Do not fear, only believe... I find this a hard saying. Do not fear, only believe.
The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 27When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.
...While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:21-24, 35-43
This man has watched his vibrant little girl get sick suddenly, and he is in danger of losing his 12 year old daughter. For any parent, this is the hardest news, what do you do? The man, a ruler of the local synagogue, seeks out Jesus. He drops to his knees, bowing down and asks for help. Jesus sets out to help, and on the way, is interrupted by a woman in need. This delay seems to have been enough time for his daughter to die. So the people who come to tell Jairus the news, tell him to let the teacher go, but Jesus says: 'Do not fear, only believe.' This is great to say if you happen to be in the world of the gospel story, where Jesus can continue on and bring your daughter back from the dead. But in the world I live in, your faith has little to do with the illness and death of your child. Whether you believe or don't believe, God will still let bad things happen to good people. Faith or lack of faith will not change the outcome. So telling us not to fear, only believe doesn't bring the miracle so desperately wanted.
Mark wants to teach us something with this story. At the first level, Mark is teaching us about the first and the last, the powerful and the weak. Mark is showing us that in God's dawning Kingdom - those who are perceived to be the last, the unwanted, the undesirable, the undeserving by society will be the first in God's sight. A ruler seeks help but is interrupted by a nobody, an unclean woman. Jesus stops, heals her, and calls her daughter. She becomes a member of the family in this new kingdom, while the daughter of the ruler has to wait, come second. In the Family of God, the first will be last and the last will be first.
At a second level, this story is in answer to the question of the disciples: 'who is this that even the wind and sea obey him.' Jesus is the one who raises people from the dead. Jesus is the one who comes to serve. Jesus is the one who come to heal. Do not fear, only believe.
Spend you time using these word as your focus. Do not fear... let the places of your fear coming into your mine and hear Jesus say, 'do not fear, only believe.' Breathe this word in and out on your breath. Let them seep into those places where you are afraid. Let the Jesus touch your fear and whisper to you have faith. Amen.
Do not be afraid by Tanner Clark