Mark 5: 21-24.
All through scripture God speaks to us about faith….and how important faith is.
- In Romans 5:1 God tells us through the Apostle Paul that “we are justified by faith.”
- Not by works…not by our good deeds….not by how good we are…but “by faith.”
- And in Hebrews 11:6 God tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
- And in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, the apostle Paul indicates that if you don’t “keep the faith” there will be no “crown of righteousness” for you.
So, all through scripture God speaks to us about the importance of faith, of believing and trusting in Jesus and if I were to ask each of you this morning if you “have faith in Christ” you would say, “Yes.”
- But is it a “strong” faith? Will your faith remain strong in the face of trials and temptations?
- Will it endure under pressure? Will it crumble in the face of difficulties and tragedies?
Because the reality is, there is always something that is going to come up and test or challenge your faith and the question is, will your faith hold strong or will it crumble and fail.
Here in Mark 5, starting in vs. 22 you read about a man named Jairus…and just like us his faith was tested, not just once but 5 times, and the things that tested him, are much the same things that will test us…and when they do, will your faith/my faith, like Jairus’, be strong enough to endure?
- Let’s look at the things that tested Jairus’ faith and think about how our faith would react to these same tests.
Let’s begin in verse 22. In verse 22 Jesus has just gotten off of the boat and He is by the sea side…and there is a multitude of people around Him….and Jairus comes up to Him.
- And I want you to notice that Jairus is a “synagogue official.”
Now that statement may not mean much to you but the fact that he is a “synagogue official” is significant.
- It is significant because it presents the first obstacle or test that Jairus’ faith encounters and overcomes.
- And it presents an obstacle that our faith is often tested by as well.
Jairus is a “synagogue ruler.” That means he is an important man in town.
- He is the chief elder in the house of worship.
Now the last time that Jesus was in a synagogue he healed a man on the Sabbath and the Pharisees went outside and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
- So, at the time that Jairus comes to Jesus here, the synagogues are basically closed to Jesus.
- And if you value your position as synagogue ruler…if you value your authority.
- If you want to stay in good standing with the people who run religion around here you better stay away from Jesus.
But look again at verse 22, and look what this influential Jewish man does!
- Jairus comes up and falls down and begs at Jesus’ feet.
- And the crowd must have been shocked.
- And their eyebrows must have risen.
- Synagogue rulers didn’t do that!
- They weren’t used to seeing a ruler like that.
The first obstacle or test of faith that Jairus encountered was the obstacle of PRIDE.
- Pride said, “You are a synagogue ruler! You are a man of influence! You shouldn’t even come to Jesus, little on fall down before Him! What will people think of you?”
- But Jairus shoved his pride, and his selfish dignity aside….and he didn’t worry about what people thought.
- What was of ultimate importance to him was getting to Jesus!
And just like Jairus, one of the major obstacles or tests of our faith…of our trusting in Jesus is pride.
- “Why, I am not going to admit that I have done wrong! That’s a sign of weakness.”
- “If I came to Jesus, what would people think?”
- “I am too embarrassed to come to Jesus. Besides, some of my friends and family would disown me if I did.”
Pride, what others might think, and what faith in Christ might cost you or me, is a test of faith that everyone of us has or will encounter and when we do, when you run the risk of losing your respected position, when you run the risk of losing some friends or family, when you run the risk of “what people might think of you”, will your faith be strong and overcome, or will it crumble and fail?
Look at the second thing that tested Jairus’ faith…or the second obstacle to his faith that he had to over come. Look at verse 23.
- Speaking to Christ this synagogue ruler says; “My little daughter is at the point of death: please come and lay your hand on her, that she might get well and live.”
When he says, “that she might get well“, that is an indication that his little girl was sick, perhaps injured in some way.
- And isn’t that a test of our faith?
- It may be that nothing challenges our faith more than some serious illness, especially the illness of another…and especially the illness of one of our children.
When that happens we sometimes think, “God, why did you let this happen?”
- “If God really did exist and if He really cared…they wouldn’t be sick.”
- When some serious illness comes into our lives we tend to abandon God and run the other way.
But Jairus doesn’t do that.
- Instead, he runs to God.
- And instead of some illness defeating his faith…it only increased his faith.
- What will or what has your faith done in a situation like this? Will it stand strong…or will it crumble and fall?
Look at what else tested Jairus’ faith. Look at verse 30.
“And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?”
Imagine what is going through Jairus’ mind.
- They are on the way…he knows his daughter is dying.
- And he is so nervous and the people are crowding around and they are impeding the pace at which he would like to walk.
- And he is wishing that everyone would hurry up. “Let’s pick it up…every second counts…let’s move…let’s hurry”.
- And all of a sudden Jesus stops.
And what does He stop to do?
- He stops to talk to some old woman who has been sick for 12 years.
- And it may be that Jairus is thinking, “Lady, I feel sorry for you but my little girl is dying. You can be sick for 12 years and a day and we can come back tomorrow and take care of you but my need is right now.”
Jairus is having to deal with the same test of his faith that we sometimes have to deal with and that is the test of DELAY.
- What do you do when God makes you wait for your answer?
- It is hard for us isn’t it.
- We don’t like to wait. We live in an anti-wait culture.
- We pick the lane at the bank with the fewest cars.
- We pick the line with the fewest people in it.
- Look at our phrases: instant credit, ready cash, fast food, quick lube, Quick Stop.
- “If you can’t do it for me now, I am taking my business somewhere else.”
And then we start to think, “If God won’t fix it today, maybe there is no God.”
- Or “If God won’t fix it today maybe I had better go somewhere and find someone else who can.”
And yet when we look at the great men and women of faith in scripture every one of them went through a time of waiting.
- Abraham and Sarah didn’t get a baby the first night they tried to have one.
- Moses spent 40 years watching sheep before God picked him to lead the people.
- Elijah spent 3 years getting breakfast by ravens before he got to take on the prophets of Baal.
- Jesus spent 30 years in the carpenter’s shop before the call came.
- Paul spent 3 years in Arabia in a desert before his sermon ever got preached.
Before God is going to use a man or woman mightily he is going to find out, “Can they wait for my agenda and not push their agenda on me?”
- So, God designs delays for the purpose of strengthening our faith.
- And so, Jesus stopped, not just to encourage this woman but to let Jairus watch in the midst of his delay what the power of God could do in someone else’s life.
- And it may be, as you are waiting for your answer from God, maybe what God wants you to do is look around you at how He is working in the lives of others so that you can trust Him more.
How does your faith handle delay?
Look at the fourth test of faith that we sometimes encounter. It is found in verse 35 and it is called DESPAIR. Look at this:
- While Jesus is till speaking some men come up and they say to Jairus, “Your daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher anymore.”
“Your daughter has died”– nothing will shake your faith like that will.
- In fact, it must have really shaken Jairus’ faith because look at vs. 36.
“But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken.”
- Some of you have, “Ignoring what was being said.”
“Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, don’t be afraid. You just keep on believing.”
- In other words, “Jairus, don’t quit now! I know this is bad but keep trusting Me!”
- Jairus’ faith was strong before his daughter died. It would need to be even stronger now.
- Before his faith gave him hope…but now it seemed as though all hope was gone.
- Now it seemed as though he didn’t need Jesus…but the truth is, he needed Jesus now more than before.
If something like this happened to you…if your child, or you mate, or someone you are close to dies, do you say, “Lord, I don’t need you anymore?” Or do you say, “I don’t understand but I will continue to be faithful no matter what?”
A strong faith is going to keep trusting in Jesus even in the worst situations.
And look at the final test of Jairus’ faith. Look at vs. 40.
- They go to the synagogue ruler’s home and the people are mourning.
- And in vs. 39, Jesus goes into the home and He says, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”
- And look at what they do? They break out laughing.
But that is the way the world is. The world is going to deride you and laugh at you and put your faith to the test.
- The world is going to laugh at the claims of God that Christians believe.
- You go to state school and they are going to laugh at your naïve idea that God created the world.
- In your business some of your co-workers will scoff at the idea that your ethics are determined by a final judgment that someday will come.
- Ask some of our teens if our culture does not laugh at the idea that sexual purity is better.
- The world laughs at the idea that Jesus is going to come back.
- The world laughs at the idea that the tomb is really empty.
- And even the religious world scornfully mocks at the idea that we would believe that Jesus and only Jesus is the only way to the Father.
Well, Jairus doesn’t let their DERISION deter his faith and look what happens. Read vs. 40-43.
40 And they began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. 41 And taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!”(which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”). 42 And immediately the girl rose and began to walk; for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. 43 And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this; and He said that something should be given her to eat.
Jairus’ story has a happy ending. All because of his determined, dedicated, unwavering faith even in the face of derision?
So, now again, what about your faith? Will it or has it with stood the test of PRIDE? Has it stood strong no matter what people might say or think, no matter what your faith may cost you?
- And what about when your faith is tested by some SERIOUS ILLNESS OR INJURY to you are your child? Something like this is bound to happen at some time. Will your faith stand strong or will in fail?
- And how will or how has your faith handled DELAY? If you have to wait a week, or a year, or 10 years, or 50 years, will your faith endure?
- And what about DESPAIR? I saw in the news this week where 7 members of one family were killed in a car wreck. I sincerely hope that no one here ever has to go through something like that. But if something like that challenged your faith would it be strong?
- And what about when your faith is tested by DERISION? People can be mean. The political scene today shows us how cruel some people can be. If and when you endure the mocking, the laughing, the jeering, will you remain faithful or will your faith fail?
Because of his enduring faith, Jairus’ story had a happy ending. He put aside his pride and trusted in Jesus in the face of illness, delay, despair and derision…and because he did, his story had a happy ending.
- And if you and I will do the same…regardless of what might happen…our story will have a happy ending as well.
- In fact, Rev. 2:10 says that if you “keep the faith, even unto death, you will receive the crown of life.”
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2021