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Written By Sheila Schuller Coleman
Today, my message title is “Miracle-Working Power.” That’s a lot of power! Power that can work a miracle? That’s power. And where can we find that miracle-working power?
I have had so many conversations with people and one of them was with my son Scott, just recently, about what it is to be a preacher. I never thought God wanted me to be a preacher. I’m still not sure God wants me to be a preacher. But here I am, preaching God’s Word. And I said to Scott, “Sometimes I find that I am practicing what I preach. But most of the time, I am preaching what I practice.” And how does that work? That means that I am practicing something that the Lord has shown me in His Word. I’m practicing it, and I practice it repeatedly. Then I preach it and continue to practice it. Have any of you ever had to practice doing anything? Do you like practicing? Most people don’t like to practice. I know my sons never liked practicing either their cello, or their pitching, or their singing, or their speaking - whatever it was they had to practice doing.
They, like most of the rest of us, didn’t like practicing because, when you’re practicing, often you find yourself bumping your toe. Sometimes you’re failing. Sometimes you’re forgetting your lyrics. Sometimes you’re not getting it quite right. So, practicing is not always a very pleasant thing to do. But as we practice and we don’t get it right the first time, we keep trying. We keep trying.
Why do I bother sharing that with you today? Because it is not possible, as humans, always to get it one-hundred-percent correct. Sometimes we mess up. Sometimes we have miracle-working power in our lives and sometimes we’re shaky. Sometimes our faith is not as strong as we would like it to be. But that doesn’t mean we give up. That doesn’t mean we stay there. That means we continue to practice. We continue to practice having faith, miracle-working faith.
So, I don’t want you beating yourself up if you’ve said, “Oh, gosh, I submitted to fear this week instead of submitting to faith.” That will happen. It happens to me; it happens to the best of us; it happened to all of Christ’ disciples. It happens. But we practice, meaning we continue to get up and practice having faith, and the more we practice, the better we’ll get at it, with the Lord’s help, so we can tap into His miracle-working power.
I want to share with you, today, some stories to help demonstrate what that is. First, we saw in the Old Testament, wow, what a power source God was and is. We saw Him demonstrate His power through His miracles over and over and over again. And then that power, God’s power, came to earth as the grand miracle in Jesus Christ. So, when Jesus was born, and when Jesus was teaching, and when Jesus was healing, God’s power had a hand, had a face, had flesh, had a voice, had eyes to see into people’s souls. God’s power walked on earth and talked on earth and healed through Jesus Christ. That is what happened with Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at a couple of Jesus' miracles and how they’re interwoven. Many times, they’re taught as two separate miracles, but I think it’s important to teach them today as two interwoven miracles. I do this because they demonstrate the complexity and the totality of the miracle-working power that Jesus came and walked on earth to demonstrate and to give to every one of us.
I’m telling the story from Mark 5, verse 21 through 43, if you have your Bibles with you. I’m reciting from the English Standard Version, today, if you want to follow along. And this is the story of Jesus:
“When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about Him and He was beside the sea.” This is referring to the beautiful, tranquil Sea of Galilee. If you’ve never been there, wow, I encourage you sometime in your life to stand on the edge of the Sea of Galilee and to feel and know that you are on holy ground there. He was beside the sea, “and then came one of the rulers of the synagogue. Jairus is his name. He was a ruler of the synagogue.” That means he was probably a Pharisee, one of those people who helped take you and me and all the regular people through the ceremonial process of being cleansed enough to come into the temple and worship God. That’s how it was. You had to go through ceremonial cleansings. And of the people who were the cleanest of the clean, one would have been Jairus. He was clean. He was a ruler of the synagogue. He was one of the big hotshots around there. That’s who Jairus was.
“Jairus comes to Jesus, and seeing Him, he fell at Jesus’ feet.” I want you to imagine this. Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, a Pharisee of Pharisees, fell at Jesus’ feet. This young rabbi, this upstart fell at Jesus’ feet. And he implored Jesus earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death.” This is what it took for this man to fall at Jesus’ feet. “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may be well and live.” Wow. What a claim from this man. “And Jesus went with Jairus to go and see his daughter.”
While Jairus and Jesus are on their way to Jairus’ home, continuing in verse 24, “…a great crowd followed them. And thronged around Jesus. And there was a woman who had a discharge of blood for 12 years and had suffered much under many physicians.” Now, you have Jairus who is the cleanest of the clean, who cleanses everybody else, one hand. That’s why I think these are so important that they’re taught together. Then, on the other hand, you have a woman who has a discharge of blood. That means she is absolutely unclean according to the law of that day. So unclean was she that she could not go to the house of God. So unclean was she that she could not be cleansed. Everything she touched became unclean. Everything in her house became unclean. When she walked out of her door any time of the day, so people would stay away from her, she had to open the door and she had to make this announcement: “Unclean! Unclean! Stay away from me. Unclean! Unclean! I am shameful. Unclean! Unclean! ” That’s who this woman was. Trapped in her home. No hope, no life, no possibilities, none for this woman.
Both of these people - Jairus, this woman - needed a miracle. They both needed the healing touch of Jesus. And that’s why Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “My daughter is at the point of death.” And then here comes this woman, who for 12 years had lived as an unclean woman. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind Him in the crowd. That means she risked everything. She brushed against people and she wasn’t supposed to do that. But it says, “She touched His garment. She reached out through the crowd and she touched the fringe of Jesus’ garment.” Scholars believe that was His prayer shawl. She touched His prayer shawl. But it wasn’t the prayer shawl that had the miracle-working power. Oh no, it wasn’t. It was God’s power that was here on earth with hands and face and voice. And she reached out and she touched the power. For she said, “‘If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.’ And immediately the flow of blood dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.”
“And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, He immediately turned about in the crowd and He said, ‘Who touched Me?’ His disciples said, ‘The crowd’s pressing around You and yet You say who touched Me?’” But Jesus looked and He made eye contact with that woman. She knew that He knew that she was the one who had touched Him, that she was the one who’d received the power of healing. She came up to Him in fear and trembling. And just like Jairus, she fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease’ and she was healed,” not just physically but spiritually. She was given life again. Her life was resurrected…resurrected with the healing of Jesus’ touch. The touch of Jesus. This woman reached out to touch Jesus.
So, Jesus has been interrupted on His way to the house of Jairus. “While He was still speaking to this woman, there came someone from the ruler’s house, who said to Jairus, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear. Only believe.’ And He allowed no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion; the people were wailing and weeping. And when Jesus entered, He said, ‘Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead, but sleeping.’ And they laughed at Him.”
They mocked Jesus. They laughed at Him. “But He put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother, and those who were with them, and went in where the child was. He reached out His hand to the child and, taking her by the hand, He said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which means ‘little girl, arise.’ And immediately the girl got up and began walking.”
Two miracles, woven together inextricably because in each both people are asked, “Do you need a touch? Do you need the healing touch of miracle-working power in your life?” Oh, you can reach out and touch. Or you can be touched. It doesn’t matter. It’s that point of contact. It’s that faith that will make you well. Do not fear. Only believe.
And so today, I know that some of your hearts are broken, your lives are broken, your marriages are broken, your careers are broken. Some of you feel like you don’t have any hope. You came here today and you need the touch of God. You need God to touch you before you leave today. So I’m going to ask Jim Penner to come down with me. Let’s look at what those people did. Jairus, he wasn’t so important. The little rabbi should have been kneeling before him. But no, he fell at his knees before Jesus. This woman, after she was healed, she fell at her knees before Jesus.
We want to give you an opportunity today to come and fall on your knees before Jesus. And, oh, you might think, oh, I don’t want to look silly. Do you think the woman worried about being silly? Do you think that Jairus worried about looking silly? No, both wanted and were desperate for a touch from God. Jesus said to them, “Fear not, only believe.” Hear that message from Jesus today, no matter what you’re facing: Fear not, only believe.
So, as the choir sings, I invite you, if you want to, to come and kneel before Jesus. Jim and I will touch you with a touch of God and we will pray for you. So please feel free to come.