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Sermon for June 30, 2024 – Proper 8

Welcome to this week’s episode, a special rerun from our Speaking of Life archive. We hope you find its timeless message as meaningful today as it was when it was first shared.

Program Transcript


Speaking Of Life 3031 | Stopping Where Jesus Stops
Greg Williams

In the 1970s, experts posited that we were exposed to 500 to 1,600 advertisements a day. Now the numbers are more like 6,000 to 10,000. And that’s just ads—it doesn’t count the texts, emails, phone calls, and shows we watch.

We are flooded with information in the modern world, and all this at the click of a mouse or touch of a screen. We can experience more entertainment in a few hours than most ancient people encountered over a lifetime.

All of this comes at us so quickly that we ignore much more than we take in and we’ve forgotten how to slow down. And sometimes we need to slow down; sometimes we need to stop and pay attention to a moment.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus showed an amazing ability to stop everything when the moment was right.

A prime example is found in Mark 5.

For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”
Mark 5:28-30 (ESV)

In the heat of a desperate crowd, Jesus stops everything to notice someone that no one else saw. This woman was not only chronically ill, but she was also socially and culturally outcast, and yet Jesus stops everything to address her, to call her “daughter”, and to graciously restore her to health.

In other stories, during a hot day In Samaria, he sits by a well to talk with a lonely, rejected woman and has one of the most amazing discussions of revelation in all of scripture. In the bustle and scurry of the temple he pauses to watch a widow give pennies. He took a time out from the crowd of seekers to acknowledge and play with children.

Jesus knew when and how to stop: especially for those who were in the margins and easily ignored—those who no one else stopped for. He shut down everything to share these concentrated, one-on-one conversations.

Do we know how to stop everything like this? Are we in touch enough with Jesus to know when he is calling us to stop?

Think of the elderly person who hasn’t had a complete conversation in weeks. Or the difficult teenager who needs you to explain things yet again. Or your spouse who needs you to share a conversation at the end of a busy day.

This is often where Jesus calls us. Not to just do more stuff, but to stop everything and spend time with someone who needs our time. Are we paying attention? Are we willing to stop? May God help us be aware of those times when we need to stop so we can participate in what he is doing.

I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.

Psalm 130:1-8 • 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 • 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 • Mark 5:21-43

This week’s theme is Jesus heals our chronic and critical condition. In our call to worship Psalm, we have a cry for deep deliverance that concludes with an acknowledgment of God’s steadfast and redeeming love. The Old Testament story in 2 Samuel includes David’s poetic tribute to Saul and Jonathan, who were killed in battle. In 2 Corinthians, based on the generosity of the Lord, Paul makes an appeal to provide relief for the Jerusalem church. The gospel reading in Mark recounts Jesus healing both a woman who lived with a twelve-year chronic condition, and a young girl who had died at the age of twelve.

A Double Healing

Mark 5:21-43 – ESV

Today we will continue to journey with Mark as he recounts story after story of Jesus. Last week we found ourselves in a boat with Jesus in the middle of a storm in the middle of the sea. In this story we see Jesus performing what amounts to an exorcism of the demonic in a storm. Jesus is shown to be, not only Lord over nature, but conqueror of the realm of evil and the demonic. His mastery gets echoed in the story directly following the storm episode when Jesus arrives on the other side of the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. In that story, which is not included in our lectionary passages for the season, we have Jesus performing an extraordinary exorcism of a legion of demons from a Gentile man, among swine keepers at that. Mark is definitely establishing that Jesus has authority over the satanic realm. And that is very good news.

Additionally, Mark is establishing another nugget of good news with the setting of the stories. Let’s begin the story to see how Mark describes the scene and see what more we can see about who Jesus is and what he has done.

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. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” (Mark 5:21-23 ESV)

Notice that Jesus has “crossed again in the boat to the other side.” Remember, Jesus was teaching his disciples during the raging storm that he is the one to put their trust in. He is the one who will get them to “the other side.” It just so turns out that the “other side” happens to be Gentile territory. Mark makes this unmistakable with the story of demons entering swine. Today’s story will take place after Jesus crosses back over the sea again, which will land them back in Jewish territory. Here, we will see Jesus’ ministry of healing on full display. The way Mark weaves the stories together leaves the impression that what Jesus does in the middle of the sea between the two shores of Gentle and Jewish territories, will be carried out on both shores. God does not choose one shore over the other. The peace he pronounces that calms the storm in the middle of the sea, will ripple out to both shores.

Now we are about to see another aspect of Jesus’ saving work as he performs two miracles of healing to two different Jewish daughters. The disciples are about to witness the ripples of peace reaching their own shore. May this story make us more receptive to the healing and peace that comes by placing our trust in Jesus.

We are introduced to a synagogue ruler by name—Jairus. Notice the Jewish emphasis Mark has made by starting the story this way. Jairus comes to Jesus for healing of his daughter after “seeing” Jesus. This is Mark’s way of introducing the topic of faith. That was the topic Jesus zeroed in on for the disciples who were fearful of the storm. He challenged them with the question, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark is not moving on from this challenge for us today. He wants us to see who Jesus is so we too can grow in our faith in him, or grow to trust him for the first time, whatever shore you find yourself on.

Jairus is presented as having faith in Jesus by coming to Jesus after “seeing him” and then falling “at his feet.” However, Jesus wants to grow his faith even more, as well as his disciples who are caught up in these stories. Jairus’ concern is a critical one. He does not come to Jesus with a petty plea. His daughter is on the verge of death. Jairus is also living in a lot of fear. His fear is that time will run out. He is in a hurry to get Jesus to “Come and lay [his] hands on her.” Is this not a fear we constantly battle? Perhaps we do indeed know that Jesus can heal but will he do it now? Can we trust Jesus’ timing? Is Jesus Lord of time as well? That’s a point of faith Jairus will have to wrestle with through this agonizing story. His patience will be challenged in the very next moment.

And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. 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. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:24-34 ESV)

The first thing that Mark establishes is the same thing we saw with Jesus in the boat with the disciples. Jesus does not leave Jairus alone in his critical situation. Jesus “went with him” just as Jesus went with the disciples into the storm. That’s the most central importance in this story and in our stories. Jesus is with us. He doesn’t leave us to our own devices to “get to the other side” or to save ourselves or others we love who are in a critical state. We can trust that Jesus is with us and that is enough. As we will see in the story, this does not automatically mean all our problems go away. But we are assured that Jesus doesn’t go away.

Jairus’ attempt to get Jesus to his daughter before time runs out is interrupted by the woman who touches Jesus’ robe and is healed. This woman who Jesus says was healed because of her faith came after “hearing” about Jesus. Seeing and hearing are often ways for talking about faith. Jesus is using this situation with the woman not only to heal her, but also to help Jairus grow in his faith. And again, that is the focus Mark has had for us these last few weeks. Whether by way of parable or stories of Jesus’ word and actions, we are being put in a position to respond to the question the disciples had asked after the calming of the storm, “Who then is this?” That’s the question we are called to ponder today. If we arrive at the answer Mark assumes, that is, Jesus is Lord and Savior as God’s very own Son, then we are freed to respond with the only fitting response left to us. Trust in Jesus completely.

There is more in the interchange between Jesus and woman than we could possibly cover in one sermon. However, we should make mention of some important revelations about Jesus and what he does that will help us answer the question, “Who then is this?”

First, this suffering woman has reached rock bottom. For twelve years she has been struggling with a physical infirmary that no one seems able to solve. She was betrayed by the medical system, that not only took all her money, but left her in a worse condition than she was found. Not only does she retain her physical ailment, but this particular ailment carries a stigma. She is considered unclean because of her condition of having a “discharge of blood” and therefore has been excluded from the community. The twelve years of dealing with her suffering has been faced alone. No one is with her. In fact, she is in a nothing-to-lose situation. By entering the “crowd” and especially by sneaking up and touching Jesus, she is risking everything. If she is found out, she could be seriously punished for breaking the cultural expectations.

But no one sneaks up on Jesus. He is the only one in the crowd who knows what is going on. Everyone else seems clueless, including the disciples. How often do our crowded lives prevent us from truly seeing another, their situation, their need, and who they really are? For the crowd, this woman is hidden. For the disciples, she is indistinguishable from everyone else. And for Jairus, she is surely an unwelcome interruption. To make matters worse for Jairus, Jesus lets this woman tell her story. Jesus gives this woman all the time in the world when Jairus’ time is about to run out. Surely if we were in Jairus’ sandals we would be asking questions like: Doesn’t Jesus know what’s at stake? Does he not care that my daughter is about to die? How can he be so unaware, so careless? In a word, how can Jesus be so out of touch with what’s going on? Jairus may be thinking, “If only Jesus had a daughter, then he would understand.”

But it is only Jesus’ question that needs to be answered. He asks, “Who touched my garments?” That’s the real issue that needed to be addressed in that moment in time. What Jairus doesn’t understand is that Jesus’ Father has a daughter. And it is this unnamed, unknown, and unwanted woman. She came to touch Jesus’ cloak to have her physical condition healed. However, it is Jesus who puts his finger on her deeper issue, and Jairus’. And with a word he addresses it. Daughter! The Father’s love for this daughter, seen in Jesus, mirrors Jairus’ love for his own. Jesus will not walk away from either without bringing what every father would want for any of their children—wholeness. Jesus not only heals her of her physical brokenness, but by calling her out and calling her “daughter” he restores her back to community. Jairus at this point may be running out of patience, but he is learning that Jesus will never run out on him…or his daughter.

And now the story gets very intense:

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?” (Mark 5:35 ESV)

Just when Jairus is coming to see Jesus’ love for a daughter, he gets the most devastating news about his own daughter. She is dead. The question put to him is the same question that is often put to us when we face great loss, “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” Do you ever feel that way? Jesus was too late. The story is over. Why trouble the Teacher any further? I should just go on with my life without him at this point. There is nothing further to gain. If you feel that way, as we all may be tempted to do at times, listen to the conclusion of the story. Jesus has something to say.

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he 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. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5:36-43 ESV)

“Do not fear, only believe.” Those are the words our Lord and Savior says to us in the face of great loss, even when all looks hopeless and beyond saving. But he doesn’t just leave Jairus with these words, he backs them up with his actions. Jairus is about to learn that Jesus loves all the Father’s “daughters” and time is not an obstacle for his purposes. He raises Jairus’ daughter to life. And Mark includes the important detail that this little girl was only twelve years old. That’s an important Jewish number that bookends the story of the woman who had a condition for twelve years and a little girl who has lived for twelve years. The number twelve is a communal number. It is a reference to the twelve tribes of Israel, a number that signifies the people both these daughters belong to. Jesus is restoring them both to community. He restores the little girl to her father and mother, and he will restore all our losses in his perfect timing.

In the meantime, we do not live in fear that the Father doesn’t care about or see our chronic and critical condition. We are told in Jesus’ words and actions that we can “believe,” or in other words, “trust” in our Father’s love for us and his timing. In this story, Jesus ignored the jeering and laughing crowds and the questioning of the disciples and stays on mission to heal and make whole. And in Mark’s account, he will do the same all the way to the cross. It is there that he will restore all things to wholeness and make all things new.

Rise Up w/ Chris Tilling W5

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June 30— Proper 8 in Ordinary Time
Mark 5:21-43, “Rise Up”

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Program Transcript


Rise Up w/ Chris Tilling W5

Anthony: Our final pericope of the month is Mark 5, 21:43. It is a Revised Common Lectionary passage for Proper 7 in Ordinary Time, June 30.

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him, and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue, named Jairus, came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and pleaded with him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians and had spent all that she had, and she was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her flow of blood stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my cloak?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the synagogue leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the synagogue leader, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the synagogue leader’s house, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he 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 Taking her by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl stood up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this and told them to give her something to eat.

Jesus proclaimed, “Talitha koum.” Girl, rise up.

This pericope tells us of a dead girl coming back to life. And a living woman who was dead to her community before a life-giving encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. As best you can, Chris, proclaim the astounding gospel declaration contained in these stories.

Chris: Yeah, the gospel isn’t about sin management. You notice how as you put it, it’s about death to life. Where there’s death, where there’s separation Jesus comes along and brings life and incorporation.

And where the Gospels go, some have described them as extended prefaces to the crucifixion and resurrection narratives, which is slightly exaggerating, but there’s truth to that. Ultimately, Jesus is going to enter death and from within death, defeat death because he is life. He is the opposite of death.

And this is ultimately the gospel. It isn’t just about pulling up our moral bootstraps and making sure we’ve prayed the sinner’s prayer. It’s participation in the death and, therefore, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as you put it. We believe that one died, therefore all died. This is the gospel as best as I know how to describe it. God in love sent Jesus Christ to assume our enslaved Adamic nature. It’s terminated on the cross, and then God raises Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. And the gospel is this: that story, that Trinitarian story, is our story. It’s your story, Anthony. It’s my story. It’s the story of every human.

We die in Christ. We believe that one died, therefore all died, and therefore we believe that we will be incorporated also into his resurrection. Because what these stories tell us is that Jesus is in the business of bringing life where there is death. And that’s the hope of the world.

Anthony: Yes and amen. And we see these stories of the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, the little girl, and these were resuscitations, right? Eventually that little girl died. Eventually the woman who had been bleeding died. Jesus died. I think of our mutual friend, Jeff McSwain, who I heard say once that we have to be reminded that God, the Father, did not save Jesus from death; he saved him through death.

And that is our story, but on the other side is resurrection.

Hallelujah. Praise God. As we just celebrated Resurrection Sunday. And he has, not only the first word, but the final word. And that, my friends, is good news. And I want to remind you to take heart: you do not know what is coming, but we know who is coming. And that makes all the difference.

Chris, I want to thank you for being with me today. It’s such a pleasure to hear you herald the gospel. It’s made my heart leap with joy and I’m so, so grateful for the way that God has you participating in his ministry. Keep it up, my brother.

And I think I heard you mention a podcast that you host if people want to listen further to your great British accent and your takes on theology.

How do they find your podcast? Where do they go?

Chris: Yeah, it’s OnScript. Just type in “on script” and you will find it. I’m one of the cohosts, and we simply interview authors about their recently published works, among other things. We’ve done a few other things as well, but that’s largely what we do.

Anthony: Fantastic. I want to thank our podcast team, Reuel Enerio, Elizabeth Mullins, and David McKinnon for their excellent work. It’s behind the scenes. You don’t actually often see it. But it’s what makes this podcast go, and I’m so grateful.

Chris, it is our tradition here on Gospel Reverb to end with prayer. And I’d be thankful if you would give thanks and praise and offer a prayer on behalf of all of our listeners.

Chris: I certainly will. Yeah. And just remember, folks, Mark’s Gospel is there to point us to Jesus. And this is who he is this incredible, glorious Son of God who brings life where there is death.

And Father, we thank you for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Thank you for the word of love, of life, of power that you have spoken in him. And Father, we pray that we would be faithful children, brothers and sisters and mothers of the Lord Jesus Christ, remembering that you love us as the greatest and the most glorious Father.

May we bring life in Christ where there is death. May we be agents of incorporation, of goodness, of wisdom. May we not be like the Pharisees at the beginning and conspiring with Herodians. May we be wise, skillful readers of Scripture, always pointing to you, risen Lord. And in your triune name, we give thanks and praise. Amen.


Small Group Discussion Questions

  • Discuss some implications of Mark having stories of exorcisms and healings taking place on both Gentile territory and then Jewish territory. What significance do you think Mark wants to convey?
  • What stood out the most to you in the story of Jesus healing the woman with the twelve-year discharge of blood?
  • How do you think Jairus was feeling while Jesus was spending time with the woman in the crowd? Can you relate?
  • What stood out the most to you in the story of Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter?
  • How do these stories build our faith?
  • Are there chronic or critical issues in your life currently that we can take to the Lord in prayer? Pray for Jesus’ healing and comfort.

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