The greatest risk is believing, because belief then should become our actions and faith will become our fact!
When we think about believing we try to oversimplify. Believing is actually difficult for all of us psychologically. We must see it, feel it or touch to believe it. However, there are so many things in science that we believe in that we do not see. We sure breathe a lot of oxygen but we see none of it. The story of Jairus’ daughter and the woman who had the issue of blood takes believing to a whole other level.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Mark 5:21-43)
1. As a kid where did you place your most amount of faith and belief? Why?
2. What do Jairus’s actions tell us about his beliefs concerning Jesus?
3. Jairus’s actions showed his great faith in Jesus. Think about your actions—especially how you react in times of crisis or disappointment. What do your actions tell others about your belief in Jesus and His power?
4. Why do you think the woman approached Jesus from behind? What might she have feared?
5. What did Jesus say had healed this woman?
6. What do you think Jesus’ words meant to her?
7. If you had been in Jairus’s place, how would you have reacted to Jesus’ words challenging you to believe and not be afraid? Do you find these instructions reassuring or frustrating? Why?
8. What exactly do you think Jesus wanted Jairus to believe?
9. What stands out to you the most in the account of Jesus’ healing, verses 40-43?
10. What specific things do we learn about Jesus’ character and His work in our lives from this story?
On several occasions in Jairus’ story, his faith in Jesus could have crumbled. What are some things today that threaten or discourage your faith in God’s ability and desire to meet your needs?
How can we follow Jesus’ example of unhurried ministry that prioritizes making time for people? What might we have to sacrifice to do so?
5:21. Jesus and His disciples crossed back across Lake Galilee, probably returning to Capernaum, Jesus’ base of ministry. Note the contrast between two different shores of the lake. Crowds were gathered on both shores. One group urged Jesus to leave, while the other welcomed Him.
5:22-24. Jairus was a synagogue ruler. This was a respected and honored position in the community. He did not serve as a priest, but it was his responsibility to take care of the administrative details of the synagogue. This included making arrangements for public worship and inviting visitors to teach. Despite his high position, Jairus cast his dignity aside and bowed at the feet of Jesus. His twelve-year-old daughter was dying. Note Jairus’s description of her as his little daughter. A twelve-year-old is not “little.” However, this shows how precious she was to him. Jairus knew that if Jesus would come and touch his daughter, she would live. Jesus needed no convincing. He went with Jairus, and the crowds followed.
5:25-26. Among the people in the crowd was a woman who had had a hemorrhage for 12 years. Mark included vivid details regarding the woman’s suffering. She had endured much at the hands of many physicians. During those years of suffering, she had gone from doctor to doctor trying their remedies until finally she had spent all her assets. Luke, a doctor himself, commented regarding the woman that she “could not be healed by anyone” (Luke 8:43). Mark stated that not only was she not helped at all, but rather she had grown worse. Various doctors and treatments had been tried to no avail. Nothing had helped this woman. Her condition was deteriorating. Jesus’ power, however, extends beyond human limitations.
5:27. The woman had heard reports about Jesus’ ability to heal and believed He could help her. She pushed her way through the crowd and came up behind Him. Perhaps her ceremonial uncleanness caused her to approach Jesus in such a manner. Perhaps she was too embarrassed to come to Him and acknowledge the nature of her illness before a crowd. Since she did not want to attract attention, she touched lightly the fringe of His cloak, or outer garment (see Matt. 9:20; Luke 8:44).
5:28-29. The woman’s faith seemed to be mixed with superstition. She apparently shared the idea, common in her day, that the power of a person extended to articles of clothing the person wore or carried (see Mark 6:56; Acts 19:11-12) or to the person’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16). The climax that has been building since verse 25 is finally reached with touched. The woman fulfilled her intent to reach out and touch Jesus. His robe is clarified in Matt. 9:20 and Luke 8:44 as “the tassel.” Many Jews wore tassels on the corners of their outer garments (Num. 15:38-39; Deut. 22:12).
5:30-33. Jesus rewarded the woman’s faith by healing her immediately. The bleeding stopped, and she felt a wholeness in her body assuring her that she was healed. Jesus knew immediately that healing energy had gone out of Him for someone’s benefit. He asked, “Who touched My garments?” (Mark 5:30). Because of the huge crowd pressing all about Jesus, the question seemed pointless to the disciples (v. 31). Jesus, however, kept looking around to find who had touched Him (v. 32). The woman realized “that she had not escaped notice”(Luke 8:47). Trembling with fear, she came forward, fell down before Jesus, and “told Him the whole truth” (Mark 5:33). She acted with courage. Jesus rewarded the woman graciously, calling her “daughter” to show His loving concern.
5:34. Jesus pronounced God’s peace on this woman (v. 34). The biblical concept of peace is that of wholeness and well-being. Such peace does not indicate absence of war or other problems. Peace that comes as God’s gift can be experienced even in the midst of conflict. God’s gift of peace comes only when we have entered into a right relationship with Him. Only here did Jesus address someone as daughter. It reassured the trembling woman. Your faith has made you well recalls the healing of the paralytic in 2:5 and anticipates 10:52. Jesus used the word affliction (v. 29) to assure the woman that her cure was permanent.
5:35-36. We now return to Jairus and his daughter. Even while Jesus was speaking to the woman He had just healed, men came up to Jairus and told him his daughter had died. Jesus, who knew what he was about to do, comforted and encouraged Jairus. He told him to just believe. The Greek denotes continued action. Jesus was asking Jairus for more than a single act of belief. He was telling him to have a continuous, steady, ongoing faith—a “no-matter-what” type of faith, the type all Christians are called to exhibit.
5:37. Jesus took with Him the inner circle of the twelve apostles to see Jairus’s daughter. These three—Peter, John, and James—are also mentioned at the Transfiguration and in Gethsemane. These were important events that revealed something of Jesus’ nature.
5:38. When Jesus arrived upon the scene, the professional mourners were already there. Mourning customs among the Jews included wailers, flute players, the rending of clothes, and the tearing of hair. Even the poorest person was required to hire at least one mourner and two flute players. Since Jairus was a synagogue ruler, there were probably several of these mourners on the scene when Jesus arrived.
5:39. The word asleep can sometimes mean “dead.” Jesus used the same word of Lazarus in John 11. We often speak euphemistically of death as “sleep,” “resting,” or “passing on.” These words point to a deeper spiritual meaning—that death is not permanent. Jesus, however, in His statement to those gathered, was clearly saying that the girl was asleep.
5:40. The mourners’ laughter at this point seems out of place. If they were truly grieving and expressing concern for the family, we would expect them to be angry or outraged over the hurt being done to the family. But they laughed. It was the laugh of unbelief, and this unbelief kept them from witnessing Jesus’ great miracle. He ordered them all out of the house. Jesus never performed for the unbelieving crowds. The only ones who would witness this miracle were three of His disciples, Jairus, and Jairus’s wife.
5:41. In another blow to the purity laws, Jesus took the dead girl’s hand. He was not concerned with ritual defilement. With his touch, all that defiles is gone. Mark’s Gospel is the only one that uses these Aramaic words. This is probably because this account of Jesus’ miracle came directly to Mark from the apostle Peter. Peter was impressed with Jesus’ tenderness, His lack of concern about the purity laws, and His power.
5:42-43. Jesus, who had already proved His authority over disease and demons, now proved His authority over death. Immediately, the girl’s life was restored. Jesus told those gathered not to tell anyone. He was again in Jewish territory where His messiahship could be easily misconstrued and misunderstood. He told the girl’s parents to give her something to eat. Jesus is concerned about the physical dimension of our lives.