6/29/03, P3B

“Friends Following Jesus on the Journey”
Mark 5: 21-23

n our text we have two story lines intermingled something like a television situation comedy. Mark recorded the two events as they happened without separating the healing of Jairus' daughter from the woman who secretly reached out and touched Jesus. In the past I have preached from the incidents as two different sermons, however as I have looked at the stories in the light of what's happening in our church today I have discovered a new link, a thread that connects the two stories as one. But first, let's look at the two.

I just hope that we can keep the two stories straight. My Daddy had a sawmiller in his church who was "bad to drink," which translated from southern lingo means that he was often inebriated. One Fourth of July he began his celebration early and when he woke up, forgetting that it was everyone's day off, he went to the sawmill and started that huge round buzz saw blade turning. Since nobody else showed up for work he started pushing timber through the blade by himself. Well, being tipsy he got down a little too close and cut his nose slap off. He thought real quickly and pulled out his bandanna handkerchief and tied his nose back on. He waited a couple of weeks and got in front of the mirror and took the emergency bandage off. He had stuck it on upside down; so every time it rained he nearly drowned and when he blew his nose his hat would fly off. I will try to keep these two stories straight.

Jairus was a VIP. He was leader of the synagogue, which was the local government as well as the seat of spiritual life. Normally, a citizen like him would have shied away from a controversial stump preacher and healer like Jesus. However, nothing rocks your world faster than a family crisis, especially the impending death of a child.

Marilyn and I recall our terror at Egelston children's hospital where the doctor brought the bad news that our firstborn infant needed surgery. Shaken to our bones we took her home overnight with surgery scheduled for the next morning. We cried and prayed harder than ever. In the middle of our panic we began to feel a sense of peace. We all three finally went off to sleep. The next morning little Lyn was able to take some milk and she kept it down. We called the doctor to postpone the surgery. Wisely, he said that he would reschedule for the next day. The next day she was still doing well. This time our doctor wanted to check her for himself. When he did he looked at me and said, "Well preacher, it looks like the Lord has touched her!"

As Jesus was walking off with Jairus toward his dying daughter, a woman in the crowd who was following them decided that she would not be able to catch Jesus' undivided attention. She believed that since he had healed so many others that just by touching the hem of his garment she could be healed. As she reached out her shaking hand to barely touch him, she was healed of her terminal illness. With all the people in the throng who must have been bumping up against him, Jesus still felt her faith pull power from of him. Nobody knows exactly how this worked, but the Good News is that Jesus was able to turn from the many to the one who was reaching out with faith. The same thing reoccurred many times in his ministry. We recall the stories of Bartimaeus who had been born blind, the Gadarene Demoniac who was full of devils, the wee little man Zacchaeus who had been cheating his friends, and now a, ritualistically unclean dying woman in the crowd finds mercy and a new beginning.

Just as Jesus turned to this precious woman so his Holy Spirit came to Marilyn and Bob deep in the basement, outside of the X-ray room, in Egelston Hospital. The Great News is that he can still meet our needs today, no matter how major or minor.

Now back to the story, let us make sure we have it on right side up: Jairus and Jesus continued toward his home where Jesus discovered that the twelve year old was not dead, nor was she in danger of death. They did not know what a brain concussion was back then. She was evidently knocked unconscious by a fall. Perhaps she fell off of her bicycle in a pre-helmet era. Anyway, Jesus spoke softly to her, "daughter get up." And she jumped up and ran for the refrigerator for a Coca-Cola and a Moon Pie.

Two miracles on the same day, but perhaps there is something deeper happening in this tangled tale. Can we not suppose that Jairus became a disciple of Jesus? Maybe, like Nicodemus, he had to be a secret disciple for fear of the Sanhedrin, but how could Jairus, a thoughtful well educated and eternally grateful Dad, not continue to follow Jesus? And could this healed woman have prevented herself from following Jesus and Jairus to his home? And could it be possible for the woman and Jairus not to have shared a sense of common bonding? You see, what we have here are folks becoming friends through their mutual experience with Jesus. Is it not a lesson in Discipleship?

Is this not what is happening here today as you open your hearts to our family, and ours to you? Because we share a mutual experience with Christ, there is an unseen tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. We are friends because we are thrown together as pals of the Lord Jesus Christ: And this should be enough.

We are following Jesus together as one body; and thus, our church is experiencing a kind of rebirth, as it always does whenever a new pilgrim joins in the joy of the journey.

And even more, don't we feel our souls flooded with a wonderful sense of belonging to this eternal line of splendor that followed Jesus, Jairus, and the unnamed woman to the Cross and to the Tomb and to the Upper Room where the Holy Spirit initially fell on the Disciples, first forming this fellowship of friends that we revel in today in our great church? However, if you feel somehow left behind you can catch up right now! Just come on along and walk with us: Together as one body of friends moving on the upward way.

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor

6/29/03, P3B