Grace, Mercy, and Peace be yours from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

21 “When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and He stayed by the seashore. 22 And one of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, *came, and upon seeing Him, *fell at His feet 23 and *pleaded with Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.’ 24 And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him. 25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but instead had become worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she had been saying to herself, ‘If I just touch His garments, I will get well.’ 29 And immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power from Him had gone out, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?’ 31 And His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, “Who touched Me?”’ 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be cured of your disease.’ 35 While He was still speaking, people *came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; why bother the Teacher further?’ 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, *said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid, only believe.’ 37 And He allowed no one to accompany Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 They *came to the house of the synagogue official, and He *saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. 39 And after entering, He *said to them, ‘Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child has not died, but is asleep.’ 40 And they began laughing at Him. But putting them all outside, He *took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and *entered the room where the child was in bed. 41 And taking the child by the hand, He *said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ (which translated means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astonished. 43 And He gave them strict orders that no one was to know about this, and He told them to have something given her to eat.” (NASB) Mark 5:21-43

The Gospel of St. Mark is written in such a way that it teach us two things. It teaches us the immediacy, the urgency of the Gospel. Throughout the Gospel Jesus acts “immediately.” There is an urgency about the work of Jesus. There’s an urgency for repentance, healing, and deliverance from demons and evil and death.

The word appears throughout the Gospel. It is used three times in the Gospel lesson this morning. There is an urgency to the ministry of Jesus and this sense of urgency is suppose to be reflected in the work of the church as well.

Second Mark makes sure that we know that Jesus has authority over all things. As Mark describes the healing and teaching ministry of Jesus, we see that Jesus has the power and authority over disease and injury, the cleansing of lepers, the casting out of demons, and so forth. In last week’s Gospel, Jesus is God over creation, the laws of nature itself.

From the very beginning of the office of Old Testament prophet, miracles were part of a prophet’s teaching ministry. By the time Jesus came into the world, prophets had long been expected to perform miracles along the side of their teachings. The fact that they could do such things provided the proof that the man was a prophet sent from the Lord God. Remember what Nicodemus said to Jesus. “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)

The first miracle in today’s Gospel is about a woman who was caught in a “catch-22.” This woman had a bleeding disorder for twelve years. Blood was sacred. Blood is life. Leviticus 15:25 teaches that people with bleeding disorders were ceremonially unclean – like lepers. People with bleeding problems were to keep their distance from other people.

The woman had no business being in a crowd. Yet, her only hope for healing, Jesus was surrounded by a great crowd of people. Her only hope was to infiltrate the crowd, touch Jesus, then escape without being noticed. “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” When she entered that crowd around Jesus, she was exposing every one she bumped into or touched to her uncleanness. She was taking a huge risk trying to get to Jesus.

Her plan worked right up to the point when she touched Jesus. She touched Him power went out from Him and He felt it. Then “immediately the flow of her blood [stopped] and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And immediately Jesus . . . turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?’”

“He looked around to see the woman who had done this.” The woman didn’t come forward. Jesus looked around, saw her, and knew that she was the one. She had been caught and she knows it. 33 “But the woman, fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” She was caught and afraid at the same time she was healed, freed from her illness, clean again. Imagine how she felt when she 34 “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be cured of your disease.’”

Go in peace – Jesus didn’t scolded her. He certainly didn’t turn her over to a crowd for justice. He welcomed her and understood she had acted in true Christian faith. She was now free of her affliction, of her guilt, and of her sins. Only now when Jesus’s blessing to “go in peace” was her healing complete. The first miracle came about because a woman, a woman of faith was alive though ill sought Jesus out to help her.

By the time Jesus leaves Jairus’s house He undoes something that has already happened–something that has come to pass. After all once you’re dead, you’re dead. There’s a say, “While there is life, there is hope.” The flip side of this saying is that once death occurs, all hope is lost. Death is the greatest of all enemies. The Bible teaches that. 1 Corinthians 15:26, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Before the bleeding woman made her way through the crowd to touch Jesus’s garment, a man “named Jairus, came, and upon seeing Jesus, fell at His feet and pleaded with Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.’”

Jairus was an official of the local synagogue. Originally Jairus asked Jesus to heal his daughter because she was at the point of death. She had not yet died. Upon hearing Jairus request Jesus heads off toward Jairus’s house, but as we know He was slowed down by the crowd and the bleeding woman.

While dealing with the crowd and the woman, some people came from the house and told Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” Healing was one thing. Raise the dead another. They thought raising the dead was too much to expect, even from such a great miracle worker as Jesus. Jairus’s daughter wasn’t the only thing that died. Hope died too. While there is life there is hope. Where there is death, hope is lost. Jesus said to him, “Do not be afraid, only believe.”

With the daughter of the synagogue ruler now dead, Jesus was not interested in making a spectacle out of this family’s grief. He dismissed the crowds and most of His disciples. He had three of the disciples stay with Him. The Old Testament teaches that three witnesses are enough to establish the truth of a matter in a court of law. Jesus followed this tradition so He restricted the witnesses to Peter, James, and John.

Jesus emptied the house of everyone except the three witnesses and the parents. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” “Immediately the girl got up and began to walk.”

At this point in the ministry of Jesus, He had demonstrated authority over every debilitating medical condition. He had demonstrated authority over the elements of creation. He has demonstrated authority over every spiritual enemy. Now He demonstrates authority over death. Jesus has demonstrated complete authority over every possible evil that can assail us.

All of those evil arose because of the fall into sin. The Gospel reverses all sin and all of its effects for those who believe.

Jesus not only demonstrated authority over all things, but He also demonstrated authority at every level of society as well. There was a time when the religious leaders of a community were in fact leaders in the community, respected and listened to by the people, and treated with respect. They occupied the hightest run of the ladder. He requests help from Jesus and Jesus responds in compassion.

On His way to the ruler of the synagogue’s home, Jesus encounters another person of the community, a woman who had suffered for twelve years with an uncontrolled bleeding problem, thus unclean. And the unclean were on the lowest run of run of the ladder. Everything she touches is unclean. If she comes into contact with another person, they have to take a bath and wash their clothes. She was not physically dead, but she was considered dead socially.

Two miracles. Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue who is one of the leading members of the community and a woman with the bleeding problem who is at the bottom of society. Two extremes of society. Both received help from Jesus. Jesus not only has authority over all things, but that He has also come to help all people. Romans 2:11-12; “For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned. . . .”

Jesus praised the woman at the bottom of the social ladder for her faith, a faith that fueled determination to get to Jesus. “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” When the news of his daughter’s death reached Jairus, his faith faltered. Then the good news. Jesus does not rebuke him for his for his lack of faith, for his fear. Jesus does not say, “Jairus did you not hear what I did in Nain?” Do you not know that I am the Lord and giver of life?

The faltering faith of Jairus does not discourage Jesus from His mission of life. Your daughter has died, Why trouble the Teacher anymore?” Jesus replies, “Don’t be afraid! Only Believe!”

This event is usually referred to by commentators as the story of the “Daughter of Jairus.” But the story has as much more to do with Jairus, his struggle between faith and unbelief, as it does with his daughter who is reclaimed from death by the words of Jesus- “Talitha”– “little girl”- “Koum”- “get up.” While she is the one being brought back to life, Jairus also seems to be the recipient of the miracle of faith through the word God. “Do not to be afraid! Only believe!”

Christ goes to the house and speaks to the little girl. A little dead girl who can’t hear. He doesn’t speak according to the measure of faith of the little girl or her father, but simply out of compassion to bring the girl and Jairus’s faith back to life.

To the formerly bleeding woman, Jesus said, “ “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” She departs in the peace of Christ. To Jairus he says, “Do not to be afraid! Only believe!” Jairus believes. And to the dead little girl on the bed in Jairus’s house Jesus says, “Talitha Koum” – “get up.” The little girl gets up and walks.

The Word of God is spoken by Christ and they do and give what they command.

We were once dead in sin and unbelief and the Word of God came to us, most of us in the water and Word of Holy Baptism and the command gave what it commanded-faith. When that water and that Word were given to you, it was Christ’s command to “get up,” to come to life, and live by faith. Christ says to you and me, “Do not be afraid! Only believe!”

Believe in Christ. Believe that He died for the sins of the whole world and your sins. Believe that He takes care of His children. Believe that He is the God of the living and you too will live eternally with Him, Jairus and his daughter.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich”. . . 2 Corinthians 8:2.

We are not unlike Jairus. We often come to our Lord in moments of weak faith and as a last resort. We don’t trust as we should. Have you ever doubted that Christ can give life to a tiny little infant in the waters of Baptism? Or that you really your sins are forgiven in the sacrament of Holy Communion? And what about fear? Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe, just maybe, Jesus won’t or can’t fix the pieces of my life. Or perhaps you fear change. Changing to a new job. Or that change that comes at the death of a spouse. Or what about that new pastor, what change might be brought at his coming? To all these fears, Christ says, to you and to me, “Do not continue to be afraid, only Believe.” Believe that Christ is doing and will do great and wonderful things in your life, in your home, in this congregation called Bethlehem Lutheran Church, and even the change that comes at your physical death. And believe that on that last day, Jesus Christ will return to this earth and He will give that command one last time. Koum! Get Up!

The good news is that what was done for the daughter of Jairus in the words Talitha Koum was also done first to Jairus himself. These words of Christ breathed life and hope into his wavering faith. So remember these words; “Only Believe” for when Christ spoke these words to Jairus they produced the very thing that Christ commanded. And so it is with us today. And remember that other word, that other command given in Aramaic Koum-get up! For it was this very word of Christ that gave that dead little who couldn’t hear a new life. And is this command could give a little dead girl who couldn’t hear life, think of what it will do to those of us who have already been given the ears to hear?

Our faith too is not without cause or substance. Our faith as weak as it is at times is built on the testimony of the prophets and apostles. It is built upon the person and work of Christ himself. It is built upon the very work recorded in this Gospel reading this morning. “Only Believe Koum!”


May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind together in Christ Jesus Amen.

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 2021 – Only Believe!

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