First, consider Mark 4:35-5:41. In these verses, several miracles are recorded for our reflection and understanding. The following take place:
1. Stilling the stormy winds on the sea of Galilee (4:35-41).
2. Casting out the unclean spirits (5:1-20).
3. Healing the daughter of Jairus and the woman who touched Him (5:21-34).
Keep in mind Mark’s purposes. Mark began his Gospel by referring to Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This truth has been supported in several ways in Mark, from the Father’s testimony (1:9-11) to the various healings and demonstrations of His ability to forgive sin and His Lordship over the Sabbath (e.g., Mark 2). The parables were given to illustrate the nature of the kingdom (rule) of God, and the various miracles help to confirm the same point. What I would like to highlight here are some of the statements Jesus made through the miracles recorded in this section.
1. “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” (4:40)
2. “Go home and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you” (5:19).
3. “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction” (5:34).
4. “Do not be afraid, only believe” (5:36).
5. “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep” (5:39).
Let us note what is emphasized by Jesus: faith, mercy, peace, and comfort. What can we learn from this?
First, notice the connection between faith (or lack thereof) and fear. Jesus shows that their fear was blinding the disciples to the fact that they needed to be trusting God, so He rebuked them for it. There is a direct correlation here: the more we trust God, the less we will fear that which we cannot change. The less we trust God, the more we fear. We lose our bearings. When we worry and fret about the problems of this life, what are we demonstrating about our faith in God? We might also note that this first statement was a rebuke to His own disciples, and that ought to put matters in perspective more. Sometimes it is the believers who need to be rebuked for their lack of faith and trust. Sometimes I need it.
In Mark 5:36, Jesus again draws a direct connection between faith and fear. This is not so much a rebuke, however. Jairus had lost his daughter to death, or so he thought. The inward fear and sorrow is understandable. Yet, what would change that fear is faith, so Jesus told him to believe. One can indeed move from fear to faith when learning to trust that God is in control of both life and death.
Second, see how mercy is tied to the actions of the Lord in these miracles. Jesus cast multiple unclean spirits out of one man, which shows His control over the world of those spirits. Notice, too, how the demons even recognized who Jesus is: the “Son of the Most High God.” Some of those who should have known did not even confess this. Jesus cast out the unclean spirits, and He can cast out all uncleanness. We cannot help but see the importance of the implications of this for us, for we are beset by the uncleanness of sin. When we recognize what Jesus has done for us in forgiving our sins and giving us new life, we are overwhelmed by His mercy for us. When we emphasize mercy, we emphasize the work of God.
Third, peace is the result of trusting the Lord (5:34). Peace is the one of the overarching ideas through these miracles. The waters were calmed, the unclean spirits were silenced, the man was at peace finally, the woman could go in peace, and Jairus could also have peace when his daughter was saved. So instead of the fear that tended to characterize them, they could now have peace because they trusted in Him. When we know we are healed of the affliction of sin, we, too, will have peace. Paul says that the peace we can have will surpass all understanding, but it will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Fourth, Jesus shows His power over death, thus providing the greatest comfort of all. He came to deliver us from the fear of death (Heb 2:14). Death is not truly death, but “sleep.” From our perspective, we go to sleep, but wake up in a new life and situation. Jesus shows, though, that His power is not only over nature, but over life itself. We fear the unknown, but if we trust the one in whose hand is life, then we can put aside that fear and find the peace that passes understanding. When we pass from this life to the next, the Lord Himself will there, saying, “Get up!”
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” (2 Thess 3:16)