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When Little Lambs Arise, We'll All Experience the Joy of Jairus

Some of us feel like we have nowhere to turn in times of crisis and pain. The story of Jairus and his daughter in Mark 5 shows us that even in our darkest hours, there is One waiting to offer us healing and life.

Todd WagnerSep 24, 2000
Mark 5:21-43

Messages In This Series (10)
Putting the Pages Back In - A New Look at Devotion as We Begin Year 2
Todd WagnerNov 4, 2000
Jesus' Return to Nazareth - The Shocking Results
Todd WagnerOct 29, 2000
Come, Change, Confess: His Pattern to Touch Lives Then and Now
Todd WagnerOct 1, 2000
When Little Lambs Arise, We'll All Experience the Joy of Jairus
Todd WagnerSep 24, 2000
A Man Living Among the Dead Meets the One Offering the Gift of Life
Todd WagnerSep 17, 2000
The Storms of Life: The Reasons For Them, the Captain of Them, and Your Response to Them
Todd WagnerAug 27, 2000
Sow the Seed, Shine the Light, Feed the Sheep, and Wait for the Day
Todd WagnerAug 13, 2000
3 Sometimes, 3 Anytimes -that You Need to Listen to 1 Time: Jesus on Family & Pharisees
Todd WagnerAug 6, 2000
Christ's Change of Strategy - His Plan for Them Then and His Plan for You Now
Todd WagnerJul 30, 2000
Their Opposition and His Answer - Getting to Know God for Who He Really Is
Todd WagnerJul 23, 2000

Lord, I just pray for each of us that, wherever we are in relationship to the truth that was just declared in that song, we would be more convicted of it, that we would believe that knowing you is really where life is, and those of us who have professed a relationship with you for a long time want to go deeper. We need to know you more. We need to be encouraged and sustained through whatever the trial, travail, or situation creating doubt is in our lives.

Certainly, for friends and family who are here who don't really understand why we're shameless in our declaration that knowing you is the best, I pray this morning that, as they reflect on your Word and the truth of it, knowing you would become significant to them. That's our hearts' great desire. In Christ's name, amen.

Hey, we've been having a lot of fun looking at the life of Jesus, this one who we say it's our purpose to be fully devoted in our following of. We're at Mark, chapter 5, if you want to turn there with me. In a moment, we are going to let you see this story in verses 21 through 43 visually before we read through it together. Last week, we saw that he came in contact with an individual who, though he was extreme in his behavior; this one who was crazed, this one who was living among the dead, and this one who was without God and without hope in this world…

Even if you couldn't relate to that last week, though we developed the idea that it was the picture of you and I apart from Christ, you can't miss the story of this week and the drama related to it. It deals with an issue of the loss of a child, potentially. In just a few minutes, some families and I are going to go over here, and we're going to dedicate some children and pray for those children. There's nothing more traumatic than the idea of losing a child.

We're going to come across an individual who is right in the middle of that and the things he has to wrestle with as he determines whether or not he can trust that Jesus. I want you to watch this Scripture unfold, and then, after that video, listen to a song that talks about the pain of watching a child in that area. Even if you couldn't relate to the truth about you and me revealed in the picture of the demoniac last week, you can't miss the drama of this week.

[Video]

Jairus: No cure.

Doctor: There is medicine, but why should I deceive you?

Jairus: What will this do?

Doctor: It will ease the pain.

Jairus: Huh.

Jairus' Daughter: What did the doctor say?

Jairus: You must rest.

Jairus' Daughter: I'm not tired.

Jairus: No. No.

Rachel: We must take her to him.

Jairus: What?

Rachel: We must take her to Jesus.

Jairus: Rachel…

[Cleopas arrives]

Rachel: Oh, Cleopas… You must tell him.

Cleopas: How is she?

Rachel: She's dying.

Jairus: No! She is not dying, Rachel.

Rachel: Oh, Jairus. Are you so afraid of them? They have such a hold over your life.

Jairus: God is my life. Not man…not any man.

Rachel: And your daughter? Is she in your life?

Cleopas: I think we should listen to this Jesus.

Jairus: What?

Cleopas: No one ever lost their soul by listening to a liar, only by believing him and following him, but if he speaks the truth…

Simon the Pharisee: The truth?

Cleopas: We have nothing to fear from the truth, do we?

Simon the Pharisee: No, no. We must question Jesus. See how he defends himself.

Rachel: Yes. You must listen.

Simon the Pharisee: Why should the people think their leaders do not listen? I will invite Jesus and his band of followers to my home, and we'll see whether he really is God's prophet.

[At First Pharisee's home]

Disciple: Why have we come here? They don't want us here.

Other Disciple: I don't know, but let's eat before they change their minds.

Simon the Pharisee: If this man were a prophet, he would know what sort of woman is touching him. She is a sinner!

Jesus: Mary, all your sins have been forgiven now.

Second Pharisee: He's saying he can forgive sins again. It's blasphemy.

Jesus: Be at peace.

Simon the Pharisee: Now we know for sure.

Cleopas: What do we know?

Simon the Pharisee: You've heard all the rumors. Now you've seen what he does.

Jairus: I've seen… I've seen him do good.

Simon the Pharisee: Good. You saw that woman. Is she good?

Jairus: He has power.

Second Pharisee: Yes, because he is in league with the Devil.

Third Pharisee: So anyone following Jesus is an enemy of God.

[At Jairus' Home]

Jairus' Daughter: Father.

Jairus: Yes. I'm here.

Jairus' Daughter: Am I going to die?

Jairus: No. No.

Rachel: She keeps saying his name, "Jesus."

Jairus' Daughter: Yes. Take me to Jesus.

Voice of Third Pharisee (in Jairus' mind): Anyone who follows Jesus is an enemy of God.

[End of video]

Well, even if you missed the picture of last week, you can't miss the drama of the story this week. Let me set the table for you. This man, Jesus, is on the scene and has come proclaiming some bold things. He teaches with authority that they've never heard before, inherent authority, not quoting rabbis but saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you." He makes some bold claims. He does some amazing things that have never been done before.

The religious leaders of the day say he does it because he's in league with the Devil. After that moment, after they claim he's crazy and he's possessed himself, after they blaspheme the Spirit of God and say it's the spirit of the Evil One, his mother and his brothers come to him in a moment of unbelief, hoping that their family ties would tear him away from those who he's spiritually involved with.

In Mark, chapter 3, he looks at his family, and he says to them, "Who are my brothers and my sisters? It's those who do the will of my Father." Then he begins to tell a story. It's a very familiar story. It's a story of a sower, where he talks about how a relationship with God is not going to come through some family tree and through some descendants and through where your parents worship.

A relationship with God is going to come through receiving the declaration of peace in the person of his Son, and Jesus says that seed of life, that Word, that opportunity to know God through who he reveals himself to be, is going to fall on some people who are going to flat-out reject it. It's going to fall on some others who, because they receive it at first with joy but then after a moment don't let roots sink in, it wilts away and others who have it choked out by distractions.

Then some will receive it with a ready heart, and they will then come into a relationship with him, and they will be family with him, but he wants to be very honest. He wants to say, "Just because you're a part of my family and followers of me, it doesn't mean you're free from certain circumstances." Then you have four miracle episodes that start right after that little story. The very first one dealt with a storm.

It dealt with some guys who were in a boat with this Jesus, and they were extremely overwhelmed by their circumstances. One man made the observation that these four miracles deal with four areas that man has need: their emotional need, their mental need, their social need, and then their physical need. The first one was when they were going across the sea. We spent a whole week on it.

This great storm came up, and these men were greatly distraught, and this one who said that he loved them, the one who came to give them life and offer them peace, was asleep in the back of the boat. They said what many of us do in a time of great emotional torment, similar to what you just heard right there. They say, "Master, do you not care? We are about to perish." We see that Jesus came up.

He was aware intimately of their circumstance, and he came alongside of them, and he spoke calm to the situation. He brought peace to their worried emotions. We saw last week there was a man who was crazy, that mentally was living according to that which was destroying him, destroyed his family, and separated him from others, and God came alongside his insanity, if you will, his crazed godless life, and he's a picture of you and me.

He taught him the way of life, and he clothed this man and sat him at his feet and allowed him to become a man in his right mind. He dealt with his mental rebellion and his mental waywardness. He's a picture of you and me, what we ought to be like. We ought to be men and women who have become right with God, therefore right with our fellow man and live a right and godly life.

Now this week, you have two more miracles that really can be and ought to be tied together because there are a lot of parallels between them. It's the story of this Jairus we're going to focus on and the woman that we'll touch on a little bit more next week, but you'll see there are some similarities between them. He's a ruler of a synagogue. She has been ruled to be unclean and unable to stay in the synagogue.

He has a problem with a 12-year-old daughter who is dying. She's had a 12-year-old uterine bleeding problem that is killing her. He falls at the feet of Jesus. She falls at the feet of Jesus. He pleads that Jesus would come touch his daughter, and she comes and, as his daughter, touches him. The daughter of Jairus is healed immediately, and this woman and her travail is healed immediately. There is something you learn about these other two that is wonderful about God.

One man made this observation. It's brilliant. That is being male, being ritually pure, holding high religious office, or being a man of great means holds no advantage in your need to approach Jesus, just like being female, impure, dishonored, destitute at the end of your hope does not create a barrier from you. All men and women are equals before Christ.

They become a part of his family and receive the blessing of emotional peace and the blessing of a life of integrity and order and wisdom and inclusion in the family of God, no longer separated from him, and even have their physical need dealt with on the basis of faith and not who they are. That's what we're going to learn this week.

See, Mark is developing a story. He's telling you about this Jesus and that he's made some great claims and now he's said, "You can be a part of my family," and he's developing the idea that you need to know this Jesus because he is the Great Servant, and he will serve you. Even though he is a King, he did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many, and he preaches the Word of reconciliation.

He preaches the Word to come, and all who will come, he will deal with their emotional, their mental, their social, and their physical needs. Now let's take a look this week at the story of this Jairus. In verse 21 of Mark, chapter 5, it says, "When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side…" He went back now over to the land of Israel.

"…a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored 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.' And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him."

Then from verses 25 to 34, Jesus says, "I will go with you," and they start to follow Jairus and Jesus back to this house to see what Jesus will do with this sick little girl, and in the middle of this, all of a sudden, here comes this woman who takes some time from Jairus' grabbing him and getting him right to his point of need. Jesus gets a little bit off task as far as Jairus is concerned. It's very interesting.

Jairus' job was, if you will, to oversee the right conduct of God's people in the temple. It was his job to decide who could come in and how they'd behave when they came in, and in effect, it was his job to keep people like this woman from coming to God because she was unclean according to Levitical law.

Now we see this man who he has entreated to come help him, this one who was his last hope for his dying daughter, took some time for this one who he had formerly done everything he could to keep from being in the presence of the one who now his ear she has. He sits there patiently, as patiently as he can, through that little exchange when you want a guy to come.

He's dialed 911, and these guys stop to chat with a hurting woman on the way to his house. In verse 35, this is what happens as a result of the delay. "While He was still speaking…" Meaning Jesus to this woman. "…they came from the house of the synagogue official…" Meaning those who knew Jairus. "…saying, 'Your daughter has died…'"

In the original language, it leads with the dead part. It says, "Dead is thy daughter," for emphasis. "'…why trouble the Teacher anymore?' But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, 'Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.'" Now let me just make a quick comment here (I'm in verse 36) at the compassion of Jesus. He's still on task with Jairus going to this guy's house.

He just overheard, it says, that Jairus had been told, "Dead is thy daughter," and before despair could overwhelm him and have him cave in defeat, Jesus comes alongside of him and speaks a word of comfort. I want to tell you something; it pays to be near God in a time of need so he can speak words that can sustain you when nothing else seemingly could sustain you, and because Jairus is near him, he hears those words, those words of compassion.

The thing I love, when I read about the life of Christ, is I remember what Paul wrote, that he is the visible image of the invisible God, and when I want to know what my God is like, when I want to remember what he wants from me and what he feels like towards me, I can learn from the way Jesus interacted with those. That's part of why Jesus was here. John wrote, "No one has ever seen God. The only Son of God, he has explained him."

If you want to know what God looks like, then look at what Jesus looks like. He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is fully God, fully man, as we have so thoroughly developed over our 15 or 16 weeks we have been in this gospel together, and he is concerned with how you react to circumstances, and he wants you to be near his Word so you can be comforted and not make a knee-jerk, flesh reaction and, therefore, cave to circumstance or turn away for some other solution.

You have to be near him. You have to hide his Word in your heart. You have to be around a community of faith that can take you to places where God wants to speak to your area of need…socially, mentally, physically, emotionally. Jesus says, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." In verse 37, it says,

"And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, 'Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.' They began laughing at Him."

I think, if we would've been there, we might have done the exact same thing. You know, you can just see some wag at the back of that thing. He says, "Why are you weeping? The child is not dead. She just sleeps." I can hear some guy in the back saying, "I have $100 that says she's dead," but Jesus drives them out.

You know, I want to make this point about why you see miracles in the Scripture. One guy wrote. "Miracles were never done to satisfy curiosity or merely to compel belief or overawe mankind." That's not why Jesus did miracles. He wasn't running for mayor and trying to get a big crowd. "They were plentiful, however, when the relief of human misery and entrance of spiritual light were the objects of Christ's goals."

The primary reason you see Christ do miracles is to bring relief to human misery and to help people understand the truth he speaks is to affirm his message with his deed, but he's already done enough that he's determined that these people have had enough light. He's not going to try and overawe them or to increase his popularity by things he does, so in this instance, he just drives everybody out.

He says, "You're not going to see the outcome of your bet about whether she's sleeping or whether she's dead. Just go on," and he takes three of his disciples and the mother and the father in. "… [He] entered the room where the child was…" Verse 41 says, "Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, 'Talitha kum!' (which translated means, 'Little girl [or little lamb or little one], I say to you, get up!')"

Do you know what's so interesting about that? It's just like in that last story where God spoke wisdom into a deranged life. There was no mumbo jumbo. There was no slaughter of chickens. There was no special ceremony. It was just the power of God's Word that entered in and brought relief, and I think that's the exact reason Mark, who many people believe and I concur is primarily writing from Peter's eyewitness account…

Peter was in that room, and Mark doesn't even put it in the Greek. He just leaves it in the Aramaic, which is the language that Jesus most often communicated in, and Peter just told Mark, "This is exactly what he said. He walked in there. There was no special service, no great elaborate ceremony," just like there was no great elaborate ceremony to exorcise this man's rebellion from God in the previous story.

He just says, "Little lamb, little child, little sheep of mine, arise!" Verse 42 says, "Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded." I guess so. "And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat." Isn't that an interesting comment there at the end?

Well, let's talk about this passage, because even if you couldn't get the picture of yourself and me last week, you can't miss the drama of this story. What's the application to us? You have to be careful when you teach this story because it can make it sound like, "Man, all you have to do is go run and get Jesus, and your child will never die." There are some people in this room who have buried children, and where was their Jesus? Was their faith any less sincere than Jairus'?

There are some people who will tell you that the reason a child died is because their parents lacked faith and there was no one to intercede for them as a believing saint. You need to know something. That's a lie from the pit of hell. It is made clear, in these four miracle stories, Jesus can bring peace when you are at the very end of yourself and you say, "God, don't you care?" At just the right moment that he needs to bring a word to you that will give you some comfort, he can do it.

When you're living a life that's crazed, (some of you out there still today are doing that), he can call you to him, and you can be clothed and seated at his feet and in your right mind, be reconciled to God, reconciled to your family and friends, and reconciled to the path of life. We're going to find out next week that he can deal with your disease, your physical problems which caused, in that story social separation for that woman, and that he is even Lord over death.

Let me just give you some observations from this, and we're going to cover these. First, there's not greater kindness than going to Jesus for a friend. I mean, that seems kind of obvious in this story, doesn't it? The way they developed it in that little Claymation, The Miracle Worker, that little girl hadn't been exposed to Jesus, and she says to her daddy (we don't know; it's extrabiblical, but…), "Daddy, this Jesus, he can heal me."

It looks like the wife wanted him to go, but boy, Jairus was under all kinds of pressure as a ruler of the synagogue. You need to know this is biblical, that Jairus was part of the group that rejected Jesus, and there was a lot of pressure on him to keep his job to toe the party line, and yet because of his love for his daughter and whatever else had been happening in his heart, he went. There is no greater kindness than going to Jesus for a friend.

You know, there's a girl who is named Patti who worked with me up at Kanakuk for a number of years in the 80s. She worked in the kitchen. Patti, one year for my birthday, came up to me, and she just said, "Todd, I'll tell you what I'm going to do for you for the next year. I'm going to pray for you every day. That's your birthday gift." I have to tell you that, at first, I went, "That's nice, Patti."

Throughout the rest of the summer (my birthday was in July, so throughout the rest of July and all through August), periodically, she would just walk up, and she'd say, "I've been praying for you just from what I'm observing from a distance, but if there's anything specific, would you let me know because I'm praying for you every day?" Right before I left camp, you know at the end of the summer to go and do what we do during the noncamping months, she came up to me.

She said, "Here's my address, and I'm going to pray for you whether you write me or not, but if you just can keep me posted about specific things I can pray about, I want to do that." She gave that gift to me for three consecutive years. The second year, she asked if she could take a picture of me to put on her refrigerator so she would be reminded to pray for me. I said, "Absolutely! Here's a whole wallet full of them."

I think about a lot of gifts that I got. In fact, when I got married, Patti wrote Alex and me a gift. Patti was a schoolteacher and was not somebody who a lot of folks sought time with, but I can tell you, I cannot remember very many wedding gifts that I got, but I can tell you what Patti gave me for a wedding gift. She said, "I'm going to pray for you and your wife every day for the first year of your marriage."

I have to tell you something. There is no greater kindness. Some of you walk up to me and say, "Todd, I'm praying for you," and I grab your hand, and I look you in the eye, and I say, "If you really mean that, if you're really doing that, there is no greater kindness that you can afford me. If you're really interceding for me on the behalf of the Father, I have to tell you something. That is the kindest thing you could do for me. Thank you deeply."

I am desperate for the prayers of friends, and so are you. You know, even the most hardened hearts don't get offended when they hear that you're just praying for them. Find a thing to say to some friends and some family and some neighbors who have no interest really. Just say, "Hey, I've been praying for you. Is there anything going on in your life that I can specifically pray about?"

They might look at you and go, "What? Are you crazy?" Say, "That's okay. I just wanted to let you know, man. I've been watching you and praying for you. In fact, I've just been praying for this, this, and this in your life." You're going to find very few people who'll say, "Would you stop that, please." I'll tell you, there are three areas that you can come alongside of us and do the greatest kindness that you can to this church.

Once a month, we have the Raise the Mark services. The next one is next Sunday night. This might be the last one at 6:30. I think we're going to move it back to 6:00 so it's better for families on a school night, but this next week, just like it's been, it's at 6:30. We come for an hour and a half. We worship, and we pray. If you have in your mind a stodgy prayer meeting that you don't want to have anything to do with, you need to come and see it's not at all that.

Every Sunday morning at 9:00, there's a group that meets out here to pray for 30 minutes for this church. There's a 24-hour prayer ministry that you'll see when you walk out there that you can be a part of. You can grab one hour a week or one hour a month that you pray for the people of this church, for the leadership of this church, for the body of this church, and for the ministry and specific needs that are in the lives of these people.

There is no greater kindness you can offer another person, for a body, for a work of God than to pray for them. I beg you to pray. Do you want to give a gift the next time you can't give a gift? I want to tell you something. Don't say you're giving that gift unless you're going to do it. Don't tell somebody you're going to pray unless you're going to pray, but Jairus did the greatest thing a dad could do for his little daughter, his little girl.

In a moment, we're going to talk about these baby dedications, and one of the things we're going to talk about with those parents is the greatest kindness you can do for your children is to intercede for those kids, to pray for them. You know, as parents, my wife and I are completely in tune as best as we're able with what's going on with our kids at school, and we don't fret over every time we know something else. We hit our knees, and we pray for those children.

It's the greatest legacy I could give to them and the greatest kindness I could do for them. One of the things Jairus ran into was, to go to Jesus and to beseech Christ to come and help was very costly to him. He had to overcome a lot of things. He had to overcome the criticism of friends, the helplessness of the moment, the power of his own pride, the mocking of the world. It all had to be subdued by faith in Jesus Christ.

Let me say it this way: don't let the pressures of your friends or the expectations of your peers keep you away from the one who is the healer of your soul. I have to tell you something. There are going to be times that you want to go to the one who has declared he can bring you peace and can bring you reconciliation with God and forgiveness where your works can never do that, and some people are going to look at you and say, "Are you crazy? Don't go there."

It might cost you dearly. It might radically change your life. In fact, it will radically change your life. What it might radically change is the circle of friends and the relationship you have with some who are, all of a sudden, going to be very put off by your association with Christ. You would think, in that last story, when Jesus came on the shore and that one who they couldn't control; the one who was a wild man possessed, living among the dead, destroying himself and others who came near him…

You would think, when they heard that Jesus brought healing and hope and this guy was dressed and in his right mind at Jesus' feet, that they would've put Jesus on their shoulders and ran through the city and said, "We have finally found the one who can do what we cannot and bring healing to our lives like he brought healing to his life," and that's not what they did. They said what the demons said, which is "Torment me not with your solutions." You're going to get that.

It's going to come sometimes, and it's going to come in all different forms. As I said, you're going to get criticized by friends. You're going to have hopelessness, and you're going to have your own pride that says, "I really don't need to go to God, do I?" You're going to have the mocking of the world that says, "Belief in the cross, in the life of some guy who lived 2000 years ago can impact you? Are you serious? Oh, come on. We thought you were smarter than that."

Do you see what Jairus was facing? He's there by his daughter's bed, and he's wrestling with what to do. There's his dying daughter, and there's this potential hope in this one who claimed that he can bring life. He hears the voice of those folks, "Anyone who is a friend of Jesus is an enemy of God." He's tormented by that. You know, it's amazing to me how some people hold onto their independence.

The folks who I sometimes counsel with and talk with are people who are at the very end of their lives and are full of despair, and like that man we read about last week in Mark, chapter 5, verses 1-20, they are without God and without hope in the world. You know, if I told them that they ought to, hang from their knees and, as one friend said, sing "Swanee River," they ought to try it. You know, are you afraid you're going to break your winning streak here? Do you think your life is going well? No. It's not.

They won't consider acknowledging their need and their sin and their rebellion before a loving God who graciously calls them to come because of the power of pride. Don't let that or the pressure of your peers keep you away from the one who can give you hope to your hurting soul. Jairus didn't. He busted through, and the little bit of faith he had accomplished much in his life. This is just a pretty obvious observation.

What do you think Jairus and his wife felt like at the very end of their little time with Jesus in their house? Just make this simple observation. It's simply this. Attention for and the care of children is always an effective way to reach a parent. Attention for and affection of children is always an effective way to reach a parent. That's why, on Sunday morning, we do two things.

We gather together to worship and be encouraged from the Word of God, and we try and do the best we can to serve your children because we want to reach your hearts, and we know there's no greater way to do it than to be kind and effective with your children. I have to tell you that, people who are kind to my kids, especially those who don't know they're my kids, and I observe them and watch them, my heart goes out to them. I want to do everything I can to encourage them.

One of my favorite things to do is sometimes go up by Ally's and Kirby's school and watch them in the playground. When I see another kid be nice to them, when I hear Ally talk about how, last year, though she was in first grade, a third grader and a fifth grader were kind to her and just thought she was nice and started to make her feel significant and learned her name and how a fifth grader started to say "hi" to her in the halls, I wanted to meet these kids.

I wanted to buy them ice cream. I wanted to pay them off and say, "Keep it up." When you find somebody who's kind towards children, it just opens your heart towards them, especially when they're yours. Hey, that's why we need you in a couple of areas to do your part in loving the children who God allows us to have the time with on Sunday morning…not maybe as an ongoing teacher.

I want to tell you something. If you're a part of this body, part of the opportunity that God has given us is to care for the children he has brought us, and for you to do your part in sometimes coming alongside a committed teacher who's in there with them all month long so they can build relationship and have some real affinity with those kids; to be in there with them, to encourage those children, to love them, to learn their names.

Learn just one kid's name so that kid goes, "That person learned my name. There's somebody else for me to look forward to when I go." That's why we seek to do excellence with our children's ministry. We think they're deserving of the very best, and we know one of the best ways to reach the hearts of parents in this community is to love and serve their kids in a way that's excellent.

That's why we're going to start next week to do a better job with junior high kids than we've been doing and try and develop a program specifically for them, but we feel like, right now, the best solution is on Sunday morning with them. That's why, at baby dedication, though we don't do it in here, one of the things we're doing as a body is we're saying, "Hey, we're going to come alongside of you moms and dad, and we're going to be committed to help you express to your children what the community of faith really looks like."

It's our responsibility to love those children, for them to know the people of God are the kindest people on the face of the earth, not the folks with their act most together but the people who have the most peace and hope because they know the living God, and we model that for them as a body. I like what Christ said, too, at the end. He said, "Give the girl something to eat." This is just maybe a little bit of a reach, but I'll just tell you this. I think it's a good application.

Any time the Spirit does the work of resurrection in the life of a child or the life of someone, he expects us to care for that newborn person, and there are going to be some folks who come alongside of us who are not just infants and not just children, but they're spiritual children, and he expects us to give them something to eat. That's why it's important for you to be involved with our Equipping class because they are other kinds of children who are here.

Some of you have walked with Christ for years, and its time to quit sitting out there and saying, "You know, what's next for me?" I'll tell you what's next for you. It's the opportunity to come alongside Christ, whose Spirit has done a resurrection work in a dead man's or a dead woman's life, and now feed that child the Word of God. You want to grow? You start being a mentor and a parent to a child, a disciple to others.

You know, one of the things I was encouraged about as I read this passage is simply this. God doesn't punish us for our delay in coming. He rejoices that we came. He doesn't punish us that we look to him finally after we're desperate and our child is at the point of death. He just is glad we came. There are a couple of great stories I've heard in the past. One is about a guy who was zooming along an atheist, pretty proud of his atheism.

He was going around over there in Scotland on Loch Ness Lake, and all of a sudden, he hit the Loch Ness Monster. His boat flew up in the air and blew up underneath him. He knew that he was going down and, at the speed at which he was traveling, it was going to kill him, so he cried out, "God save me!" and the moment froze. The Lord said, "What kind of action is this? I mean, your whole life, you've told me you didn't care about me and you didn't believe in me, and now you're crying out to me at this point?"

The guy said, "Give me a break, God. A moment ago, I didn't believe in the Loch Ness Monster either." What is clearly a problem with that story is that one maybe is a figment in the imagination of men, but the other one isn't. There's another great story about three pastors who were together arguing about the best position to pray in a room where a guy was working on some telephones, and these three guys were praying.

The first guy said, "I pray best when I'm on my knees, bowing before the King." Another guy said, "I pray best when I'm stand up with my hands raised up shouting glories to the God of heaven. The third guy said, "I pray best when I'm on my face prostrate before the Holy One." The telephone guy leans over and tells them, "I pray best when I'm hanging upside down from a wire I just fell off of."

Isn't the way it is? Let me tell you when you pray best…when something traumatic has just happened in your life and you are out of control. Jairus' testimony is the testimony of a lot of you, that there's all of a sudden a crisis in your life, and you're going, "I have to get it together, and I have to get it together quick, and I don't know if God can help me, but I may as well start there." I want to tell you something this morning.

If your life is at that point where you're coming to the end of yourself, praise God! Do you want to know something? He does not take advantage of your vulnerability and scold you for taking so long to come. He is glad you came, and he's glad that you're there. Martin Luther, in a way that only Luther can… I don't know those of you guys who know much about Luther, but he was kind of a crass individual at times.

One of the things he said is that desperation will drive us to him. He once remarked that his insight into God's grace, came to him while he was on the toilet, which is a German expression for not physically being there relieving yourself but being at your most vulnerable place in life, and Luther said sort of, "When I was on the toilet, when my life, if you will, had come to that, that's when I really for the first time in my vulnerability looked to the Lord and asked him to have his grace be known to me."

I want to tell you about my Jesus. If you're at a place where you're crapped out, come, and you're not going to get him to scold you and say, "I told you so. You can pay me now or pay me later. You know, if you'd come in earlier, I'd have changed your oil before you blew your engine out." He's just going to be glad you're there. He's going to weep with you over the destruction that maybe has been wrought in your life, but he's going to bring healing and hope. Lulie was a great picture of that last week. I'll give you two more quick ones.

First, it's right to pray like Jairus but wrong to presume God's timing in his response. It's right to pray like Jairus but wrong to presume God's timing in his response. I want to say again, like I said before, faith is not a force which obligates Jesus, but it is a factor in our witness for him. See, here's a good picture of what real faith looks like. It comes from Daniel and the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. This is what they said,

"'If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'"

"It doesn't really matter if we get consumed in that fire or not because we're not obligating God to do anything by our confidence in him. We don't know how God's going to work this thing out, but we know this: he is our God." I'm going to tell you, that is a good picture of faith. Martin Luther who was "on the toilet" at a certain point in his life when his 14-year-old daughter had been struck with the plague, sat by her bed brokenhearted, the biography says.

He knelt beside her bed, and he begged God to release her from the pain, and when she had died and the carpenters were nailing down the lid of her coffin, Luther screamed out, "Hammer away! On doomsday, she will rise again," because Luther understood truth, and he understood that Jesus doesn't always make it to the side of your bed, Jairus. He doesn't always raise your child in that moment, but he will come, and he will bring a comfort that frankly passes all understanding.

Some of the greatest miracles are not the miracles of children who have been healed but that parents go on in love and confidence and hope in Jesus Christ, not in today, not in tomorrow, or not in next week but in the day that he will call all people to be with him who have come to him in faith. That's our hope. I want to read you the story about another guy. I want to let you know there are many Jairuses in the Scripture, in fact men of greater faith than Jairus whose children were not healed.

Paul himself continued in sickness. This little girl who Jesus brought back to life eventually died. Her parents or maybe her children at some point grieved, and it is a lie from the pit of hell that tells you if you can just believe enough that your Jesus will always perform like you want him to perform. Our faith does not obligate our King.

It is a great source of testimony to him, but sometimes, the greatest stories of faith are those that continue in the midst of the storm, wondering why God doesn't move specifically in a tangible way for them but knowing that he can and, even if the fire consumes them, he'll still figure it out. Listen to what G. Campbell Morgan, a great English teacher of God's Word said. "I can hardly speak of this matter without becoming personal and reminiscent, remembering a time forty years ago, when my own first lassie lay at the point of death, dying.

I called for Him then [meaning the God who he continued to serve], and He came, and surely said to our troubled hearts, 'Fear not, believe only.'" The same words he spoke to Jairus. "He did not say, 'She shall be made whole.' She was not made whole on the earthly plane. She passed away into the life beyond.

He did say to her, 'Talitha cumi,' 'little lamb arise'; but, in her case, that did not mean, stay on the earth level. It meant that He needed her, and He took her to be with Himself. She has been with Him for all those years, as we measure time here, and I have missed her every day; but His word, 'Believe only,' has been the strength of all the passing years."

I don't know why this Jesus doesn't make it to your child's bed when you're down there at Children's and why he doesn't say on this side of the grave to your little child, "Talitha kum! Little child arise and be healthy on an earthly plane." I will tell you I am confident that, even if the fire of death consumes her, there will be a day, if you believe only and fear not, that will be just as much of a testimony of a miracle of the work of God as if that child stood up and walked or went outside and played, which gets me to my last point, which is simply this.

There will be a day when all who come to faith in Jesus will experience the joy of God. See, that's the real testimony. Let me just read to you from 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4. "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

I'll tell you what, it might be a little more, but I started to put together my funeral, and if I die while a lot of you guys are alive, you come happy. You come happy. I mean, I hope that some of you experience loss of a friend, maybe a guy who did his best as a pastor to encourage you, but you come happy.

You grieve with my family at their temporal loss and what seems to us on this earth is many years, but you can be sure of this. The Wagner family is absolutely secure in the fact that, one of these days, we will hear and experience the joy of Jairus, and the world laughs at that, but we sleep well at that.

One of my favorite quotes by a guy was a guy named D.L. Moody who, when he died, he basically had prepared his own obituary, and this is what he said. "Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.

I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal—a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever."

I love that. "Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it!" I'm going to tell you something. I'm just crazy enough to have that hope in my heart, and that's because this Jesus has allowed by his grace for me to have faith in him, and he wants you to come in the midst of the storm that's in your life right now. Even though you feel like God doesn't care a lick, let him come and speak peace in your life. He doesn't offer peace as the world does to you but a different kind of peace.

Let him come into your deranged, crazed life and speak wisdom so you can be clothed and in your right mind, seated at the feet of God. Let him come into your social separation, and let him come into your physical need, where even if the fire consumes you, you should not bow to any other solution. This Jesus has shown himself to be a victor over death and taken away its sting. This Jesus has shown himself to be able to hold you even in the midst of life's greatest pain.

Some of us right now in the midst of hurt, say, "Hold me, Jesus, because I'm shaking like a leaf. You have been my King of Glory. Won't you bring my Prince of Peace," and sometimes, he says to that circumstance, "Little child, arise. Let me make it right in your eyes," but other times, Jesus just holds you as your little child goes and arises in a different place where sin and death cannot destroy. That's the Jesus we proclaim this morning, and that's the one we call you to believe.

Father, I pray that my friends here would learn as I have learned and been taught by you, sometimes through a moment of crisis, sometimes, Father, just by your wooing of grace and declaration of the truth that, when we let you hold us and fear not but only believe, that you sustain us, even in the fire.


About 'Gospel According to Mark, Volume 2'

The most influential person in history is also the most misunderstood and misrepresented. Two thousand years after He walked the earth, Jesus of Nazareth is still a mystery to many people. Whether you admire Him, worship Him, despise him or simply don't know about him, it's difficult to deny that any other single person has had more influence on our world than Jesus has. But how do we come to understand a man who is so commonly misunderstood? Join Todd Wagner for a walk through the Gospel of Mark and look into the life of one man who changed the entire course of human history. See Jesus for who He truly is and learn how He can change the course of every individual life that understands, responds to and trusts in Him. This volume covers Mark 2:14 through Mark 6:6.