Sermons

Summary: How faith sees you through the worst circumstances

The Joy of a Broken Rope

(How faith sees you through the worst circumstances)

Mark 5.21-43 April 22, 2001

21When Jesus went back across to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him on the shore.

22A leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, 23pleading with him to heal his little daughter. ¡§She is about to die,¡¨ he said in desperation. ¡§Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.¡¨

24Jesus went with him, and the crowd thronged behind.

25And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she was worse.

Mark 5.21-26

The New Living Translation

"When Your Rope Breaks"(1) is the title of a book I read some years ago. The title suggests the scene of a person who has been having trouble. He has come to the end of his rope! Proverbial advice in many cultures says,

When you come to the end of your rope,

tie a knot and hold on for dear life!

The content of the rope-breaking book indicates that advice doesn¡¦t go far enough. What happens when your rope breaks? What then?

What about Jairus, the man with the gravely ill daughter; what about the nameless woman who had been hemorrahging for twelve years? Do you think they were at the end of their ropes? Was that rope threadbare and about to break?

The man was a somebody ¡V ruler of the local church. The woman was a nobody. She was broke ¡V twelve years of receipts from doctors; twelve years of waiting rooms, remedies and disappointment. Nothing worked!

Combined with being a social outcast (Leviticus 15 has all the rules that say no one could even touch her), it was a good bet her husband had given up on her as well. In those days it was easier to divorce than today. She had no money, no close friends, and no business touching a rabbi like Jesus.

Well, the hi-profile religious leader, Jairus, and the low-level suffering woman took a major risk. Jairus risked his position and reputation coming to Jesus. The woman risked jail for touching Jesus in her unclean state. Was that tying a knot in their rope? Or was it letting go of the rope, which was broken

anyway?

Have you ever been there?

„« What if the doctor says, That¡¦s it ¡V we can¡¦t do any more?

„« What if the accountant says, Sorry, you have no more options ¡V I¡¦ll visit you in jail?

„« What if the lawyer says, Her decision is final; there will be no reconciliation?

„« What if¡K..the rope of sanity and hope upon which you¡¦ve been supported¡K.breaks?

¡Kwell, let me share my own little rope story with you. It happened a few years ago¡K

Having dodged most of the assorted germs, flu and nasty little airborne viruses this year, the tenacious bug finally sank his viscous little fangs into this preacher. Well, talk about crash & burn! Monday afternoon my wife and I had eaten lunch with my Aunt and Uncle from Port Richey. By Monday evening I felt so bad -- body aches, weakness, fever -- I was popping aspirin and invoking the chicken soup clause from our wedding vows (...and promise to pamper my husband¡¦s boo-boos, etc.).

You may have guessed I am not a very silent sufferer. When I am sick I really don¡¦t want company -- only a card that says your heart is broken, and for you, the meaning of life is now uncertain because of my pain. Sympathy is a wonder drug to us wimps.

Allow me to continue this shameless begging for sympathy. By Tuesday morning my poor little body had a temperature of over 101o. I was sick of chicken soup, and my thoughts had drifted to trying to recall where I put my last will and testament. Tuesday night I lay in the bed figuring I would die soon -- by 3 AM I was afraid I wouldn¡¦t!

On Wednesday morning Elizabeth called the doctor for an appointment (guys and other mule-like life forms do not call doctors). Elizabeth had informed me it was a toss-up whether she would call the doctor or the Beggs brothers (local funeral director). She said my eyes were fixed and dilated. She chose the doctor when she became convinced I was still alive. What convinced her was when she tried to take the Nyquil bottle from my hands -- I growled and bit her. (If I¡¦d bitten a second time, she would have called Beggs -- She would have killed me!)

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