The disciples lived with Jesus day and night, yet their faith was weak. They knew Jesus was no ordinary man. Jesus confounded religious leaders, healed the sick, restored limbs, went where political correctness said not to go, and spoke with astonishing wisdom. These disciples experienced the unfathomable with Jesus, and yet they still allowed their fear to consume their faith. Human fear is the determiner between spoken faith and real faith. The disciples found it easy to believe in Jesus amidst the adulation and success of His ministry, but when the boat was sinking, it collided with the human fear of death.
In the story of Jairus, the synagogue ruler, coming to Jesus for the healing of his daughter in Mark 5:35b-36, Jesus addresses Jairus’ fear, “‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don't be afraid; just believe.’” (NIV) Most people might think that Jesus had an easy way out, because there was no longer the need to heal her since she was dead. Because Jesus was fully man, it may not have been easy for Him to step out in faith and believe He could bring this young girl back from the dead. Hebrews 4:15 explains how Jesus, by faith, had to overcome our same weaknesses, “We have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.” (NIV) Maybe Jesus was tempted, maybe not. When faced with ridicule but still taking a greater step of faith, Jesus’ faith grew even bolder and stronger. If His Father could heal the sick, He could also bring Jairus’ daughter back to life. If Jesus was not already at the pinnacle of His faith, it was about to be ratcheted up another notch. Mark 5:39-40 then describes not the anticipation of seeing God work, but the crowd’s mockery of Jesus thinking He was able to bring Jairus’ daughter back to life, “He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at Him.”(NIV) Ridicule may be worse than the fear of harm – you have to face the laughter after failure. Their ridicule did not stop Jesus, because He knew His Father. Mark 5:41b-42a says, “He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’ Immediately the girl stood up and walked around.” (NIV)
Insurmountable challenges, fear of failure, and the crowd’s ridicule did not hinder Jesus’ faith; He had spent a lifetime cultivating a relationship with God His Father, responding in obedience to His Father, and learning the character and faithfulness of His Father. Jesus knew, loved, and trusted His Father God. Each challenge of faith was another opportunity not to doubt or run, but an opportunity for Jesus to experience and know His Father that much more! Allow each moment of your life to be grasped by God your Father rather than the fears of this world.
Hebrew 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (NRSV)
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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Deeper with God” and “Identity in Christ.”
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