Skip to content

Mark 5:21-43 – Faith, Faith, and Faith

Last week, we looked at Jesus’ experience with the demon-possessed man from Gadera. The Lord traveled across the Sea of Galilee, fell asleep in the boat, endured a terrible windstorm, commanded the sea to be calm, cast out the demons, and then the people of the area asked Him to leave. After all that Jesus had done, the people were still not interested in what Jesus had to offer. But He still went to all of that trouble to rescue the one man. And to Jesus he was well worth the effort.

In this section of Scripture, we will see two different needs which were addressed by Jesus. The first was a twelve-year-old girl who was so sick that she seemed ready to die. The second was a woman with a chronic health issue that nobody had been able to help her with. In both situations, Mark teaches us something about faith in Jesus. Leet’s take a look at what happened.

  1. Jairus’ faith in Jesus when his daughter was sick (Mark 5:21-24)

    What does it say?

    When Jesus came back from His trip to Gadera, there was a great multitude of people waiting for Him by the sea. One of these people was Jairus, a ruler of a synagogue. “As one of the synagogue rulers, he was a lay official responsible for the physical management of the synagogue building and the worship services.”2 It is interesting to note here that “not all the religious leaders were hostile to Jesus.”2 But I wonder about this man. How did Jairus know about Jesus? If you recall from our previous studies, Jesus was very popular but he had also visited several synagogues during his teaching ministry.

    Mark 1:21 – “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.”

    Mark 1:39 – “And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.”

    Mark 3:1 – “And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.”

    The Bible doesn’t tell us how Jairus heard about Jesus, but it is obvious from his reaction that he knew about Him and His ability to heal people. When Jairus saw the Lord, he fell at his feet and begged him to heal his little daughter. “This very action was a manifestation of high respect for Jesus.”6 His daughter’s situation was dire as she was at the point of death. But Jairus was confident that Jesus could come to his house, lay his hands on her, heal her, and keep her from dying.

    After hearing his request for help, Jesus went with Jairus. But their progress toward the sick girl was hindered by the many people who followed Jesus. So many wanted his attention that the crowd pressed up against Him.1 Perhaps the crowd sensed “an opportunity to see another miracle”7 and wanted to tag along to see it.

    What does it mean?

    In this section, we see the faith demonstrated by Jairus. Having heard about Jesus and perhaps having seen Jesus healing somebody, Jairus was confident that Jesus was able to heal his sick daughter. Note how he spoke to Jesus. “Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” This is an example of pure faith in what Jesus could do. He didn’t know if Jesus would do it. But he knew that Jesus could do it.

    How does it apply?

    In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” This is still true today. God wants us to believe Him. And faith is the evidence that we have put our entire confidence in what God can do.

    As you read through the Bible and see the many things that God did for those who trusted Him, your faith in Him will grow. God desires to reward your faith in Him. But it must begin by believing that He is (He exists and is God) and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. As we read the rest of the chapter, we will see that this was definitely true for Jairus and the woman mentioned in the next paragraph.

  2. The woman’s faith in Jesus when she was sick (Mark 5:25-34)

    What does it say?

    In the large group of people pressing against Jesus was a woman with a chronic health issue. She had a bleeding issue that had continued for twelve years. During that time, she had suffered under the care of various physicians, but the only result was that all of her money was gone and hear health had gotten worse. Someone I work with told me that his wife’s recent back surgery was unsuccessful. This Bible event reminds us that things haven’t changed much since then. Doctors are not always able to help and they still cost a lot of money.

    When the woman heard that Jesus was nearby, she made her way closer to Him with the idea that just touching his clothes would heal her of her ailment. Reaching past the person in front of her, she touched Jesus’ clothes. Matthew tells us that it was the hem of His garment. She probably did this “to avoid an embarrassing public disclosure of her malady.”2 Immediately, the bleeding stopped and she could tell that she had been healed! “The cure that many physicians could not effect, was wrought in an instant of time.”10

    But someone else noticed what had happened. Jesus perceived that power had left Him and said something about it. “Who touched my clothes?” With all the people pressing against Jesus, the disciples thought it a ridiculous question. “Master, why would you ask that?” The disciples had not yet learned that when Jesus asked a question, it was never because he didn’t know the answer. Rather, it was for a purpose. Perhaps Jesus wanted “to honor the woman’s faith.”3

    As Jesus looked around the crowd, the woman was trembling with fear. Why was she afraid? Maybe she thought that Jesus was mad at her for touching his clothes. Maybe she thought he would take back the healing she had received because she hadn’t asked him directly. Whatever the case might be, the woman fell at Jesus feet and told Him all that had happened. Jesus addressed her with kindness, telling her that her faith had made her well. He then told her to go in peace and to be healed of her affliction.

    What does it mean?

    As you look at what happened to the woman, it is clear that she was healed when she touched Jesus’ clothing. Was there something magical about his clothing? If we had one of his robes, could it heal people today? The answer is no. There was nothing magical about His clothing. Remember that when she touched His clothing, power went out of Him not out of the clothing.

    But Jesus also brought up the woman’s faith. He told her that her faith had made her well. He “attributed her cure to her faith rather than the touch of His clothing.”3 This brings up another question. Was it her faith itself that healed her? Again, I think the answer is no. “Faith, confident trust, derives its value not from the one who expresses it, but from the object in which it rests.”3 In other words, it is not our faith that heals us but the One Whom we are trusting in. Jesus was the One who healed her. But her healing by Him happened because she believed that Jesus could heal her.

    How does it apply?

    When you think of faith, do you think of how hard you must want something. For instance, do you think that your faith has to be stronger, so you pray harder and then expect God to do what you ask? I don’t think that is what Jesus intended for us to learn here. Instead, we need to remember who Jesus is. He is God Who is able to do anything. And when we trust in Him and seek His help, He is able to do more than we could ever expect. So place your confidence in Him.

  3. Jairus’ faith in Jesus when his daughter was dead (Mark 5:35-43)

    What does it say?

    “The father who had come, when he saw our Lord talking to this woman and dealing with her, I’m sure thought, Oh, why doesn’t He hurry. Doesn’t He know that my little girl is so sick at home that she’ll die unless He moves?” Our Lord purposely did not move.”5 While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, someone from Jairus’ house arrived with bad news. He told him that his daughter had died and asked why he should trouble the Teacher anymore. How heartbreaking this must have been to receive this news just when a miracle had been performed for this other woman. If only they hadn’t been delayed! But Jesus didn’t allow Jairus any time to lose faith. He told him not to be afraid but to believe.

    From that point on, Jesus only allowed three of his disciples to accompany Him. They were Peter, James, and John. These three “formed an inner circle… [and] were selected as witnesses.”8 The Old Testament law required two or three witnesses to verify that an event had actually happened (Deut. 17:6). These men were later chosen to witness the Transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2) and His prayer in Gethsemane (Mark 14:33).

    When they arrived at Jairus’ house, many people were weeping and wailing. Though it seems odd today, “the commotion included the activity of hired mourners, weeping, and antiphonal wailing.”4 As Jesus entered the house, he asked them why they were making such noise. He told them that the child wasn’t dead but was sleeping. The people who were crying suddenly stopped and began ridiculing Jesus. Now this brings up a question. What did Jesus mean? Was the girl actually dead or was she sleeping. If she was dead, why would Jesus tell the people that she was sleeping? During a recent phone conversation, my mother reminded me that Jesus used similar words to describe Lazarus when he died.

    John 11:11-13 – “He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.”

    I think that “Jesus was speaking figuratively. He meant that she was not dead in the ordinary sense of the word in that her condition was not final and irreversible.”9 As the people ridiculed Him, Jesus had all of the people go outside. Along with the three disciples, Jesus had Jairus and his wife accompany him into the room where the little girl was lying. Taking her hand, he told the girl to get up. The twelve-year-old girl instantly got up and walked around. Her parents were amazed at what had happened! But Jesus was quick to command them to be silent about it. “Jesus did not want the miracle to attract people to Him for the wrong reasons.”4 Having made that clear, He told them to give her something to eat. This was another proof that this girl was alive as only living people can eat food. (Note that this is what happened when Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was resurrected. He ate some food with them as only a living person could do.)

    What does it mean?

    This part of the chapter teaches us that Jesus is God. The reason I can say that is that He caused a dead person to come back to life. Only God can do that. While it is true that God enabled some of the Old Testament prophets to raise a dead person to life, they did not do it by their own power but had to ask God to do it. Here, Jesus did it by His own power. So Jesus is God because only God has the power of life and death.

    How does it apply?

    This brings up a sobering application. We all know that death will happen to each of us. There will come a time when each of us will die whether by old age, sickness, and accident or something else. But then what? Some years ago, a man wrote a cartoon-based gospel tract called, Then What? In the tract two men meet and talk about the future. One man repeatedly asks what his plans are and then asks the other one, “Then what?” After explaining all of his plans through retirement, the other man finally gets mad and says, “Then what? Then I guess I will die!” But the look on his face shows that the question finally got his attention.

    What will happen after you die? The only One who has the power to raise you from the dead and give you eternal life is Jesus Himself.

    John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

    According to this Bible statement, the only way to have that eternal life with God after death is to do what? Does God promise life after death to those who are good, who give money to the church, who help the needy, or who are kind to others? No, God promises to give everlasting life to those who simply believe. This is a full confidence in who God is and in what He has promised through Jesus.

Conclusion

In our study today, we have seen how God rewards our faith in Him. Jairus believed that Jesus could heal his daughter. And when she died, he almost lost hope. But Jesus convinced him to continue believing. What happened? Jesus rewarded his faith and raised the girl back to life. The women with the hemorrhage believed that Jesus could heal her. She was so confident that she believed just touching Him would cause her to be healed. Jesus honored her faith and she was made well.

Do you believe that God will respond to your faith? Some of you already know this to be true. When God convinced you of your sin, you turned from it and placed your entire confidence in the fact that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. When you did that, God responded to your faith and changed your life completely. You then became a child of God. Now you have the confidence in Him that nobody can take away. But if you have not put your faith in Him (and I mean putting your whole confidence in Jesus), then you should do that today.

Footnotes

1 συνέθλιβον as defined at https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/synthlibo on 10/21/2023.
2 Grassmick 124.
3 Grassmick 125.
4 Grassmick 126.
5 McGee 182.
6 Hendriksen 202.
7 Hiebert 141.
8 Hiebert 147.
9 Hiebert 149.
10 Ryle 100.

Bibliography

Grassmick, John D., “Mark” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1983.

Hendriksen, William, Mark, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1975.

Hiebert, D. Edmond, The Gospel of Mark, Greenville: Bob Jones University Press, 1994.

Ironside, H. A., Expository Notes on the Gospel of Mark, Neptune: Loizeaux, 1969.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew through Romans, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983.

Ryle, J. C., Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Volume One, Matthew–Mark, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977.