Do Not Be Afraid; Only Believe (Mark 5:21-43)


“Do not be afraid; only believe.”   Simple words in a short sentence by Jesus.  Easy to say but hard to do.   


In the context, Jesus was approached by Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue.  His daughter was very sick to the point of death and the synagogue leader desperately clung to hope that she could be healed. Though her health had seriously deteriorated and nothing up to this point had worked, Jairus had faith that Jesus could and would heal her.  So, Jesus followed him home.   

Along the way, a multitude crowded Jesus and a seriously ill woman sought to get through the throng.  Despite the fact she suffered at the hands of many doctors and though she remained sick over twelve years with no relief, she continued to push her way through the masses, believing that Jesus could heal her.  

The woman didn't demand Jesus' undivided attention.  She didn't expect that Jesus would have to stop what He was doing, turn to her and say somthing to her and perform an act of healing.  Her faith was so strong that she felt that if she could just touch the busy Master's clothing, she would be healed at that moment and He could go on His way not having to bother with her at all otherwise.   

Finally, she did and finally she was.  She felt it; she knew it and inexplicably Jesus turned and asked who touched Him.  
"Who touched you?" His disciples were shocked by the question.  Everybody is touching you!  Look at the crowd around you!   

"Yes, but this touch is different," the Master seemed to indicate.  He felt power had flowed from Him to another.  A touch of faith was different than the jostling and reaching of the crowd.   

Anxiously, the woman revealed herself.  Was she in trouble?  Why would Jesus bother with her?  He could have just allowed the healing and kept on going but, no, He stopped and for a nameless, faceless member of the crowd who now had everyone's attention, most especially the Lord's.   And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” 

Was it just for her that He stopped and aknowledged this healing?  Or was it because Jairus was about to get his faith shook to the core and needed some encouragement? Emboldened and encouraged by the healing of a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years with no relief, despite the intervention of many doctors, Jairus continued home with Jesus and the crowd still following.  

Then the unspeakable happened, someone was coming from his house with news that no father wishes to hear.  "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 

Jesus didn't give any time for Jairus to react.  "Do not be afraid; only believe," He said.  Telling everyone else to stay where they were, Jesus followed Jairus into his home with Peter, James and John.  One didn't have to enter the home to hear what was going on inside.  Profound sadness and despair filled the air surrounding the home of the ruler of the synagogue.   

The Master sought to comfort the mourners who were there.  “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping," He said.  Ridicule was their response and for that insult and demonstration of unbelief, Jesus had them sent out.  

He entered where the twelve year old girl was with both her mom and dad and the three disciples.   “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  With these words, immediately, the girl got up and walked!  Jesus then commanded them to give her something to eat.   

Isn't this the way it always is when we are called not to be afraid but to believe?   The world around us mocks that faith.  "It doesn't happen that way," they reason; "it's superstition, a crutch for weaklings."  Yet it is the call of God in times of desperation for it is often not until we are desperate that we are ready to receive from God.  Far easier is it to phone a friend, to call on a parent or to figure it out on our own.  When times are good, God is nowhere to be found, not because He has left us but because we have drifted from Him.   

Are you hearing the call of God not to be afraid but to believe?  Don't let unbelievers mock your faith.  Trust in God.  Whatever the outcome, He is there for you and you have His undivided attention once you sense His presence (that was there all of the time) and call upon Him in faith.   

Does this mean that Jesus always heals? Well, yes and no.  First the no. Jesus doesn't always heal the way we expect and in the time we expect.  Some pray fervently for a godly person to be healed only to see that person die anyway.  Other times God heals miraculously.   

Secondly, the yes.  God always heals His own.  You might say, "Now wait a minute.  You just said that God doesn't always heal!  Now you are saying the opposite!"  No, you misunderstand me.  God always heal His own since "Absent from the body is present with the Lord."  In the presence of God, there is final and complete healing.  So, yes, God always does heal His own but He reserves the right to heal them here on Earth or there in Heaven.  So, don't be afraid; only believe.  

I pray that your faith has been lifted.  Remember, we worship the same God with the same healing powers today that He had back then.  Call to God, He's been calling to you.  Don't be afraid; only believe.  


NKJV: Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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