Our Dallas preaching pastor, Craig Cabaniss, preached a really helpful sermon today on faith (listen to it here). The passage was Mark 5:21-43 which included the healing of the woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years and also the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Of the many good points about faith that he made during this sermon, there was one that struck me. As he described Jesus approaching the wailing in front of Jairus’ house, Pastor Craig commented:
He comes in and he says, “Hey why are you making such a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. They laughed at him. The mourners did. They moved from weeping to laughing really quickly. They are not the most authentic here. They’re weeping that the girl is dead and then they are mocking God in the same sentence. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father, who has already seen a miracle, and mother and those who were with them and he went in where the child was. The mockers won’t see God move. They won’t see what God actually does here. It is the cynic, it is the arrogant, critical, person who is critical of God, whose eyes will be blinded often times from the work of God. They don’t get to come in and see what happens. Now, if they stuck around they will see this girl up and walking around at some point. But they don’t see what happens. It is those who are desperate, it is those who trust God, that encounter him. We distance ourselves from God when we are cynical or giving into unbelief. And our eyes are open when we come in humble desperation, crying out to God.
I have found this to be a pattern in the Gospels: miracles are really not for the skeptical. When the Pharisees demanded a sign from Christ he replied, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it…” (Matthew 12:38-39). Instead, in this passage the two people who already believed were the ones given a miracle: Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood. I think this is interesting because it seems to me that it would be the opposite. The believing already believe, so what do they need to see miracles for? It is the unbelieving that need to be convinced, right? But the truth is that scoffers will never see the power of God. Why? Because, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
I find this very encouraging. God is not distant, a cold watchmaker, who never reveals himself to his creatures. But God is also not a genie who appears whenever we bid him to. Instead he is a God who loves to reveal himself, to make his power known. But He only gives grace to the humble. In the case of these two stories he revealed his power to those that would fall down at his feet and beg him for help. I pray that this year the Lord would make me more humble, more desperate, and more willing to beg him for grace.