Summary: Fear and faith, desperation and wholeness, the marginalized and the powerful; it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or how grave your situation may be. The power of Jesus can take us from one side to the other!
“Do You Believe?”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
Most all of us are familiar with the saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”
And tonight’s Scripture Lesson gives us a good picture of this.
When hard pressed on all sides, when things begin tumbling down; how long does it take for us to turn to God?
Sometimes we try and tough it out on our own.
Pride can get in our way.
Doubt can keep us from being set free.
Peer pressure can stop us from seeking the Real Help we need.
A kind of self-loathing or a feeling of “I’m not good enough” can create great obstacles to our healing.
So many of us come to Jesus as a last resort.
So many come to seek the help of Christ because they have reached their “wit’s end.”
They may have battled with temptation until they couldn’t fight it any longer…
…They may have struggled with some exhausting and overwhelming situation until reaching a breaking point and then cried out for a strength which wasn’t their own.
They may have tried and tried to be good, only to become utterly frustrated.
But whether we reach out to God right away…
…which of course, would save us from much heart-ache…
…or whether we wait until we’ve tried everything else, Jesus never sends us away!
Jesus is the Helper of the helpless; He is the Great Physician and the Lover of our Souls!!!
There is nothing beyond facing, and there is nothing beyond conquest—not even death—when it is faced and conquered in the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!!!
We have two really awesome stories this evening!
We’re getting double for our money!!!
We have a story inside a story, so to speak.
The outer story is about Jairus, a leader in the synagogue and his 12-year-old daughter, the inner story is about a much older woman, who for the same 12 years has suffered from severe bleeding.
Both stories are about fear and faith, desperation and wholeness, the marginalized and the powerful, and the power of Jesus to take people from one side to the other!
Since Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum He couldn’t have been an easy Person to have living in one’s village.
Experts in Jewish Law were upset about some of the things He was doing, and rumors suggested that if Herod got wind of this “new kingdom movement” there would be big trouble!!!
Jairus, probably didn’t feel too good about the possibility of a spotlight being shown on his town for all the wrong reasons.
At best, he probably would have wanted to keep a safe distance between himself and Jesus.
And this works until disaster strikes!!!
Jairus’ 12-year-old-dauthter was very, very sick, and apparently about to die.
We can see pretty clearly into his agonized household…
…the traumatized father…
…filled with fear…
…hope is slipping away like sand through an hour-glass.
Jairus is desperate, so he pockets his pride and forgets his political agendas, and rushes off to Jesus…
…throwing himself down at Jesus’ feet.
Imagine the scene; how undignified!!!
What would they be whispering about him come the next Sabbath?
But desperate times lead to drastic actions.
When it comes right down to it; nothing else matters when death comes knocking at the door!!!
“So Jesus went with him,” along with the eager crowd.
But something happened on the way.
Within the crowd is the woman with chronic bleeding; one of the main causes of impurity in that day.
She would have been forbidden to attend the Temple or any public events for that matter.
She should not even be out in public at all…
…let alone touching other people, especially a man!!!
But amazingly, this nameless cast-away is the one who shows the greatest understanding of Who Jesus really is and what it means to have faith in Him!!!
Jesus stopped in His tracks, even though He had been called to take care of an emergency at the home of one of the most prestigious and elite folks in town, in order to heal a sick woman that the world cared nothing about!
“Who touched my clothes?” Jesus asked.
“Then the woman…came and fell at his feet and trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.”
And Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Never forget that when life crowds in with all its pressures, there is always room for us to creep up behind Jesus—if that’s all we feel we can do—and reach out to touch Him, with that strange mixture of fear and faith that comes with so much of our journey with Jesus.
How often have you reached out to Christ with both fear and faith?