An urgent plea from a believer

Published 11:02 pm Friday, June 3, 2016

By Dr. Thurman Hayes

The Gospel of Mark, which we are walking through on Sunday mornings at my church these days, is a gospel of relentless, fast-paced action. Mark is like a movie director who quickly moves from one action scene to another. His favorite words — “immediately” and “at once” — communicate urgency.

Nowhere is this more the case than in Mark 5:21-43, where Jesus encounters two very desperate people. What happens when human desperation meets Jesus? We shall see.

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The first encounter is with a man named Jairus. He is a leader in his local synagogue and a high-ranking official in his community.

But on the day he approached Jesus, he was just a desperate father. That’s because his little girl was gravely ill and at the point of death.

He pleaded with Jesus, “Come and lay your hand on her, so that she may be made well and live.”

But just as Jesus was going with Jairus, he was approached by another desperate person. She approached him secretly, in shame, and said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” For 12 years she had experienced constant bleeding of a female nature. She had spent all her savings going from doctor to doctor in an effort to get well, but her condition had only grown worse.

And in addition to the obvious physical toll it had taken on her, she had endured much public humiliation, for a woman with this condition was considered “unclean” and had to remain separate from others, like a leper.

She approached Jesus in a tightly packed crowd of people who were pressing around him and touching him.

But the moment she touched him, he knew something had happened. He perceived that power had gone forth from him. Jesus looked around to see who had been healed. Finally, the woman stepped out of the crowd.

With great tenderness and compassion, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Jesus was not content to mechanically perform a miracle. He wanted to minister to her as a person. And because her shame had been public, he wanted her healing to be public.

But just as this beautiful scene was playing out, someone came from the house of Jairus and told him that his little girl was dead. Jesus instantly intervened, and said to this devastated father, “Keep on believing.”

Jesus took the little girl’s parents and three of his disciples into the room where the lifeless body lay on the bed, and Mark tells us what happened next: “Taking her by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’”

“Talitha” was an Aramaic term of endearment for little girls, sort of like “Honey” in our culture. Jesus took her hand and lovingly said, “Honey, it’s time to get up.” And she did.

One day Jesus will return and say “Arise!” to all who sleep in him. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

Death does not have the final say for followers of Jesus, for our Savior has conquered death.

He did it by taking the death we deserved on himself, and then rising from the dead, so that one day he can say to us, “Arise!”

Thurman Hayes is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.