The Crowd That Didn’t Follow Jesus
There are three miracles in today’s Gospel text. Can you name them?
1. The woman with the issue of blood healed.
2. Jairus’ daughter raised.
3. And perhaps, “The crowd that did not follow Jesus.”
Can you imagine the captain of the English soccer team saying to all their fans, supporters, and followers, “Stay here while we go across the Channel to play football.” It would be a miracle if they did all stay behind. This is what happened when Jesus asked the crowd to remain while he and his disciples went forward to do the work of God. Each miracle encounter begins with a problem followed by a miraculous solution so that God is revealed and glorified. An important aspect of these miracles is the presence of faith. Without faith it is difficult to reveal God and to give him the glory. Miracles are experienced and seen where there is faith.
Many people around Lake Galilee had heard reports of Jesus and his miraculous work. They were saying that he was someone special and that God was with him, how else could someone do such things. Wherever he went it seemed he was in the middle of someone’s storm. For example, Jesus calmed the storm when he was in a boat with his frightened disciples on Lake Galilee. At another time he cast out demons from a man. He healed people of various diseases. He fed them, and cared for all people in every way. To these people he gave salvation. He calmed the storm in their life. To all those who felt they were in the midst of death, Jesus gave them life. This is not just a story 2000 years ago. Jesus’ presence is real even today. He is here with us always ready to hear your cry for help, to calm the storm in your life.
Every time Jesus had crossed Lake Galilee and got out of the boat people gathered around him. There was a crowd. One of them, a local ruler of the synagogue ran to him and fell at the feet of Jesus. His name was Jairus. He pleaded with Jesus to come and heal his sick daughter. On the way, a very sick woman wanted to secretly touch Jesus through the crowd in the hope of being healed. All of these people came to Jesus because of the reports that they had heard about him. Those reports or can I say the word of God had not only gathered people around Jesus but also developed faith in them.
That is what we need more of here, in our parish to hear the reports and testimonies of Jesus doing wonderful things in our life. Be courageous for the sake of others and tell them how Jesus has blessed you in your life. In this way people will hear that Jesus is alive and working amongst us, they will be encouraged to come to Jesus, and their faith would be strengthened. We all need to hear these reports for our blessing. A good place to start is in the Bible. It is nothing more than the reports of Gods’ salvation activities in people’s lives. But to hear new and fresh reports continues to reassure us that God continues to be with us.
Can you image if Jesus came to the other side of Lake Galilee and no one had heard about him? There wouldn’t have been a crowd around him and Jairus wouldn’t have asked Jesus to heal his daughter. There wouldn’t have been the three miracles in the presence of all the people. Jesus would have arrived and simply went his way without anybody taking particular note of his presence. And everyone would have been the poorer for it. Fortunately, Jesus’ reputation did go before him. And people of faith amongst others came to him. In this situation Jesus was able to reveal the nature of God to them. He revealed God to be a loving God, a God that desires to give life and salvation to all.
In the sight of God all forms of sickness, disease, social and community problems are like death. He hates it because it has destroyed life. The woman in our gospel text was also a social outcast because of the disease that she carried. People had refused to come near her, to comfort her, to help her in anyway. She had been crying out for help for many years and in that time her condition had only grown worse. She was not alone in her plight.
In our society we can hear many voices calling for help. There are voices calling for blood and organ donors. There are voices of help from victims of crime. There are calls of help for more foster parents. There are calls to give generously to foreign aid. There are calls of help to give towards cancer research. There are voices that caution us to drive safely on our roads. The list for help could go on for pages, but you know what I’m talking about. All of this is painful and distressing in the sight of God. God wants to give life and abundant life to all of us.
By the lake side Jesus healed not only the woman’s disease but also her social problems. He forgave her sins, freed her from guilt, gave her peace, and restored her back into the community. Jesus conquered her “death” and gave her life. While Jesus was attending to the needs of the woman, Jairus’ little daughter died. It was of little concern to Jesus. To show that the state of death was nothing to him, he simply said to the girl, “Arise” and she got up. Jesus gave back her life.
As we can plainly see, God is interested in giving back our life too. In the third miracle, Jesus makes sure that he is not incidentally involved with a crowd that was beginning to form into a funeral procession to Jairus’ house. Jesus is about giving life. He is the victor over death and in no way does he want to ruin his reputation by following the grieving crowd to Jairus’ house. As a result, he commands the crowd to stay and only himself and his disciples go forward to do God’s work. That is, to go forward in giving life to those who call upon him. He went forward and raised Jairus’ daughter from death to life. In this way Jesus has revealed again the true nature of God and his will for all of us. He is a God concerned about restoring life to all of us.
If we are serious about restoring our own life and the life of this congregation then we need to hear the reports about Jesus. Get stuck into the Word of God and tell others how God has worked miracles in your life. It is one way in which we can provide an opportunity for God to continue to reveal himself and his loving nature, and to work miracles in our life and others. By simply allowing Jesus to help us in our life, God is glorified. He is glorified every time Jesus calms the storm in our life. And that’s something to shout about. Amen.
Thoughts for another sermon.
Another subject for a sermon based on this gospel text can deal with the issue of interruptions. We plan our days and our life so that everything runs smoothly. Unwanted interruptions can cause anxiety and anger. In Marks gospel we find that Jesus’ daily plans are constantly interrupted with people coming to him and wanting something. He handles it well. In the end we find that the interruptions to Jesus’ life have become his important work. That is his work, dealing with interruptions. It is dealing with people’s needs. How do we deal with interruptions in our life? Are we too busy to care?