The Mission of the Miraculous (Mk 5:21-43)

Let’s consider the two miracles in comparison. One is public to an unnamed woman of no reputation… an unclean woman. The other in private to a girl of high reputation, clean, named by family. But both have suffered for twelve years. Sorrow keeps no score of who it afflicts. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Both need –and find- our Lord Jesus.

 

So on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus, the Son of Man was accosted by another sufferer, afflicted twelve years with an issue of blood. Why didn’t he put her off? Jairus’ daughter was dying; delay might be fatal. Yet Jesus not only performed the miracle, but refused to perform it in a hurried way; paused to inquire who had touched him to perfect the lesson of the whole. On his way to perform one act of love, He turns aside to give his attention to another.

Do you see this point? We might get so set on one project that we forget the bigger picture. Compare doctors and pastors, working for temporal and eternal healing. Who is to say one is inferior? But as far as this story goes, we say it loud: “His ear is open”. Every cry, every sigh, he is ready to respond to every need.  He came to bring eternal healing but he was emphatically the saviour of the body.  He taught them but noticed their hunger. The secret unspoken need of the woman and the father’s anguish for his daughter, and your midnight despair, all were heard by him, and none were heard in vain.

Watch out that your projects do not prevent you from putting people first. Jesus is Son of Man: everything that beats in the heart of humanity beats in his heart to. He is eternally touched with the feeling of our pain. He is like the sea, mighty and powerful with his own tides, but every tiny tributary flows into him, has an effect and every separate sorrow, pain, and joy gave its pulsation, and received back influence from the sea of his being.

 

And the delay WAS fatal, apparently. Even as they talked, news came of the girl’s death. But, look closely, Jesus knew what he was doing. The delay gave opportunity for a greater miracle. It enhanced the glory of Jesus’ mission. And consider this: The miracles of Jesus were not merely arbitrary acts: they were subject to the laws of the spiritual world. You can’t convey a spiritual blessing to one who was not spiritually susceptible. A certain inward character, a certain relation to the Redeemer, was required to make the mercy efficacious. And so in one place we read, He could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. And his perpetual question was, Do you believe that I am able to do this?

So Jairus saw this first miracle. He saw the woman’s modest touch approaching the hem of the Saviour’s garment. He saw the abashed look with which she shrunk from public gaze and exposure. He heard Jesus say, “Somebody has touched Me”. He heard the great principle spelt out that the only touch which reaches God is that of faith. The crowd may jostle and press; but heart to heart, soul to soul, mind to mind, only so do we come in actual contact with God. And remembering this, it is a matter not of probability but of certainty, that the soul of Jairus was actually made more capable of a blessing than before, that he must have walked with a more hopeful step; that be must have heard the announcement, “Your daughter is dead”, with less dismay; that the words, “Fear not, only believe,” must have come to him with deeper meaning, and been received with more implicit trust than if Jesus had not paused to heal the woman, but hurried on.

 

And this is the principle of the spiritual kingdom. In worldly matters, the more occupations, duties, one has, the more certain is he of doing it all a bit shoddily. In the things of God this is reversed. The more duties you perform, the more you are fitted for doing others: what you lose in time, you gain in effectiveness. You do not love God the less, but the more, for loving the people around you. You do not weaken your affection for your family by cultivating attachments beyond its pale, but deepen and intensify it. Respect for the outsider, tenderness for the heretic, do not interfere with, but rather strengthen, attachment to your own family and your own church. The one who is most liberal in the case of a foreign famine or a distant mission, will be found to have only learned more generous living  towards the poor and the pagan of his own land. It so false, so querulous, the complaint that money is drained away by such calls, to the disadvantage of more near and juster claims. Charity begins at home? No. Love starts in your heart and you decide to let it out…

 

You do not injure one cause of mercy by turning aside to listen to the call of another.

 

So what is the mission of the miraculous? An end in itself? In the gospels they are often called “signs.” It’s an instructive word. Signs of what is coming: total healing. The miracle is not the thing, it’s a sign of a greater reality. So its mission, or purpose is to ready you for the main event..

We were amazed by gypsies not reading the signs but finding there way across to the Appleby Horse Fair. We fail to read the signs. And we lose track of God’s big picture. He is coming again. Read the writing on the wall.

They are not to substitute for faith but to build faith. Faith is like a muscle which has to be developed to become strong. Jairus is led  from one degree of faith to another, into the big picture of what God is doing. A wise woman said to me: “The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord, but so are the stops of a righteous man.” Apparent delays are only apparent. God is working his purposes out. Wellington’s peninsular battle plan. So Jairus had to learn FROM the delays and not despite them.

And the centre of the miracle is never the healed person. It is the Lord and the purpose mof the Lord. Dangerous that it becomes an end in itself. People giving testimony about being healed becoming superstars. They decided to kill Lazarus because of the attention he was getting. Jairus had to put his own urgent need in submission to the master’s ordering. Don’t worry. Just believe.

 

So read the signs. Develop your faith. Put God centre stage. That's the central  purpose of the  miraculous.

 

God is leading us on a miracle pathway. I expect miracles. So let’s be mature in learning their place in our faith-community and their purpose and not be sidetracked into any kind of showmanship. And give the glory to God.


Words Of Wisdom
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Webpage icon The Power of Sorrow and the Power of Joy (Mk 5:21-43)
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