Devotional #15 (1/7/13). Jesus talks about superstition and faith.
Intro: Last week was New Year’s Eve and we talked about Jesus traveling all the way across a Sea to visit and heal one man. That man had tried to help himself before, he had tried to change but couldn’t do it without the help of God. This week Jesus deals with superstition which is when people believe in supernatural things with no real proof. A superstitious person might think they have to rub a rabbit’s foot for good luck or they wear silver to keep away werewolves. The people that we talked about last week who kicked Jesus out of town when He healed the demon possessed man were superstitious. Today we’ll see another person who is superstitious and someone else who has faith.
This Week’s Reading: Mark 5:21-43.
vv. 21-24. Now that Jesus has been kicked out of town He goes back across the Sea of Galilee and a huge number of people meet Him there. They were asking questions and wanting to be healed but one of them, Jairus, bowed to the ground and asked Jesus to heal his daughter. Here Jairus has faith that if Jesus goes to see his daughter she won’t die. But notice he is superstitious that Jesus has to go to her when he says, “To heal my daughter You have to come and lay Your hands on her.’” Jesus agrees and the entire mob (big group of people) goes with them.
vv. 25-28. Now we read about a woman with a medical problem where she had a period that never ended (“flow of blood for twelve years”). She had been to every doctor, spent all her money and no one could help her. In this culture she wouldn’t have been able to marry because they considered a woman with a period unclean. She was probably very lonely, ashamed, poor and hopeless. But she had faith. We’ll talk more about it but notice here the author (Mark) interrupts the story of Jairus to tell this story. This story is also in Matthew 9 and Luke 8.
vv. 29-30. The women didn’t want to make a big deal, she tried to sneak in. But because she had faith that Jesus could heal her she was healed! Jesus knew power had left Him so He stopped walking and asked who touched Him. Can you imagine what Jairus was thinking? He was probably frustrated that this big group of people was taking so long to get to his house and now this women was making the trip take even longer. But Jesus was allowing the trip to take longer so he could get rid of Jairus’ superstition.
vv. 31-34. Of course Jesus’ disciples think it’s crazy that He says “who touched My clothes?” There were people everywhere pushed in all around Him! But Jesus was asking who had touched Him with faith that they would be healed. Many times when can go to Jesus hoping to get some wishes answered or just to be with the crowd but the difference is faith. She was scared and comes and tells Him “the truth.” She wanted to sneak in and out but now everyone is staring at her. But Jesus loves her and comforts her.
Notice in verse 34 Jesus says “be healed of your affliction.” Interestingly the way Jesus phrases this (since He’s already healed her) is that she will continue to be healed, the infirmity will not come back. He uses the past tense speaking about the future; when Jesus says something we can be confident that the future can be spoken of in the past tense.
vv. 35-36. Now we go back to Jairus who was anxiously waiting for all this to be done with but the news he was most scared to hear came. His daughter was dead, he should just give up. But Jesus hears it and immediately tells Jairus to not lose faith. It was like Jairus had just seen a perfect example of faith from this woman and now he needed to do the same.
vv. 37-39. Jesus continues to Jairus’ house with Peter, James and John (although we don’t know why Jesus picked them here and several other times to be with Him). The people who were outside the house would have been family members who were sad about the little girl dying but there also were people who were paid to mourn. In the Hebrew culture, if a family could afford it, they would pay people to cry loudly to show that they had lost a family member.
vv. 40-42. The people who were getting paid to cry loudly made fun of Jesus saying the little girl was asleep because everyone had already seen that she was dead and because they didn’t want to lose their job of mourning. So when Jesus asked why they were crying and that the little girl was sleeping He was making sure they all recognized that she really was dead so there would be no question when He brought her back to life. So He takes a small group in (including the parents) to witness His miracle. Then the little girl rose from the dead! Jesus knew what He was doing when He took a long time to come to Jairus’ house. It was only something God could do to raise someone from the dead. He proved that He had power over death, not just that he could take away a fever or heal blind eyes but that He conquered over death!
v. 43. He tells them give her something to eat since she had been dead she must be hungry! Actually since she had been sick she probably had not had a lot of food so she needed to get back her strength. And He also tells them not to tell anyone right away. Jesus knew that everyone would be talking about this healing but for right now He didn’t want all the crowds to come rushing into the house to see. He gave the family time to spend together.
Summary: All of Mark 5 shows us the difference between superstition and supernatural. The difference between fear and faith. In Exodus 33 Moses was only able to see God’s backside but when this women touched Jesus he turned around and looked her in the face. He turned His backside and faced her, because of her faith, showing His grace. From there He went and healed Jairus’ daughter, raising her from the dead. Today, if we have faith, we can see God face to face, experience His grace, and be resurrected from the dead!