Knee Jerk Devotional: January 25, 2021

Mark 5:21-43


After Jesus crossed over by boat, a large crowd met him at the seaside. One of the meeting-place leaders named Jairus came. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees, beside himself as he begged, “My dear daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay hands on her so she will get well and live.” Jesus went with him, the whole crowd tagging along, pushing and jostling him.

A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.

At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”

His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!”

But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story.

Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”

While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”

Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. They entered the leader’s house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn’t know what he was talking about.

But when he had sent them all out, he took the child’s father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child’s room. He clasped the girl’s hand and said, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy. He gave them strict orders that no one was to know what had taken place in that room. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”

As I think about this story this morning I am struck by the reality that faith is costly. Trusting Jesus is not cheap and it is not easy. If I am going to follow Jesus with authenticity and integrity it will, at some point, cost me something.

The cost is not in money.
The cost is in risk.

First, Jairus, one of the leaders of the Synagogue sought out Jesus to heal his daughter. He doesn’t come with pride or arrogance. He comes in humility and respect. He approaches Jesus and falls to his knees and begs. This is so unbecoming of a leader! Could you imagine the social fall out? Here he is a leader in the Synagogue and he’s begging this rabbi, this rabbi who is not all that well liked, to heal his daughter. The cost of that socially would have been great. He believed that Jesus could heal his daughter but to do so he needed to ask and he needed to do it immediately. This resulted in him embarrassing himself publicly. To trust Jesus, to display his faith required risk.

Jairus was willing to risk it.

Second, the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe had to risk as well. She was risking even more. This woman was ceremonially unclean and had been for years. She couldn’t stop bleeding and doctors proved unable to help her. Because of that she had to stay away from people. Otherwise, she put herself at risk for being punished. She was an untouchable. So, she risked the possibility of severe punishment because of her faith. This is why she was hiding in the crowd and tried to hide from Jesus. But, she trusted that Jesus could heal her and make her whole.

For her, the risk was worth it.

I suppose the question for me and for you this morning is, what do I know that I need to risk but have not been willing to risk? In what ways do I protect myself instead of trusting Jesus?

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