Chapter 18

The need for patience
Mark 5:21-27 (NASB)

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21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered about Him; and He stayed by the seashore. 22 And one of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and upon seeing Him, fell at His feet, 23 and entreated Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may get well and live.” 24 And He went off with him; and a great multitude was following Him and pressing in on Him. 25 And a woman who had had a haemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse, 27 after hearing about Jesus, came up in the crowd behind Him, and touched His cloak.

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Mark 5:21-23
What is real prayer?

Jesus is never off duty.[1] Somebody always needs Him. He works 24/7 to bless those coming to Him. He crosses Galilee again by boat, to be surrounded by a multitude. Unsurprisingly, someone who becomes a serving Christian finds he or she is surrounded by different needs of many people. Life gets very busy, tiring and challenging. However, such service blesses those helped, encourages the helpers by God’s help and presence, and glorifies God.

On the shore a synagogue official, Jairus, awaits Jesus. Ignoring his status, he falls at Jesus’ feet to plead urgently for his dying little daughter. He yearns that Jesus will save her. Such a sense of urgency, humility and reliance on Jesus only, mark out real prayer.

Jairus earnestly begs Jesus to answer his very focused and specific prayer. We too need to pray like that. God does not always answer as we want: we don’t receive immediately what we request. God delays His answer. Other times He answers ‘No’.[2] But God often gives us an unexpected answer far better than we dreamed!  Jairus prays for his little twelve year old girl.[3] He begs Jesus, Please come and lay your hands on her, so that she will get well and live. We should pray for individual people, family members, sick people, and for youngsters and older folks. Pray whether or not the situation seems hopeless. Place everything in God’s loving hands.

Mark 5:24-27
Encouraging immediate response-then frustrating delay

Jairus must be encouraged when Jesus goes with him immediately. Another following crowd engulfs Jesus.  Jairus hopes for a wonderful miracle for his twelve year old daughter. Jesus has often immediately and permanently cured other sufferers! Surely Jairus will soon see Jesus save his daughter?  Sometimes we rejoice in immediate answers to prayer. But sometimes what starts positively seems to get ambushed and complicated. We can become emotionally frustrated, sad, and even angry. But that will not bring answered prayer. We must continue following Jesus and pray for His will.[4]

Jairus is now upstaged when a woman with a serious and long term haemorrhage approaches Jesus. Her illness started the year Jairus’ daughter was born.  For the past twelve years Jairus’ daughter has been growing up whilst the woman has moved nearer to death. Now death beckons the girl and healthy living seems possible for the woman. After years of fruitless medical treatment she seizes her opportunity to seek Christ’s help. Jesus stops. Jairus’ heart must now be in his mouth: ‘What about my dying daughter?’ he must think.

We need God’s patience to accept God’s will in God’s time.[5] But keep ‘tuned’! We will meet Jairus again soon! Jesus forgets no-one who prays to Him—and that includes you!

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[1]    .  One of God’s attributes is that He is always awake and alert. See Psalm 121:4.
[2]    .  This can be because we are living in rebellion to God or ask for the wrong thing. See James 4:2.
[3]    .  Mark 5:42.
[4]    .  1 Thessalonians 5:17.
[5]    .  James 1:3. In this verse endurance includes ‘patience’ as we know it.

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Questions on Chapter 18
Mark 5:21-27 The need for patience.

A. Compare the basic needs of Jairus with your own. Are the basic needs of prominent people in society basically different from the needs of ‘ordinary’ people?   Romans 3:23    Hebrews 9:27    Romans 3:10    Romans 10:12-13

B. What do you think encourages Jairus initially? How will that encouragement be tested soon?   Mark 5:24    Mark 5:27   Hebrews 6:12

C. Compare the concerns of the sick woman with that of Jairus’ daughter. How are they similar and how are they different?   Mark 5:23    Mark 5:25-27    Psalm 145:18    Isaiah 55:6