Notes On Mark’s Gospel (49)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

The Drawing Power of Compassion (Chapter 5 Verses 21-43)

Meanwhile on the other side of the lake (v21), the crowds gather once again. We have two intertwined incidents here, while dealing with Jairus, a woman intervenes with her problem. The needs then were great, and are no less today. Jairus’ was a manager in the Synagogue (v22). I don’t think his falling at the Lord’s feet is anything more than oriental custom. Any realisation of who Jesus really is, has not as yet dawned upon this man’s soul. It is the danger of losing something very dear to him that brings him to Jesus (v23), his daughter. Sadly, so often, it is such domestic ties that keep people from coming to Christ (Matthew 10.35-37; Matthew 12.50; Mark 10.29-30; Luke 8.21; Luke 12.52-53; Luke 14.26). There is not the slightest hesitation with the Lord, immediately he turns to go with Jairus (v24). But his faith is going to be tested. Place yourself in his shoes, the medics have no answer, his child sinks towards certain death, and even the time it takes to summon Jesus is in this man’s state of anxiety, just too long. Not to mention this pressing crowd which just slows things down even more. Why don’t they just get out of the way? Just to add to his state of agitation this woman appears on the scene (vv25-29). But her suffering is great too. Jairus it seems is put on hold, we are not told how he reacts to this delay, but we can well imagine his state mind.

It seems there were bungling doctors in those days too (v26), and in private medicine at that. You would expect better? But such is the impression Jesus has made by his supernatural works of compassion on these people, it draws many to him. One can well understand it. And of course in the face of so much human suffering today, when people are offered some kind of hope, any hope at all it seems, they are drawn in the same way. That is what makes these modern so- called faith healers, the charlatans, the healing circuses, such wicked affairs. Some of us in ministry over the years have had to pick up the broken pieces left behind. There is no disputing Jesus power to heal, yes, even today. But there must be a return to reality if the Church is to regain any credibility in the eyes of the nation. The supernatural intervention of God at any level is, always, according to his Divine and sovereign will. These miracles are more than just works of compassion, they are signs pointing to deeper and greater realities. That the kingdom of God’s power had arrived and was present in Jesus Christ and his ministry, and they authenticated his saving’ ministry (Hebrews 2.4). And all these diseases of course point to the deeper one – sin in the human heart (Isaiah 1.6). What Jesus came, ultimately, to deliver us from (Luke 5.32; 1Timothy 1.15).

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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