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LESSON 5 - THE ACT OF FAITH (MARK 5:21-43)

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: This week we have a "two-fer!" Two great stories of
healing rolled into one chapter of the book of Mark.  Let's get to
it!

I. THE CROWD

     A. Read Mark 5:21-24. Let's talk about the crowd that
     gathered and see if we can get a feel for being there. Verse
     21 tells us that it originated at the lake and v.24 tells us
     that it "pressed around [Jesus]."

          1. Why do you think it started at the lake? (Jesus had
          just got off the boat.  These people were waiting for
          Him.  He did not get the opportunity to freely walk
          around.  As soon as He landed, they tackled Him.)

          2. Have you ever been in a big crowd?

               a. What emotions can you remember? Did you like it?
               
               b. Was it a little scary?

               c. Verse 24 tells us the crowd "pressed around" 
               Jesus. Would you have been nervous to be in that
               crowd, a crowd that was pressing you from all
               sides?

               d. Was the crowd moving? How fast? (It was moving
               because we are told it "followed" Jesus, but since
               it pressed in from all sides, and Jesus was the
               center of attention, my bet is that it was moving
               at a "snail's pace.")

II. JAIRUS

     A. Jairus seems to have walked right through the crowd. How
     was that possible? (He was a very important man in town (v.22
     "synagogue ruler.") People would have gotten out of his way
     through respect, or perhaps the belief that he had an
     important message for Jesus. Perhaps some knew of his
     daughter's condition.)

     B. How would you expect a synagogue ruler to react to Jesus
     based on the stories of healing we have studied so far? (The
     local leaders have seemed to be pretty hostile. In Luke 13:14
     the synagogue ruler is "indignant" over the healing of the
     Humpback woman in "church" on Sabbath.)

          1. A synagogue ruler would have been a man of influence.
          One who might in many circumstances been able to issue a
          command to have his will done. How does Jairus approach
          Jesus?  Is there any hint of pride, power or arrogance?
          (He is on his knees. He is desperate. He is begging. He
          is submitting himself to Jesus.)

     C. In contract law, the phrase "time is of the essence"
     conveys a specific legal idea (and responsibility). It means
     the parties to the contract agree that if they do not perform
     in a timely manner, they have damaged the other party. Is time
     "of the essence" here?  Is there a timing issue here? (Yes! 
     Jairus daughter is "dying" (v.23)"

III. THE TEST OF FAITH

     A. Let's read on. Mark 5:25-32. Put yourself in father Jairus'
     place. Is the crowd still moving now? (No.)

          1. Why not? (Jesus "turned around" (v.30) and started 
          "looking around" (v.32).)

          2. All right Jairus, give me your thoughts at this 
          moment?

          3. Did the disciples think Jesus was being silly? (v.31 -
          they thought His question about "touching" was a
          ridiculous question. They were probably getting jostled
          all the time by the crowd.)

               a. If the disciples, who did not have the life of a
               daughter on the line, thought the question was
               ridiculous, can you imagine the thoughts of Jairus?

     B. Let's put you in God's place for a minute. Is there any 
     logical reason to slow down the "emergency march" to Jairus'
     house because of this woman? Are these competing emergencies?
     (No! Verse 12 says she had this condition for 12 years!  How
     would another hour or two hurt.  She was in no danger of
     dying, she was not only walking around, she was muscling her
     way through the crowd.)

          1. Let's say you are not God, but just a doctor. Who do
          you try to help first?  Even if you did not have this
          pressing time problem with Jairus' daughter, would you
          still try to help his young girl first? 

               a. What considerations would go through your mind as
               the neighborhood physician? (Consider the "dark"
               side of this. Jairus has money and influence.
               Helping him now may do you a lot of good in the
               future.  Can you imagine how grateful he will be if
               you save his daughter?  Is there anything that he
               would not do for you in the future?  In contrast,
               what can the woman do for you? Verse 26 says she
               has no money. Because she is simply listed as being
               a woman, I bet she has no influence, no status
               either.  The only "status" she has is being
               perpetually unclean! (Lev. 15)

     C. Let's read on Mark 5:33-35. If you are Jairus, do you feel
     like screaming at the woman that she just killed your
     daughter?  Let's list the kind of feelings that are going
     through your mind. (Anger, frustration, sorrow, etc.)

          1. Now that we look at this list, are these feelings 
          justified?


     D. So why did Jesus stop? If it makes no logical sense, no 
     matter how you look at it (from the dark side or the good
     side), why did He do it?  Why is He standing around "looking"
     while Jairus' daughter died? (The only way we can unravel this
     mystery is to look in more detail at the situation faced by
     the woman and by Jairus. Let's look at the woman first.)

IV. THE WOMAN

     A. Let's re-read vv. 27-30.  Was this sort of a "sneak 
     attack?"

     B. Does her "plan" violate what you would think would be "the
     normal rules" of healing?  You remember last week you were
     giving me a hard time about my belief that people were
     probably really getting healed at the Sheep Gate pool (the
     story of the invalid for 38 long years who wanted to be thrown
     in the water when the water moved -- John 5:1-7)?

          1. You did not like the idea that people could just get
          healed by jumping in the water because it sounded "fake." 
          Is it any less "fake" to just be able to touch Jesus'
          cloak?

               a. If this bothers you, somebody read Luke 6:17-19. 

               b. If you are still wondering, somebody read Acts
               5:15-16. (My view is that if God is willing to heal
               people by using Peter's shadow, using water moved
               by an angel is not beyond the realm of possibility.
               After all, for Naaman it was dirty water and no
               angels! 2 Kings 5)

     C. What would have happened if the woman had touched Jesus and
     she was not healed?

          1. Would she have touched Him again?

          2. What was her "win/loss ratio" for her various plans
          for healing before she cooked up this idea to sneak up on
          Jesus? (Verse 26 suggests she has been through all sorts
          of "healing" plans suggested to her by doctors and none
          of them worked!)

          3. With this discouraging track record, if her "touch 
          plan" had not worked, do you think it likely she would
          have given up? (Yes. I think, given her mental state,
          that if this one touch had not worked, she would have
          given up.)

     D. Do we now have a reasonable and logical explanation for why
     Jesus stopped?

V. YOU

     A. Let's talk about you for a minute.  If you agree that this
     tragedy happened to Jairus because Jesus was responding to His
     only chance to "touch" someone, are you willing to have this
     happen to you?  Are you willing to be Jairus?

          1. Is it possible that illogical, ridiculous, frustrating
          tragedies in your life present the only opportunity for
          God to "touch" someone?

               a. Are you willing to have that happen?

               b. Can you say, at this point in our story (we have
               stopped at v.35), that Jesus made the correct
               "executive decision" by letting your daughter die
               in exchange for taking advantage of the one
               opportunity to touch the woman?

               c. Notice how the "natural order" of things is 
               turned upside down.  The man with the world's
               respect, power and influence loses, while the woman
               without money or influence "wins."

     B. Let's read on. Read Mark 5:36-43. Now, do you agree that
     Jesus made the correct "executive decision" by letting the
     daughter die?

     C. Let's look at a little time-line chart:

     BH-------------------H--------------AH

"BH" means "before healing,"(Jairus' daughter, that is) "H" means
"healing" and "AH" means "after healing."  

          1. When we put Jairus on our time-line between "H" and 
          "AH," does he care about the delay?  Is it perfectly "OK"
          that Jesus was looking around, shuffling His feet, and
          stopping to deal with the woman, when your daughter is
          now alive, and well and standing by you? (Yes!)

          2. Friends, we are living right now between "BH" and "H." 
          All of our tragedies are right here on this line.  BUT
          PRAISE GOD, IF WE ARE FAITHFUL, AFTER HIS SECOND COMING
          WE WILL LIVE BETWEEN "H" AND "AH!"  For us, the second
          coming of Jesus is "H."  Revelation 21:4 tells us that He
          will wipe away every tear from our eyes. No more
          mourning, no more death, no more pain!

     D. When we truly have faith, does it matter where we stand on
     my little time-line chart?  Can we, by faith, stand between
     "H" and "AH" when we are actually between "BH" and "H?" (This
     afternoon take time to read Hebrews 11.  Hebrews 11 tells us
     that the essence of faith is to stand (by faith) between "H"
     and "AH" even though we live our life between "BH" and "H." 
     Hebrews 11:13 says that when the heros of faith
     died, they had not yet gotten what was promised. Hebrews
     11:32-38 contrasts the situation of some who "win" and some
     who "lose" in this life.  Your faith does not guarantee an
     outcome between "BH" and "H."  It guarantees an outcome
     between "H" and "AH.")

     E. Why did Jesus (v.43) say the girl should be given something
     to eat? (Because He is a great God who sweats even the little
     details of our life.  He not only brings us back from the
     dead, He worries about our stomachs!)

VI. NEXT WEEK: "MODERN DEMONS."  Study!