Currently, I’m preaching through the Gospel of Mark. I have taught from and preached from portions of Mark’s gospel, but this is the first time I have preached from the beginning with the intent of (Lord willing) having covered every chapter and every verse. It has been a delightful challenge to work through Mark. Often, there are large chunks of narrative with little didactic material, and it is in those sermons where my prayer attention and request for assistance from the Holy Spirit in preparation is even more vigorous. This past Sunday, I preached from such a passage in Mark 5:21-43. If you didn’t click on the link to the passage, the short summary goes like this: Jesus heals the woman with a 12 year discharge of blood, and He brings back Jairus’ daughter from the point of death. There was something I missed while preparing for this sermon the week before. The Lord, in His providence, brought it out during the sermon.
In verse 41 of the passage, we read this: Taking her by the hand He said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Now, I was attempting to get through twenty-two verses in about 40-45 minutes, so I was bound to miss something, which is my way of acknowledging my limitations while simultaneously encouraging you to restrain your howls of derisive laughter. What I missed is one word: arise. It’s not that I ignored the word in preparation, but in the delivery of the sermon, I got stuck on that word, who said it, and for what reason.
We read this account from Jesus’ ministry and we focus on the miraculous works of the Savior in this little girl’s life. And we should. It is miraculous and it is certainly (and literally) death defying. But there is another message in that statement from Jesus to “arise.” That’s a statement to you and to me coming from the voice of our Savior. There is a parallel. Recognize that as Jairus’ daughter experienced physical death, we have experienced spiritual death because of our sin. Actually it is worse than having experienced spiritual death – apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead and we have not even tasted spiritual life. The only hope the little girl had, the only hope her desperate father had, was Jesus. Only Jesus could have spoken that way to her and to bring about the effect that was desired. For us, the only hope we have is Jesus calling to us and saying “arise.” Only Christ can speak that word into our life and bring about anything new. Jesus’ said in John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” If you are in Christ, He has said to you, “arise.” But that is not the only time we will hear that word.
Regardless of your eschatological stance, you anticipate the day that you die – not because you are looking forward to death or trying to speed its appearance in your life, but because you know on the day you die. you will meet Him. And He again will say to you, “arise.” Your earthly life is over. Your pains, weaknesses, struggles, and disappointments will instantaneously vanish when you get to behold His face. He will once again say “arise” and the conclusion of your earthly life is immediately followed by the beginning of your eternal life. It was unbelievable He said it to you the first time. The second time promises to be even more extravagant. Because He said it to me the first time, I long to hear it the second time. The grace given the first time He said it to me will continue on into the second time. Jesus promises are saying this to me – “Arise from your spiritual death and experience life in Me. When your earthly life is gone, you will arise to an eternal life. Trust Me. Live in Me. Fix your hope on Me. Anticipate being with Me.”