Sunday, July 9th 2023
Christ Covenant Church – Centralia, WA
21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. 22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. 24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. 35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
Father, we thank you for this revelation of Your desire to heal and touch and raise to new life, those who have been polluted by sin. As we consider this scene in the life of Christ, we ask for your Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth, and that by apprehending the truth, we might attain to true freedom. We ask all this in Jesus name, Amen.
This morning we consider two more miracles from the hands of Jesus, both of which continue to reveal His Divine identity. Last time we saw that Jesus went out of his way to sail across the sea of Galilee through a storm (which he calms), in order to bring salvation to a man who was possessed by a Legion of demons.
And we recall that while these miracles are real historical events, they are also at the same time “living parables,” which if understood and interpreted rightly will reveal greater realities about the kingdom of heaven and who this Jesus is.
We saw that Mark has purposely organized these stories in such a way that if we know how to interpret Jesus’ parables and teaching, we will know how to interpret Jesus’ miracles and actions. And we said that the best method for interpreting a sign or a parable is to first look back at the Old Testament and see what those signs and realities meant there. And because Scripture has One divine Author we should expect there to be a unity of thought between Old and New Testaments, between what God did in ages past and what Jesus is doing in the gospels.
Now in our text this morning we have what might appear at first glance to be a simple story of a healing and a resurrection. But there are certain details that Mark includes in this story which suggest there is a lot more going on here. And that is the riddle and parable of this story.
For example, it’s rare for Mark to include the actual names of the people Jesus heals or helps. Instead, they are usually just called by their affliction or their relation to someone else (ex. the paralytic, Peter’s mother-in-law, the leper, the demon-possessed man, and now in our text a daughter and a woman with a flow of blood). And so for Mark to give us the name of the ruler of the synagogue Jairus, but not the names of the two women Jesus heals, is a bit odd. What is going on here?
There are also some curious similarities between Jairus’s dead daughter and the woman with the flow of blood.
We are told in verse 25 that the woman “had an issue of blood twelve years,” and then in verse 42 we are told that the age of Jairus’ daughter was twelve years.
What is significant about this number 12 and the fact that the woman has been sick for as long as the girl has been alive? Why include this detail but not their names?
There is also a question about the order in which these two healings happen. Jesus is on his way to resurrect Jairus’ daughter, when he is interrupted and touched by the woman with the flow of blood. What is it about this healing that compares and contrasts with the girl’s resurrection? What does Mark (or God rather) want us to learn from this sequence?
It is these kinds of details that should provoke us to read this story at two levels. First there is the literal or historical level of the story (the miraculous healings), but then there is what those literal/historical events themselves signify. Just as seed and lamps and birds have a greater spiritual significance in Jesus’ parables, so also the historical actions of Jesus are themselves significant.
So as we walk through this text, we want to keep an eye out for that spiritual sense of these literal events.
Division of the Text
There are three basic movements to this story, and they form a kind of sandwich structure.
In verses 21-24, Jairus pleas for Jesus to heal his daughter. Jesus agrees and goes with him.
In verses 25-34, They are interrupted as the woman touches Jesus’ garment and is miraculously healed.
In verses 35-43, We resume that original journey and Jesus arrives and resurrects Jairus’ daughter.
So there is: 1) A plea for healing, 2) the healing of someone else, and then 3) the resurrection of the dead daughter.
21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
Jesus is likely returning now to Capernaum, after his detour to the pig herding region of the Decapolis. And yet Mark wants us to know that Jesus is still “nigh unto the sea.” He continues to minister along the seashore.
Already we have seen that the sea is associated with the Gentile nations, and the sand on the seashore signifies Abraham’s offspring/seed.
And so there are echoes here of God’s promise in Isaiah 60:5, where it says, “The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, The forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”
God had promised long ago that in Abraham’s seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed, and Jesus is that seed, he is the son Abraham and son of David, who brings God’s kingdom into the world. “The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto Him, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto Him.” That is what we are seeing in Mark’s gospel.
We also remember that when Jesus called the first four disciples to leave their nets and follow him, he said that he would make them into fishers of men. Well, that is also what Jesus has been doing. He’s been preaching and teaching from inside a boat, going from city to city near the sea, fishing and catching the souls of men.
So that is the scene here, Jesus nigh unto the sea.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
Notice first that this Jairus is a ruler of the synagogue. He is roughly equivalent to what we might call a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church. He is probably not an ordained minister or a Levitical priest, but he is a man of prominence with responsibility and authority in the synagogue.
This name Jairus is a Hebrew name that comes from the word יָאִיר and means something like enlightened one or he who gives light/awakens. And so there is irony here in that the man whose name is enlightened or awakened, has a daughter who Jesus says in verse 39 is “not dead, but asleep.” In other words, if Jairus (the enlightened one) has death for a daughter, what does that say about his light?
This is reflective then on the spiritual state of the Jewish people and their synagogue. Already we have seen that the synagogues are infested with demons, they are full of people who are sick and suffering the curses of God’s covenant. And so there is a parallel here between Jairus’ daughter which he says, “lieth at the point of death” and the synagogues which likewise are on life support.
And so Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him saying, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”
All throughout the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Zephaniah, etc. God calls His people by the name “Daughter Zion.” And this is the name that is given to them as they are suffering judgment and exile for their sins. The entire book of Lamentations is a weeping over the destruction of Jerusalem under this name Daughter Zion.
If you were to summarize all the prophecies about Daughter Zion in the Old Testament, they would essentially boil down to this: Daughter Zion is going to be punished for her sins, she is going to suffer judgment and die, but God is going to resurrect her, remove her uncleanness, and make her glorious again. I’ll give you a couple samples of these prophecies:
Isaiah 62:11 says, “Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; Behold, his reward is with him, And his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: And thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”
Zephaniah 3:14-15 says, “Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.”
Well, here is Jesus, the King of Israel, the LORD God in their midst, and what does Jairus ask him to do? Touch his daughter who is at the point of death and heal her.
This is of course in the first instance a desperate cry from a father’s heart for the life of his beloved daughter. But it is also at the same time that this daughter is representative of Jerusalem, of Israel, of Daughter Zion who likewise lies at the point of death, and only the King of Israel can raise her up.
Well, what does Jesus do?
24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
Again, the crowds follow Jesus wherever he goes. And then in verse 25 we have an interruption to his mission to heal Jairus’s daughter (and spiritually speaking, we have a delay in the healing of Daughter Zion). What is this delay for?
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
According to the laws of Leviticus, a woman with a flow of blood was in the same unclean state as the leper. And this meant exclusion from the congregation, exclusion from the temple and its worship, and exclusion from anyone else who wanted to be clean.
Leviticus 15:25-27 says, “And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.”
So this was a woman who for twelve long years, has suffered in uncleanness. She has been forced to live as an exile from the holy city of Jerusalem and is therefore really no different from a Gentile. Her state of uncleanness has separated her from God, and despite her attempts to find healing from the hands of many physicians, she has only been made worse and has now spent all that she had.
Like the leper, and like the man possessed by a legion of demons, this woman is utterly destitute. But verse 27 says, “she had heard of Jesus.”
We know from Jesus’ previous miracles that word has spread abroad. We saw last time that the demoniac was sent home so that he could “publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him” (verse 20).Perhaps this woman was one of those people who heard.
However it is that she heard of Jesus, this woman reasons that if Jesus has touched unclean lepers and healed them, perhaps he can do the same for her. And so she says to herself in verse 28, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”
Here we have a point of contrast with Jairus (the enlightened one). Who in this scene has the greater faith? Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, or this destitute woman?
Jairus asks Jesus to come and lay his hands on his daughter so that she will be healed. That is as far as his faith extends.
But this woman believes that if she just touches his garments, she will be made whole.
Perhaps we are reminded here of that scene in Matthew 8, where a Roman Centurion says that if Jesus will just say the word, his servant will be healed. He is not worthy to have Jesus come to his house, but he believes that just a word from Jesus will bring healing. Jesus says of that gentile centurion, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
That same idea is present here. The places and people where you would expect to find great faith, the synagogue and Jairus, is put to shame by this woman.
Jairus requires Jesus to come to his house and touch his daughter. But this woman presses her way through the crowd and in a great act of faith touches only his garment. She believes that touching the mere outskirts of Jesus will heal her. Well, what happens next?
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
Notice that Jesus’ power is not magically or locally contained in his garments. There are many people pressing against him and touching him in this thronging crowd, and nothing miraculous happens to them. But when this woman reaches out in faith, it says, “virtue/power went out of him,” and he notices.
Jesus then turns and asks, “Who touched me?” Not because he was ignorant of what had happened, any more than God was ignorant when he asked Adam and Eve, “Where are you?”, but Jesus asks this question to give her an opportunity to testify, and to bless her even further.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Jesus commends this woman for her faith, and just as he brought peace to the storm, and then peace to the demoniac, now he brings peace to this unclean and destitute woman. And notice, what is the name he calls her by? Daughter.
First, we had Jairus’s daughter who Jesus was enroute to heal, but before he gets to her, before he restores Daughter Zion, he adopts this woman of great faith,and she becomes a part of his family. Jesus adopts her and calls her daughter.
Who does Jesus adopt into his family? Those with faith. Those who want God to be their Father in Heaven.
What is the lesson Jesus been trying to teach his disciples? What did he just say to them back in the boat, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
Well, here is true and living faith, and it is found not in a disciple, not in a ruler of the synagogue, but in an unclean woman who has been in exile for 12 years.
The church fathers recognized in this woman a symbol of the Gentiles. Just as she had spent all that she had on physicians but was only made worse, so also the Gentiles had tried everything (worshipping idols, studying the stars, writing poems, developing philosophy), and yet none of these “physicians” could save their soul.
And so Christ comes into this woman’s life in the 12th year, or as Paul says in Galatians 4:4, “in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son.”
And before Daughter Zion, the holy city can be resurrected, the gospel must first go to the Gentiles, to the nations, to those who have been polluted and made unclean by the blood of idolatry and wickedness. Before Daughter Zion can be restored, God is going to adopt the Gentiles into His family.
As it says of Jesus in John 1:11-12, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
The order and sequence of these two daughters being healed is a picture of what Paul says in Romans 11. He says,“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved…” (Rom. 11:25-26).
In other words, God uses the Jews rejection of Christ, to bring about the salvation of the world, and then when the Jews see the Gentiles experiencing the blessings of God’s covenant, they will want back in.
Romans 11:11-12 explains this saying, “I say then, have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”
Jesus is foreshadowing by the healing of these two daughters, what Paul calls in Ephesians 3, “the great mystery of the gospel…that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”
In Christ, by faith, anyone can become an adopted son or daughter of God, and therefore an heir to the blessings God promised to Abraham and his seed. Jesus is that entrance into God’s family, and all you must do is reach out to him by faith.
Continuing in our story. While great salvation has come to this newly adopted daughter, what about Jairus’s daughter.
35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
Notice again that the charge to God’s people, to Jairus, to the Jews, to the disciples, to those who mourn and lament the death of this Daughter of Zion, is “be not afraid, only believe.”
37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn.
Notice that these mourners go from weeping and wailing to laughing scornfully at Jesus in just a moment. These are likely hired mourners who had been at many funerals, and therefore they knew a dead body when they saw one.
It is interesting then that despite the girl being physically dead, Jesus says “she is not dead, but sleeps.” That is to say, she might be dead to you, but I am the God who kills and makes alive (Deut. 32:39), I am the God who formed man from the dust and breathed life into his nostrils and therefore to me, this girl is not dead but only asleep, and I have the power to do what Jairus could not do, and that is enlighten her, awaken her, raise her from the dead!
But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
This is the first resurrection Jesus performs in Mark’s gospel. And what could be more convincing of someone’s divine power, than that he raise the dead to life?
In five chapters, Mark has shown us that Jesus has the power to heal the sick of any disease, he has the power to bind Satan and cast out thousands of demons, he has the ability to control the winds and the waves, and now we see his power to raise the dead to life.
If you are unsure whether Jesus is God, what greater sign could you possibly need? How weak is your faith if you need something greater than this to believe that Jesus is LORD?
Well, there are more signs to come, and as we will see next week, unbelief is the natural response of Jesus’s own countrymen. These signs do not persuade them. And so I close by returning again to the faith of the woman with the flow of blood.
We don’t know the name of this woman. But we know that God calls her “Daughter.” And if you feel or have felt as this woman did, that no earthly physician can heal your soul, that there is a constant flow of impurity within you that seems unstoppable, and everything you touch becomes tainted with sin, then forsake yourself, and reach out in faith to the Lord Jesus. He alone has the power to heal you and make you pure. And He delights to adopt those with faith into his family.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.