MS WEEK #17: Choosing Faith Or Fear

Brad Libolt speaking on Mark 5:21-43. He spoke of  Jesus power’ over sickness and death as Jesus healed a woman and brought a girl back to life, and how we should respond to Jesus’ power with faith rather than fear.

  • I have been to a few funerals in my life. The first funeral I remember going to was of my best friend’s dad. He was killed in a dirt bike accident on the farm. It was unexpected, leaving his wife and three kids behind.
  • Just this last year I went to my great uncle’s funeral. This one was expected, he died of old age. Many of you have probably experienced death in some way as well and have been to some funerals. Death is inevitable. Someday all of us will meet it face to face. It’s part of the human story, part of the curse of sin. We will all die. Sometimes it is unexpected like my friend’s dad, and other times it is expected after a long and full life like my great uncle, but no matter how it comes it is going to come.
  • Death is an uncontrollable force. Just like the storm from a couple weeks ago and the army of demons from last week, death is a force that no human can control. We have no power over it. We have medicine that can prolong it, precautions to avoid it at times, but in the end, we cannot prevent it.
  • But just like Jesus displayed his power over the uncontrollable forces of nature and the uncontrollable forces of evil, today we will see him display his power over the uncontrollable force of death.
  • Let’s take a look at the story.

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

  • We pick up right where we left off last week, Jesus was begged to leave the land of the Gerasenes, so he does, and now he is back on the other side of the sea. Wherever he goes, someone or many people immediately rush up to him. This time it is a great crowd, gathering around him. And in this crowd is a man named Jairus who was a ruler of the synagogue. He comes up to Jesus, falls on his feet, and begs him to come heal his little daughter who is dying. He asks Jesus to lay his hands on her so that she might live. So Jesus goes with him.

24 And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

  • As Jesus is going to heal this man’s daughter, the great crowd is following him, pressing in really close. And a woman who had been sick for twelve years was there too. This woman has had this disease for twelve years, had gone to many physicians, and spent every last penny she had trying to heal this disease. But nothing worked. She tried everything for twelve years and it only got worse. Imagine how desperate this woman would have been. She had tried everything, and now didn’t have the means to try anything else. But there’s Jesus. She had heard what people were saying about Jesus and how he had healed many, so in a last ditch effort, a desperate attempt to be healed, she reaches out and touched his garment. She is immediately healed.
  • Every attempt that physicians made to heal this woman failed. Every one of them. They didn’t even partially work, the woman just got worse and worse. And yet all it took was touching the clothes on Jesus to heal her.
  • Jesus has the power to heal disease. He did back then, and he does today. Years ago, our youth pastor Dave had cancer got rid of it, and then after a few years of being clean it came back. This cancer is deadly. The percentage of people who get it is small, and the percentage of people who survive it is even smaller. Dave survived it once, and his chances of surviving it again were slim.
  • There were a few options for treatment for Dave. He needed a bone marrow transplant, and could get it from a few different sources. Some were more likely to work than others, and so he made a decision he thought was best. He started going through chemo to prepare for the transplant, and before the procedure took place, the doctors ran tests and found no signs of cancer. It was gone. Before the procedure even took place. Dave was healed, and this was truly a miracle. Doctors can’t explain it medically or scientifically, but Dave knows exactly what happened. Jesus has the power to heal disease.
  • Now does Jesus heal all diseases all the time? No, he does not. Whether or not Jesus chooses to heal someone is completely up to him, not us. But if and when he does choose to heal, he has the power to do so.

30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

  • When the woman touches Jesus’ garment and is healed, Jesus notices power leave him. He stops and asked who touched him. His disciples think he’s crazy, because the crowd is so great that everyone is touching him.
  • But then the woman came forward in fear and trembling and fell down before Jesus and told him what she did. And he responds that her faith made her well, and that she can go in peace healed of her disease.
  • Now remember two weeks ago, in the story of the storm, Jesus contrasted fear and faith. The people in the boat with him were afraid because they lacked faith. This woman is afraid, but not because she lacked faith. Jesus affirms she has faith, but she is afraid because the power of Jesus was real and terrifying. This is likely the same fear that the people in the town with the man with the legion of demons had. They see the power of Jesus and are afraid because they have never seen anything like it. The woman had tried for twelve years to be healed of her disease, and nothing worked. Then she touches Jesus’ clothes and all of a sudden she is healed. That would be pretty terrifying to anyone.
  • But here’s the thing. In each of these stories about the power of Jesus, people are afraid. And they are always afraid after they see Jesus’ power. This is ironic, because the affect Jesus’ power is supposed to have on us is the opposite. Rather than fearing Jesus, we should worship him and have faith in him. Jesus’ power should not frighten us, but comfort us. Jesus has power over uncontrollable forces. Over nature, evil, sickness, and we will see in a minute death. When face to face with these forces, we either can do nothing or we can have faith that Jesus’ power is greater.
  • The power Jesus has should lead to faith, not fear. His power should give us great comfort, because we know that he can control the things we can’t.
    So what are you afraid of? What uncontrollable things in your life do you fear? Jesus’ power is greater than the power of whatever that thing is. Jesus has control over what you don’t. So have faith in him, find comfort knowing that he is for you, not against you.

35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

  • While this is all happening, people come from Jairus’ house and inform him that his daughter has died. He might as well just leave Jesus alone, because she is gone and there is nothing he can do. But Jesus hears this, and tells him not to fear, but believe. Again the contrast between fear and faith, fear and belief.
  • So Jesus goes to the house where the daughter is, has an odd interaction where he tells everyone that the girl is just sleeping, not actually dead, and people laugh at him. Then he takes the girl by the hand and tells her to rise. And immediately she gets up and starts walking around.
  • Jesus raises this little girl from the dead. Everyone sees she is dead, something that cannot be reversed. Yet Jesus reverses it. He brings her back to life. Jesus controls another uncontrollable force. He displays his power that is greater than even death.
    But how can Jesus control death? How does he have the power to raise people from the dead?
  • Jesus has power over nature because he created it. He has power over evil because he let it overpower him and then defeated it. He has power over sickness because he becomes sickness on the cross. And he has power over death because he himself defeats death. Jesus can raise others from the dead, because after his death he himself would be raised from the dead.
  • So like I said in the beginning, death is inevitable. We will all die. The question becomes, do we believe that Jesus will raise us from the dead like he raised himself from the dead and like he raised this girl from the dead? Not to keep on living this life, but to live an eternal life in right relationship with God.
  • I told you guys about a couple funerals I have been to. What was amazing about both of these men is that they were Christians. They believed that Jesus had the power to defeat evil and sin and the power to raise them from the dead. So while it was sad to say goodbye to both of these people, each memorial service was more of a celebration of life than a mourning of death. While people were sad to have a friend or family member gone, they rejoiced knowing that their friend or family member will be raised again with Christ and live eternally with their creator.
  • So do you have that confidence? Do you believe that Jesus has power over death?When you think about death, are you afraid, or do you believe? Do you have faith that death is not the end?
  • Last year I went to my grandpa’s funeral. Unlike the funerals of the other two people, I’m not sure if my grandpa knew Jesus. I hope that he did, and that I will get to see him someday when I am raised with Christ after I am dead, but I cannot be certain. My prayer is that at all of our funerals, people will celebrate our life knowing that we will be raised from the dead with Christ and live in right relationship with God forever.
  • My prayer is that we would believe, and not be afraid. That we would have faith in the power of Jesus who himself defeated death, to someday when we die raise us from the dead as well, to spend eternity with him in right relationship with the father, worshipping him as we were created to do.

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