Jesus’ Authority Over Death and Disease

The Gospel of Mark – Part 19

Jesus’ Authority over Death and Disease
Mark 5:21-43

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 1st, 2019


  • This morning our focus returns back to Mark as he provides another story of the power and authority of Jesus which ultimately points to His identity.  Mark links four stories, one after another, as Jesus and His disciples were ministering and traveling together. 
  • We saw in chapter 4, Jesus and His disciples, after a long day of teaching and ministry, set out across the sea, and as they were going to the other side a huge storm came upon them and they became afraid for their lives. Jesus demonstrated His power over nature by speaking three words to the storm and it obeyed Him and became calm.   
  • When they reached the other side of the sea, a man who had been tormented by a legion of demons met them and Jesus delivered this man from a supernatural storm by using His position of authority to free this man and spread the message of the mercy of God to the region. 
  • There are limits to our skill to successfully navigate the storms of life and there are limits to our strength to control the spirits of darkness. Jesus does not have these limits, and His power and authority, His skill and His strength is greater than all natural and supernatural forces.  
  • This morning we will see the limits of spiritual leadership, the limits of medical care, and the limits of physical death and how Jesus is greater and over all these things. My hope is that through this passage and through this message your faith and trust in Jesus will be renewed and strengthened, resulting in peace in your heart and honor and praise to God through Christ Jesus the Son of God.  

A bended knee – the limits of spiritual leadership

Mark 5:21-24a ESV 
And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “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 And he went with him.

  • After the encounter with the demonized man, they left that region and crossed in the boat to the other side of the sea. There was again a great crowd that had gathered about Him. One of men that came to him was one of the rulers of the synagogue, and his name was Jairus.  
  • Now at this time in the ministry of Jesus, conclusions about Him had been made, and sides were being drawn. The religious community was joining together to come against Him. So, this man Jairus was in a difficult position.  
  • First off, he was a ruler of the synagogue. This means that he had spiritual leadership of a congregation. So, it is safe to assume that he had studied, that he had life experience, and that he was respected and followed God. 
  • This man also had a pressing personal issue: his daughter, who was around 12 years old(see Luke 8:32), was near death.  And it is safe to say that she had a condition that had been moving her in this direction for a time. With all his biblical training and years of study, with his call and his responsibility, he did not have the power to supernaturally change anything. He had problems that were bigger than him and he had limits as to what he could do. And for all the training and all the knowledge, there are still limits to what spiritual leaders can do. God is the one who ultimately must move and make change.  
  • Now, knowing that he had an urgent physical need on behalf of his young daughter, he had a choice to make. He could reach out to this man called Jesus for help, break from the spiritual establishment, and perhaps be ostracized and sidelined by this group, or he could cross the line and reach out to Him.  
  • We can tell that this man had faith because of what he said to Jesus. He said, “Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” This man believed, this man had faith and this man must have known the truth “for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6 ESV).
  • The truth is that when we have a need that is bigger than us and this usually forces us to reach beyond our limits and to reach out to a power that is greater than us. This is often when people reach out to God. All his biblical training could not do what only God could do.  
  • Each of us needs the authority and power of God to change the things that we cannot change.  We all desperately need the power of God to move at our request. Jesus is God and can do abundantly more than we ask or imagine. Continue to reach out to Him knowing that one touch from Him will make all the difference. There are limits to spiritual leadership, and all good spiritual leadership points people to Jesus the source of all good things. 

A touch of faith – the limits of medical care 

  • As Jesus was walking to go minister to this girl, along the way something else happened as well. 

Mark 5:24b-34 ESV 
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”  31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'”  32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

  • There was as a “great crowd” that followed and “thronged” about him. There were people constantly running into each other and brushing against Jesus as well. Among this crowd was a woman who had a “discharge of blood” for 12 years (interesting that we see the number 12 again – and many people believe that this is the number of completion – at the right time change does come). This woman had been suffering under many physicians and had spent all her money and she had not gotten any better but only grew worse. 
  • For all of the great things that the medical community and medicine has given us, there are limits. And in giving us these details, we know that this woman was not cured by the medical community. I am grateful for the medical community, and thankful for people who have given their lives to help other people, but as we know there are limits. This woman had done everything that she could and tried everything that she knew to get better, and there was no relief and no positive change. She was desperate and had nowhere to turn.  
  • She must have heard about Jesus, and she went out to him. I am guessing because of the context they she had to “fight” her way to get close enough to touch Him, but not even Him, but just to touch His garment to be healed. This women in her pain did not give up. She gathered her strength and would not be denied. She was a woman of great faith and persistence.  
  • Why did the power of God flow to heal this person and not everyone who bumped into or touched Jesus? Because there is a huge difference between bumping into Jesus and reaching out to Jesus. Many people brush up against Jesus, but not everyone reach out to Jesus in faith. And Jesus knew that this “touch” was different from all those who were “bumping” into him. He called out to her and she came to him. He wanted to know her, He wanted to talk to her, He wanted to see her. And He told her, “Your faith has made you well.” The Greek word that He used was “sozo” which is “saved you.” Your faith has spiritually and totally saved you. Every time in the New Testament faith is associated with “healing” the word that is used is “sozo” which means “saved.” Jesus first met her ultimate and eternal need for salvation by giving her eternal life because of her faith. And then he said, be “healed of your disease.” This word for “healed” is a different Greek word “hugies” (‘hoog-ee-ace’) which is the word for physical healthy – to be well in body. 
  • If you reach out and place your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins to save you and make you eternally whole, He will meet you, and He may even take away all of your temporary bodily conditions as well. (I am not saying that God is obligated to do this for you, He will always forgive you of your sins [I John 1:7-10] and He also has the power to heal the body). 
  • Our medical help has it limits, but Jesus is above and beyond those limits and can change and cure our physical bodies, because “all things were created through him and for him” (Col 1:16 ESV).

A grievous report – the limits of physical death

Mark 5:35-43 ESV
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.”  40 And they laughed at him. But 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  Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. 

  • While Jesus was speaking with this woman, a report came that this young girl had died. Those who brought the message told Jairus, “Don’t bother Him anymore, it is too late, she is dead.”  But Jesus intervened and said, “Don’t fear, only believe.” Jesus, in the middle of this report, said this is not the end.  
  • When they arrived at the house the people were weeping and wailing loudly. They were in great anguish and deep grief. Jesus then brought Peter, James, and John along with her parents into the room with the girl. On the way, in an attempt to comfort the mourners, he told them “The child is not dead but sleeping.” In their lack of belief, they laughed at Him. And people who do not believe in Jesus still “laugh” at Him and the promise that those who have faith in Him will “rise again” (see I Thes. 4:16).  
  • With the call of Jesus, even the dead respond. His voice pierces the darkness and reaches into death to draw out those who are His. And those who hear His voice will immediately respond to Him. This is the great hope that all those who believe in Jesus can be confident in, that all those who are in Christ even after they die will rise again because He has the power over sin and death. 

1 Cor 15:51-57 ESV
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55  “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ


  • Jesus is greater than all natural forces. Jesus is stronger than all supernatural forces. Where spiritual leaders can go no farther, Jesus can. Where doctors have reached their limit, Jesus hasn’t. Where death has claimed its victims, Jesus declares His victory. 
  • Jesus is truly the “Son of God.” He is who He claims to be. Trust in him, believe in Him, give your life completely to Him. He is worthy of all of your trust, He is worthy of all that you are, His word is true and what He says will be so. Rest in His word and be fully confident in what is to come. You do not need to be afraid even in death, because all those in Him will raise again. Take this to heart and be at peace.