The Perfect Servant in Mark’s Gospel

Our previous article considered two closely linked miracles (4:35-5:43). Each stressed the importance of exercising faith rather than succumbing to fear. Here we consider another two closely linked miracles: the healing of the woman with the issue of blood (5:25-34) and the raising of Jairus’ daughter (5:21-24,35-43). Again, faith is prominent. Jairus believed that if the Lord would respond to his plea, his daughter would live (v23). The woman was sure that if she touched the clothes of the Saviour, she would be healed (v28). We will consider the anonymous woman first.

Strength for the Sick (5:25-34)

This woman’s illness was a chronic, ceremonially defiling condition. It left her socially ostracised, and having had it for twelve years, it is likely that the whole of her adult life had been affected. Her search for a cure resulted in her “suffering many things” and spending “all that she had.” There was much searching and suffering and sacrificing, but she was “nothing bettered, but rather grew worse” (v26).[1] Eventually, it became evident that they had no ability to heal and she had no ability to pay. She was a hopeless case. She needed someone with supernatural power who required no payment.

It was just then that she “heard of Jesus” (v27), and while we can’t be sure exactly what she heard, it is certainly possible that the story of Legion’s deliverance had already reached across the Sea of Galilee. Having heard about the Lord, she came to Him with confidence in His power: “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole,” and she was immediately and completely healed (vv28-29).

In that crowd, only two people knew she was healed. The Lord knew and she knew. His knowledge caused Him to seek a public confession from her. Her knowledge led her to confess before Him “all the truth” (v33). She rose out of obscurity and would just as quickly have returned to it if the Lord had not encouraged her to publicly profess her faith. As a result, she had a further message to rest her faith upon: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” (v34).

She heard about Jesus, and this assured her of what He would do if she came. She came and experienced healing. Then she heard from Jesus, and this assured her of what He had done when she came. She went with peace in her soul. “Faith cometh by hearing” (Rom 10:17), and believing what she heard, this woman found healing and peace.

Our message is about Christ and from Christ. It should encourage us that the simple communication of this message, when mixed with faith in the hearers, brings blessing. People cannot believe a message that they have never heard or trust in a Person they do not know about. But “the entrance of [God’s] words giveth light” (Psa 119:130).

It is also encouraging that the Lord possesses the strength to heal any sickness or disease. If He fails to cure us, then He must have permitted our illness for some greater purpose in the present. We can be assured, however, that all sickness and sorrow and pain will one day be over when we see Him. The fourth and final miracle reveals the Lord’s:

Solution for Separation (5:21-24,35-43)

Jairus approached the Lord with a burning request, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live” (v23). The Lord went with him.

The first test of Jairus’ faith was the delay test. The woman with the issue of blood came, touched the Lord’s clothing, and was healed. But then the Lord stopped, called her out, and listened to her full story. One can imagine Jairus’ anxiety rising as the Lord appeared in no hurry to heal his daughter. The second test was the death test. Just as they were about to get moving again, messengers came with the news, “Thy daughter is dead” (v35). This was the worst news possible. It was the dashing of all hopes. It was the removal of all possibility of healing. On the face of it, the words of the messengers made perfect sense, “Why troublest thou the Master any further?” What’s the point?

However, “as soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe” (v36). This was an appeal not to give in to fear, even in the worst nightmare. It was a reminder that Jesus had the power to do the impossible.

The third test was the doubt test. The Lord arrived at Jairus’ home to the wailing of professional mourners. He asked the meaning of the uproar and said, “The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth” (v39). Why express such hopeless sorrow when this girl, while physically dead, was not eternally dead? She was a believer.

The mourners became mockers. Their faux tears became scornful jeers. As Jairus stood silently, the crowd expressed their doubt loudly. The Lord put them out. Those without faith would not see His power.

Surrounded only with believing disciples and a believing father and mother, the Lord took the twelve-year-old by the hand and spoke, “ Little girl, I say to you, arise.” To their amazement, “the girl got up and began walking” (vv41-42 ESV). Imagine the joy in that home.

Death brings sorrow. But for the believer, there is no need for us to sorrow “as others which have no hope” (1Th 4:13). Why? Because the Lord Jesus is coming, and He has the solution to separation. The solution is resurrection power: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven … and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1Th 4:16-17). Is it any wonder that Paul concludes, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (v18)?

Let us have faith in Christ. As our faith grows, so will our fears diminish.


[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.