Good morning! Welcome to summer 2016! You realize how incredible summer really is? No other planet in the known universe has a summer like ours. Without summer, life on earth would be impossible. Is that design or mere accident?
The earth is the exact distance from the sun for life to not just exist but thrive. The 23½ degree tilt of the earth’ rotational axis to the sun creates seasons. Together with the moon, this tilt is the engine that circulates air and ocean currents that recycle nutrients around the globe. The exact speed of the earth rotation keeps the temp variation between night and day from being too extreme. Water is all but absent in the universe except for our little earth where it exists in abundance and provides the foundation of life.
Some have said the argument that creation is accidental is like throwing mud at a canvas and accidently coming up with the Mona Lisa. But that’s not true. For that accidental Mona Lisa to happen, you have to have the right color and consistency of mud. You also need a canvas and someone to throw it. There is no logical argument for an accidental universe. There is only blind faith in a process that occurs nowhere else in the observable universe.
All that to say, the summer we are about to enjoy is no accident! It is a gift from God who designed it for us. Let’s pray these words together that were written nearly 3,000 years ago!
"In his hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it and his hands formed the dry land. Oh, come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" Psalm 95:4-6
We are in a sermon series through the Gospel of Mark called, “In the Footsteps of the Master”. Mark has recorded for us Peter’s memories of what it was like to walk with Jesus during his 3 years of ministry on earth. Let’s open our Bibles to Mark 5:21.
“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him... Then one of the synagogue rulers named Jairus came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.” Mk 5:21-24
Jesus has returned from the Gentile side of Sea of Galilee to the Jewish side. Probably back to Capernaum. Because of the healing and teaching he has done there, he’s gained quite a following. A big contrast from the other side of the lake where after he delivered the demon possessed man, the people begged him to leave!
Suddenly this man named Jairus falls at his feet. Jairus isn’t a rabbi or a priest; he’s the custodian/business administrator of the local synagogue. He begs Jesus to come and heal his dying daughter. Though he doesn’t fully understand who Jesus is, he believes if anybody can save his daughter, maybe it’s this young rabbi. Remember Mark has been showing us over and over that Jesus is the Lord of Creation who can restore order to chaos.
Jesus follows this distraught father and the crowd follows Jesus. Suddenly Jesus is interrupted by power flowing out of him. He turns and asks, “Who touched me!” His disciples are incredulous. “What do you mean, who touched you? The whole crowd is jostling up against you!”
But Jesus refused to move on. Then a woman creeps out of the crowd. She falls at his feet trembling with fear. This woman had suffered from some sort of bleeding for 12 years. The doctors tried everything. She’d endured every remedy they could think of. She spent all her money but to no avail. Like the demon possessed man whose neighbors bound him with chains to try and help him, all their attempts to help just made things worse.
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Mk 5:27-28
Where did that thought come from? It came from the Holy Spirit! Every God-ward move we make comes from the Holy Spirit who draws us to God. You are here this morning because God called you to be here. How you respond will be up to you.
As soon as she touched Jesus’ robe she felt healing surge through her body. “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” Mk 5:29
Some of you know what she’s talking about because you’ve experienced the same thing. But whether you have or not, all healing comes from God no matter how it happens.
“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet. Trembling with fear, she told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mk 5:33-34
It sounds like Jesus is saying the key to miracles is something she did. But we need to interpret this in light of the rest of Scripture lest we misunderstand it. If you asked this woman what she did to get herself healed she would say “Nothing! I went to Jesus and he did it all. It wasn’t anything I did!” Are you with me or am I by myself? Let’s keep reading.
“While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead”, they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Mk 5:35
By the way, why does Mark include the name of Jairus? Because we are reading history. Mark wrote these words 20 years after the event took place. Jairus and his daughter were probably still living. Luke, the meticulous historian, also mentions Jairus by name. Back to the story “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mk 5:36
I have a question for you. Are you thankful that God ignores some of the things you say? Are you glad he ignores the advice you give him? If someone really loves us, will they occasionally ignore some of the things we say? Are you thankful for that? Me, too!
At this point, Jesus dismisses the crowd and the other disciples. He takes Peter, James, and John and they follow Jairus to his house. The place is crowded with professional grievers. That was part of the Jewish culture. He went into the house and asked, “Why all the commotion? The child is not dead but asleep. But they laughed at him.”
If you were the Creator of the universe and you left your Father’s side to be born into this world; if you knew a cross was waiting for you, if you’d already proven your power by casting out demons, stilling a storm, healing cripples and cleansing lepers and you found yourself being scoffed at, laughed at and ridiculed how would you respond?
Probably not like Jesus did. “After he had put them all out (of the house) he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” which means, “Little girl, wake up!” Mk 5:40-41
Why did Peter and Mark repeat Jesus’ words in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke to the little girl? I think it was because of Peter’s respect for the words of Jesus.
The same voice that said “Let there be light!” Now speaks into the darkness, the chaos, the hopelessness of death. This is not just a command of power, but of love, grace, gentleness. “Talitha, precious baby – wake up!” He takes her by the hand and raises her up, alive, whole, vivacious, vibrant. A day is coming when he will speak similar words over us. I can’t wait!
Everyone present must have been as overcome with awe as the disciples were the night when he commanded the waves and sea to be still. Who is this guy? What does it mean to fear God? It doesn’t mean to cringe before him as if he were some kind of tyrant. It means to be overwhelmed by his power, his holiness, his majesty, his grace and love!
“Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old) and they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.” Mk 5:42-43
How did Mark know the girl was 12 years old? Again, I believe this girl and her father were part of the early Christian community and her story was repeated again and again. One more indication of the historical reliability of what we read here.
But why did Jesus give strict orders not to let anyone know? Jesus’ popularity in Galilee as a miracle worker was exploding. So was the opposition of the religious leaders. This growing conflict could easily explode and attract the attention of the Romans. That day is coming, but not yet. There is still much work to be done.
Remember, Jesus is giving the disciples on the job training. He preparing them for the work they will do when he is gone. So what’s the lesson for the disciples and us today? God cares about people, suffering people, overlooked people, little people.
It’s easy for us to give up on people when we can’t fix it for them. But Jesus doesn’t do that. There are no disposable people in the kingdom of God. He came to save us from sin, death, and the devil. He is not willing that anyone spend eternity apart from him.
The disciples are learning that Jesus alone is the only source of salvation and the only fountain of life. But to access that life, we must let go of our ego and all our attempts to save ourselves. And place our faith in him alone.