by Stephen F. Olford
Text: "Do not be afraid; only believe" (Mark 5:36, read verses 5:21-24, 35-42).
Thoughts: Jarius was a man of strong faith; otherwise he never could have said, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live" (v. 23). As often happens, however, the maximum strain is imposed upon this man's faith at the moment of greatest hope. The Lord Jesus was just about to start for his house when the messengers arrived to say, "Your daughter is dead" (v. 35). How utterly shattering!
But it is in the face of such disappointment and distress that Jesus says: "Do not be afraid; only believe" (v. 36). Observe that it was Jesus who "heard the word that was spoken" by the messengers. He anticipated the sad news with His own triumphant reassurance: "Do not be afraid; only believe" (v. 36). Surely the lesson is clear. With Jesus the most devastating situations can be faced with:
1. Courageous Faith. "Do not be afraid" (v. 36). The presence of Christ banishes fear. "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). If fear lurks or remains, it is because the Savior is not fully recognized in any given situation. Until Jesus entered the Upper Room to transform His early disciples into the mighty men of Pentecost, they were paralyzed "for fear of the Jews" (John 20:19).
2. Confident Faith. "Only believe" (v. 36). This is conquering faith because it is clinging faith. When you cannot do anything else but cling, you reach the glorious position where God can begin to work. He renews hope: "The child is not dead, but sleeping" (v. 39). He removes doubt: "He had put them [the scorners] all out" (v. 40). He restores life: "I say to you, arise" (v. 41).
Thrust: Give me faith, O Lord and Savior, Faith unwav'ring, true, and strong; Faith to order my behavior, Faith to sing the triumph song. Amen.