Sunday School Lessons


Commentary by Walter Albritton


April 27


Faith in Christ Can Conquer Fear


Mark 5:21-43

Key Verse: Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

--Mark 5:36


            In studying the scriptures, I always ask for the Spirit’s enlightenment. My prayer is simple, “Lord, show me a truth I have never seen before.”

            The result, with this passage, is a delightful new idea. The Lord helped me to observe that both Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood “fell” at the feet of Jesus. Both of them knelt down before Jesus, seeking his help.

            Kneeling has been my favorite position for praying. I have always been thankful that Methodist churches provide a place to kneel at the altar of the church. I prefer the practice of kneeling to receive the Holy Sacrament, though obviously it is the “position” of the heart that matters most.

            Now that my knees are older and weaker, I realize that it is not always possible for everyone to kneel at the altar. Sometimes I have to laugh and tell someone, “I can only kneel if you will help me back up!”

            Jairus was a powerful leader in his community. We might not have expected him to kneel, but he did. The suffering woman was awed by the power of Jesus, and she was at the end of her rope. So we are not surprised by her kneeling.

            The act of kneeling before someone is a sign of humility. The one kneeling thus acknowledges a need for help which the other person has the power to provide, and for which one is unworthy to receive. Kneeling implies a swallowing of one’s pride.

            It calls to mind a phrase from a song, “Let me at thy throne of mercy, find a sweet relief; kneeling there in deep contrition, help my unbelief.” The title of that great old gospel song by Fanny Crosby stimulates a picture of a humble sinner kneeling before the Lord: “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.”

            Review the gospel stories and you discover that repeatedly, the people who came to Jesus for help “fell at his feet.” They knelt before him, asking for mercy and healing.

            As I look back over my life, I realize there were many significant times of brokenness when I went to my knees, asking for help from the Lord.

            Both Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood knelt before Jesus because each was powerless to meet a desperate need. Both had faith that Jesus could meet their needs.

            God not only requires faith in order to “please” him, he delights in our faith, just as Jesus did. Faith is trusting God to meet our needs through the riches of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            Faith is stronger than belief. I can believe in God, that he exists, and that he created all things. Faith takes belief a step further, allowing me to trust God for personal guidance and provision of my needs. Faith is trusting that God hears my humble prayers and answers them according to his best will for my life.

            Fear can paralyze faith. Fear can cause us to doubt God’s love, or to doubt his willingness to care about the concerns we bring to him in earnest prayer. Faith must say to fear, “Get out of my life; I will not allow you to come between me and my Lord. I will not permit you to deny me the blessings that God wants to give me in response to my sincere faith.”

            How long has it been since you needed the Lord’s help enough to get on your knees, and exercising the gift of faith, humbly begged for mercy? No matter how you answer the question, remember it is never too late to fall at his feet and humbly pray! + + + +