The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

“Do not be afraid; only believe”

Have you ever been told, “It’s a dead issue. Just give up”? That can be a pretty frightening thing when what you’re being asked to give up on is something near and dear to your heart. One day when Jesus was ministering by Galilee the ruler of the local synagogue, a man named Jairus, came and fell at Jesus’ feet. He was heart-wrenched and at the end of himself. His “little daughter” was sick and at the point of death. He begged Jesus to come and administer His healing touch. Jesus went with him along with a multitude of others who were curious about what might happen (Mark 5:21-24).

Along the way a woman who had been sick for twelve years with bleeding sought out Jesus for healing. She had suffered many things at the hands of the physicians. She spent all her money on a cure to no avail. She was in a predicament not unlike what many experience today. This woman was at the end of herself. Jesus was her last hope of a cure. She made her way through the crowd and in faith touched Jesus garment and immediately she was healed. Jesus’ looked for who touched him because He felt the healing power go out from Him. When the woman came forward and told Jesus all that had happened to her, Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:25-34)

Jairus who was accompanying Jesus must have seen and heard all that was happening. For a moment his heart must have leaped for joy. Perhaps he thought this woman was in a hopeless situation just like mine. She was beyond the help of physicians. If this woman can be healed by a simple touch of Jesus’ garment, what might happen to my precious little daughter if Jesus touches her? But just as he was getting his hopes up, word came, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Mark 5:35). Death is so final. It’s so abrupt even if you know it is coming. These seem to have been such deathly cold words. But this time it was Jesus who saw and heard what was happening, before Jairus even had a chance to respond, Jesus intervened by saying to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mark 5:36).

Those who don’t know Jesus only see death in life. By nature they can be very discouraging. What hope they have is in people or their own personal resources. But the science, medicine, mechanics, finances, industry, and human resources all have limitations. Rationalism can be shortsighted when it comes to the reality of God and His power. There are no limits with Jesus (other than acting contrary to His Nature). He can do whatever He purposes to do.

The first thing Jesus did in response to these cold conveyers of bad news was draw Jairus attention to Himself. “Do not be afraid; only believe.” It’s always a best first response in a crisis situation to turn to Jesus. When we are overwhelmed we need to go to the Rock; to Jesus (Psalm 61:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:4). The next thing Jesus did was put the crowd behind them. He took Peter, James and John, along with Jairus and continued on His mission (Mark 5:37). When He arrived at the home of Jairus, He addressed those wailing and brought peace to the situation (Mark 5:38-39). Whether or not these were professional wailers we do not know. They ridiculed Jesus for saying the little girl was only sleeping. But if they were professionals, Jesus put them out. They had no business profiting by those who mourned.

Jesus took the father and mother and the three apostles and entered where the child was laid. Then He simply tool her little hand and said, “Little girl, I say to you arise.” And she rose! (Mark 5:40-42). Jesus didn’t have to go through gyrations or incantations, He didn’t use magic or even medicine, He simply spoke and this girl was resurrected. And all “were overcome with great amazement” (Mark 5:42). He didn’t make a big deal or even start a 501 c 3 tax exempt healing ministry. He actually told them to tell no one about what He had done. To Him the more important thing was that the little girl should be given something to eat (Mark 5:43).

That’s a great story and there are some awesome truths to take from it. I don’t think it means we should go to the local morgue and start praying over dead bodies. And I don’t think it means we should stop going to doctors. I do think we should realize that religion doesn’t hold the solution to our problems. Jairus was the ruler of the local synagogue but he was at a loss until he came to Jesus. We should be alert to things the Lord does to encourage us along the way, (like the woman with a flow of blood) especially in times of despair. God is for us (Psalm 42; 43; 56:9; Romans 8:31-32). We should never put limitations on what Jesus might want to do. We need to put out the agents of discouragement. And in situations when all hope seems lost, rather than react in fear we should respond in faith. Faith in Christ is God’s remedy for fear. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Bottom line, the next time you find yourself in a hopeless despairing situation, “Do not be afraid; only believe” in Jesus and seek His will. Go to Jesus.

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