Threads of Faith

There’s a Bible story of two distressed people that shows up in three of the New Testament gospels.

We read in Matthew, Mark, and Luke of this one sick woman and one heartbroken father. In these two people, we get pictures of the way that faith and power works through the Son.

First, there’s a desperate woman who’s spent everything she had in search of a cure. She’d been bleeding for 12 years. And this condition classified her as unclean, according to Jewish law. Her plague meant that she was akin to a leper. Her life became as one that was mostly shut off from the community. She really was trapped in a pattern of social distance, to use a contemporary term.

Jesus came to her town. Crowds greeted Him. News of His miracle power spread fast, and so many wanted to be near Him. He was swallowed by the press of people.

The scrambled, harum-scarum scene provided perfect cover for the woman in the story. She mingled in the midst of the throng.

She watched. She waited. Could she reach the Savior? That was the big question. And then the occasion turned to her advantage.

It was the deep need of another that served to open her door of opportunity. Here, the forlorn father entered the picture and got the attention of Jesus.

The Sting of Death

The man was a synagogue leader, Jairus by name, and he fell at Jesus’ feet. This was a member of the religious establishment that had sought to stifle the ministry of the Savior and His men. This one came seeking favor and mercy for his daughter, just 12 years old. She was near death, and she was his only child.

“Come and heal my girl,” he pleaded. The Savior started out for the man’s house at once. His sense of the sting of death stirred His compassion.

Christ “learned” things as the Son of Man – this point is made for us in Hebrews 4:15 and Hebrews 5:8. The feelings of our human infirmities He very much experienced. As the Word made flesh, Jesus dwelt among us and lived as us in order to die for us. Paul referred to Jesus as the “last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45. His nature as Man is indisputable; even Roman and Jewish histories contain accounts of Him and His time in Judea.

Jesus literally became “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (see Isaiah 53:3). This great reality about the Son and His existence as the God-Man has befuddled many through the centuries since His coming.

Who is Christ? What is the nature of His essence? How could He be both Man and God at the same time? The nature of His being remains incomprehensible. Some minds churn phrases and philosophies in search of reason and rationale.

Secret things belong to God (see Deuteronomy 29:29). At times, we have to rest in this truth. This may be an unsatisfactory answer for some.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus grew in wisdom and favor before men. Part of that growing process for the Son of God was feeling what the specter of death did to people. In compassion, Jesus would answer the pleas of this man.

Touching Faith

As the Lord made His move to perform one miracle, the stage had been set for another wonderwork.

The bleeding woman had managed to reach the inner circle; she caught up with Jesus and found a place just behind Him. She, like Jairus, saw Jesus as her last best hope for victory over her pain and her shame.

Already in this woman a measure of faith had been kindled. She was sure that it wouldn’t take much to effect her healing. She reasoned that just a touch of Jesus’ garment would accomplish the work.

And she was so right.

It happened as she believed it would. She reached and caught a thread of the Savior’s cloak. It was all she needed. Her flow of blood stopped.

But then Jesus stopped in His tracks. He felt her faith, and the miracle that this faith had drawn from Him.

“Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. The woman likely had thoughts of merrily skipping away. She had been found out. Terrified, she fell down before Jesus and told her story for all to hear.

What a joy that must have been for Jesus. Before Him was a true believer.

“Daughter,” He said to her. “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Only Believe

Jesus had more to do on this day, however. He started out for the house of Jairus when the news came that the man’s daughter was now dead. This father was advised not to trouble Jesus any further.

The Savior would have none of it and answered the matter this way:  “Be not afraid, only believe” (See Mark 5:30).

Jairus’ home was enveloped with chaos. Weepers and wailers filled the place with sounds of grief as Jesus arrived. These ones laughed with scorn when He declared:  “Why make this ado and weep? The damsel is not dead, she is but asleep.”

Here’s another lesson from this story:  Faithlessness has power, too. This reality was a marvel to Jesus, according to Mark 6. In this chapter, Jesus returned to Nazareth “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them” (Mark 6:5). Unbelief, to a degree and in certain cases, limits the Holy One (see Psalm 78:41).

And it’s noisy and distracting. Have you noticed how loud people must be when they question the reality of God and His power?

God is still working. He’s healing. He’s giving life to those who believe. He is ever our Savior. Click To Tweet

Jesus silenced the agitators and put the doubtful out of the room. Then He turned to Jairus’ daughter:  “Taking her by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’  And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat” (Mark 5:41-43).

What a day that was. There were many others like it for Jesus. He still does things like this. We have to listen for them because they happen in the stillness and the quiet.

God is still working. He’s healing. He’s giving life to those who believe. He is ever our Savior.

Let’s repeat His words and stir up our hearts:  “Be not afraid. Only believe.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Andrulonis
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