Seeing Through (Mark 5:21-6:6)
A daily devotional for January 10th
21When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." 24So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
31"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "
32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?"
36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." 40But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" ). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
1Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
"Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! 3Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
4Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." 5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6And he was amazed at their lack of faith.
He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village (Mark 6:5-6).
We can gather up the meaning of this whole account in just a few words: Limited views mean limited lives. That is, if your view of life is so narrow and crabbed, so withered and shrunken as to include nothing but what you can see and feel and taste and smell and hear and reason, then your life is going to be horribly deprived and poverty stricken. This is how it was in Nazareth. Jesus had been in Nazareth the year before. They tried to kill Him on that occasion because He would not do what they wanted. Now He comes back again and teaches in the synagogue, and they are astonished. They ask the right questions:
Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works are wrought by His hands!
But their answers to their own questions are horribly limited.
Who is this? Is this not the carpenter? Why, He made the table in our house. I remember when we used to feed Him tea and sandwiches for lunch when He came to help us build the house where I live! He was just a carpenter! And His brothers and sisters live here--we know the whole family! Why, He couldn't be this powerful a man! And they did the incredible--they took refuge in that final resort of all weak and small minds--they ridiculed Him. They took offense at Him and began to discount all He had done.
Therefore, Jesus pointed out to them that this is characteristic of fallen human nature. There was no recognition of His worth, no honor accorded Him in His own hometown. And as a result, there was no mighty work done there. He responded to the few who had faith, but there was nothing the town could boast of. And is it not amazing that through all these centuries, though Nazareth has never been forgotten as the town in which Jesus grew up, yet to this very day it is regarded in Palestine with some sense of embarrassment! They missed their great opportunity.
What is this all saying--this entire account of the healing of the woman, the raising of Jairus's daughter, and the reception given him by the people of Nazareth? It is saying to us today,
Lift up your eyes and look beyond the visible to the realities of God. Live in the full dimensions of life, as God intended life to be. Life can never be explained entirely in terms of the natural. We are left impoverished and despairing if all we have to depend on is our natural resources, natural power. But God is rich in grace, rich in power, rich in inward strength and sympathy, and His cry to us is,
No longer be unbelieving, but believe and have faith that I am at work, and I will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams.
Teach me, Lord to respond with the touch of faith--not the thronging of admiration, but the touch of faith--to this Blessed One who, now in our midst, is ready to meet our need.
Life Application: Are we responding with life-changing faith as we encounter the living Jesus in the pages of Scripture? Is our life vision being expanded by His indwelling presence?
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Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotional is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.