Dear Loved Ones: This week I have been asked to share with you a sermon I preached yesterday at a special service of "Blessing and Healing" at The Community Church of Little Neck in Queens. It was a powerful worship service and many were touched in this moving service. So for a change I have included a sermon. It is attached as well, in case you prefer to print it out instead. Have a blessed week!!! Moira
Listen to: Big Daddy Weave "My Story"
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat[f] to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 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.” 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 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?” 36 But overhearing[g] what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 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. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5: 21-43
Listen to: Big Daddy Weave "My Story"
“The Whole Truth”
The Community Church of Little Neck, October 11, 2015
Thank you friends for coming out this evening. It is a joy to be with you tonight!
We have many different churches and traditions represented. People from all walks of life and different backgrounds. Individuals of all ages and abilities.
Thank you musicians for the glorious songs you have led us and will lead us in to fully enter into worship.
Thank you praise team for engaging us and encouraging us to glorify God.
Thank you prayer warriors in advance for all your loving words that will minister to our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to get in and heal, bless and change us.
Thank you everyone here who took the time to come out of your busy schedule, instead of being home watching NCIS or playing Candy Crush on Facebook; you chose to be here. Most of all I thank God, after a rough year with many trials, I stand before you to testify, Our God is a Good God and a God of healing. When we are down, our God takes us by the hand and says, Get up!
Let us not get ahead of ourselves. Our story in Mark 5 begins with Jesus in the boat going back to the other side – to the western side of the shore. Jesus is now coming to our side tonight. As he disembarks, a great crowd gathers around him. We don’t know the name of the town, but we do know the name of the leader of the synagogue of the town.
His name was Jairus.
Jairus. Nobody else in the Bible had a name like Jairus. The root of his name meant “to give light” or “to shine.” So his name means “One Giving Light” or “He Enlightens.” Not a bad name for someone leading a synagogue.
Now Jesus didn’t have a close relationships with the synagogue leadership network of Galilee. It wasn’t like they kept Jesus’ name on their speed dial on their smart phones.
At Jesus’ very first sermon, preached in his home synagogue of Nazareth, they nearly threw him off a cliff.
In Capernaum he drove out an evil spirit from a man right in the middle of the service. Amazing! Wouldn’t you love to see that in the middle of the service? That would liven things up. The Rabbis and leaders grumbled, but the people loved him, because he spoke with authority and power – a new teaching.
So Jairus is different. He’s the first synagogue leader, one of the first Jewish leaders, who comes and kneels before Jesus begging 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.” There is no doubt in Jairus’ mind. Let the scribes and Pharisees and teachers of the law nitpick with Jesus and argue with him. Jairus, “the one giving light” listened as the news spread quickly throughout Galilee, how people came from everywhere, saying, “we have never seen anything like this!”
So yes, when Jairus’ little girl took sick to the point of death, and there was Jesus in front of him, dignified Jairus fell to his knees like the leper, like the crazy man with an evil spirit, and humbly begged for help. And without hesitation, without a word, Jesus went with him.
Now the crowd is getting pumped up, ready for action. However they are about to receive the shock of their lives. As they are moving along to Jairus’ house, there’s a woman mixed in this crowd. Now she is not supposed to be there. This woman has been suffering from hemorrhages of blood for 12 years.
Now according to the Law written in Leviticus 15, this woman was ritually unclean, and everything and everyone she touched she also rendered unclean. She was not allowed to enter the Temple or participate in rituals. Her uncontrollable bleeding made her an exile and an outcast.
For 12 years she suffered, visited this doctor after doctor. You can imagine the kind of remedies this poor woman endured:
Rabbi Jochanan of the first century says: "Take of gum Alexandria, of alum, and of crocus hortensis, the weight of a zuzee each; let them be bruised together, and given in wine to the woman that hath an issue of blood.
But if this fail, "Take of Persian onions nine logs, boil them in wine, and give it to her to drink: and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this fail, "Set her in a place where two ways meet, and let her hold a cup of wine in her hand; and let somebody come behind and affright her, and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this do no good,
"Take a handful of cummin and a handful of crocus, and a handful of faenu-greek; let these be boiled, and given her to drink, and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this also fail, "Dig seven trenches, and burn in them some cuttings of vines not yet circumcised (vines not four years old); and let her take in her hand a cup of wine, and let her be led from this trench and set down over that, and let her be removed from that, and set down over another: and in each removal say unto her, Arise from thy flux."
Here are some other doctor’s remedies: Oil mixed with sweet beer and other herbs and drink for four days.
-Smear the womb with cedar oil and caraway seed.
Make poultices of onions and wine, or honey fennel sweet beer, mug root for four days.
Fumigate and incense the woman with onions, musk, cedar sawdust, milk bone marrow, boiled juniper berries and cumin.
Fumigation meant digging a trench, lighting a little fire, throwing in whatever herbs you thought were going to work, and having the patient sit over this trench for whatever time you thought was appropriate.
Now this woman was desperate enough that she got fumigated, incensed, poked and prodded, and drank enough sweet beer concoctions to float her to the moon and back. Her finances were bled dry—but her bleeding didn’t stop. So here, as she observes Jesus walking with Jairus, not wanting to interrupt his important mission, but also, after 12 years she is so beaten down, so defeated, knowing she is unclean, and an outcast, unwanted – but she sees her ray of light – Jesus. “ If I just touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Not even grab his hand. Not even ask for a word. Immediately as she touches the cloak of Jesus, she is healed.
She knows it. Jesus knows it.
Now Jesus could have just said “nice” and kept walking. He knew the urgency of the task ahead. However he also knew the urgency of the task at the present.
So he asks, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples are like “really Jesus?” Look at this crowd?”
Have you ever been on the A train during rush hour when people are packed in like sardines and one more pushes their way in? That’s what we are talking about here.
This woman could have ran. Jesus could have let it go. However something important had to happen. Poor Jairus, we can imagine he is breaking out in a cold sweat.
Now Jesus didn’t call this woman out to humiliate her. We know when she touched him she rendered him ritually unclean. As if Jesus ever cared about such things. Further, remember Jesus was raised by a foster father, Joseph, who was unwilling to expose Mary, Jesus’ mother, to the harsh letter of the law.
So why would Jesus expose this woman, who had been unclean for 12 years, who broke the Law to get a healing from Jesus?
Finally this unnamed woman comes forward. She falls before him in fear. She is literally trembling.
In front of everyone she tells him the whole truth. She tells him she has been sick for 12 years. She details the efforts she made to get well. She admits her life-savings are gone. She summarizes all the potions she’s drank, the fumigations she’s undergone, the rabbi’s she consulted. For all she has done she hasn’t gotten better. Just worse. She hasn’t been able to be close to her family. She couldn’t touch anyone for 12 years. That’s close than half of her life. She just wanted, for what time she has left, to have a real home, to go to the synagogue, to the Temple, to have a life.
Jesus, in front of Jairus, restores her. Jesus calls this woman “daughter," and Jesus says “your faith has made you well.” There are very few people Jesus says this to. Jesus doesn’t mean faith in the sense of believing in creeds, dogma and doctrine. Faith here is gospel faith; meaning trust in Jesus, who loves us and gave his life for us.
It was important for this woman to give a testimony of faith to her healing to assure that it came from Jesus and not from some charlatan, so she could be readmitted into the full community to which she belonged.
Jesus adds “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” This is the only place in the gospel of Mark Jesus uses the word peace. In addition to saying this women has been healed by her faith and trust in him, Jesus is adding the additional blessing of freeing her from all the suffering she has endured for 12 years. Jesus has had her tell 12 years of misery to the gathered crowd. So Jesus has broken those chains entirely.
She is a free women, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and Jairus is witness to her cure. So telling the whole truth gave this woman three things: healing, peace, and relief from her chronic suffering.
Now as this stirring moment is happening, Jairus receives the news he has dreaded. They have delayed too long. His daughter is dead. This woman’s healing cost his daughter her life. Jesus however speaks his first words to Jairus in the passage: ”Do not fear, only believe.”
By the time they get to the house the ruckus has started. The funeral musicians are hammering the dirges. The professional wailers are hooting and hollering creating all kinds of disturbance. Jesus addresses them “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep?” Now they laughed at him. Who was Jesus to tell professional mourners how to do their job?
Jesus just puts them out. He takes just the parents, Peter, James and John and goes to the child. He takes her by the hand, again, for those who keep track of such things, by touching the dead becomes ritually contaminated – but we know – he doesn’t care. In the few phrases in the New Testament we have remembered Jesus speaking in Aramaic, Jesus commands, Talitha cum – little girl, get up! Or Little girl arise!
Scholars say that “Little girl” in the Aramaic is a derivative of the word “lambkin” a pet name for a child, so, it’s as if Jesus is saying, “lambkin, arise.” How appropriate for the Good Shepherd to go and seek the little lost lamb and coax her to stand.
And so she does. She gets up and walks about. They all stood there, with their jaws dropping to the floor, completely amazed. This is a strong word. It means what they have witnessed has shaken them to the point that they are beside themselves. They can no longer think and feel and see the world the way they used to. They are thrown into wonderment. Jesus has to bring them back into reality for a minute – He interrupts them and says -- will someone give this child some food? Because, again, proof that she is alive is that only the living take nourishment. Furthermore, being healed stirs up an appetite.
So, many would say we have two healing stories here. I would say we have three. We have our unnamed woman with the flow of blood, we have our little lambkin, and we have Jairus. Jairus, the synagogue leader, the one who gives light, who for 12 years could not permit this woman into the synagogue.
Now, we know the number 12 means a lot of things, especially in the Bible. Twelve means a little girl on the cusp of adulthood. Twelve means a woman sick for a long, long time. However, 12, in biblical numerology, symbolizes God’s power and authority, a perfect number, serving as a perfect foundation for the governing of God’s people. That’s why there are 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles laying the foundation for the new people of God. I’d like to think that was the healing, the gift, the insight, Jairus received: to be the one called to create a new assembly where all are welcome, all can come as they are to worship and be loved unconditionally.
We are so like our friends in this story. Would we be so enlightened as Jairus as to seek help for what is dying around us and get on our knees and seek Jesus. To come, even in fear and trembling. To come to Jesus, even as he says, do not fear, only believe.
However, I believe our friends would advise us to come tonight prepared to tell the whole truth. Not just the successful pieces and the nice parts. We need to tell the entire story. We need to include the failures. The times we’ve fallen. The times we have taken the wrong turn.
If you want to be free, if you want to be truly healed, if you want your soul to be cleansed and unburdened, tell the whole truth about yourself.
At some point, you must tell God, tell your pastor, a prayer partner, a spiritual director, a therapist, tell your trusted friend, tell somebody, tell it tonight, tell the whole truth.
· Tell the truth about those twelve years of bleeding, all those doctors you went to, all those treatments you tried, the money you spent, those lonely years without human contact, until Jesus came into your life.
· Tell the truth about your picture book marriage, your dreams for retirement and living happy ever after and how it ended in a divorce – or estrangement, and you never in your wildest dreams thought it would happen this way.
· Tell the truth how you leave your house with a smile on your face but inside you are crying because you are depressed and anxious because you are caring for sick parents, dependent children, there’s credit card debt, and the mortgage to pay.
· Tell the truth how you smile but your heart is breaking because you have no self-esteem and you think no one likes you, or someone is hurting is hurting you and you can’t stop it.
· Tell the truth because you don’t think God exists, or if he does he probably doesn’t love you because what you have done in your life.
· Tell the truth: when other mothers are cooing about how their sons have graduated college and are doing this and that, my son, my son, had to drop out, because halfway through he had to hospitalized to prevent himself from harming himself. One of the worst sounds in the world is hearing the click of a lock of a hospital ward as you leave your son there. And my son said to share this, because some of our young people are differently abled. We need to love all of them just as they are. Also the sad fact is some of our young promising sons have died before their time. The reality is some of our young sons will not come home tonight. Let us tell the whole truth, to be free and healed.
· Do you see this bracelet? It is from my daughter. It is from when she was 16 years old. It says “To write love on her arms.” This self-help movement dedicated to assisting those struggling with depression, self-injury, suicide and addiction was there for my daughter in her time of need. She wants you to know that, because there may be a lambkin out there, even here tonight, who needs help. Tell the whole truth.
What is your whole truth? Addiction? Pride? Lust? Fear? Anxiety? Anger? Health? Judgment? Criticizing? Do not fear, Jesus said. Only believe. Jesus loves you, there is nothing you can do that can separate you from the love of God in Christ. Nothing. Believe this and believe in your story together. Just tell the whole truth. Tell it, tell it even if it is with truth and trembling.
In a minute, you will have the opportunity to come forward to be prayed over and blessed. If you wish to be anointed by holy oil. If you feel more comfortable, you can remain in your seats and prayer quietly. Just talk to God, tell him everything. IF you want to speak to Pastors Forrest or me later in the week, or to any pastor, it would be our honor and privilege.
My prayer tonight for all of us is that we have the gift to tell the whole truth about ourselves. If we can’t tell the whole truth in church – because that is what church is for. We must be become the gathered crowd of witnesses, not professional wailers and mourners, but witnesses to the truth, holy listeners, so that the Holy Spirit can stop the bleeding and stem the suffering and fill us with peace.
So fall on the knees of your heart and beg God for whatever it is you need.
Tell your whole truth. Be brave. Tell it all. That’s what Jesus intended. Tell the whole truth. So trust and faith can be restored. We can be healed. Peace found. And no more suffering.
So take the hand of Jesus and get up, yes, Lambkin, get up.
Then like brother Jairus, you Shine.
Let the light shine for the whole world to see, and give glory to your Father in Heaven.