Death Has Been Conquered

I am using the same text today as was used last week as it is recorded in Mark 5:21-43. I want to especially emphasize verse 43: “He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this . . ..”

Last Sunday’s sermon asked the question, What does it take to make us bow humbly at Jesus’ feet and plead, “Lord, help me.”?

For Jairus, the synagogue ruler, it took the death of his twelve-year-old daughter.

Jairus did not have a very prestigious position. Basically, he was hired to keep order at the synagogue, see that services were orderly, and make sure no movements were perceived to be disturbing to the Roman Empire. The Jews could have their services, but all was to be done in order.

The ruler of the synagogue did not have to be a member, nor was he expected to attend the services. However, Jairus tried not to miss the service when Jesus was the teacher. He loved to hear Jesus speak. Yet, as much as he enjoyed Jesus’ teachings, Jairus did not have a personal relationship with the Savior. He believed that, politically speaking, it was best for him to keep a neutral position toward Jesus Ð neither for nor against him. He might be compared to the Christians at Laodicea, who were lukewarm in their Christian faith. God said to them, “Because you are lukewarm Ð neither hot nor cold Ñ I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

Yet when death came to Jairus’ family, he was brought to his knees and cried out for help. Listen to his plea of helplessness: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live” (vs 23). Now Jesus could help this man. Jairus could sing, “Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to thy cross I cling.”

Jesus went to the child’s bedside and said to her, “Little girl, get up!” (vs 41). She got up and ate. This leads us to the second teaching in the text Ð death has been conquered.

After performing this miracle, Jesus gave strict orders not to let anyone know about the girl’s resurrection (v. 43). Why didn’t Jesus want the people to know about this miracle? This is our thought for today’s sermon.

Bishop Wright says, “Jesus did not come to be a one-man emergency medical center. His mission goes deeper than that. One day he will meet death itself, which threatens God’s whole beautiful creation, and Jesus will defeat it in a way as unexpected as healing Jairus’ daughter.”

This is so well said. I love it. It digs deeper into the text. The healing of that little girl showed Christ’s divine power to heal. However, the miracle of raising this child is not the basis for the great biblical teaching that he has won victory over death. This message comes to us on Easter Sunday morning when the tomb is empty. Through his glorious resurrection, death has been conquered.

Jesus raised two other people from the dead Ð the widow’s son of Nain and Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, who lived in Bethany. These were wonderful acts of compassion for those who mourned the loss of their loved ones. It reveals Jesus’ power and helped the people of his day to understand that he was more than just a great teacher. But it was Jesus’ death that carried the weight of the world’s sins. Only when Christ came forth from the tomb could victory over sin, death, and the devil be proclaimed and offered to those who trusted in Christ. This was Jesus’ primary mission in our world.

After Jesus’ mission had been completed, the Lord gathered his disciples on the mountain. Then, just before his ascension, the message changed. Now he tells them, “Go and tell all people that sin has been paid for and death has been conquered.” This is the Gospel that his Church has and will proclaim until he returns Ð not as a baby in a manger, but this time as the Risen Lord.

Do you have a deeper understanding of Mark 5? I do. Bishop Wright has been God’s messenger in giving me a deeper understanding of Christ’s mission. I pray he has helped you too.