This sermon was preached at Red Rocks Baptist Church (14711 W. Morrison Rd. Morrison, CO 80123) on June 17, 2012 by Pastor Les Heinze. These notes are provided as a recap and for further study into the message from God’s Word.
WHEN THEY LAUGHED AT THE FUNERAL
Mark 5:21-14, 35-43
The Bible can, and does, outline the power of God with explicit statements. But whether it was the power Jesus claimed to have in forgiving sin (Matthew 9:6), or raising the dead (Mark 5), there were always the skeptics. They could usually be silenced, however, when Christ actually demonstrated His power. In Mark’s recording of the raising of a young girl from the dead, Jesus goes above and beyond expectations, performing one of His most powerful miracles.
Before this miracle took place, the skeptics were openly derisive. Mark uses the word ‘ridicule’ in verse 40. The mourners, after the death of the young girl, were in a heightened emotional state. But their open objection to Jesus’ assessment of her condition was more of a decided reaction based on unbelief. They simply did not believe Christ could do anything to change that.
Some of the skeptics were undoubtedly family members. How can it be that from the same family could come Jairus in faith, believing that Jesus could heal his daughter, but others couldn’t stretch their faith to believe Jesus could resurrect? Simply, faith is an individual thing, and while it can be infectious, it is not necessarily collective. Some will believe God and some won’t.
The divide between Jairus and the others can also be seen in the message they brought after the child died: “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” He wasn’t recognized as God, Jesus, or even a healer. He was only the teacher. While great respect was given to teachers in Jewish culture, teachers were never attributed with the power needed to resurrect from the dead.
The distress of Jairus had reached its peak – there was hopelessness without the prospect of help. Jairus’ driving determination to find a remedy for his daughter evaporated and despair settled in. In the face of overwhelming circumstances, Jesus yet offered both hope and help. His words can be paraphrased to say; “Stop being afraid. Replace your fear with a settled belief.”
Dead hope in Jairus’ heart was resurrected! Even so, the walk from the streets to Jairus’ house probably seemed interminable. What could Jesus possibly do? What exactly was Jesus going to do?
Other “healers” and “miracle workers” of the day were known to perform rituals and rites that, frankly, often hurt the patient more than they help – as was illustrated in last week’s sermon. Instead, Jesus did something radical and simply proclaimed that the girl was only sleeping. He used a figurative expression to indicate she wasn’t truly dead but that her condition would soon be reversed. And with a simple Aramaic phrase, “Talitha cumi,” it was!
This incident is really a microcosm of Jesus’ entire ministry, then and now. Constant opposition, persistent skepticism, open derision. But Jesus wasn’t deterred by their taunts. Let the minstrels of misery play their dirge. The last one standing at the end will be the Son of God.
In the midst of your own distress of circumstance and God’s apparent delay in answering, where are you? Align yourself with the faith and hope that motivated Jairus, not with those whom Jesus made to leave his presence.