Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sermon--Mark 5:24-34--No Touch & Go Faith

Mark 5:24-34

There are some days that have too much to do and not enough time. I get frustrated at the rushed feeling when everything seems to take longer than it should, everyone seems to be moving slower than normal—it’s the old “a watched pot never boils” syndrome.

In the same way, when I’m in a hurry to do something, to be somewhere, to meet someone, that seems to be the greatest opportunity for the phone call, that is the greatest opportunity for flat tire, some kind of interruption to stop you from going on to something, somewhere else.

And I’ve learned over the years, that while annoying, at least when it’s the telemarketer, but those moments of interruption are many times a moment of great ministry. What is your interruption, is often God’s Redirection & Opportunity.

Jesus had one of those moments in Mark, as He was on His way with Jairus to see the man’s daughter who needed healing. They were in a hurry, time was short. To make matters worse, there was a crowd that slowed them down.

READ vs. 21-24

The way & streets were narrow so that the crowd was tightly bunched in. A celebrity was coming through, everyone had their camera, everyone wanted an autograph. Jesus’ entourage of body guards were trying to get Him through the crowd, hopefully gently pushing everyone aside because Jesus had something important to do. In a few verses, well get a sense of the exasperation of the disciples as they are trying to make their way through this crowd.

But in the midst of this slowdown, when nerves are getting frayed, another interruption occurred.

READ 25-28

The nerve of this lady—couldn’t she see that Jesus was busy, that He was in a hurry, that He shouldn’t be bothered? Yes, in many ways, she can see all of that. That’s one reason why she doesn’t want to make a big deal about it—she just wants to touch Jesus’ robe and be on her way. She believed, perhaps a bit superstitiously, that Jesus’ Power is great enough, that it would be transferred into His clothes—she doesn’t need a big miracle, she just needs a small dose of that power—she was after all desperate.

Look at the words used to describe her.

Suffering—for 12 years she had been bleeding—probably gynecological, enough to make her weak, uncertain of her future, but also unclean. She was embarrassed about her problem, she was shunned and looked down upon for her problem. If she didn’t think God was punishing her, then I’d expect many other people did think that.

Common attitudes would be: There must be some serious sin in her life for this to be happening to her. OR: She must not have very much faith to not experience healing for 12 years. To have a sickness, to have a disease that not only hurts, not only embarrasses, but cuts you off from the faith and from people and keeps them from getting close to you. Nothing has worked, nothing has cured--

Endured Much—even the kind of treatments that were given to her over the years did not produce healing, instead they produced more suffering. Rather than helping, they intensified the problem, increased the pain

Spent Everything—here was a woman, cut off in many ways, trying to support herself—spent everything she had, every penny she made assuming she could find any work, because everything she touched was considered unclean. But the money she spent was probably her own probably even her dowry for marriage. Because if she was married before this started, her husband probably got rid of her. She had laid aside any hope of her future, in order to try and get better. She spent it all—on doctors, sacrifices, on faith healers,—planting seeds in their ministry—with the promise of return. Rather than better, she was…

Worse, physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually,—nothing has improved for this woman. Her pain and suffering are real. She was essentially stuck—her life was on hold until she could be restored. She was captive to her disease—she couldn’t work, she couldn’t get married, she was a burden to her family. She is in desperate need of a Redeemer. Someone who would purchase her freedom. That is a hope that carries through the Old Testament.

JOB 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

ISA 54:5 For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

ISA 35:8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.
ISA 35:9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there,

She Would be disqualified in her current state.

ISA 43:1 But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

To need Redemption means that you are trapped, held captive and enslaved—trapped as a prisoner of war, trapped in debt, trapped as a slave, and you are held against your will, a captive—and you are unable to Free yourself, unable to change your own condition—you don’t have enough, you have no hope—and you are being auctioned off to the highest bidder. To be Redeemed means that you have been bought off the auctioning block and you have been set free. That’s what Jesus promised to do in His first teaching at a synagogue.

LUKE 4:18-21—quoting Isaiah 61

He comes as our Redeemer—redeeming us from Sin & Death, Redeeming us from the Kingdom of Darkness—where we are captives and dead in our sin—He Redeems us to Life, Light & Holiness

Jesus is on His way to Redeem a young girl from the clutches of death—and He is passing another one in need of redemption.

Here she was, her life on hold and she hears about Jesus being nearby. She believes, has faith that Jesus can heal her.

But she’s not supposed to go near Him. She’s not supposed to mingle with the tight crowds—because of her bleeding—but if she can just get one touch—that will be enough—that One Touch won’t bother Him, won’t interrupt Him, won’t embarrass Him, He’ll never know. I’ll just touch and go—He’ll be on His way, and I’ll be restored.

If I just get to Jesus all my problems will be solved.

Vs. 28

He’ll Never Notice—I’ll come and go, zip in & zip out, Touch & GO--disappear with my healing, disappear with what God has done for me. No one ever has to know. Maybe I’ll send Him a thank you card.

READ vs. 29, 31

Even the Disciples were of the same attitude—there’s a big crowd—we’re pressed in here like sardines—You’re in a hurry to save this other little girl. I’ve got too many people touching me already and you’re worried about someone you don’t even know. there are more important things to be worrying about Jesus.

But Jesus disregards all of that in search of the one who drew Redeeming power from Him. READ 30, 32

Even though the disciples had asked Jesus to move on—and they had many good reasons, there are a lot of people, there are more pressing things—Jesus does not follow their words and insistence—instead, He stops, turns around and asks—“Who touched my robes?”

1. One principle I see in this is that No matter what is going on in the World—Jesus will never ignore you, dismiss you or be too busy for you.

This woman waited for 12 years, so it’s not like if you do something, pray something, confess something, plant some seed, God is then Obligated to jump at your command and do your bidding—heal you on the spot, give you that great new job, that money, or whatever else—despite what Joel Osteen says.

God is under no obligation to do anything—but don’t confuse a “Not Yet” or even a “No” with “I’m not paying attention” or “I don’t care”. People…

the world may be on the brink of falling apart, international leaders might be struggling with a decision, Billy Graham may be on the hotline—but every single one of the hairs on your head are still numbered and not one of them falls to the ground without His notice.

Jesus stops the world essentially to address this woman.

“Who touched my clothes?”

He asks not because He didn’t know, but b/c He wanted the woman to come forward on her own and take another step of faith.

READ vs. 33

It was a great step of faith for her to reach out and touch Jesus—Jesus calls her to even more—One Step was not enough—He didn’t want her to remain in anonymity, but to publically show herself and the answer to her desperation.

It would have been so easy for her to disappear, to blend back into the crowd—to look around and pretend to scan the crowd for the real perpetrator—but she did not—she knew she had been touched, knew she had been healed, knew she had been made whole, knew she had been Redeemed.

She came forward, even though she was afraid—afraid of what? A harsh word? Condemnation? A withdrawal of the miracle and a return to her suffering? Whatever was going through her mind, she took another step of faith and came forward, fell at His feet and spoke the Truth--And the truth set her free.

This is a second principle to take from this passage. When God works in your life, He does not want us to be ashamed of it, to conceal it, to Hide it—to fade into the background, to disappear or to downplay what He has done for us--we shouldn’t hide out on the back row when God has done something wonderful that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

God doesn’t want just a Touch & GO faith—He wants a lifetime of touches and steps—the same kind of faith that gave her the courage to reach out and touch Jesus in the first place is the kind of faith that gave her courage to acknowledge it was her, to fall at his feet, to speak the truth.

There was a miracle of faith in her healing, but there was also a miracle of faith in her Testimony.

READ vs. 34

Jesus knew who it was--He wants courage and boldness, not just to reach out to Jesus for healing and forgiveness, but to acknowledge His work.

Daughter—the only time in the Gospels that Jesus calls a woman by this title—your faith has healed you—other translations say “saved”—the word is often interchangeable for Physical & Spiritual Healing. Your Faith has Freed You! This woman was Redeemed—the power went out from Jesus, but it was in response to her faith. Did she have that kind of faith all along? I don’t know, but the Faith to believe, combined with the Right Divine Moment to produce a powerful Testimony to the Healing, Redeeming Power of Christ.

It was exactly the kind of testimony—messy as it was—that Jesus was looking for. You and I have been touched by the Master—we have a Testimony, we have a story to tell—you may look at your s and think that yours is not as dramatic, not as powerful, not as wonderful as hers was—but the spiritual transaction that brought her out of the Kingdom of Darkness is the same one that Saved You.

It takes Faith to open our mouths—it takes faith to tell someone about the Power of Christ at work in our life. Faith to Believe and the Right Divine Moment—we will miss it if we hang back in the crowd.

Now, who do you think benefitted from this woman’s Healing & Testimony?

Jesus called her His daughter--
Jesus is moving from one daughter to another daughter— Jairus benefitted.

The text does not say, but I would not be surprised to find out in Eternity that Jairus knew this woman. That she had come to the synagogue for years seeking prayer and cleansing. That as a leader in town, he knew of her affliction, had recommended doctors, recommended treatment, prayed for her.

The testimony of the woman, acknowledging this healing that had plagued her for 12 years--as long as Jairus’ daughter had been alive—strengthened his resolve as well.

“Wow—if Jesus can heal her—and she’s been sick for 12 years, I know He can heal my daughter.” He would have said.

So as he was escorting Jesus back to his home and the people came up saying, “It’s too late, your daughter is dead! Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”

“Don’t be Afraid—Just Believe”

Hey if Jesus can heal her and she’s been bleeding for 12 years—I know He can heal, save, Redeem my daughter!”

Don’t you understand—so many people are out there hurting and in pain and they think their hurt, their sickness, their sin is so bad that not even Jesus can help them—they don’t believe it’s possible.

They need to hear from you the healing power—they need your courage of faith to not disappear into the crowd—not hole up on the back row—but hear of your Healing, Hear of your Restoration, Hear of Your Redeemer—they don’t believe because they’ve never seen it—they’ve not heard it from the Church—
we’re too afraid of our own sin, too embarrassed of our own past, too unwilling to step out of the crowd and say “Yes! I touched Him and He touched Me”

There is no sin that He cannot forgive—I doubt you will find many people in and on the streets of Macomb that has a sin in their life that is not somehow shared with people already here in this church. Sexual sin—hey come on in—we’re already here. Drug abuse—yeah, we tried that too—Jesus is helping us overcome that too. Financial failure—we’re here

Hey, God loves you and He can make you whole just like He did me. I Know My Redeemer Lives


PRECIOUS89 said...

Bless the Lord o my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name. Praise God that no sickness is too great for Him to heal. Praise Him that no sin is to great for Him to cleanse. Praise His holy name that there is no problem too big that He cannot solve it. Hallellujah. He has done many things for me and I am still trusting Him for many more. Amen. Thanks for this sermon. I am encouraged.

PRECIOUS89 said...

Wonderful sermon. Praise God for His power to heal us of every disease. Amen


Awesome,God have spoken to me

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sermon. Thank you. I will enjoy reflecting on it all day long.

keen learner said...

Thank you for posting this sermon, I am using it as a guide to our bible study group. I am from Methodist church in Malaysia.