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Desperation Drives us to Jesus

The Gospel of Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  53:23
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Introduction:
If you have your Bibles let me invite you to open with me to the book of Mark chapter 5.
Have you ever wished that you could just see God?
Have you ever wished that somehow, someway, the infinite God beyond our capacity to comprehend, would somehow descend and just have a conversation with you face to face?
What would he be like?
What would he say?
How would he talk to you?
What hope or explanation would he give you for your suffering in this world?
It is important that we remember… this is exactly what is happening in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Mark has made it clear, that Jesus really is God with us. To read about how Jesus walked, and talked, is to see in real history the expression of the very heart of God.
Jesus declared truth with the authority of God.
Jesus forgave sins in a way that only God could do.
Jesus commanded and controlled diseases, demons, , and even the weather.
He is all the authority and power of God wrapped in human flesh in real history.
So when we read about his interactions with people, we should lean in closely because in Jesus’ words and deeds, we discover both the heart of God and how we should relate to God.
So with that in mind, lets begin reading in verse 25
Mark 5:25–43 ESV
25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling 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 healed of your disease.” 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Lets Pray
Lets read verses 25-27 again.
Mark 5:25–28 ESV
25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”

Truth #1 Desperation Drives Us to Jesus

Desperation…
That is what Mark wants you to see and feel by the way he introduces this new character into the story.
In fact, this story is sandwiched in the middle of another story with another very desperate person.
Last week, we saw the leader of the synagogue falling to his knees before Jesus and pleading with him to come heal his dying daughter.
That is where Jesus is headed now. He is following Jairus through the crowd and the crowd is pressing in around them.
But along the way, Mark leaves the Jairus story and turns your attention to this one woman amidst the crowd.
And Mark describes this woman with such detail, as to immediately make you the reader feel the sense of hopelessness and desperation that this woman must have felt.
Mark is clear that this woman is suffering.
Her suffering was physical
She suffered with a chronic condition of bleeding.... a condition that was physically uncomfortable to say the least…
A condition that took a physical toll on her whole body in an ongoing manner.
but this form of physical suffering was not coming upon this woman once a month, rather it was non-stop…, all the time ...., for 12 years....
Her suffering was not only physical… it was perpetual
Her suffering was perpetual
Anyone can handle anything for a short period of time.
Anyone can pass through a storm as long as their is a hope for an end in sight.
Anyone can have a hard day, a hard week, or even a hard year....
but this woman had endured this suffering now for 12 years.
And it was not just physical suffering…,
Her suffering was also social and emotional
According to the Torah, a woman was unclean for seven days during her menstrual cycle as a matter of cleanliness and purity.
This was a time, without the medical supplies that we have today...., so the Old Testament law included instructions for how to insure cleanliness and to prevent the spread of disease or sickness.
Leviticus addresses these particular issues in more detail then most of us are comfortable with.
Leviticus 15:25–28 ESV
25 “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. 26 Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity. 27 And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. 28 But if she is cleansed of her discharge, she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
Now perhaps just reading that passage from Leviticus makes you uncomfortable…,
but Imagine being this woman...
Not only have you endured physical suffering for 12 years…, but you have endured social and emotional isolation and shame for 12 years.
You could not touch another person lest you make them unclean and they have to undergo a purification process.
You could not sit on a surface in a public space, lest you make that surface unclean.
Her suffering was physical, perpetual, social and emotional…
But to top it off her suffering was financial
Apparently, she had expended every resource she had in order to cure this sickness.
Mark says she had seen “many doctors”
In fact, Mark says she had “suffered much under many physicians”
Who knows what sorts of experimental treatments and medications that this woman would have turned to in her desperate attempts to overcome this condition....
She apparently pursued every doctor and every treatment until she had spent all the money she had…
and Mark really drives home the hopelessness of the situation in that last phrase… “she was no better, but rather grew worse”
Not only did all her efforts fail to heal her condition… they seemed only to intensify her suffering...
If there was ever a description of a hopeless person… this is it.
This woman was is in a place of complete and utter desperation when she heard about Jesus this miracle worker....
Having exhausted every other possible avenue she devised a plan.
As Jesus was passing through the crowd…, she would fight her way to him and touch him all the while hoping that some how some way, just at the touch of his garment… she might be healed.
Keep in mind, that she is supposed to stay away from people…
Its against the law for her to touch someone. She shouldn’t even be pressing through the crowd, much less reach out and touch a famous Rabbi.
yet here she is squeezing through a crowd to lay a hand on Jesus.
She breaks the Jewish law to touch the Jewish Messiah.
Desperate times calls for desperate measures.
It is a difficult position that this woman was in… but Praise God for her desperation

Truth #1 Desperation Drives Us to Jesus

let me ask a question...
If the doctors were able to cure her with the medicine, would this woman have sought out Jesus with the same degree of eagerness?
If the suffering she was enduring had not been going on for so long, would she have sought Jesus in this way?
I was convicted this week as I considered this reality....
It is not falling into a place of desperation that we should fear… rather it is being stuck in a place of independence that we should fear.
Because this woman sensed her real need for God, she sought out Jesus and she did everything she could to cling to him...
Similarly Jairus, cast off all his pride that would have kept him from Jesus, and he fell at the feet of Jesus because of the desperation that his circumstances provoked.
Contrast their disposition to that of the pharisees we have seen thus far in the story
… In their independence they have ridiculed Jesus, where as this woman in her desperation reaches for Jesus.
In their self-reliance, they have robbed themselves of the Savior, whereas this outcast woman has come to the end of herself and has reached out to the Savior.
Too often… I see in myself a disposition of independence rather than a disposition of desperation… and I can see it through my prayer life.
Desperation for God to move in a situation drives us to our knees in prayer.
while Independence drives us just to work a little harder.
I have often been convicted by the words of Robert Murray Mychene
“What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more.”
Desperation drives us to Jesus.
We Christians of all people should be a people who embrace our own neediness, our own weakness and our failures…
We Christians of all people should be the most vulnerable people…, the most open people...., the most free people to admit that we don’t always have it together.
In fact, its this sort of desperation that is essential to our very salvation.
Our salvation requires that we recognize and confess that our sin condition has no cure that can be manufactured by us.
We are desperate for a savior.
We are desperate for God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
We need Jesus’ to be the payment for our sins and the pathway to our forgiveness.
We are in total spiritual desperation when it comes to the eternal salvation of our own souls. Its why Jesus came.
Truth #1 Desperation Drives us to Jesus
So this woman breaks the law to get to Jesus, and the question now is, how will Jesus respond?
She has broken the law, touched him, and then tried to disappear into the crowd.
What happens next?
Mark 5:29–32 ESV
29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it.
so miraculously the woman is in fact healed just by touching Jesus’ garment...
And Jesus stops maneuvering his way through the crowd and asks the question, “Who touched my garments?”
Its somewhat funny to watch how the disciples respond to Jesus throughout this gospel.
They are often bewildered, confused, and just out of step with what Jesus is doing and saying.
The disciples remind Jesus that literally everyone is touching you as we press through these crowds… what do you mean “who touched me?”
But Jesus seems to ignore their confusion, and he is looking through the crowd that is pressing in all around him…
The woman must have heard Jesus say, “who touched me?”
and now she has a choice… she can go her way enjoying her miracle of healing… or she can make herself known to the Messiah and confess that she had broken the law to get to him and to touch him.
Mark 5:33 ESV
33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.
There is some legitimate fear in this woman.
Shes just been healed, so she has experienced the power of Jesus, but she has lived as a social outcast for 12 years, and who just broke the law in her interaction with he who is possibly the promised Messiah.
So shes freaked out at what Jesus might do to her or say to her.
Verse 33 continues the story.
Mark 5:33–34 (ESV)
33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling 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 healed of your disease.”
Now watch closely what Jesus does here.
Jesus did not have to stop in the midst of this crowd to seek out an interaction with this woman.
If the miracle was the primary point, Jesus could have just kept moving and left the woman to enjoy her new life...
But what good is a physical healing in a life that will ultimately end in death anyway.
Jesus stops, and he intentionally seeks out a personal face to face interaction with this woman…
And this brings us to Truth #2.

Truth #2 Jesus Draws Near to the Desperate

Jesus is not content to provide the temporary physical healing to this woman for her to go on and live a normal life…
He desires for her a new spiritual reality which flows from being drawn near to Jesus himself.
Listen to how one commentary puts it.
The persistence of Jesus in discovering who touched him rivals the woman’s persistence in reaching Jesus. She wants a cure, however, a something, whereas Jesus desires a personal encounter with some one. He is not content to dispatch a miracle; he wants to encounter a person. In the kingdom of God, miracle leads to meeting.
to this trembling woman, frightened because of the way in which she stepped out of bounds culturally and religiously,
Jesus looks at her with compassion and he calls her, “daughter”
The first word out of his mouth is meant to provide assurance…
She is not in danger… she is affirmed and welcomed into this relationship like a daughter is welcomed into her Father’s arms.
This is a beautiful moment.
This physical act by the incarnate Jesus is a historical testimony to a spiritual reality that occurs when I draw near to Jesus in my own desperation.
He does not just keep moving to his next responsibility…
Jesus draws near to me.
This woman does exactly what we do to be saved…and what we should be doing every day for our sanctification.
We recognize our need and we reach out for Jesus in faith as the only answer for our uncleanliness.
And Jesus not only cleanses us, but he also draws near to us....
he calls us sons and daughters,
he interprets for us what has happened to us…, and he sends us to live in peace…
Remember who Jesus...
He is the divine Son of God.
He is God in human flesh…
As he moves and speaks an interacts in the physical world… we get to see in flesh and blood the very heart of God.
We get to see the disposition of God toward desperate people who recognize their need for him.
remember Mark 2:16-17
Mark 2:16–17 ESV
16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus heals this woman,
draws near to this woman,
then interprets for her what is happening.
Jesus says, “Your faith has made you well.”

Truth #3 Jesus Desires Faith

In these words, Jesus is clarifying for her what has happened…
The power is not in the superstitious touching of a garment.
As the disciples testified, tons of people were touching Jesus as he pressed through the crowd.
There wasn’t magic in Jesus’ clothes.
Salvation isn’t in the formula… its in the faith that trusts Jesus.
There is a lesson to be taught here no matter how briefly.
Jesus is teaching this woman that the most important thing for her now to walk in is faith.
Go walk in peace and continue in the joy of your healing… but remember it was faith in me that made you well.
Go in faith… Go on trusting me.
Now Jesus says this for her sake…, but he also says this for the sake of those who were standing there watching the whole thing unfold.
Remember that Jesus is traveling with his disciples and with Jairus who similarly was in a desperate situation.
His daughter was dying, and he similarly had fallen at Jesus’ feet pleading that he come and heal his daughter.
And now he is watching Jesus heal this woman calling her his daughter…
and then telling her that it is faith that she must have.
At that, the story shifts back to Jairus.
Mark 5:35–36 ESV
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
The story transitions from one seemingly hopeless situation to what is perhaps the most hopeless situation.
Death has already occured.
While Jesus was speaking… he is interrupted by friends of Jairus who have come with the news his daughter is dead… there is no need to bother with Jesus any longer.
Its over.
But Jesus overhears the report…,
he looks at Jairus…
and he reiterates exactly what he has just said to the woman, but this time it is in the form of a command.
“Do not fear, only believe”

Truth #3 Jesus Desires Faith

As the story progresses I want you to notice the way in which the world around Jesus ridicules him.
he is so out of step with the wisdom of the world, that they actually laugh at him.
Jesus wants Jairus to walk right through the laughter and the hopelessness of the world around them… and he wants Jairus to trust him even when it seems crazy to do so.
Mark 5:37–40 ESV
37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was.
The scene is a dramatic one.
through the commotion of weeping, and wailing Jesus makes his way to the little girl’s room and he indicates that she is only asleep… meaning her condition is temporary.
And those present laughed at him, implying that he was crazy.
Its over Jesus!
Death has come…
If there was ever a permanent condition of which no one can escape it is death.
Death takes no prisoners..
Death makes no negotiations.
Death doesn’t change its mind.
Death has no cure.
Jesus, you have done some cool tricks in your day…, but this is no disease… this is no deformity…, this is death… its over.
Mark 5:41–43 ESV
41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Truth #4 Jesus Overcomes Even Death

With the word of his mouth, Jesus brought this little girl from death to life.
To a dead body, Jesus says, “arise”… and she arose.
Mark says, “everyone was overcome with amazement.” That is probably an understatement.
Healing the woman’s bleeding of 12 years was amazing.
Causing the the paralytic to walk was crazy,
causing the blind to see is awesome,
casting out demons is impressive.
calming the storm is undeniable proof of his divinity..,
But exercising authority over death and life itself is a new level for Jesus.
Once again it is a testimony to who Jesus really is.
He is the divine Son of God who has all authority over everything.... even death itself.
But again… it is a testimony to what he came to do.
Jesus came not simply to temporarily heal and raise up a few people here and their in the first century.
This is a prequel to the main event.
Everything in the gospel of Mark is moving us steadily toward the cross of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The whole story is moving us step by step to the climax of Jesus’ ministry - the gruesome death by crucifixion during which Jesus, himself would suffer all the desperation and destruction of the world’s sin in his own body.
Jesus came to experience bleeding.
He came to experience shame.
He came to experience total rejection.
He came to experience death of loved ones.
But ultimately he came to experience death himself.
He would submit himself under the terror of death that all of humanity is subject to...
He would do so on our behalf…, in our place…, so that eternal death would not have to be our end…
Jesus rose this little girl from the dead showing his power over death itself...
but Jesus would one day soon raise himself from the dead.
He himself would overcome what you and I could never have overcome....
This resurrection is a small prequel to his resurrection.
And the promise Jesus offers… is that you and I have been invited into that resurrection life.
If we would only believe… Jesus will say to us fully and finally, “Arise” “daughter… son…, your faith has made you well.... go forth in peace and be healed of your disease....”
Jesus resurrection points now to a future, full, and final resurrection of all who trusted him.
This is the good news of the gospel.
This is the promise we have received as Christians.... eternal resurrection life.
Jesus says this so clearly in John 11 just before another resurrection miracle where he raises Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:25–27 ESV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
It would be a mistake to read of Jesus’ miracles here in Mark 5, and to then try to discover the faith formula that we need to get Jesus to work similar miracles in our life.
These passages are not here so that you can concoct a formula for faith healings today… they are here to increase your faith in Jesus as the one who has the power to reverse the effects of the fall in this world.
They are here to increase your faith in Jesus’ kingdom to come where there will be no more bleeding, and there will be no more death.
Peter, who he himself, would die a martyrs death, wrote these words which described what he was believing in till his dying day.
1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Let me leave you with three takeaways.
Takeaways:
1) Embrace a Posture of Desperation
We need Jesus.
We need him to save us, to sanctify us, to sustain us, to send us.
We need him to forgive us, shape us, embolden us, comfort us, empower us.
Allow me this morning to simply challenge you in your prayer life.
Are you presently living your life as if you need Jesus daily, or do you live as if you can handle most things on your own, and you will go to him if you were to come across something you can’t handle?
2) Exercise Faith as a Way of Life
The fact that Jesus commands faith, means that faith is something we must actively pursue.
We should pray for faith, and we should exercise it by meditating on true things and rehearsing those true things in our minds when fear wants to take over.
Faith is something that is tested, and exercised as we press forward through the many trials and tribulations of life.
It is not simply an automatic response because your a Christian… It is a shield that must be taken up for the battle.
3) Rest in the Promise of Future Resurrection
The same Jesus who says, “little girl arise”, will say that to all of us and all those who have died trusting in Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 ESV
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
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