Summary: We can never rise to the level of God, so in love, God comes down.
Sermon for 4th Sunday after Pentecost
July 2nd 2006
Last week I talked about how you and I can actually see ourselves in the gospel of Mark. How you and I live in that fast and furious world of Mark where there is little time to dwell on the past, and just as impossible to see what’s going to happen in our lives next. How we still struggle with the strange words that Jesus spoke. How we can sit there with our mouths hanging open trying to explain the miracles we simply can’t explain.
I finished up the message by claiming to cry out in the midst of your storm, “Jesus wake up,” is an enormous statement of faith. A Statement that you can’t go it alone, we need help. To cry out when all else has failed, “Jesus I need you!” Is all the faith one needs. Because we are saved only by God’s Grace through our faith.
In today’s gospel lesson one can see what happens when we come to Jesus desperately aware of our need for a Savior. Aware that we are sick and can’t go it alone.
Today’s story is a story about two totally different people. One is a leader of the Synagogue. The other is an outcast woman. Both seeking the same thing out of desperation. Both seeking something they can find nowhere else.
Let look at the woman first. The text says, “Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’”
And in the end Jesus says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Her condition could have been caused by a tumor or some other disease that made her “Unclean,” according to the Old Testament Law. She would have been excluded from the Temple and anything she touched could be considered contaminated. What a horrible way to live one’s life.
This poor woman had suffered for 12 long years in a life of misery and she knew that Jesus was her last and only chance. She was desperate! “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” That’s what I call Faith!
Even though we are not sure what exactly she believed in. Did she have knowledge of the Bible? Did she believe all the right doctrines? Did she pray everyday? Did she know and understand who this person truly is? We don’t know. But we do know she is running out of options and there is nowhere else to turn.
Next we have a completely different type of soul approach Jesus. Jairus one of the leaders of the synagogue. Jairus was most likely one of the highest ranking religious officials in the land. He would be the one responsible for the administration and operation of the synagogue. Jairus was in charge of the establishment that ridiculed this man called Jesus.
Yet he didn’t care what his neighbors or fellow religious associates thought. Nothing matter to this man as he came to Jesus in anguish and total desperation, and bowed down before this man and begged Jesus repeatedly, “My little girl is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”
That’s what I call faith!
Even though we are not sure what exactly he believed in. Did Jairus believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the fulfillment of the Old Testament? Did he follow the teachings of this man? Did he believe in the Holy Trinity? We don’t know.
And to top all this off, we’re quite certain that the synagogue leader did not come to adore or to glorify Jesus, but instead he came with a motive. To seek life for his daughter and relief from his pain and anguish. Jairus was turning to Jesus because Jesus was his last hope. There was nowhere else to turn.
The woman we looked at before, had suffered in anguish and total despair for 12 years, and this poor little girl had just begun to live a life of laughter with here family and friends, and suddenly it was over, after 12 short years.
So while 12 years old is the first year of womanhood, according to Jewish custom, I’m sure to her father, she was still his little girl. And maybe Jairus’ motives were not quite pure, still he cried out to Jesus in faith. And the text says, “Little girl, I say to you arise!” And the girl got up and walked.