No Ordinary Faith
What a wild week Jesus was having! It was challenging for Him. One day He was traveling by boat only to have a storm come up suddenly that frightened the disciples into thinking they were all going to die. He calmed the storm. Landing safely on the shore, He immediately was confronted by a man filled with demons who struck out at Him. Jesus lovingly and powerfully healed the man’s mind and spirit by driving out those personal demons.
Returning from the region of the Gadarenes, Christ immediately was thronged by a relentless crowd. The people wanted to see Him, touch Him, talk with Him, listen to Him. They wanted to be in His presence.
Jesus spoke to them and observed a disturbance toward the back of the crowd. As Jesus watched, there was a man moving forward, rushing to Him. Jarius, a synagogue ruler, desperately was seeking His help. Falling at the feet of Jesus, he tearfully told Jesus his 12-year-old daughter was on the brink of death and asked the Master to come and heal her. Christ agreed to help; and together, along with the throng of people, began the journey to Jarius’ house.
Something happened along the way that stopped Jesus in His tracks! Someone touched Him. This was not an ordinary jostling kind of touch, but an extraordinary, powerful, needy kind of touch. Jesus stopped on the spot and asked, “Who touched Me?”
The disciples were quick to point out that with such a large crowd it could have been anyone. They were thinking in human terms, but Jesus knew it was more than a casual touch; it was a touch of need. A woman in the crowd, who had suffered for 12 years with a physical ailment, came and confessed she had been the one who touched Him. Then in great joy and trembling, she testified that in that moment she was healed!
As this was occurring, someone came behind Jarius and informed him that his daughter had died. Jesus turned His attention from the woman to Jarius and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jarius was not disappointed. When they arrived at his house, Jesus took Peter, James and John, along with the child’s mother and father, and healed the 12-year-old.
Some quick observations about this passage:
Jesus Responds with Compassion and Mercy
Christ demonstrated that human need always must be met with compassion and mercy. As Christians, there is no greater responsibility than to reach out and help someone in pain and distress. It is not something that happens only once, but is relentless, unceasing.
Doyle Brannon wrote, “Sinners can set themselves against the most eloquent preaching, stubbornly resist all logic, stay away from revival meetings, and scorn truth. Yet true, heartfelt compassion on the part of the Christian releases a power that in time proves irresistible.”
Jesus Responds When We Focus on Faith
Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest said he believed God would supply all his need and then let him run dry to see whether he would go through the trial with faith or sink back into something lower. He said faith must be tested in order for it to become a personal possession. “The final thing is confidence in Jesus. Believe steadfastly on Him, and all you come up against will develop your faith…Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand with us.”
Jesus Responds as the Anchor of Support
An anchor’s job is to hold the ship steady in one spot. Jesus is the Anchor of the soul. He steadies us and holds us near to God through all kinds of problems. The characters in our text faced different problems. Jarius was stressed, overwhelmed emotionally, anguished mentally by his daughter’s illness. The woman was physically ill. They needed someone to support them, and Jesus was their anchor. How many people do we know who need us to be their anchor as they strive to overcome their obstacles in life?
Jesus Responds with Authority
Authority means power, strength or ability over something weaker and subordinate. Jesus demonstrated His authority and power in this passage over disease and death. Christ’s authority, blended with God’s power, combined with a woman’s daring faith for a result of healing. Christ’s omnipotence coupled with a father’s daring faith and love produced life over death.
God will respond with authority in all aspects of our lives if we allow Him to do so.
I read the story about a first-time traveler to the west coming to the banks of the Mississippi River with no way to cross from one side to the other. However, he had to get to the other side. It was winter, and the Mississippi River was covered with ice. He didn’t know how thick the ice was, and he hesitantly started his trek across the river on his hands and knees. When he was about halfway across the river, he heard the sound of singing behind him. There, in the dusk of evening, he could see a man driving a load of coal with a team of four horses across the ice.
Many of us creep across God’s promises compassion, faith, support and authority when we should be crossing with a song on our lips and in our hearts!