Dare to Believe
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|New Testament||Mark 5 v 21-43||Mark 6 v 1-32||Mark 6 v 33-56||Mark 7 v 1-13||Mark 7 v 14-37||Mark 8 v 1-21||Mark 8 v 22-38|
Mark 5:25 – 34 The Passion Translation
25 Now, in the crowd, that day was a woman who had suffered horribly from continual bleeding for twelve years 26 She had endured a great deal under the care of various doctors, yet in spite of spending all she had on their treatments, she was not getting better, but worse.
The introduction of this woman is compelling. We are told of her physical illness, failing attempts of medical science, her declining condition. In two sentences, we learn a lot about this woman. We find that the disease was not content with only afflicting her physical body but had ruined her financially. Mark also tells us the illness brought her to the state of horrible suffering. In this description, however, I am not sure she was all that unique among the crowd that afternoon. Verse twenty-one says, “…a huge crowd of people quickly gathered around him on the shoreline.” (Mark 5:21 TPT) That crowd was likely filled with suffering. “Just then, a man … pushed through the crowd and threw himself down at [Jesus] feet.” (Mark 5:22 TPT) This was Jairus, a respected leader in the community, pushing his way through this crowd to get to Jesus. There were many needs in the crowd that day. I am sure there are many stories, not so different than this woman. It was not her suffering that made her unique in the crowd, but she was not like the others that had gathered to see Jesus.
27 When she heard about Jesus’ healing power, she pushed through the crowd and came up from behind him and touched his prayer shawl. 28 For she kept saying to herself, “If only I could touch his clothes, I know I will be healed.”
The language of Mark’s Gospel is compelling and action-packed. “When she heard … she pushed…” Her hearing resulted in her acting. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (New Living Translation) Faith came into this woman’s heart at the hearing of Jesus. But faith without corresponding actions is dead. (James 2:17 J.B. Phillips New Testament) Birthed inside this woman was a living faith that we see expressed in action. Pushing through this crowd could not have been easy for her. This throng of people pressing in upon Jesus and the disciples would not have given way without a struggle. Despite how impossible it may have seemed, she refused to give up. Here Mark’s account places us in that press of people next to this woman, so close we can hear what she is saying – and what she is not saying. We do not hear her begging, pleading, or asking why. There is not even an asking of the people around her to give her space or help her. She doesn’t cry out even to Jesus to help her get to him. What is of note, certainly, the crowd was not silent as it pressed in upon the Master, but Mark doesn’t record any of those pleas. Mark tells us, “… she kept saying to herself, ‘If only I could touch his clothes, I know I will be healed.’” (Mark 5:28 TPT) Take a moment and imagine this scene. Bodies were pressing together, shoving, shouting, the humidity from the Galilee mixing with the heat adding to the pressure of the throng trying to reach the Miracle Worker. Each time this woman falls to the hard ground, she got up. Every time an elbow jabs her riddled body, she kept moving. All the time she kept saying, “If only I could touch his clothes, I know I will be healed.” What she said was her faith speaking. We know what she believed, because of what she said and what she did.
29 As soon as her hand touched him, her bleeding immediately stopped! She knew it, for she could feel her body instantly being healed of her disease!
30 Jesus knew at once that someone had touched him, for he felt the power that always surged around him had passed through him for someone to be healed. He turned and spoke to the crowd, saying, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 His disciples answered, “What do you mean, who touched you? Look at this huge crowd—they’re all pressing up against you.” 32 But Jesus’ eyes swept across the crowd, looking for the one who had touched him for healing.
33 When the woman who experienced this miracle realized what had happened to her, she came before him, trembling with fear, and threw herself down at his feet, saying, “I was the one who touched you.” And she told him her story of what had just happened.
34 Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, because you dared to believe, your faith has healed you. Go with peace in your heart, and be free from your suffering!”
There is a lot we can see in this passage of scripture, but I want to draw attention to this: when Mark introduces her in verse twenty-one, we only know her as “woman.” We follow her actions of faith that moved her through the crowd and brought her instant healing. But her journey did not stop with the miracle. Her acts of faith not only brought her a miracle but elevated her from a woman in a crowd to one in the family. Jesus called her “Daughter” and set her free from the bonds that had defined her for the past 12 years.
What she said was her faith speaking, and what we say is our faith speaking. If the Gospel writer were to record what you keep saying to yourself, what would he write? What commentary do your actions offer on what you believe about God’s Word to you? There are crowds of people filled with real needs all over the world today, but we can see here that it is the person who dares to believe who is the one who receives. What we say and do is the evidence of what we believe. What do you believe?
The woman with the issue of blood received her miracle, according to her faith. We know what she believed by what she said to herself and what she did. What does your inner dialogue and what do your actions say you believe?
“And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folks, and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.” (v. 5-6)
The unbelief in this area stopped the miracle-working power of Jesus and made Him marvel. It is stunning if not sobering to think that our choices and decisions could make Jesus marvel or prevent His working. What will Jesus marvel at today?
The miracle of multiplication is supernatural – a showing of the creative power of God to meet an instant need. Prior to the miracle, however, Jesus gave natural instructions. For the disciples, organizing the crowds into seated groups, I am sure, seemed like a very natural exercise. Yet, it is that acts of planning and organization which facilitate the working of miracles (and doubtless prevented a riot).
Pastor Matt Beemer has taught that strategic planning does not preclude the supernatural working of God, rather, it makes provision and place for miracles to occur. The Evangelist Oral Roberts is said to have kept a sign on his desk that read, “No Small Plans Made Here.” What are you planning for?
Laying aside the commandment of God and holding the traditions of man seems like nonsense, yet it has been a pattern repeated since Noah’s sons stepped off the ark. What is striking is that Jesus said they, the religious leaders, make the Word of God of no effect. What is this power that we have to make the eternal everlasting Word of God void of effect? The truth is we do not receive from God according to His ability to do, but our ability to receive. Our ability to receive is limited by and to what we believe. What we believe is determined by what we hear and think and revealed in what we say and do.
What do you believe? What is more important, what the Word of God says, or maintaining a tradition?
That last verse, He has done everything well … I love that. This verse specifically relates to the healing ministry of Jesus. Though this is the commentary of the crowds, it is an apt description of God’s will on the topic of Divine healing. It is well.
Jesus is the healer. He wants us well. Whether it is the Lebanese woman’s daughter or the deaf and mute man in Galilee, or you — healing is available, and it is well. In those words, I can see that healing, being restored from a diseased condition is a good thing.
I was healed as a child from chronic severe asthma. My father shared with me what the Bible said in 1 Peter 2:24, and simply by believing this truth, I received total healing!
Do you have a healing testimony?
The scene in the boat is quite heartening for me. Jesus is trying to get the disciples to see down the road and consider how the corruption of the Pharisees and the Roman puppet Herod had seeped into the Message of the Messiah. But the disciples couldn’t see past their own actions and a loaf of bread. Jesus makes the point that based on their experience, they should spend zero time worrying about their next meal. I love Jesus’ question, “Do you understand?”
Standing in the shadow of Mt Hermon, Jesus asked two questions. “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say I am?” These questions are just as relevant today as when they were asked 2,000 years ago.
It is the responsibility of Christ-followers to supply the answer to “Who Jesus is?” (and, only if absolutely necessary to do so with words) The life of Christians is meant to be an ongoing testimony to the living hope within us.
Everyone must answer for themselves, however, the second question, “Who do you say I am?”, without exception, everyone must answer this for themselves. Peter said, “You are God’s Anointed, the Son of the Living God.”
Pastor Matt Beemer says it this way, pass all the choices and decisions of life through a two-stage filter: to know God, and to make Him known. Once we answer the second question for ourselves, it is our responsibility to help others answer both the right way.
Who do you say He is?