Why Christ Insists on Belief

Mark 5.22

When Christ healed the twelve-year-old daughter of one named Jairus, he said, ‘Only believe!’ Why is this so vital, and exactly what form should our belief take in order for us to experience the unmistakable response of the Lord?

And behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus, by name. And when he saw him, Christ, he fell at his feet and besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death. I pray thee come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed.

And our subject is ‘why Christ insists on belief’ or on believing. Why is it so pivotal, so essential that we should believe in the things of Christ in order to find him and know him? Well, I’m just going to read a few words from verse 21. When Jesus passed over again by ship unto the other side (of the Sea of Galilee, that is), much people gathered unto him, and he was nigh unto the sea. He’d come to Capernaum, where he had cast out a demon in the synagogue previously, where he had healed a paralyzed man who was let down through a roof of the house, because those who bore him couldn’t get into the house where Christ was teaching. And now there are these healings that we read of here.

Well, in verse 22, there’s an interesting introduction to the topic, ‘And behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue.’ This ‘and behold’ and see, it’s very commonly used by Mark and by other gospel writers also. But it always has significance. The idea is it conveys that this is going to be rather a surprising scene, an unexpected scene. And so it is, because one of the rulers of the synagogue comes. Well, later on in the narrative, he’s called the ruler of the synagogue. So he was one of a group. It was a very important, a very large synagogue, but he was evidently the senior ruler, the senior person.

And you would expect him at any rate to be a typical self-righteous Pharisee, ruling that particular very well-known synagogue in Capernaum. He’s named here, and that leads us to suppose that he certainly became a disciple of Christ, and therefore his name was known among the churches. And so, unusually, he’s named here in this miracle.

But then this faith aspect seems to be something that actually carries me in. I step forward in faith, and I trust him, and I rest my soul upon what Christ has done, and I believe in him. So there almost seems to be a contradiction. I repent as an outsider, and yet I step forward in faith and trust and embrace him and receive him. And I’d like to try to explain these two things very simply tonight.

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