"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 20

The Pain of Postponement

Read: Mark 5:21-43

Text: (Mark 5:36 KJV) As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

Theme: Jesus is in control of even the delays in our lives.


Let's begin this morning by making sure we understand what is happening in this passage. Then we will go on and make an application.


QUESTION - What was this woman's malady?

QUESTION - What effect had it had on her life?

QUESTION - Was there anything about the nature of her illness which would account for her desire for secrecy?

QUESTION - Why did she think that simply touching Jesus' clothing would provide healing? (ANSWER - cf. Mark 3:10; 6:56)

QUESTION - Was there some magical power in Jesus' clothing? (How does this apply to those today who provide cloths for their congregations / listeners? Is this scriptural? Why / why not?)

QUESTION - Why did Jesus ask, "Who touched my clothes?" Didn't He, who is omniscient, already know?

QUESTION - Why did the disciples find this question absurd?

QUESTION - Why did Jesus "look penetratingly" (lit. translation) into the crowd until the woman finally came forth?

QUESTION - Why did Jesus call her "Daughter?" (NOTE - This is the only time Jesus used this title in the New Testament.) Is it significant? Does it help to answer any of our previous questions?

QUESTION - How does the situation with this woman picture the situation of every lost person?

QUESTION - How much faith did this woman possess / demonstrate?

QUESTION - Was there anything unusual in the fact that Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, would turn to Jesus for help? Do you suppose he had the support of those he normally associated with?

QUESTION - Did Jairus believe that Jesus was the Son of God? What did he believe?

QUESTION - How do you suppose Jairus felt when Jesus stopped walking toward his house and his child? When his family told him she was dead?

QUESTION - Was this girl really dead? What evidence is given to demonstrate she was truly dead? What did Jesus mean when He said she was merely sleeping?

QUESTION - Why do you think that the words "Talitha cumi" were included here? Are they some magical incantation that raised the dead?

QUESTION - What evidence did Jesus provide that this girl was truly and physically alive again?


ILLUS. When I was 16, I wanted a 1966 Mustang. I had the opportunity to purchase one for $50.00!! However, my mother demanded that I await my father's approval. Waiting for him to return from work seemed like and eternity, so I called and asked him to stop and check on it on his way home. After what seemed like years, he returned home and told me that the car was gone… sold for $40.00 to somebody else!


I. God's delays often come at seemingly crucial moments.

A. Jairus' need was desperate.

B. Jesus was his last hope.

C. Every minute seemed crucial.

D. Other examples:

ILLUS. Paul wanting to enter Macedonia and being told no.

ILLUS. David wanting to build the temple and being told no. It would be done later.

QUESTION - Has there been a time in your life that illustrates this? A time when God seemed to delay dealing with you at a crucial moment? When it seemed hopeless?

II. God's delays always have a good reason.

A. Jesus is concerned with more than just you.

(He was just as concerned for this anonymous woman as he was for the ruler of the synagogue.)

1. He is not swayed by wealth.

2. He is not swayed by station.

B. This woman had a need, too.

1. Terribly sick.

2. Ceremonially unclean (Lev. 15:25-33)

3. Social outcast.

NOTE - She provides a wonderful picture of the lost condition and salvation!

C. Often we must stand aside as the Lord deals with someone else.

III. God's delays do not affect God's control.

A. Men thought it was too late, control over the situation was lost.

(Often we judge Christ's power by our standards.)

B. Jesus is never out of control.

ILLUS. Lazarus

ILLUS. Book of Esther - God's providential control

ILLUS. Jim Callen - stoplight


Is there a solution when the Pain of Postponement becomes acute? Jesus gives it in our text, "As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe." (Mark 5:36)

A literal translation of this statement would be, "Be not afraid, go on believing."

Warren W. Wiersbe, in his commentary on Mark, Be Diligent, paraphrases Jesus' words as, "You had a certain amount of faith when you came to me, and your faith was helped when you saw what I did for that woman. Don't quit. Keep on believing."

"As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe." (Mark 5:36)

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1997 William E. Johnson.