“Miracle upon Miracle”
Mark 5:21-43, June 27th, 2021
Sermon Pastor Tim Woodard
“Hear now this accounting from the writings according to Mark, chapter five verses twenty-one thru verses forty-three.”
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”
24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 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, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?”
36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then 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 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
“Having listened with our ears to this accounting of miracles attributed to Jesus, let us open our hearts to what this means to those of us now living in this time period.”
“Miracle upon Miracle”
Not surprisingly, someone mentioned to me that this was a long scripture reading this morning. Yes, it was a bit longer than usual. However, it does deserve a few extra words, does it not? Two miracles, two miracles are worth a couple additional minutes! The first request was from a father, a man of great faith in Jesus’ powers to heal, asking Jesus to heal his dying daughter. And then, while on his way to the home where she was, a large crowd surrounded Jesus. As people crowded around Jesus, a woman – also of great faith, pressed toward Jesus, believing that if she but touched the cloak he wore she would be healed. Is this not worthy of a few extra words this morning? Modern Christians such as ourselves need to be reminded of the healing grace of God, as we live in a world desperate for such healing. We could easily turn this moment into a long, long rendition of all the disease, illness, pain, and heartache in our society today. You know of what we speak. If you read or hear news at all… you know this to be true!
I have heard it said and seen it written that the time of miracles has passed. It so sad to realize how many have lost their faith in the power of God! Their belief which was passed to them, offered to them, and now – has been set aside – due to their discouraging encounters with others and with life itself. Of course, this is not true, the time of miracles has not passed. Believe me when I tell you – miracles still abound! I hear of them frequently. Many tell me of the miraculous healings of others. Unexplainable healings occur on a regular basis. I have prayed with the dying… to only find that God wanted them to live! Miracles all! I have prayed with the suffering and seen God grant them peace. I have seen countless men and women living in the ‘hell’ of addiction, hopeless cases all. I have seen many mystically healed of their addictions and returned to normal life, simply because they came to believe and asked for help. Miracles all! The time of miracles has not passed us by. Yet so many suffer and never know relief because they will not humbly ask for help from God. Still many live selfless lives, giving back to society, becoming of maximum service to God and others. A Miracle to behold.
Regrettably, millions needlessly suffer from all sorts of human problems, situations, circumstances, and conditions. Addiction is just one of a large listing of human ailments. Likewise, suffering and miracles occur within all elements of our society. There are a great many who have strong faith and have dedicated themselves to selfless lives; both rich and poor alike! Yet, a great many have also given up on the concept that there is a God out there, a God out there who cares about them. They could use a miracle in their lives. Then there are the ones around us who believe, with all their hearts, that they can fix it all – on their own. They have been given many gifts. Yet have forgotten where their gifts have originated from. Unfortunately, humankind still suffers from the belief that happiness and longevity of life, can be expanded through science, knowledge, wealth, and power. Also, there are many, far too many, in our communities who belief they can control the outcomes in all that they endeavor to do. In the short-term this is possible and does occur. Yet, the true power which brings true happiness and peace originated from the grace, the kindness, and the love of our Creator God. All that has ever been asked of us is to believe and have faith that God will provide for our needs – not necessarily all our selfish wants. Of course, our mortality is problematic to our understanding of God’s healing powers!
Ah yes, the age-old dilemma of ‘accepting’ life on life’s terms is difficult to be sure! How many of us remember dear old Lazarus, his story is in the gospel of John chapter eleven? Scripture tells us that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sister Mary. Lazarus dies and was buried four days when Jesus gets to the tomb. Scripture also tells us Jesus cried that day over the death of Lazarus. It is worth noting that Jesus was confronted with a woman’s deep belief that Lazarus did not need to die; the woman was then confronted with her lack of faith. Jesus then ordered the stone removed from his tomb and called out for Lazarus to get up – which he did. Many times, I have referred to the passage of the death and restoration of Lazarus’ life at the command of Jesus’ voice. Rhetorically, I have asked others if they had ever met Lazarus and their reply is always, no. Neither have I. We mortals all must give up our mortal bodies at some point in time; no matter how many times we are resuscitated! Even Jesus gave up his human body. A body that hid his identity to those who first encountered him outside his tomb and on the road to Emmaus. In the Upper Room where many of the disciples first saw him, recounted that they never opened the lock doors, yet he ‘appeared’ then left the same way. Clearly, Jesus no longer had an earthly body! I long for the day when I shall be joined with others who have gone before me and have a body like that of the resurrected Jesus!
What, exactly, constitutes a miracle? Our Roman Catholic friends, look to clarify a miracle now and then; it is my understanding they have a very formal way of doing so. I do not have their resources nor their interest in formally clarifying what makes an event a sanctified miracle. No matter how one might view their process, the important aspect is that they are still sanctifying miracles within the modern age! The miracles that I have seen in my journey are real; and they do not need any human to sanctify them to confirm this for me. Why? Because God blessed them the moment they occurred. The problem with us educated moderns, here in the Twenty-First Century, spend too much time trying to disprove what is known to be true. It saddens me and possibly many here gathered today. Ask yourself this: “Would you need others to approve of the miracle you are a part of or have witnessed, to make it more real?” Why would anyone who has been blessed with the love of God in such a way, wish to put up for debate what we know to be true? If we know in our hearts we have been indorsed and backed by God, why would we open it up for debate? The scrutiny of those that seek to tear down the temple of integrity, and truth of something; for their selfish, self-centered desire to discredit any and everything that may cause harm to their agenda; is not something we need to invite into the mystical grace of God, miraculous grace which we witness! Miracles speak for themselves and live within the hearts of all who witness and or experience them!
So how do we avail ourselves to a miracle? A really, good question. Well, the first step in the process is to believe that miracles do happen. That is what faith is all about: believing in something without proof of its existence. If we shut out the possibility that God exists and God cares enough about us, about humankind, to cross the boundaries of mortal human life, to do the seemingly impossible, then we will possibly never witness such an event. I have learned, over time, that my responsibility is to believe that God can do for us, that which we cannot do for ourselves. How we get God to do a miracle then? OK. Fair question. But bear in mind the question implies you now believe that miracles are possible, and that God is the source of such events. This clearly means that you are involved in the teachings of Christ Jesus as expressed in the gospels. If you are looking to the Good Shepherd for the answers, study up on what the Teacher has already spoken of through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. There are a lot of things to learn from the letters of Paul and others which are also in the New Testament for us to read, study, and lean from. Avail yourself to the traditions of our faith, as they point to how others have lived and come to know of God’s mystical ways. As individuals we each have experiences in our life journeys that may also enhance our understanding of the ways of the Holy One. Do not discount your experiences, they may contain the key that unlocks the doorway to a miraculous life!
One of the aspects of our faith journeys, that many of us miss, is that God has given us intellect, which, is a gift and a miracle of the highest degree. Used wisely, for selfless purposes, our intellect can enhance our journeys. Now, we must become aware of one aspect which many have fallen prey to; a belief that we can cause a miracle to happen. No, miracles, by definition, are not humanly possible. It takes divine intervention to be a miracle. Jesus, the Christ, performed many miracles. Yes, Jesus was human, his essence was one hundred percent human, but the essence of Jesus was also one hundred percent divine! Those who came to the Son of God with humility and faith, asking to be healed, of those that were healed, they possessed both faith and humility. Are all healed? No, not all are healed to their satisfaction. Can any faithful and believing pastor bring forth healing for others by invoking the name of Jesus? Not by their own power, the dominion, the authority for miracles is left up to God. Do miracles occur at the hands of pastors? Yes, when it is God’s will. Use your intellect to help you discern the truth, yet do not let it get in the way of your faith. In the end, the healing grace of God is mystical and special.
Stay open to God and the love and compassion of God will also be yours. Remember, you already are a miracle.