Avowed and Hidden Faith
Mark 5:21-43
And when Jesus was passed over again by ship to the other side, much people gathered to him: and he was near to the sea.…

The two incidents here grouped together show that in the neighborhood of Capernaum faith in Jesus' power to heal has been established; nor is it to be wondered at, seeing the many instances of healing with which the people must be acquainted. The picture is striking. The "Teacher" has returned from his sail across the lake, where truly "the power proceeding from him had gone forth," even the stormy wind yielding to it. A crowd gathers around him. He is standing by the sea speaking, when "one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name," who had come seeking him, "and seeing him, he falleth at his feet," making supplication for his "little daughter," who is "at the point of death." Yet does he believe that if the hands of the Healer be laid upon her she shall "be made whole and live." Therefore his earnest entreaty, "Come thou." He who would that children should come to him refused not to go to them - a single child's life is precious in his sight. Presently the sad tidings are brought, "Thy daughter is dead." Why, therefore, should the Master be troubled any further? The faith of the father might well fail since now all hope of recovery is cut off. Is this man mighty enough "in hope" to believe "against hope"? Perhaps not without the strengthening word," Fear not, only believe, and" (as St. Luke taught) "she shall be made whole." Truly "belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Then, as on another occasion (cf. Luke 7:11-17), the word of command - "Arise" - is uttered to the dead by the "Lord of both the dead and the living," and another handful of the firstfruits of his resurrection power is plucked by his hand. Thus is the resurrection presented to us as the awaking of a little child, for in his view the dead "but sleepeth." Who can wonder that "they were amazed straightway with great amazement"? But this instance of open and avowed faith is for ever intertwined with an example of hidden faith of equal strength, though less obtrusive. The faith of the woman was hidden "within herself," its ingenuity only was showed, in that she came "in the crowd behind, and touched his garment. Surely this was not faith in the touch which was the supposed appropriate medium, the contact judged to be needful by the many that "pressed upon him that they might touch him." This, if a suitable sign, was not a necessary one, as the faith at least of one declared; "but say the word, and thy servant shall be healed." All faith in the nostrums of physicians had died out from this woman's heart, for she had "suffered many things" of them, and was "nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." But in this Healer she did believe, and her faith, which the Lord detected as truly as he "perceived in himself" that the healing power which could proceed from him alone "had gone forth," he amply rewarded. "Who," of the many thronging me, "touched me" with that touch of faith? Faith was united with humility and truth; and "trembling and fearing, she fell down and confessed all." Once more, and for the instruction of the needy in all time, Jesus points to the "faith" thus honored: it "hath made thee whole." Yes, the faith instrumentally, as our fathers have said, the touch mediately; but in reality, "I have healed thee in response to thy faith - I, who only can say, 'Go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.'" Hence are we to learn:

1. The power of Christ to raise the dead and heal the sick, so that we may sleep calmly in death till he bid us arise.

2. His pitiful consideration towards even struggling faith, whether assailed by the rude doubt, "it is too late," or is too timid to declare itself openly. So that they of little faith need not doubt.

3. The true attitude of suffering in its confident approach to Christ for healing and help; even patient trustfulness, fearing not, and though persistent, yet humble.

4. The real support of all faith, the word of Christ, with such patient consideration of his works as leads to an apprehension of his Divine ability. May we not now stretch out our hand and touch him? - G.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.

WEB: When Jesus had crossed back over in the boat to the other side, a great multitude was gathered to him; and he was by the sea.

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