fear. And she comes and falls down before Jesus, and the text says she told Him the whole truth.

Luke puts it like this: "When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice she came trembling and fell down before Him and declared in the presence of all the people …" there's the public confession of her faith in Christ "… the reason why she had touched Him and how she had been immediately healed." Notice Jesus' response to her in verse 34. "He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.'" What I want you to see in this verse is that more has happened to this woman than physical healing, much more.

She has experienced spiritual salvation as well. How do we know that? Well, notice how he begins. He calls her daughter. That's interesting in and of itself; that's the only time in all the gospels when Jesus refers to someone like this. There's no indication that this woman was younger than Jesus. So, this may very well be a declaration that this anonymous woman has come to be His spiritual child. But if that's not certain, the rest of what Jesus says is.

Notice what He says in verse 34, "Your faith has made you well." Jesus is making several things clear. She has genuine faith in Christ. It was not touching His robe that made her well, it was her faith in Him and she has experienced not only physical healing but spiritual salvation from sin as well. Because the word translated "made well" in the Greek text is "sozo". Literally translated it's "your faith has saved you". This is the normal word for "saved". It is sometimes used for physical healing, but I think when this phrase occurs like this, it means something more because this specific phrase "your faith has saved you" that exact Greek phrase occurs six other times in the gospels. It's here of this woman and in the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke. They use the same exact phrase. It's used in Mark 10 which we'll get to, of blind Bartimaeus, and in the parallel passage in Luke.

Bartimaeus, by the way, acknowledges Jesus as Messiah; you remember if you've read that story he keeps saying "Jesus Son of David. Jesus Son of David". That was his way of acknowledging that Jesus Christ was, in fact, the Messiah, the long expected One. In Luke 7 this same phrase is used of the prostitute who washed Jesus' feet with her hair. And there's no indication she was sick and needed healing. "Your faith has saved you" He said to her. And in Luke 17 ten lepers were cleansed and the Greek text used a different uses a different word; the word from which we get the word "cauterize" "to cleanse". But only the one leper who came back, only to that one did Jesus say, "Your faith has saved you."

Now, when you look at those instances of this phrase it seems clear that in all of these uses and here in Mark 5, Jesus is not telling this woman merely that her faith has healed her physical problem, rather it seems that when there's faith in Christ, the person gets more than healing. They were also spiritually rescued from their sins. This woman not only was delivered from twelve years of shame and social disgrace, but she was rescued from the penalty of her sin. Notice Jesus adds, verse 34, "go in peace". Jesus probably spoke these words in Aramaic the language of the day in which case He would have said, "shalom". May you have a state of physical and spiritual well-being. Jesus' last words to this woman assure her that her healing is not temporary, it's not like the faith healers who get you by on the moment where on a some sort of high you can seem healed, and then you go home, and a few days later you're back where you were before.

Jesus says, "be healed of your affliction". Literally "be being healthy as a pattern of life from your whip or scourge". That day Jesus rescued a nameless anonymous woman from her physical scourge and from her sin. Jesus did it for her, but He also did it for Jairus. Remember we're in the middle of the story of Jairus. And Jairus is about to need to exercise incredible faith. He also did it for us. Kent Hughes writes,

This poor woman represents humanity - all of us. We are all ill. We have spent our resources trying remedies which do not work. Christ comes to us from the cross. We need to touch Him by faith. Do not fear that He will not respond. Do not fear that you are too ignorant. Do not fear that you are too selfish. Fear only one thing: that you will let Him pass without reaching out in faith to Him.

The delay pausing to heal this woman proved to be deadly for Jairus' daughter. Jesus healed one daughter who'd been sick for twelve years, but another daughter who was twelve years old died as a result. But it was part of God's plan because along with Jairus, we are about to see that Jesus is also the sovereign over not only disease but over death. Verse 35, "While He was still speaking they came from the house of the synagogue official saying 'your daughter has died. Why trouble the teacher anymore?'" Apparently, some family friends or relatives come to find Jairus and they're not very tactful. Your daughter has died. Your little one is dead. What a tragedy; only twelve years old. But now, there is no need to have the Teacher come because if He comes you'll just end up having to care for Him out of respect for Him, and that will just make the next few hours more difficult than they're going to be anyway. Verse 36, "But Jesus overhearing what was being spoken said to the synagogue official, 'Do not be afraid any longer. Only believe.'"

Try to imagine for a moment what it would have been like if you were Jairus. You really had come to believe that this teacher whom you had heard teach in your own synagogue, whom you had witnessed cast out demons and heal many people, you'd come to believe that He really was all that He claimed in spite of all that you had heard from the leaders in Jerusalem. And now you risk everything. You risk your life. You risk your position. You risk your wealth, your reputation, your whole life. You risk it all to run find Jesus, and you find Him, and you fall down before Him and you say, Jesus come, and you can heal my daughter, and He agrees to come.

Imagine the excitement. Imagine the thrill that there's hope! My daughter may not die. And then as you're trying desperately to work your way through the crowd and the press of the crowd, the Teacher stops to help an anonymous nameless woman who may or may not have been terminally ill. You're looking at your watch if there were such a thing in the first century, wondering how long is this going to take? When can He come? Every second counts. And then He's done, and you turn to go again, and immediately, there are friends and relatives you recognize saying, "It's over. She's dead." And then Jesus says, "Do not be afraid any longer only believe."

At the moment of this man's greatest personal tragedy he receives two commands from Jesus. And they're the same commands that we ought to hear and obey in our tragedies. Both of them are in the present tense in the Greek text. One of the commands is to stop doing something the other is to keep doing something. Jesus says to this man and to us in the midst of our tragedies, "Stop being filled with fear. You don't need to be afraid. There's a plan. The Father has a plan. He has a purpose. He's in charge. It may feel like the world is crashing down and no one's in charge but God is still on His throne. And just keep on believing in Me."

Jesus says to this man, "Listen, you came here to get Me to help. You had faith in Me. Keep on believing in Me." Luke tells us that Jesus made him this promise: "And when Jesus heard this He answered him and said do not be afraid any longer. Only believe and she will be made well." She will be saved. She will be rescued. This is a call for radical faith. You know it's one thing to believe that the Teacher, that Jesus can help your terminally ill daughter. It's another thing to hold her cold dead lifeless body in your arms and believe in her sudden resurrection.

Verse 37, Jesus continues His journey. It says, "And He allowed no one to accompany him except Peter and James and John the brother of James…." Apparently at this point Jesus turns the crowd away and says they can't follow, but He commands three of the inner circle to accompany Him, the same three who would later witness the Transfiguration. Jesus wants them there as eyewitnesses so that later even as we have here they can report what they've seen. Deuteronomy 17:6 says that any matter is established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. And here are three witnesses of His disciples plus, as we'll see, the mother and father of this girl.

Verse 38, "They came to the house of the synagogue official and He saw a commotion and people loudly weeping and wailing." The commotion here isn't merely the mourning of the family and friends. Matthew tells us that the professional mourners had already come, the flute players had already arrived at Jairus' home. There was a "noisy" affair Matthew describes it as.

Now this seems odd to us because if you go into a funeral home in our world, everything is hush, quiet. You barely whisper. But it wasn't that way, and still, isn't in that part of the world because the Jews didn't embalm the bodies of those who died. Burial and all the related events that had to happen had to happen within about a twenty-four-hour period of death. So, as soon as the attending physician pronounced the person dead, the events that all surrounded the burial began immediately. That included hiring professional mourners and flute players. This was simply an expected part of the culture. The Talmud records that even a poor man was expected quote "to hire at least two flute players and one wailing woman to mourn the death of a family member". This was expected. Jairus wasn't a poor man. He was a wealthy influential member of the largest town in Galilee, and this was his one little girl. And so, undoubtedly, there were many mourners. There were many flute players. The mourners were usually women who mourned, wailing loud cries. They would accompany the bier there and in the home as the body was laid out and then as it was carried from the home to the grave they would accompany this as well.

They clapped, and they wailed loud cries often wailing out the name of the one who had died sometimes including the names of others who had died from the family before. They clapped. Of course, there would have been many friends and family there for so well known a family, and they would have all been crying and weeping normally and naturally. And then there were the flute players. The flute players were not playing quiet soothing sounds, but the point of the flute players was to play in a way that matched the moment. They were to play strident, discordant sounds meant to express the emotional shock and grief of the loss of the one you loved. So, it was anything but a comforting scene when Jesus arrives. I don't know about you, but I am personally glad to live in twenty-first century America.

Jesus, Jairus, and the three disciples arrive at the home and that's what they discover. Verse 39 says, "And entering in He said to them, 'Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died but is asleep.'" Now, don't misunderstand Jesus' words. Jesus does not mean that the child is in a coma and has not actually died. We know the child has died for several reasons. The professional mourners and the people are convinced that the child is dead. In fact, they laugh in response to Jesus' statement. Luke 8:55 says that when Jesus does eventually heal this girl her spirit returns to her body. So, she's dead.

Jesus uses this exact same language of Lazarus' condition in John 11, and then later in John 11 Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead." So, this little girl is dead. When Jesus says she's asleep, in this girl's case, and he's asleep, in Lazarus' case, Jesus simply means that death in each of those situations is not final. It's like what happens when you go to sleep. I'm going to wake them up. Verse 40, "They began laughing at Him." The Greek text has the idea of continued outbursts of laughter. The professional mourners … by the way this just illustrates how much of a business this whole mourning thing was for them. They weren't concerned about this little girl. They could turn on a dime in a moment from wailing loud cries to outrageous laughter, and it just shows their insincerity and makes the whole thing a circus.

Jesus puts them out of the house. And then Jesus, Jairus and his wife and the three disciples all enter into the girl's room where her body lies. Verse 41 explains what happened. Jesus "taking the child by the hand, He said to her, 'Talitha kum! (which translated from the Aramaic means 'Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). It's a wonderful verse. It has the feel of an eyewitness report. That's because it is. Remember Mark is writing his gospel from the remembrances of Peter. And Peter was an eyewitness to this event. He was there in the room. He saw it.

To make clear that Jesus is the One raising the girl, He takes her hand. Of course, He didn't need to do that but it shows not only that He's the one He's the one raising her but it also shows just the compassion and tenderness of Christ. You see that in these stories. And Jesus reaches out His hand, and He speaks to her in a very familiar Aramaic expression. It's the same expression that her mother had undoubtedly used often to wake her up from a good night's sleep. Literally, the expression in Aramaic is, "Little lamb arise". Or as we would say it in English, "get up little one". It's exactly the expression that was used often in a home of a mother every morning as she awoke her children.

And so, Jesus with a real touch of tenderness says, "Get up, little one". Verse 42,

Immediately the girl got up and began to walk for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And … [Jesus then gives] .. strict orders that no one should know about this and He said that something should be given her to eat.

Now, why would Jesus say don't talk about this? Obviously, everyone knew the girl had died. Everyone in town. Jairus was a well-known person. And when they see this girl they're going to clearly know that she's been raised from the dead. So, why does Jesus tell them not to talk about it? Almost certainly, Jesus is telling these parents to withhold the facts of what has happened to this child until He had left town, until He had departed so it wouldn't create the stir that it would have created if He were still in town.

Mark's last comment is such a wonderful comment on our Lord and His compassion. He raises her from the dead, and then He's concerned that this twelve-year-old girl is probably hungry. He must have known my daughter. William Hendrickson says, "One moment Jesus triumphs over death; the next moment, hunger. His power cannot be fathomed, nor His compassion measured." What a wonderful, wonderful account. But what's the point? What's the point of the story? The point of the story is primarily to tell us about Jesus. This is a statement about the Person of Jesus. It is a revelation, an unveiling of Who He is. He is Lord. He is Yahweh. He is sovereign over both disease and death. You have to put these stories in the context of the Old Testament because that's where these people lived. In the Old Testament, these are the prerogatives of God and God alone.

Deuteronomy 32 puts it like this, "See now that I, (God says), I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I put to death and … [I am the One Who gives] life. I have wounded and it is I Who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand." Notice what God said to Moses. There is only one God. That's a basic statement of monotheism. And that one God Whose Name is Yahweh is the only One Who has authority to put to death and to give life. He wounds. He alone can heal.

This is the consistent message of the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 2:6, "The Lord kills …" notice in all caps the word LORD; that's God's personal name, Yahweh, the I AM, or as we would say it, "He is". The "He is" kills "… and [He is the One Who] makes alive. He brings down to … [the grave] and He raises up." Job 5:18, "For He inflicts pain and He gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal." God takes full responsibility for these things in this world. That's the theological backdrop which these Jews in Capernaum had and against which they saw these two miracles.

In the Old Testament when healing took place, or when on a couple of occasions people were raised from the dead, there was no doubt that the prophets who did it were from God because only God had the right and authority to do those things. And in Jesus' case, Mark has already made it clear that He's not a great human prophet like Moses or Elijah or Elisha. He fits into a holy unique category. He is His own category. He is God's one and only unique Son. We see that from the very first chapter of Mark's gospel. And His raising people from the dead only punctuates that reality. He is equivalent to Yahweh of the Old Testament.

It's also a statement about Jesus' power over death. Think about the resurrections Jesus performed while He was here on earth. There were four of them. First, was this one, Jairus' daughter. In her case, she was just dead for probably less than an hour because Jairus had come down from the city to find Jesus, and they're going back to the city, and before he can get Jesus back the word comes, so she's been dead a very short period of time.

The second instance was the widow of Naim's son in that case in Luke 7. Jesus comes across the procession headed from the home out to the cemetery. He's been dead a little longer, probably within a twenty-four-hour period because again they buried quickly because they didn't embalm the body.

And then there's Lazarus. He had been dead for four days in the grave and as his own sister said by now his body's decaying and even stinks.

And then there's Jesus' own resurrection after three days. And Jesus' resurrection was unique because these other three were all restored to normal human life, and they all eventually died and stayed dead to this day. Jesus was raised in a new glorified body.

So, when you look at the resurrections connection to Jesus, it's amazing to see His power over death in all of its stages, and to bring glorification out of death. Folks, because of Who Jesus is, because He who He shows Himself to be even in this passage, you and I don't need to fear life's greatest enemy. Listen, your greatest enemy and mine is death. Because it's final as far as this life goes. It's what, as the writer of Hebrews says, we live our lives held in fear and bondage and slavery to the fear of death all our lives. We don't need to be afraid because our Lord is the Lord of life and the Lord of death. He personally conquered death.

Romans 6:9, Christ no longer is under death. Death is no longer a master over Him. Second Timothy 1:10, "Our Savior, Christ Jesus, abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." The passage I quoted in Hebrews 2, "He's freed us from the slavery of death. Death is still an enemy, but we don't have to fear it because its sting,1 Corinthians 15, is gone. We can face death with joy and confidence because the stinger of death has been removed. In fact, death is completely under the power and authority of Jesus Christ.

Look at Revelation 1. Turn there for a moment. Revelation 1. Jesus reveals Himself to the apostle John on the isle of Patmos. John, at this point, is very old. He himself is near death. And notice how Jesus reveals Himself in verse 17. John writes,

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last and the living One; and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I [now] have the keys of death and of Hades [or hell]."[ Jesus says, I have the keys.]

Folks, He is our Lord. We don't have to worry. He has personally beaten death and He has the keys of death and hell. We don't have to fear and one day He will completely abolish death itself. 1 Corinthians 15, "the last enemy that will be abolished is death." Revelation 21 describes the fact that there will be no more death. As the poet writes, "Because of Christ no longer must the mourners weep nor call departed children dead. For death is transformed into sleep and every grave becomes a bed."

There's one final implication. This passage is a call to believe in Jesus unto salvation. Both Jairus and this woman had either seen or heard about Jesus' teaching and miracles. And through very different, but very, very difficult circumstances, God had brought both of them to the end of themselves. They were absolutely hopeless apart from Jesus Christ. And what they had learned about Jesus, and what they were experiencing in their circumstances brought them to a crossroads. They could either come to Jesus and put their whole confidence, their lives, their eternities in His hands, or they could just keep trying to work it out themselves. But God prepared their hearts as Jesus had taught in the parable just the day before. He had prepared the soil of their hearts to receive the truth of who Jesus was, and both of these people responded in faith; not perfect faith, it was flawed faith to be sure, but it was genuine faith in Christ.

Maybe you're here tonight, and you've never really come to the end of yourself. You're still trying to work it out. You're still trying to do what you can to earn your way into God's favor. Maybe you're not climbing steps on your knees as I showed you a few minutes ago, but you're trying to do something to make God accept you. Listen, God's whole point is to bring you to the end of yourself where you are absolutely hopeless, and your only hope is to look up, to run as these two did to Jesus, to fall at His feet as beggars. If you'll do that tonight, Jesus will receive you just as He received these two.

Let's pray together.

Father, thank You for our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, thank You that He is the Sovereign over disease and over death; that He rules the circumstances of our lives; that He has fixed the hour of our death; that He has the keys of death and of hell.

Father, we thank You and praise You that He is our Lord, and because He is our Lord, we don't have to fear. He has beaten death. He was dead, and now He's alive. And He demonstrated what some day will happen for each of us, oh God, when He says, "little one, arise". Father, help us to live in hope of that day.

We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

The Memoirs of Peter