Hold on to Jesus

6th Sunday After Pentecost. Mark 5:21-43.


Rev. David Domanski

6/30/20243 min read

Two sisters were going to stay overnight at a friend’s house. As they were packing their things, the older of the two, took her teddy bear off her bed and packed it in her overnight bag. She could not sleep without her teddy bear, and it gave her comfort knowing he would be with her. After she had finished packing, she looked in on her little sister to see how she was doing getting ready for their stay away from home. It was the first time the younger sister was staying overnight at a house not her own, and she was a little nervous. The older sister walked into the other’s room, and to her surprise, she was trying to take a picture off the wall above her bed. “What are you doing?” the elder sister asked. “I’m taking my picture of Jesus with me.” “We’re just staying overnight. We’re not moving. Why don’t you pick out a teddy bear like me? That’s better to take overnight to someone’s house.” “No,” the younger sister answered, “Daddy told me that Jesus watches over me, and I’m not going away without him,” and she clung tightly to the picture! There is a lesson in this little girl’s devotion to Jesus . . .When in doubt, hold on to Jesus.

In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus returns to Capernaum to a waiting crowd (v 21). The miracles wrought by the Savior have made Him popular. Jesus did many great things among the people of Capernaum. His teaching and power were unlike any they had ever seen. The crowd, which had been waiting for His return, was great and pressed upon Him in every direction. And then, out of the masses stepped Jairus, a respected synagogue leader, with a request of Jesus (vv 22–23).

His daughter was dying. Would Jesus come and heal her? This man of authority knows that his authority cannot help his daughter. He needs Jesus! Jesus, moved to compassion by the suffering of Jairus, travels with him to his home (v 24a). However, Jairus’s faith will face challenges along the way.

While on their journey, they are delayed (vv 24b–34). Jairus receives news that his daughter has died (v 35).

Our faith is often challenged too by delays or other kinds of challenges. But a faith without challenges is like a boat that’s never been float-tested before. Every year, there are regattas around the world that welcome home-made boats to compete in races just for fun. You’ve probably seen some of these boats from these informal races, and even the most-skilled boat-crafters of these bric-a-brac projects could hardly be deemed sea-worthy. In fact, many of them sink on being put into the water when their weekend sailors get on board. But the real test of any vessel is how it fares in a storm. It’s only after a ship survives a storm that it can inspire enough confidence in its crew to truly be called a ship.

And it’s like that with faith too. In times of crisis, in life’s storms, the water-tightness of faith gets tested, and its bearer must cling to Christ in order to persevere. We are blessed in the assurance from God that a faith which clings to Jesus will not be disappointed (vv 36–42). In verse 36, Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Faith worthy of its name holds on to Jesus in the midst of troubles.

So, in our account, faith carries a doubting and fearful Jairus back to his home. When Jesus and the stricken father arrive, the mourners are already grieving (vv 38–40a). Jesus assures them that by his power the little girl is only sleeping. But they mock Him, for the unbelieving world cannot accept the things of faith.

Nonetheless, God takes charge and His faithful Son ushers the girl’s parents, Peter, James, and John with him into the girl’s room. As her parents’ thin thread of faith wills them to believe, Christ raises the child to life again. It’s a joyful result which certainly would have been received by the parents in equal parts of fearful wonder and overwhelming thankfulness—the very components of a healthy faith.

Today, we are reminded that the same almighty power of Christ Who conquered death, overcomes the grave and all our fears for us. Jesus faced death head-on at the cross. And Jesus defeated death forever by rising in victory. He has granted us His own victory to us, and we receive it by faith.

We know that faith in Christ never disappoints. Jairus had his impossible request fulfilled when he placed his trust in the Lord of Life. By holding on to Jesus, Jairus’s faith grew, and his daughter was given back to him. Are you clinging to Jesus in your life? What are the situations to which Jesus is speaking to you, “Don’t be afraid; just believe”? May our dear Lord grow in you a faith that clings to him, for Jesus is your Mighty One and He never fails to deliver.