The Almost Secret Miracle: Mark 5:21-34

Focus Passage: Mark 5:21-34 (NCV)

21 When Jesus went in the boat back to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him there. 22 A leader of the synagogue, named Jairus, came there, saw Jesus, and fell at his feet. 23 He begged Jesus, saying again and again, “My daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed Jesus and pushed very close around him. 25 Among them was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered very much from many doctors and had spent all the money she had, but instead of improving, she was getting worse. 27 When the woman heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his coat. 28 She thought, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Instantly her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed from her disease.

30 At once Jesus felt power go out from him. So he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His followers said, “Look at how many people are pushing against you! And you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus continued looking around to see who had touched him. 33 The woman, knowing that she was healed, came and fell at Jesus’ feet. Shaking with fear, she told him the whole truth. 34 Jesus said to her, “Dear woman, you are made well because you believed. Go in peace; be healed of your disease.”

Read Mark 5:21-34 in context and/or in other translations on!

I am always fascinated by Jesus and how He interacted with people. In this event, Jesus is on the way to perform a miracle, which in itself is interesting, because all He needed to do was say the word and Jairus’ daughter would be healed.

But perhaps making the trip to personally visit the dying girl was intentional – perhaps not as much about the girl herself, but about providing the woman our passage focuses in on an opportunity to be healed.

This woman sneaks up and touches the edge of Jesus’ garment and in that instant, she knows she has been healed, but before she is able to get away, Jesus stopped everything He was doing to shine the spotlight on what happened.

Had Jesus simply continued on His mission to help the girl, this miracle would have never been recorded, and it would have gone down in history as “The Secret Miracle”.

Why would Jesus push pause on His mission to help a little girl in order to shine the spotlight on a miracle that wanted to remain secret?

I think because Jesus wanted to direct the crowd to pay attention to a teaching moment. It would have been so easy to keep going and then make a point to find the woman later. But if that would have been Jesus’ choice, the significance of what happened wouldn’t be so impactful.

This is because for Jesus, He wants to help draw our attention onto miracles that God has done, and onto individuals who have extraordinary faith. Jesus was incredibly aware of what was happening around Him and this woman was healed because of her great faith. Regardless of where Jesus was headed or what He was about to do, Jesus pauses His mission because He wants us to pay attention to this event.

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Rejecting Valid Testimony: Matthew 28:11-15

Focus Passage: Matthew 28:11-15 (NASB)

Probably one of the most amazing concepts presented in any of the gospels is what we can learn from this unassuming, five verse passage that is only found in Matthew. In this event, the guards who had witnessed Jesus’ resurrection were bribed by the religious leaders to spread a rumor regarding Jesus’ missing body.

The incredibly amazing part of this event is not found in a key word or phrase in the passage itself, but when looking at the culture of that time.

Firstly, it would be crazy to actually believe a group of eleven or so regular guys with no combat training to overthrow a group of soldiers. The details of what would need to happen for the disciples to sneak in, roll the large stone away without making any noise, and escape with the body while the guards slept is almost more unbelievable. Any slipup, and there is almost no way for them to overpower the group of soldiers if they woke them up.

The rumor includes pretty much a zero chance of error, and from what we know of the disciples, being error free wasn’t their strong point.

But even more amazing is that the ones to prompt the disciples to what had happened were women, whose thoughts and ideas were widely discounted by the men in that time period. However, some of the disciples believed the women enough to go check out the tomb and see for themselves. This is a profound idea, but when we place it alongside the testimony that the guards actually give to the chief priests and religious leaders who had hired them, there is almost no comparison in that time period.

The religious leaders and elders received some of the most credible eye-witness accounts about what happened on resurrection morning, and they chose to try and hide it. This simple act reveals how far they had closed their minds to Jesus as the Messiah. This also shows how human nature and prejudice can blind people who are not open to accepting the truth.

The disciples believed and spread a wildly unbelievable progression of events, where women were the first to know among their group. But in Matthew, we learn that the guards present at the tomb were the only true eyewitnesses to what happened, and there was no reason for the religious leaders to invalidate the guards testimony except for their own prejudice against Jesus.

This emphasizes the idea even the strongest evidence possible will not open a firmly closed mind. If the religious leaders ignored the guards, they really were rejecting the greatest sign God could give to validate Jesus as His Chosen One – the Messiah that they were hoping and waiting for.

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Helping the Individual: Mark 7:31-37

Focus Passage: Mark 7:31-37 (NIV)

31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Read Mark 7:31-37 in context and/or in other translations on!

One of the things in our passage that amazes me is how Jesus responds to crowds who bring people for Him to heal. It seems as though Mark draws our attention to something that Matthew, Luke, and John don’t pay much attention to.

In Mark, we see an interesting setup for this healing. In verse 32, we learn that “Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

Having read the gospels a number of times, groups of people bringing individuals with disabilities to Jesus was nothing new. It was probably what Jesus was most famous for.

But the next thing Jesus does is fascinating. In verse 33 we read that Jesus “took him aside, away from the crowd…” This seems like an odd thing for Jesus to do, except for when we read about how the crowd actually brought the man to Jesus. Verse 32 ends with the phrase: “they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

When someone begs another person to do something, it is because they want something for themselves. It is as though the crowd is saying, “Jesus, we found this person who has some disabilities, and we want to see you perform a miracle, so we brought him to You.” The crowd is not as interested in the wellbeing of this person as much as simply wanting just one more reason to elevate Jesus in their minds.

But Jesus wants to help the person, and fame is not one of His goals, so He takes the man away from the crowd. This way Jesus can help the individual without encouraging the crowd’s behavior and self-centered desire to see a miracle.

We can learn a lesson from what Jesus did: Jesus was not interested in gaining fame or popularity from His actions. Instead, He simply wanted to help where He could.

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Everyone’s Messiah: Luke 1:39-56

Focus Passage: Luke 1:39-56 (GW)

39 Soon afterward, Mary hurried to a city in the mountain region of Judah. 40 She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.

41 When Elizabeth heard the greeting, she felt the baby kick. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 She said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child that you will have. 43 I feel blessed that the mother of my Lord is visiting me. 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, I felt the baby jump for joy. 45 You are blessed for believing that the Lord would keep his promise to you.”

46 Mary said,

“My soul praises the Lord’s greatness!
47 My spirit finds its joy in God, my Savior,
48     because he has looked favorably on me, his humble servant.

“From now on, all people will call me blessed
49     because the Almighty has done great things to me.
        His name is holy.
50             For those who fear him,
                his mercy lasts throughout every generation.

51 “He displayed his mighty power.
    He scattered those who think too highly of themselves.
52         He pulled strong rulers from their thrones.
            He honored humble people.
53                 He fed hungry people with good food.
                    He sent rich people away with nothing.

54 “He remembered to help his servant Israel forever.
55     This is the promise he made to our ancestors,
        to Abraham and his descendants.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.

Read Luke 1:39-56 in context and/or in other translations on!

Often the details surrounding an event are just as interesting as what actually happened.

While reading the passage in Luke that we often call “Mary’s Song”, a phrase near the end of it stood out to me as being interesting. As Mary concludes this song, she finishes off by singing, “He remembered to help his servant Israel forever. This is the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants.” (v. 54-55)

This stands out to me because Mary sees Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise God gave to Abraham, and to the Jewish nation. This is very true. God had promised Abraham that the Messiah would be one of his descendants.

What is fascinating though is not what it said, but what is implied by what is not said. The promise God gave to Abraham was not the first promise God gave regarding sending a Messiah. Immediately following God kicking Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, He promises them a Messiah would come to restore the connection they broke when they sinned.

I wonder if many of the Jews had minimized this reference or dismissed it in their minds. The Messiah God promised to Adam and Eve was a Messiah for all of humanity, but the one they liked focusing in on was one that built up the Jewish nation exclusively. The messiah the Jews were waiting for was one who would come and overthrow the Romans and make their nation independent again.

With this in mind, I also wonder if Mary had this idea in her mind during Jesus’ growing up years – and if so, I wonder what she might have thought as He was arrested, tried, and ultimately crucified.

Mary’s song was a high point in her life as Jesus’ mother, and while there would be many more high points coming, she was ultimately going to face the event no parent wants to face – and that event is watching your child die.

But Jesus’ death wasn’t just for the Jewish nation; Jesus died for all humanity, and He made a way for not only Jews to have a restored connection with Jesus, but gentiles as well!

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