The Power of Human Frailty over Human Frailty – Mark 5:21-43 (pt. 3)

21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 h Then came one of i the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and j lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and k thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman l who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 m And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her n disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that o power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, p your faith has made you well; p go in peace, and be healed of your n disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, there came from q the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why r trouble s the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing [5] what they said, Jesus said to q the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except t Peter and James and u John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus [6] saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, v “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but w sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he x put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 y Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, z arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And a he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

II. Jesus’ power over death. (vv. 35-43)

The first aspect of Jesus’ power that we see in this passage is Jesus’ power over sickness.  The second aspect that we see is Jesus’ power over death.

To see this point we need to jump back into the story.  While all of this was going on with the woman Jairus was just standing there waiting for Jesus to get to his daughter.  He knew that her condition was worsening, and that things had already reached a critical point.  Then came the news that no father wants to hear…

…word came from Jairus’ house that it was too late.  The girl was dead.  V. 35 says, While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

Can you imagine poor Jairus as he heard this news?  Additionally, the messengers (probably family members) were not very tactful in relaying the message.  They literally told him to stop hassling the teacher.  The probably viewed what he was doing as an embarrassment, and they may have even been upset that Jairus was gone for his daughters last moment.  In short, they didn’t see the point in bothering Jesus anymore.  Sure, he could heal a woman.  But there was no way that He could raise someone from the dead.  Or was there?  These thoughts had to be running through Jairus’ mind when Jesus spoke up and addressed the situation in verse 36.

v. 36 tells us that Jesus heard the report, but he paid no attention to it.  The word here could mean “overhearing” or “ignoring.” Either way it is clear that Jesus did both.  He paid no attention to the messengers.  Instead He immediately addressed the fear the Jairus was dealing with.  And he provided him with the solution to this fear: faith.

It is not easy to drive out fear.  The only way to do so is by putting your faith in the power of God.  This principle was true for Jairus, and it is true for us today.  Jesus knew that Jairus was afraid, and He knew that faith was the only solution.  This is why He commanded Jairus to replace his fear with faith.  Jesus had allowed Jairus to see a glimpse of His power when He healed the woman, and now He was calling for Jairus to put his faith in that power.  Do you see how Jesus was stretching and growing the faith of Jairus through these circumstances?  Jesus was using His power to help Jairus’ faith, and He does same thing with us today.

In v. 37, after addressing Jairus’ fear, Jesus just kept moving forward with the plan to heal this girl as if nothing had happened. The only difference now was that as he got closer to the house he got rid of the crowds.  With the exception of a few key witnesses Jesus would not allow anyone to follow.

–          It would have created a scene/frenzy

–          It would have been insensitive to bring that crowd into a grieving household

–          These three were Jesus’ inner circle, and they would be tasked with recounting this story after Jesus’ resurrection—which is exactly what happened with Peter.

When Jesus arrived at Jarius’ house in v. 38 He saw a scene that would have been common.  Along with the grieving family there were professional mourners.  Matthew tells us that there were even flute players there making a commotion (Matt. 9:23).  The flute player would hit every sour note possible, and if you have ever been to a beginners flute class you know how horrible that sounds.

When Jesus arrived he was not all that found of it either.  In v. 39 Jesus rebuked these mourners because He knew that this girl’s death was not final.  As one author put it, “Real death is separation of the soul from God, not the body from the soul.  In this sense, her dead body was asleep, and Jesus would bring it back.”[1] In other words, she was not dead in the ordinary sense of the word and Jesus knew it.  Now we cannot blame the people for not knowing what Jesus knew.  However, in v. 40 we see that they certainly did not believe Jesus when He tried to explain it to them.  In fact, they were not even solemnly mourning.  People mourning the death of a little girl don’t laugh.  This is part of the readon Jesus kicked them out of the house.  This left only the girls parents, Jesus, and the three disciples with the girl.

What follows in vv. 41-43 is so vivid that it clearly comes directly from Peter who was there.  He even remembers the exact Aramaic phrase Jesus used.  Jesus clearly demonstrated His power and there were two results:

  1. The girl was raised to life.  She walked around and even needed food.  Here we see evidence of Jesus’ power over death.
  2. The people were amazed.  Jesus allowed them to see the power of Jesus.  He could have healed this girl before she died, or even from a distance.  But he allowed all of this to happen so that they would see His true power.  (However, He was still trying to prevent a frenzied response from those who did not care about His message.)  In this we see why Jesus His power the way that He did.

Commenting on this verse on commentator remarked, “His power cannot be fathomed; nor his compassion measured.”[2] This is the kind of Lord that I want to follow.  Jesus is God. He is all powerful and benevolent.  He is the one who created life in the very beginning, and He is the one who has power over it now.  He even has complete power over death. This means that He is powerful enough to resurrect those who have died physically, but even more importantly it means that He has the power to resurrect those who have died spiritually.  EPHESIAN 2:1-10 explains this for us:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


In this passage Mark makes it clear that Jesus has power over human frailty.  He has power over sickness, and he has power over death.  Some might ask why he doesn’t use it to heal more people.  Why do some get sick and some die?  But it is clear in this passage that Jesus uses His power for the spiritual good of His people.

–          Remember, God uses trials. James 1.

–          ILL: Terminal Illness points someone back to Jesus (i.e. Job)

–          Think about the people in this story.  If the woman had not been sick she would have never known Jesus.  If the girl had not died then Jairus would not have grown in his faith, and been “amazed” at Jesus.

So as we debate national healthcare, and try to process all the tragedies of human frailty we must always remember that Jesus has power over sickness, and over death.  And He benevolently uses that power for the spiritual good of His people.

[1] Hughes, 130.

[2] Hendricksen, 215.



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