Monthly Archives: June 2016

Mark 5.1-20

Title: A Proper Response

Text: Mark 5.1-20

Introduction: Thank you, Stephen for reading Scripture this morning. For Bible study this morning let me give you a couple of aids…

  1. Take Notes
  2. Write down questions you might have to help facilitate the discussion
  3. Think of OT passages that alluded to or are referenced.
  4. The goal is to go deeper.

Let’s begin: We’re in the 2nd miracle in this particular passage on the Authority of Jesus. Last week we saw how Jesus exercised his authority over the natural realm (4.35-41). Today, we’ll see his authority over the Spiritual Realm. In subsequent weeks, we’ll look at his authority over the physical realm, and even death.

            As we begin today, I’d like to offer a quick summary of what has just been read: In today’s passage, the disciples arrive on the other side of the sea with Jesus in tow. Immediately, as he is getting out of the boat, Jesus is confronted by a demon-possessed man. Mark takes time to tell the readers how dangerous this man has become (1-7). The demon identifies Jesus and Jesus then confronts the demon inside the man. It turns out that there are many demons inside this man, for the demon’s name is Legion (8-9). Added to this, it appears the demons understand their fate is sealed and they beg Jesus to not send them out of the country, but rather into a herd of pigs nearby. He grants their plea. Coming out of the man and entering into the herd, about 2,000 pigs rush down the steep hill and drown in the water below (10-13).

            At this point, the herdsmen flee back to their village where they report what has happened. The people come out to personally take in what they’ve heard. When they arrive, they find the man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind. I’m not sure why, whether from fear or anger, but they beg Jesus to leave and he obliges. As he boards the boat, the healed man begs Jesus to allow him to follow along. Jesus, however, refuses the man. And, instead of urging silence, Jesus tells the man to go home and share of the mercy of God in his life. And so he does throughout the whole region of the Decapolis (14-20).

There are certain words that stick out: beg or begged. I find that interesting. For me, this helped shape my message for this morning. Here are my three points:

  1. The Response of the Gadarene Demoniac to Jesus (1-7)
  2. The Response of Jesus to the Gadarene Demoniac (6-10)
  3. The Response of the people to Jesus (14-20)

Transition: let’s begin with this 1st response…

I.      The Response of the Gadarene Demoniac to Jesus (1-7)

exp.: I call him the Gadarene Demoniac, because that is the way I learned it. from the KJV; rd v 2; At 1st glance, it appears this man is responding to the arrival of Jesus; however, a closer look reveals that the response is really the demons within this man; What we see here is that Satan has been at work in the life of the Gadarene Demoniac! We see this:

  • Possessed by an unclean spirit – a demon
  • Living among the dead; this isn’t really a play on words in the original language, as far as I can tell, but it is for us, isn’t it? rd v 3a;
  • Driven away by the town’s people because he was mad, and, he could not be restrained; rd 3b-4
  • Crying out and Cutting himself; v5; this is something we hear about today; people cut themselves because of the pain they’re in. It’s one of the ways they deal w/ their pain;

ill.: I came across this article this past week and it got my attention: Article in NY Times – First Rise in US Death Rate Surprises Experts. The death rate rose in 2005 because of the flu. It rose a decade before that in 1993 because of AIDS and the flu. It’s rise this past year is troublesome because… “We are not accustomed to seeing death rates increase on a national scale,” said Andrew Fenelon, a researcher at the C.D.C. who did not work on the paper. “We’ve seen increases in mortality for some groups, but it is quite rare to see it for the whole population.” And just what is the reasoning behind these deaths? The US has seen a spike in deaths in three categories:

  1. Suicide
  2. Drug Overdose
  3. Alzheimer’s

The article goes on to say that other parts of the world are actually seeing decrees in their death rates, making the US spike even more surprising.

app.: That is what Satan wants: he comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. His purpose and goal remains the same. He was being successful with this man. He seems to be accomplishing his goal in the US, too.

My guess is that this is just where this man is headed, but something happens when he meets Jesus. Look at his next response.

  • He saw, he ran, he fell down before him. This word translated fell down is sometimes translated Like in Mt 2.15; Now, whether this is the man or the demons who are in possession of this man, the response is correct. Jas 2.19

t.s.: So we see 1st, the response of the demon-possessed man. Now, look at the response of Jesus to this man…

II.     The Response of Jesus to the Gadarene Demoniac (6-13)

exp.: the very 1st thing Jesus says to the man is; rd v 8; immediately Jesus recognizes the work of the devil – so Jesus goes to work right away! Really, this is not cumbersome work for God.

  1. Legion vs. Christ; A Heavy Weight Fight like Frazier and Ali; Thousands of demons vs. Christ. But really this is No contest. No battle. Jesus doesn’t even need to break a sweat! Something to note:
    1. Each time we see their encounter in Mark, they accurately identify Christ for who he is.
    2. When they encounter him, they begin begging (10, 12). Jesus hasn’t fully stepped out of the boat yet and they’re screaming Knowing their fate is sealed… they begin to plead for mercy.
  2. Jesus asks the unclean spirit his name. Some say this is how you gain mastery over the demon. I don’t know about that. I fear if I did that, they’d say: Jesus we know, Paul we know, But who are you! This would be a great discussion for your class: Is there a difference between demon possession and mental illness. BTW: Jesus heals them both if he desires. And that is just what he does here…
  3. Christ sets the man free; however, the pigs meet a destructive fate; rd v 12-13;

ill.: This past week there was a story about a little boy who fell into the moat of the Gorilla’s cage. Mr. Maynard, who headed up the emergency response team shot and killed the Gorilla. According to him, he didn’t have a choice. Of course Social Media has got to respond and of course, they’ve condemned the actions of the Zoo. For me, it is simple: animal or child? Child! Scripture is clear on this, too. I know, the kid wasn’t supposed to be down there – he was in the Gorilla’s domain. No, not really. The Gorilla lives in our domain. We’ve been given that responsibility. Some people have condemned the parents. Well, I’m guessing those folks have never been responsible for a three year old! It is amazing how quick a kid can get away from you …

app.: Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS: the event demonstrates that God cares more for man whom He created in His image and recreates in salvation, than he does for animals which do not bear his image. Satan is a murderer of human beings, but Jesus is their Savior.

Before we leave this point, let me say a word about demons:

  1. They are real. And for that reason, they scare me.
  2. A demon can possess a person. Here we see many demons possessing one person. Some have raised the question of whether a Christian can be possessed by a demon. A great question to ask your teacher this morning!
  3. A demon can take control of a person. Here we see them speak; exercise great strength; hurt or injure the possessed and even others.
  4. Demons are spiritual beings – they are fallen angels. Their goals and purpose are the same as those of their leader, Satan: to kill, to steal and to destroy.
  5. Demons can move from one body to another. Here we see their transference from a human to animals. Jesus refers to an unclean spirit being swept out of a body and returning with others added.
  6. Demons resist Christ. In our text, it is immediate. He said come out, but they resist him. He permits them to go into the pigs.
  7. Demons have no power over Christ. All Jesus needs to do is speak. He speaks and the demons obey. Period.

app.: It appears to me in Revelation, that all things end in a moment. There is fighting, battles, killing. The enemy is doing all he can, and then, boom! It all ends. Jesus just speaks.

t.s: Finally, #3

III.    The Response of the People to Jesus (14-20)

exp.: Let’s look at these varied responses:

  1. The Herdsmen; they fled; they told; they announced or proclaimed; this story is pretty much unbelieveable. So, they gotta go see for themselves;
  2. The Townspeople; come to see; 15a; they came to see Jesus; and interestingly enough, they see the ‘demon possessed man’; This is how the text reads – present tense; but he’s not demon possessed anymore! Well, this is how the people knew him; similar in Mt – Elizabeth, the barren one, is now in her 6th month; – the one who had had the legion;
    1. Then they get to hear the story again in v 16; rd v 17; their response: fear! They beg Jesus to leave their region. And, I guess as is his practice when not wanted, he obliges them.
  3. The Man
    1. Sitting there – restrained no more – actually, he wasn’t restrained before, but it was for a lack of trying; now he is captured by the love of Christ;
    2. Clothed – no longer naked; This one surprises me, because we don’t learn from the text that he was naked – that is, until now; Now, we want to focus on Mark, and avoid the other gospels, I was curious to find that Luke does tell us that he wore no clothes in 8.27;

ill.: When I read this, I couldn’t help but think of adam and eve; Gen 3. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. I wonder where they got these clothes? Did the disciples carry them around? Probably. Did they put together something from different sources? But this is the gospel – a changed heart is displayed externally…

  1. Right mind – I suppose this would be in opposition to living among the tombs, cutting himself and screaming.
  2. He begs Jesus to let him stay with Jesus.

ill.: This is for me, the most beautiful part of the story. Maybe because I can relate. Oh, I was never as bad off as that man, but I was bad off. I look at who I was and shudder. And now, I only want to be with him. And this is where it is different for me. Christ has ascended to be with the Father and he has poured out his Spirit into my heart. So, I’m not without him.

app.: And you don’t have to be either.

But there is more here; rd v 19-20

  1. He becomes an evangelist!

Conclusion: Ok, so I’m translating this verse… 19, and it reads this way: and he said to him, ‘Go to your house, to those who are yours… most translations insert friends. There are those who belonged to him. Now, I apply this personally – For me it is my wife, my kids, my grandkids, my mom, mother-in-law; the list goes on.

Who was it for this man? Did he have a wife at home? Children? What about his extended family? What about those who were his friends? What would that reception be like for them – when they thought he was lost forever? And what was it like for him? No longer held captive by Satan, he had been set free. What would he say? Can you imagine the tears of joy for them all?

How? How is this possible? What has happened to you?

I met a man named Jesus. Let me tell you what he has done for me?

Let’s pray…

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Filed under Evangelism, Faith, Mark, Scripture, Sermon, Uncategorized

Acts 6.1-7/1 Tim 3.8-13

** This sermon Audio is located in the Special Topics Player…


Title: An Abbreviated History Lesson on Church Structure

Text: Acts 6; 1 Timothy 3.8-13

Introduction: Thank you Larry, for reading Scripture today.

I’ll be floating between two passages: Acts 6 and 1 Timothy. So bookmark those two passages. Actually, I’ll start in Acts 6… show some history throughout Acts, Make my way to 1 Timothy and back again.

What a blessing this is! We get to talk politics this morning! I don’t mean the politics of our national government, Great Britain’s exit from the European Union, or anything like that. I mean church politics! Politics is normally a dirty word, but it doesn’t have to be. Google says: Politics are the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. If that is the definition, no wonder people hate politics. If that is the definition, then there is no place for politics in the church. People hoping to achieve power have no plac in church leadership. Indeed, Christ says that we’re to be like him and he came as one who serves and is the servant of all. Mark Dever says: Politics is the science of organizing life together. That’s pretty straightforward: The science of organizing life together. That works for families, teams, committees and yes, churches.

Church polity is something we should address regularly. You should know how your church functions: what are the rules that govern our assembly and what keeps us unified? What protects our unity and works against schisms and divisions?

I want you to know that this isn’t something I dreamed up. This has been a real concern for the church for nearly 2000 years. As a young pastor, I did what the churches and pastors before me did. I saw inconsistencies, and because of my nature, I questioned many of these inconsistencies that I saw. It has only been since coming to Calvary 11 years ago and never – never being a part of a healthy church, that led me on a journey, a quest to discover what makes a healthy church, well – healthy.

The following is some of what I discovered. Some of you may be hearing this for the 1st time. For others, this will be a review. Let’s begin with a brief history lesson from Scripture on church polity.

I.    A History of the Need for Structure (Acts 6)

exp.: Our first experience is found in Acts 6. The Apostles are the leaders. The Lord has put them in place. He commissioned them. But soon, all of these believers begin experiencing problems: problems that threaten their unity. It could be racial, ethnic, social… who knows? But, it threatens their unity. Furthermore, the Apostles are not able to do their work – to accomplish their task.

  • So we learn #1 – that problems expose the need for structure. So, they come up with a solution. Let’s observe the process in Acts 6.1ff; rd 1a; Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number… Let me pause there and ask a question: Does this sound bad or good? Man, I want this problem! Jah hear? Calvary’s having problems! uh-huh, turns out they’re increasing in number, pretty dramatic I hear. So many baptisms the city is threatening to cut off their water. Well, numbers do create problems in that they expose areas of weakness and a need for structure. Rd 6b; a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. That’s complaint #1; there seems to be a problem with languages. Those who speak Hebrew are getting 1st dibs and the Greek-speaking widows are being overlooked. Here’s complaint #2, and it comes from the leaders. But, notice this, they want to make sure everyone knows their complaint. So… rd v 2a: summoned the full # of disciples! When everyone gets there, well then… look what they have to say: It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Let me just say that it’s not right is very similar to the phrase it’s not fair. Now, obviously you are getting my tongue in cheek presentation of this situation.

Here’s our first application of the day: Problems aren’t bad. It’s how you handle the problems you face that can be bad. And these guys handle the problem right. And from the way we observe these guys tackling their problem, we gain some insight into how we should handle our problems. Again, problems are bad, just the way we handle them can be. So, what do we learn from them:

  • Church polity should be handled in a congregational way. They involve the Congregation. Church, you select 7 men from among you and we’ll appoint them to this duty. The Church selects 7 men and the apostles put them to work. From this we learn that we are congregational. Yes, we have a pastor, but he isn’t the pope. You can amen that if you want, it won’t hurt my feelings. No one man or woman should ever run the church. Ever! Congregational means that we vote on what we do. The church always has the last say. Always. The church votes on a budget in December. That is your approval for teams, committees, and ministries to do what they do. You, the church, also approve those teams. The deacons form ministry teams, the elders pick teachers and you, the church, give your approval of them all. It all launches from the church. We are congregational. As the year progresses, we find ministry opportunities, we find problems that arise and if it isn’t in the budget or the church hasn’t given the assignment to a team or group of people, then we come back to the church and seek your approval. That is how it is supposed to work.
  • Relationships are vitally important. One group isn’t more important than the others. Listen, Ladies & Gentlemen, This isn’t about the food – it’s about the relationships. In our text, it might just be that those who were doing the work didn’t speak Greek or weren’t as fluent. More than likely, the Greek-speaking widows being overlooked was a symptom of a deeper problem. Who knows? But from this, we learn that nothing is more important than relationships. So, whatever you’re working on as a team – if there is a breakdown – check your relationships – my guess is somebody’s feelings got hurt. Mend the relationship!

Now, there is something important about church history here that I need you to see: Before this moment in Acts 6, the only leaders were the Apostles. One office in the church: Apostles. Now, there is a 2nd office in the church: Deacons.

Rd v 3-4; The offices are getting some structure now. The Apostles say: Here is our job and this is yourn. And, in order to do this job, you should be qualified. So, don’t pick just anyone! The men who are handling this situation are so overwhelmed they can’t do both. They’re qualified, but they need more men. These men don’t need to do their job of preaching and teaching, but they should be godly men nonetheless. So… qualifications must be set. We need qualified men to complete this task.

  1. Men of good reputation
  2. Men full of the Holy Spirit
  3. Men of Wisdom

ill.: I read this week that The Mission of the Church is the Ministry of the Word. I wondered, is this true? Let me repeat it: The Mission of the Church is the Ministry of the Word. That isn’t the purpose. My guess is the purpose of the church is the glory of God. Edmund Clowney says the mission of the church… He then continues with an explanation.

  1. Worship: We sing the Word, We pray the Word, and We preach the Word.
  2. Discipleship – teaching the Word.
  3. Evangelism – reaching the world with the Word.

These Apostles are saying that their mission is being compromised. They are unable to do their work in the Ministry of the Word because they’ve been caught up in ‘waiting tables’. That work, which isn’t being done very well, is making their task of preaching and teaching to suffer. Nothing is getting done very well.

Once a church begins to practice the ministry of the Word, it experiences growth. Growth creates problems. The more people you have, the more problems you have. So, they have to get organized. They need to get some structure here.

Rd v 5-7; please note v 7; what continued to increase? The Word of God! With that, there is an increase in conversions, which of course means they’ll have more problems and they’ll have to work those problems. But they’re good problems, No?

Well, the church grows and more problems occur. We’re not told of all the details, but we learn of the solutions by what we read. Turn to Acts 11.19-30; the church grows and determines to help with a problem down in Jerusalem. V 30 tells us that the church has now added another office: Elders. We can only make assumptions now as to what has happened. We don’t really know. They’ve not appeared before now. But, now, what we have in the early church, at least at this very early stage, is three offices: Apostles, Elders, and Deacons.

Let me quickly give you a time reference. Acts 12 – with the death of Herod and the work of Josephus – allows us to date Acts 12 at about 44 AD. If you take a later date for the crucifixion, we have these offices being used in the church within about 10 years. If you take an earlier date (which I do), then you see the infrastructure of the church being established no later than 13 years of Christ’s Great Commission. I think it would be fair to say that the structure for the church was set within the 1st decade of the Church’s (Capital C) existence.

You’re in 11.30; look at Acts 14.23; rd 15.1-6; Apostles and Elders are taking care of the doctrinal issues of the church. They’re handling the problems that are arising. Together. What we will see as the 1st century moves on and closes out, the apostles will fade from the scene. They will die and they will not be replaced. And, as the apostles fade from the scene, we see three offices narrowed down to two: elders and deacons.

app.: I want to take a moment to say that many Baptists are uncomfortable with elders. I understand this, but this saddens me. Did you know that many Baptist churches in the world had elders until the mid-1800’s. Our 1st two confessions or statement of faith’s had elders and deacons listed as the two main offices. So, historically, Baptist have had two main offices in the church: elders and deacons. What caused the change? My educated guess would be Manifest Destiny and the need for circuit preachers.

Many Baptist churches struggle today because they have an unhealthy church polity. They have become comfortable with tradition, and so, they neglect the Scriptures. In their defense, let me say that many Baptist churches function without elders. These churches have dynamic leaders serving as pastors who use some of the deacons as elders. And truthfully, I’m ok with that. It isn’t what I would choose, but that works for them. However, with that being said, I think many Baptist churches have a system of government that is wicked and evil. It is self-serving. Men are placed in leadership positions that should never be there. Men are made deacons and deacons then begin to run the church in the absence of a pastor or elders. That method, that form of government continues and it becomes cyclical. Pastors rotate in and out as the deacons then rule the church with an iron hand. And these congregations slowly die because these deacons can’t see that they were never intended to lead the church in this fashion.

t.s.: Let me show you the structure as we find it later on – some 20 years or more later. And this is point #2…

II.   The Structure of the Church (1 Tim 3.1-13)

exp.: 1 Timothy is a manual for churches and pastors on structure and polity. Paul’s main concern is the Ministry of the Word. He’s concerned about unhealthy doctrine being taught in the church at Ephesus. Look at chapter 1.3; don’t let certain individuals teach a different doctrine. Rd v 5; our aim here is love. And it pours forth from this beautiful triad: a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. There are those who don’t have a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. These people are rd v 6-7; now hones in on his purpose: rd v 8-11; Sound Doctrine = The Gospel. A Healthy church has sound, healthy doctrine, which is the Gospel of Christ. The Church then is a picture of the Gospel to the world. If you really think about this, this is what Paul is saying to Timothy – and to the believers at Ephesus: The Church is the Gospel made visible. Therefore, protect it. That is why Sound Doctrine is vital.

Paul then presents the Gospel in a short testimony: v 15 is the thesis statement here: 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…

In Chapter two Paul discusses they way believers should act, but look at chapter three. Here, Paul presents the structure that has been established over the next 20-25 years from Acts 12 on… You can see the same thing in Titus.

Chapter three establishes two offices for the church:

  • Elders – Let me introduce them to you, especially for the guests. (Active & Inactive)
  • Deacons – Deacons – (Active and Inactive)

In comparing the two, not just here, but throughout the New Testament, we find one main difference between the two offices. You ready for this? A deacon is to be held to the same basic qualifications as an elder, with the exception of one trait: the elder must be able to teach. Let that sink in for a moment. A deacon is to be held to the same qualifications as an elder, with the exception of one trait: the elder must be able to teach. Why this one difference? Answer: Because of their responsibility. Elders are given charge of Sound Doctrine. They are responsible for the spiritual aspects of the church. They must give great care to their teaching and to those they place in positions of teaching.

Deacons on the other hand are concerned with the physical aspects of the church. Their leadership is to care for the physical. In Acts we see them caring for the widows. They are to be no less godly than the elders. They are to be no less holy. The standard of character is just as high.

In Acts 6 the qualifications are simple:

  1. Men – I mention this because this is the only place I find this; later, we’ll see deacons and deaconesses. I know we don’t have them in the Baptist church, but I suspect that is more from culture than God’s word. Let me say, I’m not advocating for deaconesses today, I’m just saying in Scripture we find deaconesses. Let’s set that aside for a moment and focus on Acts 6. They were to be Men.
  2. A good reputation: which by the way, is with those inside the church and outside the church.
  3. Full of the Holy Spirit – don’t pick lost men. Don’t pick ungodly men.
  4. Wise – men full of wisdom. This means they use their knowledge well.

Already, you’ve limited the amount of men who can serve. But 1 Timothy 3 gives us more. Rd v 8

  1. Dignified: that is, they are worthy men, honored men, respected in the church and in the community.
  2. Not double-tongued: picture a forked tongue, like that of a snake. A tongue that offers curses and blessings. Not like that.
  3. Not addicted to much wine: I think this means not an alcoholic. They are not controlled by alcohol. It isn’t that they won’t have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer after mowing the lawn. It is that alcohol doesn’t consume them.
  4. Not greedy – for dishonest gain. That’s important. Our deacons serve as counters of the offering. They rotate regularly each week. But it is more than that. Your deacons will be responsible for contracts, hiring out work to be completed. You don’t want to pick men that are out to get a kick back.
  5. Solid Believers. They hold to this faith – this mysterious faith of ours with a clear conscience. And that faith is evident in their daily lives.
  6. They’ve been tested. Don’t put an unproven man into this position. The men you pick should be men who’ve proven themselves in these areas already. They have been faithful over time.
  7. Their wives must be qualified. Don’t pick men whose wives are gossips or busy bodies. I have known men who couldn’t serve as deacons because of their wives. Their wives must be like them – dignified, honorable, not diabolos, and faithful in all things.
  8. The deacons should have a stable marriage and home life. Some people take this to mean ‘having been married one time’. They say a divorced man shouldn’t be a deacon. I don’t think that is the definition here. Let me explain. The Gk simply says: a one-woman man. μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρες; That doesn’t help us. No, I don’t think this means one woman at a time. I think there is a principle here – not a letter of the law. The principle is finding men who are faithful and trustworthy. They prove that over time. For a man to be married to the same woman for 20 years can be a sign that he is faithful. That may not be the case, but it is a sign. So, you take all of these character traits, these qualities and you establish a pattern of faithfulness, honesty and integrity.

app.: Please hear me: I’m not saying every man who has been married longer than 20 years is deacon material. I’m saying that is one sign. Their wives must also serve as a sign. Their testing over the years is another sign. Their faithfulness as solid believers is another sign. The fact that they’re not greedy or alcoholics are more signs…and the list goes on.

t.s.: You take all of these quality characteristics and size the man up. And you pick from there.

III.    An Appeal: The Church must pick some men to serve as deacons.

exp.: It is time. In the coming weeks, the deacons will present you with a list of names. They’re going to ask you to:

  • Pray over these men. The list will not be exhaustive. You can pray over each man and his family.
  • Use this passage as a checklist. Mark off men who don’t size up. See which men rise to the top.
  • The deacons are going to ask you to select a number of men to serve with them. I don’t know how many. It could be three. It could be seven. But based on your prayers and your evaluation, select men to serve. The deacons will then assess the men you’ve chosen. They’ll find out who is willing to serve, because you may select some who will say no. They will bring back a final list of those you’ve selected, that they’ve interviewed and determined fit and ready to serve. You’ll then have the final say with a vote.

One final word: don’t assume that men who’ve served before will automatically serve again. If you don’t select them, then they won’t be asked to serve. That is vital. Deacons serve only at the pleasure of the church. Deacons don’t go get deacons. They don’t ask their buddies. They don’t even ask men who’ve served before. They will follow your directions. So, pray, evaluate, and choose – men from among yourselves and we will appoint them to this duty of service.

Conclusion: I mentioned earlier that the church is the gospel made visible. That message is that Christ died for sinners. Paul claims to be the worst of all sinners and even he found forgiveness – his testimony is to the goodness and grace of God. I want to offer you that grace and forgiveness.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Acts, Church Polity, Uncategorized

Mark 5.21-43



Me on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee

Title: Desperate People

Text: Mark 5.21-41

Introduction: thank you, Stephen, for reading Scripture for us this morning.

1st, let me say: Happy Father’s Day, Dads! Stand.

2nd, I’m finishing off a series on Jesus and his authority as demonstrated through miracles. We’ve already looked at how he demonstrated his authority, that is, He is Lord over:

  1. The Natural Realm: when he spoke to the wind and the waves.
  2. The Spiritual Realm: when he healed the Gadarene Demoniac of his demon possession.
  3. Now, today, we’ll look at his authority over the Physical Realm

3rd, Next week, I’ll move away from Mark for a week and talk about church polity: it’s function and organization.

So, here I am in Israel on the Sea of Galilee and I find myself standing where Jesus was when these stories took place. How do I begin to tell you about Israel? It is impossible. I can show you pictures and tell stories – but that won’t really do. You have to go. You really do. I told Lisa that I should have gone 30 years ago. And I’ve should have gone back multiple times since. Every seminary student should go to Israel. It should be required for graduation.

I feel like I should apologize for some of the things I’ve said over the past 30 years. I imagined the stories taking place in my western mind. I did not realize how off I was. I’ll show you what I mean: turn to Mark 5.21.

Today we continue our study in Mark. We’re in the midst of a sermon series on miracles Jesus performed demonstrating his authority over the natural, the spiritual, and today, the physical – even death. Read 5.21 with me. 21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Well, our context tells us that Jesus was on the Sea of Galilee in the region of the Garesenes where he healed the Gadarene Demoniac. His popularity had grown so much that he just needed to get away from all of the people. They pressed in on every side. He left the towns and villages because he could no long enter into them without being mobbed. Now, after this experience with this man and commissioning him to be a missionary to the Decapolis, he crosses back over to the north side of the SOG where he did most of his ministry.

He isn’t in town. The people have come out to him. They’ve not had to walk very far. But mind you, it would still be a hard walk, because of the terrain. It is some 700 ft below sea level. Everywhere along the north shore goes up from the water – and it goes up steeply.

  1. Show pics of the north shore. (Use Laser) – I took this picture from Tiberias, a town of Gentiles on the western side of the SOG. John 6.1
  2. North Shore…

Read 5.22a – 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name… there are actually two desperate people we’ll meet this morning: Jairus and A unnamed woman.

Read 5.22b-23; there are two parts to this man’s situation that I want you to notice in this passage:

  1. His Despair:
  • He fell: at the feet of Jesus
  • He implored: he begged if you will,
  • He persisted: earnestly is translated from poly – lit.: many or much sayings


  1. His Request: just come and touch her – lay your hand on her to accomplish two goals – σῴζω and ζάω; that she may be saved, rescued, or delivered. And, she may live.
  • This 1st word is a verb – Jesus said that is why he came – to save, to rescue, to deliver.
  • This 2nd word is used in comparison to death. Jesus said in Jn 10.10: I have come that they may have life.

Here we have our 1st application for the day: When you pray…pray according to the will of Jesus. If you want to know that your prayers, although they are selfish in origin, that those prayers are within God’s will – pray that way – pray God’s will over your situation. If you’re praying for someone – say your child, a friend – pray Scripture over him or her.

Jairus is asking Jesus to do just what Jesus has said is his purpose: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Rd v 24a; 24 And he went with him.

I’m sure Jairus was stilled scared and filled with worry, but there must be some relief. Look at the rest of v 24: And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.

Now, with this relief that Jesus is coming to see his daughter, there has to be some frustration for Jairus. This word translated thronging here is a word that means to press. As in what they do with olives to get olive oil; or to grapes, to get the juice or to make wine. The people who are thronging and pressing all around had to be slowing them down. Jairus has his request, but now Jesus has got to get there. I’ve pictured this scene in my mind many times. So many people who’ve gathered around him to see miracles, or maybe they’ve come to get something from Jesus. I’m sure there are desperate people in this crowd, too. People like Jairus. We meet another such person in v 25 – rd 25-28;

I want to encourage you to explore this woman more in your discussions in the study time that follows in our small groups. For now, let’s look at these two people who really sit in contrast to each other:

  1. Jairus: a ruler of the synagogue, top dog on the ladder of society, probably respected and trusted. When we’re introduced to Jairus, we meet him by name and position.
  2. The woman: we don’t know her name. As for position, she has none. She’s not allowed in the synagogue, nor was she allowed around anyone in the community. What money she had that would have given her position has been spent on doctors.

Most people appear on the rungs between these two extremes. Hence, they probably represent the whole ladder. I leave that for more discussion in class.

As with Jairus, I’d like you to note her actions:

  1. Her Desperation
  • She was unclean: because of her blood disease, an outcast in their society.She wouldn’t be allowed near anyone, let alone into the synagogue and have access to the priests.
  • She suffered at the hands of those who offered her something they couldn’t provide. Time and again, placing her hope in physicians who couldn’t provide her with a cure.
  • She was poor: she had exhausted her resources of money on doctors and remedies; There have been times that I’ve thought to myself that if I had money, I could fix this problem. Then one day my mother-in-law was told by a very wealthy friend the following line that has always stuck with me. She said: if money can fix it, it ain’t a problem.


  1. Her Persistence: she has no right to ask. She’s not even supposed to be near him or anyone one else for that matter. The law is clear on this.

Leviticus 15.25-27: 25 “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. 26 Every bed on which she lies, all the days of her discharge, shall be to her as the bed of her impurity. And everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her menstrual impurity. 27 And whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.

But she’s thinking: if I can just get near him and touch him, he will save me and I’ll live. All the days of her impurity – for 12 long years – she’s had to avoid people. Can you imagine the disgust of those who might sit where she sat or touch what she touched? Can you imagine the mistreatment – ugly things said when someone was declared unclean for a day because of their contact with her? Can you approach her humiliation?

But He is her last hope. She truly believes that if she can just touch his garment…and she uses the same word Jairus used in v. 23 – σῴζω – I’ll be saved, cleansed, rescued, delivered! And evidently, she touches him.

I shot a photo of a painting – a mural on a wall in the museum in Magdal. This photo captures the artists impression of this moment when she is able to reach out in faith and touch the hem of his garment. Which, by the way, Matthew and Luke mention – just the fringe of his garment. And what happens? Her faith becomes real… rd v 29;

One particular moment in time and she is changed. She is healed. And, she knows it. But so does Jesus. So he asks who touched him. But of course, the disciples are like – really?

The story began by the sea. Jairus requests the presence of the Lord to attend his daughter. They move in that general direction. The village wouldn’t have been too far. The houses were stacked together. The streets were incredibly narrow. It wouldn’t take too many people to create a congestion.

I have some pictures of synagogues from two separate villages there.

This is Capernaum. I don’t know if this is the same village where these things happened. Could be, but we don’t know for sure… But these villages were all very similar. This 2nd synagogue is in Magdal. So, there you have it…

Now let’s pick up in v 46-48; Look at the words that characterize her: exposed; Trembling; Falling down before him. This is what was said of Jairus – he fell down before Jesus. You know what? That probably describes all of us. Some of us, our problems are exposed to the world and we cry out to Jesus with their full awareness. But, for others, their problems are hidden and unoticed.

Can I just stop for a moment here. I wonder if the people around knew this woman. Maybe. Probably. But, with all eyes focused on Jesus and all attention on him, no one noticed this unclean woman slipping in on Christ. In some ways this is good. For one reason, people focused on Jesus are not busy judging those around them. That could be another application for today: People focused on Jesus are not busy judging those around them.

She stands there – exposed, guilty. But look what Jesus says: rd v 34;

There isn’t time to even notice that Jesus was headed somewhere to do something for someone. If this had been me, I would have said: Ok, what was I doing? No so with Jesus – He knew. His movement was interupted. He questioned who touched. It gets quiet as everyone looks at this out of place woman. His words of forgiveness and healing haven’t even left the thoughts of those listening when messengers come to tell Jairus.

So desperate was this man for his daughter that he left her there in her sickness seeking the favor of the only one who could heal her. Now, it was too late. She was gone. There comes a time when you don’t need to ask for something anymore.

Ill.: King David knew this. Do you remember the story of his sin with Bathshba and how she became pregnant? A child was born and David was told this child would not survive. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. The servants feared to tell David of his son’s demise. If he acted like this while the child was alive, what would he do when he found out that his newborn son had died? David noticed his servants acting differently and knew something had happened. They told him the truth, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

She’s gone now. There comes a time to stop asking. Can I bring her back again? No. I will one day go to her, but she will not return to me.” Jesus must see this because he says, Do not fear, only believe. This is the same word he used with the woman he had just healed. Belief and Faith are the same word. One is a verb and the other a noun, but the same meaning. This woman’s actions – demonstrating her belief – had brought her healing. This man’s belief in Christ – it would accomplish the same thing.

Taking his garden buddies with them, they headed off to Jairus’ home. When they arrive, there is a commotion. Each time this word appears in the NT it is translated uproar or tumult. It is used to describe crowds that are causing trouble – getting ready to riot. I wonder why Mark used this word. Were people angry? When a child dies, it is different in many ways than that of someone much older who has lived a full life. Whatever his reasoning, we get the idea that there is a very loud commotion going on outside of the home with loud weeping and wailing.

Jesus, ever in control, tells them all that they don’t understand the situation inside. That’s why they’re behaving the way they are. They think they know – but they don’t really. And when Jesus let’s them in on the truth – And they laughed at him (v 40a); rd v 40b-43;

Mark doesn’t tell us about this mom and dad. I can’t really even begin to understand what they might be feeling. How can one express a gratitude for such a blessing? My guess is that there are no words that can communicate that kind of thanksgiving. How do you put to words, how can you describe what happens in a heart when one was at the lowest point a human can go and snatch them from such despair and grief? And what heights of joy they must now be feeling! The Gk word here is the word we get ecstatic and ecstasy. Oh, and then he says – don’t tell anyone what happened here and give her something to eat!

Conclusion: Don’t tell anyone! That would be tough!

I’d like to have a time of praise and worship and give folks a chance to respond to what God may have been doing in hearts. I’m thinking of David’s response: he cleaned himself up, went in to worship – and then got something to eat.

If there has never been a time in your life when you encountered Christ – I offer him to you today. I can’t promise you the healing these people received, but I can promise you that Christ will do in your life what you need. He cares for you far more than you’ll ever know.


Questions for discussion:

  1. What similarities do you find between the two stories?
    1. Ceremonial Unclean – impure
      1. The woman’s bleeding caused her to be unclean – thus isolated from the community for more than a decade
      2. The girl’s death made her unclean – you’re not supposed to touch a corpse
    2. Daughter
      1. Jesus calls the woman “Daughter”
      2. The girl is the daughter of Jairus
    3. 12 years
      1. The woman had been sick for 12 years
      2. The age of the girl is 12 years old
    4. Both involve the touch of Jesus and their faith
      1. The woman’s faith to just touch his garment
      2. Jairus is encouraged to persevere in his faith
    5. What contrast do you note between the two stories?
      1. He is one of the rulers of the synagogue – probably the highest rung in that community ladder.
      2. She is unclean and unable to participate in the community. To make matters worse, she is a woman.
    6. Discuss the differences of life in the Law and life in Christ. Discuss how through the law unclean things made clean things unclean. And, discuss how Jesus wasn’t affected like that. He made unclean things clean! Lev 15.25-27; Lev. 11.39-40 – dead things bring the same consequence as that of the woman with a blood discharge. Mark Horne: Under the Mosaic system Death spread but Life did not. But Death was not a problem for Jesus! Death and uncleanness did not corrupt Christ.
    7. This story ends beautifully, but David’s story – not so much. How does one surrender themselves to the will of God – especially when God’s will runs counter to their own? Maybe there are some personal testimonies here… be sure to direct each story toward the glory of God. There is sometimes a tendency toward sensationalism and the glory of God gets lost. Sometimes people die. Sometimes children die. Do you suppose we overlook the times that God has spared our children and loved ones and focus only on the tragedies? As a grandfather, I remember Caroline being at death’s door. I remember another family in the same hospital with their little one. Their child died. Caroline lived. How is God glorified in both stories.
    8. One of today’s applications was to pray according to the will of God. That sounds easy, but how does one really pray that way? Do you find your prayers are more self-centered than Jesus-centered? What are some ways you can change your focus?
    9. Another similarity between the two stories is the topic of faith. Jesus did what he did to demonstrate his authority over the physical, even life and death. How do we exercise our faith in both tragedy and triumph? And when we do, how does that demonstrate Christ’s authority over life and death?

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