Jesus Encounters: Jesus, Jairus and a desperate woman

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Jesus Plus Nothing Bible Studies

Jesus Encounters: Jesus, Jairus and a desperate woman

by I Gordon

The study today is taken from Mark 5:21-43 and focuses on a couple of very needy people. And we aren't talking minor issues here.. We've got a synagogue ruler whose daughter is dying and desperately needs Jesus to come as fast as possible. But, along the way, we meet another with great needs. She was a woman who had been struggling with a blood flow issue for twelve years. The cost of such an issue was incredible both financially and, more importantly, socially and mentally. Here was her only chance of finding healing and deliverance... if she can only get to Jesus! Let's have a look and try to put ourselves in their shoes as we explore another 'Jesus encounter' that would again change lives forever!

Mark 5:21 NIV When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.

We need to start by setting the scene. It had already been a huge day! Jesus had gone right out of His way to find a man called 'legion'  who had some pretty massive demonic possession issues as we've seen in a previous study. After setting this man free, Jesus came back across the lake and what does He find? Well, He finds what He always found wherever He went - crowds of people with needs. There was not a lot of time to rest or reflect. Just a large crowd pressing in once more, all with issues, problems and needs that only a Saviour could sort. You really have to be amazed at Jesus and the compassion that He had. And has, for that matter. We would start thinking 'oh please... can't you just leave me alone... I'm tired and I've done enough for today!' But He was filled with compassion. He knew that there were many broken and hurting people - they were sheep without a Shepherd - and He cared. I've always enjoyed what Isaiah prophesied about the Lord Jesus:

Isaiah 42:1-4 Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. (2) He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. (3) A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; (4) he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."

And there were more broken reeds and smoldering wicks that He would encounter before this day is through!

Please meet the bruised reed in our story

Mark 5:22-23 NIV Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet (23) and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live."

We are introduced to the main man in our study - Jairus. We learn straight away that he was a synagogue ruler which is great. Do you think he would have come to Jesus in the public if he wasn't desperate? We can't be certain but the likely answer is probably not. The synagogues and religious leaders were generally quite hostile towards Jesus. But Jairus is desperate. He is willing to throw himself down at the feet of Jesus because death is at the door. And death is putting its nasty vice like grip on his own daughter! There are some interesting parallels with the nation of Israel in the last days here. For the large part, they have been blinded, and thus have rejected Jesus. But this nation will come face to face with death as well and in this desperate state they too will call on the One they have long rejected for deliverance. And deliverance will come for them at the return of Christ. But back to Jairus... Being the synagogue leader it may have been that he saw the earlier miracle that Jesus performed in the synagogue and believed that Jesus was no ordinary man! As mentioned earlier in Mark's account:

Mark 1:21-28 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. (22) The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. (23) Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, (24) What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God! (25) Be quiet! said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" (26) The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. (27) The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." (28) News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

So Jairus, having seen the earlier miracle and desperate for help, may have thought that Jesus is now his only hope. He got that right and so must we!

Mark 5:24 NIV So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.

Just quickly, what would you be thinking if you were Jairus right now? Your daughter is dying and time is of the essence! And then, argh, people! And lots of them. And all crowding around Jesus. If it was in Jairus' shoes at that time I'd be thinking 'Arghh!... Get out of the way. Stop crowding around and delaying Jesus! Don't you know this is an emergency!' Jairus wants the sirens sounding and the lights blazing and all the traffic to pull over to the side of the road while he and Jesus come charging through the middle in a desperate race to get to this girl and save her. Good luck with that 'cos it isn't going to happen!

I'd like you to meet the smoldering wick... but in grace a flicker of light remains...

Mark 5:25-28 NIV And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. (26) She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. (27) When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, (28) because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."

 And then up steps the shouldering wick. The light of hope had nearly been extinguished in this one. Here was a lady who had had a bleeding issue for 12 years. She was incredibly desperate and had tried every strange and even harmful 'solution' prescribed by the many doctors that had also fleeced her of her savings. Now we shouldn't just think that apart from the bleeding issue it was life as normal for this lady. This bleeding issue affected everything! It made her 'unclean' under Jewish law. In fact the law even shut her out from even touching anyone, including Jesus!

Leviticus 15:25-27 NIV 'When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. (26) Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. (27) Whoever touches them will be unclean; he must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening.

Yep... this was a terrible situation to be in and it had gone on for 12 long years! The law pronounced judgement and sentencing upon her and left her in a guilty state. No doubt about that. It couldn't fix her problem. Sick, penniless and a social outcast, there was no hope left for this woman... well none but one small flicker of a flame... 'she had heard about Jesus'... Of course, how could she, as one 'unclean' come to Jesus? Touching Him, under Jewish law, would make Him unclean. And what of all the crowds of people that are pressing in on him? How can she get past them? Is the flicker of hope about to be extinguished? This incredibly brave woman decides in her heart what she must do. She knows that she needs to get close enough just to touch the very edge of his garment and that will make her well. What faith! What courage! (On others touching garments for healing see Mark 3:10, 6:56)

What faith can do without a word!

Mark 5:29-32 NIV Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. (30) At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" (31) You see the people crowding against you, his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' " (32) But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.

So reaching out she touched Jesus' garment and... they both felt something! She felt something in her body that indicated she had been healed and Jesus felt power going out from Him! Remarkable! There were all sorts of people touching and crowding around Jesus and none of them had any impact on the power of God. She did! Her touch was combined with faith.  It is the same today. All sorts of people still crowd around Jesus, naming His name and claiming to know Him. Only those that walk and come by faith truly touch Him. And remember how the law of God had pronounced her guilty and unclean but gave no means to be healed? Well, what the law was powerless to do, Jesus did! (Romans 8:3) According to the law, touching Jesus would make Him unclean. By grace and faith the opposite happened and she became clean! It took the power of the Lord to do what the law could not. It is the same for us. We are all unclean from the day we were born till the day we are born again. The law only condemned us. It couldn't heal us. Only the Lord can do that. And that is the now joyous standing that those have who have reached out to touch Jesus by faith receive.

Mark 5:33-34 NIV Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. (34) He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

We need to remember that this was a very public scene. She was fearful. Not just because everyone would be looking at her but because she was meant to keep away from people. But, with knees knocking, she came and told 'the whole truth'. That always helps! Anytime we come to the Lord we have to be completely honest. It is the only way to receive anything from the Lord. But Jesus' reaction is full of grace and compassion. Did you see how He addresses her? He calls her 'daughter'. It is actually the only time He called someone daughter. Imagine how you would feel if you were her. You've been an outcast for twelve years with an incurable disease. You know you shouldn't be touching Jesus and wonder how He will react. Will you be in trouble? Are the crowds now about to turn on you? And then she hears from the Son of God 'Daughter, your faith has healed you.' That's beautiful. He wanted her to know that she was loved. She was freed. She was well. She was a daughter of the living God. If that didn't the biggest smile on her face I don't know what would!

God's 'delays' have a reason!

Mark 5:35-37 NIV While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?" (36) Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." (37) He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.

Now, amongst all the joy of seeing this woman healed and made well, there is one person hanging around, and, quite possibly, not all that happy. That person is Jairus. Remember him? He's the dad whose daughter is dying. He desperately wants Jesus to hitch up His garments and run like Usain Bolt to make it in time to save his daughter. As all this goes on he's waiting... waiting... waiting... while thinking 'please just leave the people behind and get to my daughter! You can come back later. They aren't dying!' And then the news comes while Jesus is still standing and talking... 'Your daughter is dead!' You can only imagine what this did to this desperate dad. Have you ever noticed that God is never in a rush? He has all the time in the world. I've written about this before but my Mother once had an interesting experience of this. She had been told that she might have cancer but had to wait a few weeks before seeing the specialist to confirm the diagnosis. At the end of the first week she had lost a considerable amount of weight, and everyone knows that this is a sign of cancer, right? In the midst of her anxiety, wondering why she had to wait and thinking that the cancer would spread while she could do nothing, she suddenly heard the Holy Spirit say to her 'Have you ever known God to be late?' She thought for a while and the image that came to her was of Mary with Joseph, travelling all that distance while pregnant, but God still got her safely to the manager in Bethlehem in perfect time to have the child and fulfill prophecy. So no, Mum answered, 'I have never known God to be late.' The next question that came to her was 'Have you ever known God to be in a hurry?' She thought and again said 'No, God is never in a hurry because He is never late!' Now that makes sense and this was all that needed to be said and she had peace once again. God is never late, and He is never in a hurry 'cos He is never late! Remember that. As it turns out, she didn't have cancer and the weight loss was simply due to stressing out about possibly having cancer!

So with Jairus thinking all hope is lost (not to mention his daughter!) as they have run out of time, Jesus responds 'Don't be afraid, just believe'. God always has time on His side for He dwells outside of time!

Mark 5:38-43 NIV When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. (39) He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." (40) But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. (41) He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). (42) Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. (43) He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Arriving at Jairus' home Jesus was met with tears and loud wailing. Jesus assures them that the child is not dead. Romans 4:17 speaks of 'the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.' For this Jesus was laughed at. People mocked that the dead can live. They did it then and they do it now. Jesus didn't argue but simply showed them. He speaks the word, like He did for Lazarus, and she is raised. He simply has to speak the word. The tears and wailing of the relatives and friends is replaced by astonishment. So it will be when we see our loved ones again. Once life enters this girl again she starts to eat. That is normal. Both in the physical and in the spiritual. When we who were dead in our sins and trespasses are given new life, it is a very normal and healthy sign that we should want to eat. We should want to feed upon the word of God. If we don't want to eat it is a sign that we are still unwell or possibly dead spiritually speaking. Notice also that Jesus asks someone to feed her. He gave the same command to Peter to 'feed my sheep' and we should all be willing to help feed those wanting God's food.

So in the space of a day, Jesus has dealt with demons, disease and death... all in a day's work for the Son of God! And He tells them not to tell anyone about this. He wasn't after the publicity and wasn't interested in the story going viral. He was never interested in being the latest youtube sensation. He just went about His Father's business and left the rest up to God. Maybe quite a few churches who think that it is clever marketing and people pleasing that attracts people could learn from this. Anyway... that's another topic! For now we should learn from both Jairus and the woman in this story. Bruised reeds made well through an encounter with Jesus!