6 May 2014
Recently a passage from the Book of Mark brought to light the critical importance of faith related to our prayers. Most of us have the idea that faith is important in praying thus the following will not represent an entirely new perception. However, I believe that the Lord wants to remind us regularly of the critical importance of faith in our lives and in our prayers.
In this passage ( Mark 5:21 – 6:6) there are three episodes: first is mentioned the synagogue official by the name of Jairus, who came to Jesus asking that He heal his daughter who was lying near death. Secondly we are introduced to the woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years who also sought out Jesus for healing. Thirdly we find Jesus in His home town among those who knew Him and his relatives, where he could do almost nothing due to their arrogant attitude of unbelief.
First, let’s examine some of the differences that are outlined as Jairus and the woman pray for the help of Jesus. Jairus approached Jesus publically and fell down at His feet begging Him to come to his home and heal his daughter. The woman however came to Jesus secretly slipping up behind Him apparently hoping to be healed without anyone’s knowledge. Her prayer was silently expressed by the subtle reaching out of her hand to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. Jarius’ prayer was earnest and audible as he fervently begged for Jesus to heal his daughter as she lay near death.
However both Jairus and the woman demonstrated faith. There were many people touching Jesus that day. One translation of this scene says that the crowd was so dense and intense that they nearly suffocated Jesus. No doubt many if not most of those thronging Jesus that day had intense needs, yet only one person was healed. The woman with the issue of blood was healed because she believed (expected) that if she touched the garment of Jesus she would be healed. Her faith set her apart from all in this multitude.
Immediately when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she sensed that she was healed. At precisely the same time we are told that Jesus sensed that healing power had proceeded from Him. Jesus stopped and turning around in the crowd ask “who touched me?” His disciples thought that Jesus’ question was absurd. They expressed that with all these people thronging Him how could he possibly ask such a ridiculous question?
But Jesus knew what He was doing! Perhaps He knew that Jairus would need to hear the testimony of the woman? No doubt He wanted to honor the faith of this woman publically and provide His sovereign acceptance to her secret healing. And perhaps His desire was to add to her physical healing an eternal spiritual healing? As the woman came forth and fell down at the feet of Jesus and told publically to all within hearing of her twelve year dilemma and the miraculous healing that had just occurred the men from Jairus’ home were rapidly approaching to bring the news; his daughter had already died.
Immediately after these men gave their report ,Jesus said to Jairus “Do not be afraid, only believe.” These words of encouragement and the testimony of the woman’s healing seemed to strengthen the faith of Jairus as they continued to his home. Upon arrival Jesus immediately dismissed all except His three closest disciples together with Jairus and the girl’s mother. This was to be a powerful no fan-fare miracle of immense proportions.
Jesus spoke a few words and this girl came back to life from the dead. In this process Jesus did two things that seemed to be in conflict. He brought three witnesses to record this miracle and He did all he could to imply to those present that the girl was not really dead but only in a deep sleep. Why? Perhaps He had concern for the life of the girl as those who greatly opposed Him were not always kind to those who were the recipients of His miracles. She could have become the target of desperate men desiring to defame Him. As for the three witnesses perhaps Jesus was thinking of you and me. Could it be His purpose was that we would know the truth of His power and the importance of faith related to our prayers?
Now we must consider the relatives and acquaintances of Jesus from Nazareth. These folks seem to have an arrogance flowing from acquaintance and comparison that prevented them from believing in Jesus. Arrogance is an amazingly powerful deterrent to faith! Arrogance is the classic spiritual power failure. It leaves us completely in the dark. These folks were characterized by amazing unbelief. They did not expect Jesus to be any different than His brothers or themselves.
Thus we see two of these three episodes were filled with faith and one was filled with unbelief. In the latter there was such unbelief that not only could Jesus do little, but we find there are no notable prayers addressed to Jesus.
Regardless if our prayers are persistent pleading or simply reaching out a hand silently to God, in order to be heard, our prayers must issue from a heart of faith. What Jairus and this woman had in common; they expected they would receive their desired answers. Their faith went all the way to expectation. While those in Jesus’ home town did not expect Jesus could do anything. What do you expect Jesus to do when you pray?