Sermon 27 June 2021


Mark 5:21 to the end Sermon Tudor Vaughan Roberts for 4th Sunday in Trinity at All Saints Church Lydiard Millicent 27.06.21 Faith at a time of crisis and crowds

We live in stressful times. It is like  we are in a pressing crowd, not literally like in the forthcoming Germany vs England football game, not like in Oxford Street on the week before Christmas, but it can seem like we are trying to get through crowds.

News on TV, smartphones, e mail, social Media, we can feel like we are living  on a crowded planet. We might live far from the madding crowd, but that crowd comes into our homes, or so it seems.

That was Jesus’s experience at the end of Mark 5 and so I am calling this sermon faith at a time of crisis and crowds.

Jesus in Mark 5:21 to the end is amidst Crowds and two developing crisis situations Let us look and learn how he navigates these choppy waters.

Mark 5:21 Great crowds gathered around him.

Mark 5:22 A Great crowd followed him and thronged about him.

It is in the midst of these crowds and pressure and stresses that Jesus performs two of his greatest miracles, and in the process teaches us a lesson on how to trust, and  to have faith under great pressure even when all hope seems lost.

The context according to Mark is that Jesus has just done a mighty deliverance of a man possessed by a legion of demons and cast the demons into a heard of pigs now he takes a trip across lake Galilee but rather than a peaceful rest he faces huge crowds.

On one side he has the sea and the other the crowds massing around him. Emerging from the crowd is one man: Jairus the Synagogue ruler. He prostrates himself at Jesus feet. He has an overwhelming need to see his 12-year-old daughter who is near death healed .Putting aside his dignity, putting aside the attitude to Jesus that he may have had at the Synagogue where Jesus was rejected, he falls at Jesus’s feet and implores him to come lay his hands in his daughter that she may get well and literally Live be healed, be saved.

Here then is teaching point No 1 Jairus shows what it means to come to the point of utter dependence upon Jesus Remember, Jairus did not have a full revelation of Jesus only what he had heard and seen. It like Jairus is saying Jesus it is you or nothing. Maybe that is you this morning or me or the Church or the Nation. Mark seems to be suggesting that we need to come like Jairus in utter dependence upon Christ Jesus. We do not get any word from Jesus just that he went with him in the direction of Jairus’s home where his daughter lay seriously ill.

And Jesus went, that should have been it a record of a visit done, and a healing done , but they are interrupted.

A man with a twelve-year-old daughter desperately ill is interrupted on his way back home by a woman who for 12 years has been desperately ill.

Again, there is a crowd; crowds thronged around Jesus. And yet in that crowd is a woman who is unclean ritually yet is desperate enough to try and make it close to Jesus. Mark says  and there was a women.

She is un-named.

Maybe rich once but now she has spent all her money on doctors.

She had suffered says Mark from a discharge of blood for 12 years. The word mark uses for her condition  uses the same Greek for virginal bleeding, that is mentioned in Leviticus 15:19 and 15:25 This bleeding causes ritual impurity on a high scale all who touch her will be unclean themselves.

She cant have been constantly bleeding for 12 years otherwise she would have been dead, but this disease had no cure, and it left her bankrupt, poor, without family, without hope of herself bearing a child. She is physically ill, ritually unclean, and near impoverishment, she has nothing to lose. And Mark makes her the first woman who approaches Jesus for help out of her own volition. Neither religion nor social status nor doctors have had anything to offer her in the way of help.

This woman violates the purity code by risking public contact and her actions show great courage + great initiative she reaches out to touch Jesus’ garment. She thought just one touch and I can be healed. The word Mark uses for touch is Hapstato and its often used in Leviticus in the regulation of bloody discharges.

Her touching has hints of a simplistic pagan touching as would happen when a  worshiper touches a statue and seeks healing but that is not her core motive.

Mark tells us that she thinks I will be saved SOTHESOMAI and as she touches Jesus, she senses in her body that the bleeding has stopped. The Greek says her Scourge has come stopped. She felt it and Jesus felt it, he Knew that Dunamis power had gone out from him.

And I love this sentence As Jesus asks who has touched me his disciples almost mock him for asking.

But She trembling fell at his feet and told him the whole truth.

Here then is teaching point 2 there is healing in telling Jesus the whole truth, its like a confession on her part and Jesus pronounces an absolution, a confirmation of her healing and cleansing and by calling her daughter her re-inclusion in community. Her womb and her very life are healed + restored and given back to her Go in peace says Jesus Your faith has made you well go in peace and be healed from your disease.

How in this day we need to re-learn Jesus complete acceptance and honouring of women?

Then fear sets in for Jairus as following this interruption and delay messengers from his house tell him his daughter is dead.

 

Here is what Jesus does and how we can learn from him for times of crisis.

They (the messengers ) say why bother the teacher any further?

He ignores them and says.

“Do not fear” “ only believe”.

Jesus wants to be troubled! Jesus keeps in mind his core mission and ignores the detractors.

He calls Jairus to a deeper level of faith than he has had so far .Originally Jairus simply asked Jesus to heal his sick daughter. Jesus now trains Jairus to have faith for a rising from the dead.

Crowds’ complicate things so Jesus slims his team down to the core three; James John and Peter the three who are with him at transfiguration (Mark 9.2) and will be with him (mark 13.3) in Gethsemane.

On arrival at scene Jesus again takes control and dismissed the professional mourners. Mark says that he put them all outside.

But at the same time Jesus clarifies a truth She is not dead but sleeping. Death had occurred but as in John 11.11 and as in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 5:10 death for a Christian is referred to as sleep it is NOT annihilation.

His raising of the dead girl would be a sign that despair and terror at the finality of death are no longer part of the human story (see Hebrews 2:14) There is a new hope! So here is our third learning point. We have a new hope !

Do you and I believe that ? we need a Biblical Jesus centred hope filled theology of death.(NB  it does not mean we do not get sad nor that we see some prayers unanswered; see the Prayer Course)

Just as the Disciples doubted that he could know to whom his power had gone out to now the Mourners mock him and  They laughed (ridiculed him).

Having ejected unneeded mourners and people he goes into the inner room with just the parents and his key three disciples. Then in Aramaic he speaks  directly to the Girl Talitha Cumi

He takes her by the hand just as he did with Peter’s Mother-in-law.

And with authority says Little girl I say to you arise. The word is Egeiro the same used in Mark 16.6 for resurrection.

The girl rises from the dead everyone is astounded but Jesus says give her something to eat, this is not a ghost, this is a girl who has been through trauma it is not a fake miracle she is a real person and need lunch!

So, in these two stories interweaved Jesus shows his power over disease and death he breaks the power of separation through being unclean he gives back to two women the ability to live and have children and hopefully in both families # there is fresh belief in Jesus as Messiah. Jairus like Bartimaeus are mentioned by name often those who are recipients of Jesus miracles are not named.

# we do not know the woman with the issue of blood had no family but that was probably the case by the time of the events in mark 5

In Mark 5 we see Jesus dealing with Crisis, building people’s faith, and pointing his disciples forward to what he wil do on the Cross.

 

May we take strength and encouragement that God will do the same for us bring us through Covid 19 and point us to what he would do on the Cross.

Demons

Disease

Death

 

In the face of Jesus are all defeated.

 

How can we apply what we have learnt today to our lives our Church and our World?

 

Gracious Father,

by the obedience of Jesus

you brought salvation to our wayward world:

draw us into harmony with your will,

that we may find all things restored in him,

our Saviour Jesus Christ

 

O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people.

in the multitude of your mercies look with compassion upon us and all who turn to you for help.

for you are gracious, O lover of souls,

and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

now and for ever.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                            

 

 


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