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Jesus Our Hope When All Hope is Lost

February 21, 2021

Teacher: Daniel Baker
Scripture: Mark 5:21–34

Introduction

Most of the time we live life feeling more-or-less able to do what’s right in front of us. A meal needs to be made. We make it. The grass needs to be cut. We cut it. A house needs to be built for a client. We build it.

But that’s not always true. Sometimes things happen and the feeling is that all hope is lost. There’s no person who can help me, and there’s nothing I can do about this situation.

When all hope is lost, that’s a perfect time to turn to Jesus. He’s hope when all hope is lost.

In this series, “Introducing…Jesus,” each week we’re seeing different facets of the glory of Christ. No single sermon can capture all that he is. And these two-dozen sermons can’t begin to capture all that he is. But they’re a start.

This morning we’re introduced to Jesus who is hope when all hope is lost. We encounter two people who know there’s no one on earth who can help them except Jesus.

There’s no amount of money, no team of doctors, no self-help 10-step program, no fad diet, no government program who can help them.

And so they turn to Jesus. He’s hope when all hope is lost. And he proves in this narrative he’s a worthy hope. A sufficient hope. A hope that does not disappoint.

We’re speaking out of the 2nd book of the New Testament, the Gospel of Mark. This past week I did some more study on the dating of Mark. I think the better date for his gospel is in the 50s AD, just about 20 years after Jesus was resurrected.

If you recall from the book of Acts, after the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 Peter’s name isn’t mentioned. Not once. Paul’s 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys happen but Peter’s name is never mentioned after Acts 15. It’s during these years of ministry Peter went to Rome. Mark or John Mark as he’s called in Acts is Barnabas’ cousin. After the Jerusalem council they minister together in Cyprus (AD 48). But a couple years later he’s with Peter in Rome. The two of them collaborate on the gospel of Mark.

At this point in Mark’s gospel there’s a long series of miraculous events—Jesus rebukes the wind (4:35–41), casts a legion of demons out of the Gerasene demoniac (5:1–20), we’ll today see him healing a woman with a flow of blood (5:24–34). And then we’ll read about the culminating miracle in this whole series, raising a girl from the dead (5:35–43). The resurrection of this 12-year old girl is the high point in this series of miracles.

It’s because it deals with death. Weather, demons, and disease are enemies of ours. But nothing like death itself. Death itself is our great enemy. Jesus taking on death is the high point in this series.

Read Mark 5:21–34 and then pray.

I. Woman with Discharge of Blood

The woman in need – Mark 5:25–27.

  • Unnamed
  • A woman – not a synagogue ruler
  • Discharge of blood – ceremonially unclean
  • Experienced it for 12 years – Whatever normal pattern of life with uncleanness (pregnancy, sickness, skin issues), this is long, lost past those. At this point, as long as she can remember.
  • Medical help? Far from it. Unending line of doctors have applied their craft. Took a lot of money (“all that she had”) and a lot of time. But still: “no better but rather grew worse” (v. 27).
  • Combination? Physical suffering, poor, and alone.
  • She was in a desperate place.

Her response to Jesus – Mark 5:27–29

  • “Heard the reports about Jesus” (v. 27)
  • “Touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well’” (vv. 27b–28).
  • She did just that, “touched his garment” (v. 28) and then “IMMEDIATELY the flow of blood dried up” (v. 29) and she felt the healing.

Jesus’ response – Mark 5:30–32

  • Almost comical, “Who did this?”

Woman steps forward and is blessed by Jesus – Mark 5:33–34

  • The woman can’t hold back—Mark 5:33.
  • But there’s no judgment in Jesus’ response. Far from it. He blesses her.
  • “Go in peace” (v. 34) – “The OT formula of reassurance and blessing, God in peace (cf. Jdg. 18:6; 1 Sam 1:17; 2 Sam 15:9), confirms that she may now enjoy at least the shalom which she has long needed, and the further assurance be healed of your affliction makes it clear that her cure is not a merely a temporary remission” (France, 238).

Important to see that Jesus didn’t just give the woman a physical healing, he gave her her life back.

Yes, but does Jesus still do this for people? Yes!!

A quick 2-step argument:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:8)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13–14)

We’ll develop that a little more later.

II. The Little Girl

Mark tells the story of the healing of Jairus’ daughter in such a way as to build up the suspense. To make it even more impactful. Historical, but lays out the narrative in such a way that it makes an even greater impact on us as we read it.

In some ways this is the culmination of a whole series of miracles. Jesus speaking authoritatively over death itself is seen as the highpoint of these chapters.

Jairus was first introduced back in Mark 5:21–24.

  • We can think of him as either THE “ruler of the synagogue” and a presiding elder or A “ruler of the synagogue” and one of several men who would have led a synagogue.
  • Either way he’s a significant man of standing—socially and spiritually.
  • But whatever his wealth and whatever his standing, he has a problem he can’t fix.
  • And he’s desperate – his own pride and honor aside, “Fell at his feet…implored him earnestly…”

But then the situation intensifies – The bombshell of Mark 5:35, “You daughter is dead.” But then Jesus’ immediate encouragement, “Do not fear, only believe.”

When they get to the house, Jesus “saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly” (Mark 5:38).

  • “The minstrels and professional mourners were performing their duties as the first part of the mourning ceremony.
  • The wailing consisted of choral or antiphonal song accompanied by handclapping.
  • …Even the poorest man was required by common custom to hire a minimum of two fluteplayers and one professional mourner in the even of his wife’s death…
  • …probably that one who held the rank of synagogue-ruler would be expected to hire a larger number of professional mourners. (Lane, 196).

Once again Jesus speaks to clarify the situation – “Not dead but sleeping” (v. 39) – “They laughed at him” (v. 40). A giveaway their mourning wasn’t quite as sincere as you might want.

Their reactions didn’t deter him.

  • Notice that detail in 5:40. Now he’s not “ruler of the synagogue.” Now he’s “the child’s father.” But when your child is in trouble, whatever your earthly position is disappears.
  • The gracious and gentle resurrection – Mark 5:41–42. A hand up. Food to eat.

The almost comical command from Jesus ­– Mark 5:43 – “Don’t tell anyone.” What! There’s a whole village of mourners outside and this girl’s going to walk out to them with her snack and…

III. Who Jesus Is and What He Does

One of the passages in the background of passages like this is Isaiah 35.

  • A Messianic text.
  • An eschatological text.
  • A text that reminds us what’s coming when the Lord does come and change this cursed world into a new one.

Isaiah 35:4–6

4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; (Isa 35:4–6)

See the ties to Mark:

  • 5:28, 34 (and 5:23) – use of sōzō, “save.”
  • But also “fear” and “anxious” in Isa 35:4.
  • And the healings in 35:5–6.
  • Later in Mark we’ll see him emphasize blind seeing and deaf hearing.
  • This passage is why.

And then the end of the passage, 35:10, calls to mind the blessing Jesus speaks to the woman, “Go in peace. Be saved from your affliction.”

What he does?

The one who can heal no matter how desperate the situation. He has the power to heal all disease, he has the authority to make death itself turn back.

But having authority to rebuke death doesn’t mean he always will. He’s not Genie Jesus that grants 3 wishes and will do anything WE ASK.

He’s the one with all authority. Not every flow of blood will be healed, not every 12-year old girl will survive.

But still we want to recognize who we’re praying to when we do pray. It’s the one who speaks to a dead girl and says simply, “Little girl, arise.” And she does.

One response to this story about Jesus is to say, “Yeah, but that was Jesus. That was then, this is now. This just doesn’t happen today.”

Why We’re Not Cessationists:

  • This past week I heard a very high profile Christian tell us he’s a Cessationist basically because he believes God’s revelation is completed with the giving of the books of the New Testament.
  • His argument isn’t original with him.
  • But my response listening to that was, It seems like if you have a high view of the Bible as being God’s inerrant and inspired and authoritative word, you should have a high view of actually OBEYING the Bible.
  • Here’s what my Bible says:

But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (1 Cor 12:31)

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. (1 Cor 14:1)

Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. (1 Thess 5:19–21)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:8)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13–14)

Conclusion

Our own views on this were tested four years ago when Gideon Ruhl, 12 years old at the time, just like the girl in Mark 5, when Gideon was hospitalized.

Mysteriously right after Christmas 2016 his body shut down. At one point at Duke Hospital he was unable to talk, basically unable to move about any part of his body. He would spend months in the hospital with never any real diagnosis.

On January 12, 2017, our church held a day of prayer and fasting for Gideon. See https://cornerstoneapex.org/blog/a-day-for-prayer-and-fasting.

Jobies testimony of that time.

Jesus is HOPE WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST.

When our prayers don’t end with healing but the Lord decides that we’ve reached our last day. At that time, too, JESUS IS HOPE WHEN ALL OTHER HOPE IS LOST.

Your faith in Jesus Christ NOW will mean he will be a SURE AND STEADY HOPE WHEN YOU DIE.

The Heidelberg Catechism

Q: What is your only comfort in life and death?

A: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
The Heidelberg Catechsim, Question 1

Prayer and Closing Song

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