Are there areas in your life where you feel like giving up because you’re tired of struggling with them? Perhaps your health isn’t the best and you’re tired of doctors visits and taking medication. Are there family members who are difficult to get along with so you’re tempted to avoid them? Are there issues in your marriage where you’re just tired of trying to move forward so you’re quitting? Has God failed to answer some of your prayers so you’re giving up on Him and your faith? Is school so hard you’re ready to quit trying?
Please take a moment and write down the areas in your life where you’re giving up or have already done so. It’s important to list them because problems can’t be addressed until they’re identified.
In Mark 5:21-43, Mark serves us one of his “Markean sandwiches.” He starts telling a story, stops in the middle of it to tell another story, and then finishes the first story. Both of these stories combine to create a greater story and teaching than the two individual stories can accomplish on their own. In this passage, Jesus is approached by Jairus, the ruler of the local synagogue, whose 12 year old daughter is dying. He asks Jesus to please come to his house and heal her. While they are on the way to Jairus’ house, a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years comes up behind Jesus and touches his clothes because she thinks, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” (vs. 28). She is correct. As soon as she touches Jesus, her bleeding stops. Jesus tells her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (vs. 34). While Jesus is speaking with her, some men come from Jairus’ house and announce his daughter is dead. At this point, Jesus goes to Jairus’ house and brings his daughter back to life.
When we read these two stories, we need to realize that numbers were very symbolic to the biblical writers. The woman had been bleeding for 12 years and the girl whom Jesus resurrected was 12 years old. In the Old Testament, the number 12 represented the nation of Israel (i.e. 12 tribes of Israel) and it represents the church in the New Testament (i.e. 12 apostles). By combining these two seeming separate stories into one bigger narrative, Mark is saying, “Israel, you are hemorrhaging. Israel, you are dying. You are powerless to stop it but Jesus can heal you and give you new life if you will let him.”
As we look at how Jesus interacted with both the bleeding woman and the synagogue ruler, Mark gives us some insights into how Jesus works to bring restoration to those who trust in him.
Three important concepts we can learn about Jesus are:
1) We have to ask Jesus to deliver us and heal us. Jesus didn’t walk up to Jairus and say, “I know your daughter is ill. Let me heal her.” He didn’t approach the bleeding woman and say, “I realize the doctors can’t help your medical condition. Let me heal you.” Both of these individuals had to approach Jesus and, through faith, ask for healing.
2) If we don’t want to ask Jesus for help, he will let us exhaust all other options. The bleeding woman had spent all the money she had on doctors before she came to Jesus for healing. Of course, we can’t be too hard on her because this encounter might have been the first time she actually met him. But how do we handle the problems which life throws at us? Do we take them to Jesus immediately or wait until we have no other choice?
3) If we truly want Jesus to help us, our faith must be stronger than our fears. Due to the culture in which they lived, both the bleeding woman and Jairus faced a backlash from the public by approaching Jesus for help. Yet they allowed their faith to overpower any fears they had. As a result, Jesus brought healing into their lives.
Earlier in this blog, I asked you to write down any areas in your life where you are either tempted to give up or have already given up. Now through faith, take them to Jesus is prayer. Ask him for healing and deliverance. Ask him to give you the strength you need to move forward. Even if you are like the bleeding woman and are only “hanging by a thread,” don’t give up. Never give up. Allow Jesus to guide and restore you.