Belief- S1E5: Mark 5- by John Stapleton

Belief- S1E5 by John Stapleton’s Weekly Bible Lab. Be sure to subscribe to John Stapleton’s channel by clicking on the icon on the YouTube video below. Also, if you’re on the go or in the car, click on the podcast play button to listen to the audio just below the YouTube video.

Belief

BIG IDEA: We fight fear with faith. Based on Mark 5. 

1. The Story

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. (5:21-29)

2. Comparison of Jairus and the Woman 

3. Responses to Jesus: Fear and Faith.

Jesus switches the two, raising the status of the woman by making her the one to emulate. The woman was afraid, but she professed her faith. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just believe.’” (5:36).

Jesus goes and raises the girl and the witnesses still don’t believe. “They were completely astonished.” (5:42). The root of unbelief is fear. Fear is a lack of faith and this is a theme that serves as an undercurrent of this gospel. 

  • The disciples were afraid when Jesus calmed the sea (4:40). 
  • The townspeople were afraid when they saw the demoniac healed (5:15).
  • Peter was afraid at the transfiguration (9:6).
  • The disciples were afraid of thinking about Jesus dying (9:32).
  • The disciples were afraid of going up to Jerusalem (10:32).
  • The women were afraid at the tomb (16:8)

CONCLUSION: “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” (5:36)

March 1, Q&A

1). Is it possible to witness the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation slowly coming to fruition in the modern world?

Prophecy tends to have a “near and far” application. The near application is how the text applied to the original hearers. The far application is how that text ripples out to future generations.

John 17 is a good example of this; Jesus starts praying for his followers and then for future believers (verse 20). Matthew 24 is another example. The near fulfillment was 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple. It was the end of the world to a Jew as it would be difficult to imagine life relating to God without a temple. The far application is the return of Christ at the final chapter of human history.

I say that to say this: Daniel and Revelation (to some point) has already been fulfilled. However, since the Bible speaks to the deepest needs of humanity, the struggles and such that is the human experience will repeat from generation to generation. So maybe we aren’t dealing with the beast empires of Daniel or Rome in Paul’s day, but we know what it is like to be a marginalized group under a godless government – like Paul and Daniel.

2). Which character of the Bible has the most personal relationship with God?

It is hard to pick just one person because the Bible is intentional about reminding us of many men and women who were close to God. However, if I had to pick one person, it would be Abraham. He is called “God’s friend” in James 2:23).

I love how the Bible reminds all of us that we can be friends of God too if we place our trust in God, taking him at his word.

3). Is the Book of Daniel a book of folk tales?

The short answer is no. Daniel is essentially 2 genres in one book. The first 6 chapters are historical and the last 6 are apocalyptic. The book of Daniel tracks the life of a teenage Israeli captive that got taken to Babylon and he is a ripe old age by the end of chapter 6.

Daniel is a great example of how to live faithfully to God while serving a pagan government. He outlives the reign of 3 Babylonian kings and has unwavering faith in God.

Apocalypse serves the purpose of peeling back the curtain to see the spiritual realities and how they affect physically present situations; this includes foresight into the future. This is the intent behind all the weirdness in the book of Daniel.

4). What is the meaning of ‘one day’s burden is not enough for one day’ that’s been mentioned in the Bible?

That’s not in the Bible. However, Jesus did say that “each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:44, NIV).

In the passage, Jesus was preaching on why we shouldn’t live our lives worrying about things we cannot control. Why carry the burden of worry when we cannot control the outcome? Why worry if it doesn’t make us any healthier or live longer?

By now we should be on the same page, right? If I’m not able to change this situation and I’m in the middle of it, I’m going to trust God as I keep going. Worry is not an option because it is too expensive, yielding negative results on our body and soul.

5). Why does the Bible say that nobody is beyond the grace of God but in another part it says that God will harden people’s hearts?

From the start, I admit that I don’t have a concrete answer, but I’ll give the best answer I presently have.

First, we need to know the heart of God. He is not playing games with people’s lives, playing a divine game of Duck, Duck, Damn. God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, NIV).

Second, the Bible doesn’t directly say that nobody is beyond the grace of God, but that’s the conclusion we draw after reading about the character of God. There are two main passages of Scripture that I would like to draw from; the story of Pharaoh in Exodus 5–12 and Romans 9–11.

What’s curious about Pharaoh is that he hardens his heart and then it later says that God hardened his heart. I believe this is the same thing. Since God gives us the ability to choose or reject him, we have the ability to harden our hearts against God; we can be stubborn. The other side of the coin is that God’s hands aren’t tied; nothing happens without God allowing it to happen.

That’s the mystery of free will and God’s treatment of our rebellion.

6). What are your favorite things to read in the Bible?

I love the gospels! I don’t have a favorite because they are all so wonderfully unique.

I also love the book of Romans as it the place to go for deep theology. The Proverbs are useful for practical living. I guess I have a lot of favorites; it depends on what I need at a given time.

The more I read it, the harder it is to have a favorite part.

7). Do you think Leviticus 20:15 is considered ‘too harsh’ or would you consider it to be fair?

It’s not my call to judge how ‘harsh’ this law is. All I know is God calls it perversion and as the Creator of the universe, he gets the right to make whatever laws he wants over his creation.

Matthew Henry says this about the verse: “What praises we owe to God that he has taught the evil of sin, and the sure way of deliverance from it! May we have grace to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; may we have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove them.”

Instead of critiquing God’s law, we need to let it critique us. The standard is God’s holiness. He commanded us in the previous chapter to “be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2 NIV). Even in the chapter above that, we see that God wants his people to be different (which means holy) from their neighbors that did deplorable things like burning children as sacrifices to demon gods.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 18:1–5 NIV).

In closing, we need to thank God for his high standard of living, because when people follow God’s laws, society flourishes.

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