Lesson 9

The Great Controversy and the Miracles of Jesus

(Mark 5, John 11)
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Introduction: Miracles have been an important part of the historic conflict between good and evil. Consider when Elijah called fire down from heaven. Consider the flood and the rainbow. These were rather dramatic points in the conflict against evil. Why don't we see dramatic miracles like that any more? Jesus performed a number of miracles, including raising the dead to life. We don't see people being raised from the dead today. Why don't we have such dramatic evidence of God's working today? I think the answers to these questions are hidden in some of the more unusual aspects of Jesus' miracles. Let's jump into our lesson and find out!

  1. Miracle Conflicts

    1. Read Mark 5:21-23. Was Jairus a man of importance and influence? (Yes. He was a rule of the synagogue.)

      1. Was Jairus a religious man? (Yes, it would seem so because of his position with the synagogue.)

      2. What had Jairus' position and power done for him when his daughter was dying? (His importance, his influence, his position in the synagogue, could not save his daughter. He realized his lack of power and threw himself at the feet of Jesus for help.)

    2. Read Mark 5:24. Jesus hears Jairus' request and heads off towards Jairus' home. Describe to me how you think Jairus feels at this point?

    3. Read Mark 5:25-28. What do you think about this woman's plan for healing? She seems to have made a lot of bad medical decisions in the past. She saw lots of doctors, spent all of her money on them, with the result (v.26) "she suffered a great deal under the[ir] care." Would you believe that Jesus could heal without even knowing that He was healing? Would just an anonymous touch do it? Should it?

    4. Read Mark 5:29-32. We have the reactions of three people to this miracle. How did the woman feel when Jesus' said, "Who touched my clothes?" Might she have felt like a shoplifter - excited to get something, but fearful about being caught?

      1. Did she think that she was "stealing" something? Did she feel unworthy? (She probably did. Leviticus 5:3 tells us that if a person, even unaware, touches "human uncleanness" he is guilty of being ceremonially unclean. Leviticus 12:2,4 reveals that this woman would have been unclean because of her flow of blood. Thus, in touching Jesus, she would theoretically make Him unclean.)

      2. How about the disciples? What was their reaction? (They thought (v.31)Jesus was being super-sensitive, ridiculous.)

      3. What would you guess is the reaction of Jairus? (Have you ever been caught in traffic in an emergency because some driver is more interested in looking at a police car at the side of the road than getting on about his business? It seems so illogical. That probably gives you a small idea of the frustration felt by Jairus. His daughter is dying and Jesus wants to know who touched Him in the suffocating crowd.)

    5. Read Mark 5:33-35. This tends to support my suggestion that this woman thought she had done something wrong - she was so fearful that she trembled. Yet Jesus told her that what she had done was exactly right - it showed her faith. What lesson about the great controversy between good and evil do you find in this? (Satan paints God as being this harsh and uncaring Being. Jesus shows us that God wants us to come to him with our needs.)

      1. Was Jesus violating the Mosaic law when He learned He had been touched by an unclean woman? (When she touched Him, she was healed.)

        1. When Jesus touches us, are we healed?

      2. Tell me how you think Jairus is now feeling? He just learned his daughter is dead and getting Jesus to come now is useless.

        1. Is there any justification for what has just happened? This woman has had this problem for 12 years! A few more hours or even a few more days would not make any difference to her. But those minutes were crucial for Jairus' daughter! Isn't this an outrageously unfair situation?

      3. Stop and consider what has just happened. Jesus has theoretically agreed to help the daughter of Jairus. By "accident," a woman delays Jesus. While Jesus is trying to figure out "who touched My clothes" a little girl dies. Does this seem to be the actions of a great and orderly God who is in charge of everything in the universe?

        1. Or, does this seem like "amateur night," the work of "Mr. Bumbles?"

        2. Does this show that everything that happens on earth is a matter of accident and luck?

    6. Read Mark 5:36, 38-40. Was the child dead or sleeping? (She was dead.)

      1. Why did Jesus say the child was what she was not?

    7. Read Mark 5:41-42. Was Jesus' delay in getting to the little girl an accident?

      1. Did it matter that Jesus took time to deal first with the lady who had been sick for 12 years?

      2. Is the timing of these two miracles an accident? A matter of luck?

      3. Was Jesus, as a practical matter, right that the little girl was "sleeping" not dead?

      4. That frustrating delay for Jairus, does it make any difference now to him?

      5. What lessons do we learn about the conflict between good and evil in these two miracles? (Friend, this is the most important of lessons for those who grieve. Jesus does not promise "when" He will heal those we love. He promises that He will. Prior to the raising of the little girl, everything seemed illogical and unfair. God did not seem to be in charge of events. But, after the raising, everything came into focus. The delay no longer mattered. When Jesus comes again and raises to life those who "illogically" died, the delay will not matter. It may be more than a few minutes or an hour of delay (as in Jairus case), but the outcome will be the same! The delay will pale, but Jesus' willingness to heal and overcome death will be the focus of our rejoicing. Praise God!)

  2. If You Had Been Here

    1. Read John 11:1-3,5. In the story of the two miracles we just studied, Jesus did not know any of the people. What was His relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus?

    2. Read John 11:6. How do you reconcile this with the fact that Jesus loved Lazarus?

    3. Read John 11:17,20-21, 32. Tell me what you think the sisters had discussed among themselves when Jesus did not respond right away to their call for help?

      1. Notice that Mary (v.20) did not come out to meet Jesus. Was she disappointed in Him? Angry? Upset by His delay? Did she say, "A friend in need is a friend indeed?"

      2. Put yourself in Lazarus' place. You have a son who is a renown heart surgeon. The local doctors have just discovered that you have a heart problem which can only be operated upon by a handful of surgeons in the world - one of which is your son. You immediately call your son to help, but day after day you get weaker and he does not come. Tell me what you are thinking?

        1. As you take your last breath, and realize that your son will not be saving you, what are your thoughts about your son?

    4. Read John 11:43-44. Now what are your thoughts about the Son? (Again, we see that the delay makes no difference on the "other side" of the resurrection. Mary, Martha and Lazarus knew that Lazarus would live if Jesus came in time. When He did not, they did not understand Jesus' master-plan. Jesus calls on us to follow Him. We are not to be calling Jesus to follow us, our plans and our goals.)

      1. How often, when we do not see miracles today, do we say "I wish Jesus' miracle-working power were here today?" Why don't we see Christians raising the dead today? (They will be raised from the dead by Jesus. It is just a matter of timing.)

      2. Notice Jesus told those around Him to unwrap Lazarus. If Jesus could raise Lazarus to life, why didn't He unwrap him at the same time? (This shows that Jesus wants us to be co-laborers with Him in His mighty work.)

        1. Are you called on to "unwrap" members of the church who have been saved from death?

        2. What do you think it means to "unwrap" or release fellow members who have been newly saved?

      3. What additional lessons about the conflict between good and evil do you find in this miracle of raising Lazarus to life?

    5. Friend, even when it seems that evil is winning, and God is uninterested in the conflict, we see that Jesus has the closest interest in our situation. He overcomes evil with His good. Our role is to follow Jesus in whatever He plans for our lives. We do not need to understand. What we need to do is trust, and help "unwrap" those that are being saved from death by our Lord.

  3. Next week: Jesus Wins.

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