The Bible describes God as omnipotent. Derived from two Latin words, omnipotent means “all powerful.” In our understanding of God, we acknowledge that nothing can compare with His overwhelming and matchless power. There is nothing that God would ever want to do that he can’t do. There is nothing that can thwart God or keep him from doing what he wanted to do.
Jeremiah wrote about God’s power as he gazed into the heavens: “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
Verses like that shape our theology in important ways. So do verses in which we see God doing amazing things. Creation would be the most amazing display of god’s power. Once it’s established that God created the universe out of nothing, well, anything else that God might do with His universe would be simple.
What might be missing from some of our hearts today is the constant awareness and appreciation of God’s power. We don’t always think as if God were all powerful. We certainly don’t act as if he is. Otherwise, we would never dare presume to rebel against any of His commands. We rely on God to restrain from punishing us and are blinded to his power.
The goal of today’s lesson is to stir in us a renewed sense of God’s power. We look at these miracles and we are supposed to be impressed. We’re supposed to come away with the understanding that there is nothing we could ever face that is outside of God’s dominion, or his ability to deal with.
The two miracles we look at today deal with our physical bodies. There is a woman who is so sick that nobody can help her. Of course the ultimate demise of everybody is death, and Jesus encounters a dead girl. The three things the lesson points us to understand is that Jesus is able to deal with disease, shame and death. When we are in need, Jesus is able to meet those needs. When we encounter others in need, Jesus calls us to minister to those who suffer.
Principle One: Trust in Jesus’ power to take away sickness. (Mark 5:21-29)
The format of these paragraphs is a story within a story. Jesus is on his way to help a father with a sick child. This father is desperate because the girls is on the verge of death. Along the way, Jesus is sidetracked by a woman who also needs him. The tension builds because in the delay, the girl dies. But as the story resolves, the distraction is not really a distraction.It’s simply a way for jesus to display even greater power.
Mark 5:21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Can you relate to the urgency that Jarius must have felt? I think it might have been a stretch for Jarious to Jesus in the first place. He was not a religious professional like a priest. Synagogue leaders were respected laymen responsible for synagogue oversight and activities.
Have you ever actually gotten on your knees to beg someone for something? I don’t mean as a joke - I mean for real! I never have, and it’s never happened to me. What would it take for you to do that? How desperate would you need to be?
Once he came, he really needed Jesus to get there quickly because time was running out on his daughter. Luke tells us that this was his only daughter. Has a situation like this ever happened to you - where you are desperate for a solution? The tests are taking too long. Somebody’s not returning your call. There’s nothing you can do to solve the situation, and you’re looking for those who can help you to hurry up and do so!
Perhaps you can relate to the unnamed sick woman. There's some lingering, long term issue in your life! You’ve invested time and money on solutions. Nothing has helped and the situation is actually getting worse. Finally - there is a glimmer of hope! To what lengths will you go to pursue that hope? What would you risk?
Both of these people act in faith! They know that Jesus is the answer they seek. Jarious makes the bold statement - Jesus, if you will touch her, my daughter will live! The woman makes this bold statement - If I can touch Jesus, I will be healed. In a father’s darkest hour, and in a woman’s pit of desperation, Jesus is the answer.
The fact that Jesus is omnipotent relates to everything in the universe, but I think that matters of life, death and disease makes it real and personal. Do you agree? If Jesus can deal with this kind of thing, He can probably deal with anything.
Not only are these miracles an amazing display of Jesus power, but they also give us an example of a proper human response to desperation. These two people are responding in faith!
The handbook mentioned four aspects of their faith:
First, Their faith was in the right place - Jesus. They knew that Jesus was the answer to their needs.
Second, their faith was urgent and exclusive. At this point, Jesus was not one of several possible solutions! Jesus was their only hope.
Third, their faith was persistent. Jarious is literally begging! The woman is pushing her way through the crowd!
Fourth, their faith was expectant. They knew that Jesus was able to help them, if Jesus was willing to help them.
Principle Two: Trust in Jesus’ power to take away the shame of impurity. (Mark 5:30-34)
As we continue, we need to note that the woman in this story had more than just illness to deal with. Right? What else is she facing with this condition of her’s? There were the constant societal pressures. She was considered perpetually unclean by the law because of her situation. So not only was she hoping to have her sickness healed but also the corresponding stigma removed. Watch what took place when Jesus realized she had touched Him:
Mark 5:30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
The miracle is extraordinary because it was performed without effort on Jesus’ part. He immediately realized what had taken place, but she comes up behind him and touches his garment. Jesus engages her, I think because he wanted to clarify how she was healed. Jesus explained that she had been healed not through physical touch or any kind of magic but by faith.
The woman has been healed, but she’s scared: She may have feared the consequences of defiling a holy man by touching him in her unclean state. She may have feared a rebuke for having delayed Jesus.
Albert Barnes commented on her boldness and fear like this: “It was an act of faith. She was full of confidence that Jesus was able to heal, but she trembled on account of her conscious unworthiness, thus illustrating the humility and confidence of a sinner coming to God for pardon and life.” 8 –Albert Barnes
This woman is at healed, and she can go in peace!
From the handbook: The story of this woman reminds us of the plight of every person apart from Christ. We may not be ceremonially or ritually impure like this woman was, but we are all impure in our hearts. Sin destroys. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, they unleashed sickness and death into the world. No area of life escapes the effects of their fall into sin.
This does not mean that our personal sin is what causes our own illnesses. Sicknesses do, show that we live in a fallen world, a world tainted by sin. And sickness also provides a vivid picture of our lives apart from Christ—impure, diseased, spiritually dead. Jesus brings healing and peace into our disease!
Consider what Paul said:
2 Corinthians 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)
Colossians 1:22  he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (ESV)
Jesus went to the cross to die an undeserving death. The results for us or more than an escape from hell. We become righteousness. We are made to be holy and blameless before Him. His purity overcame our impurity. Through our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection: Our shame is removed. Our guilt is absolved. We are declared holy before God.
Yes, we still struggle with our flesh as God continues His process of making us more like His Son. But even when we struggle, we struggle as those who have been accepted, forgiven, and in the process of being transformed.
Principle Three: Trust in Jesus’ power to take away the curse of death. (Mark 5:35-43)
With the woman healed and at peace, the story gets back to Jairus. Jairus had asked Jesus to heal his dying daughter, and Jesus had agreed to come with him. Now, Jairus had been standing in the crowd, eagerly waiting for the great Healer to come to his house.
Can you imagine the anxiety in his heart? Nervously looking at Jesus with one foot toward Him and other toward his beloved daughter, Jairus can do nothing but wait, and then he gets dreadful news.
Mark 5:35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
I don’t know about you, but this situation would be very difficult for me. My child is on the verge of death. I’ve been able to speak to the one person who can do anything about it. He agrees to help me, but someone else cut in front and diverts the attention away from my problem. During the delay, the child dies. So the situation is very difficult.
Not only that, Jesus reply is difficult: Do not fear, only believe! I have believed in you. That’s why I came in the first place! The tense of the word Jesus uses - just believe - denotes a continued action. “Keep believing.”
If I put myself in the shoes of Jairus, this is a difficult situation to deal with. If Jesus was so compassionate, then why did he wait to tend to the child who was near death? Why did He stop to help this woman who had been sick for 12 years? Couldn’t she have waited? Why can’t Jesus come back to her after healing the girl at death's door?
The handbook gives you four reasons for trusting Jesus, and they are worth reading: We trust Jesus because of His power. We trust Jesus because of His presence. We trust Jesus because of His pity. We trust Jesus because of His promise.
With the benefit of knowing how the story ends, we know that there was a divine purpose for why Jesus waited. He wanted Jairus to get to the place where there was nothing left to be done. Once there was complete and total loss, Jesus called him to complete and total dependence.
Is that hard for you? It sure is for me! G. Campbell Morgan said this: “There was a method and a purpose to the halting of Jesus. There is always a meaning in His delay.” G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945)
The handbook offers this helpful insight: God often does not show us the entire staircase. But He is faithful to show us the next step in order to climb it.
I know I’ve said this before, but Like Jarius, we usually know what Jesus ought to do. Jesus should show my wife the error of her stubborn nature. Jesus should save my rebellious teenager. Jesus should see to it that my boss is replaced with someone who is reasonable. Jesus should make sure I make my sales quota.
If there’s a delay or a snag, or Jesus doesn’t do what we know he should, how does that impact our faith in him?
For Jarious, he continued to believe, and Jesus brought his dead daughter back to life, which was his unseen plan all along. This is an early demonstration that Jesus has the power to take away the curse of death!
As Christians, the reality of death should push us forward in confidence, not pull us back in cowardice. The reality of death is what motivates us to pursue disciplemaking! For those who don’t follow Jesus in this life, death is a doorway to eternal suffering. The curse of death is real for those who do not know God. The Bible says that first comes death and then the judgment (Heb. 9:27). All men will be judged based upon their reception or denial of the Son, because “whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).
For us, Jesus has removed the curse of death, and that should lead us to passionate proclamation about Christ.
To ties these miracles together: Jesus has power over both physical life and spiritual life. Jesus is the Savior who takes away our shame, restores us, and makes us pure and holy in God’s sight. Jesus was made impure by being touched by an unclean woman. Jesus was made impure by taking the hand of a corpse. Jesus isn’t concerned with taking on our defilement! Jesus is purity himself. He is the source of holiness. When Jesus comes in contact with our defilement, all that defiles is gone.
Our all-powerful God has created everything we can see, taste, touch, and smell. He has also demonstrated His power through His Son, Jesus, through the many miracles Jesus performed while He was on the earth. From these miracles, we know that God’s power spans the physical realm: the woman with the issue of blood was healed after painfully enduring her sickness for 12 years. Jesus merely spoke, and she was healed of her disease.
In addition to the physical realm, we see that God’s power also spans the spiritual realm. In the case of the bleeding woman, her impurity was covered by His purity. And in Jairus’ family, Jesus overcame the curse of death with life. Christ has done the same for you and me. He has taken away our shame and put our guilt on Himself, freeing us to proclaim to a lost and dying world the riches of Christ.
If this is our God, then what should your response be the next time you face a challenge in life? God says that response should be trust in Him.