The Struggle Between Belief and Fear
Translated by Allan Liang
Mark 5:35-43 These verses in Mark speak of Jesus’ miracle of raising a girl from death to life, with verses 22-24 acting as the prelude to the story where the girl’s death was imminent. However, by verse 35, messengers came to tell that the girl was already dead, “why bother the teacher any more?” Evidently, the initial plea was for Jesus to save the life of the girl, now that she was dead, there was no need for Jesus to go. However, Jesus insisted on going to the ruler of the synagogue, and brought several disciples along, as was particularly mentioned in the Bible. At the same time, he told the people “don’t be afraid, only believe.” The people there could not understand how Jesus would save a dead person, yet Jesus spoke not of life and death, but solely of faith. Today we understand, for the Holy Son Jesus, came to earth so that he may triumph over the power of death, revealing to mankind the path of faith. Consequently, life and death cannot prevent one from being saved through faith. Jesus here, contrasted faith and fear, allowing us to see the struggle between faith and fear. At the end of the story, after the noisy crowd of people were put out, Jesus saved this girl whom he said was merely sleeping, a miracle witnessed by the parents of the girl and his disciples. After being raised to life, Jesus commanded food to be given to the girl; truly, all those saved by God will be nurtured and sustained by him. After reading this story, what have we learned? Rather than saying Jesus raised another person from death, let us say that this is another miracle of true faith granting victory, for he has taught us, “don’t be afraid, only believe.” Whether if it were Jesus’ disciples or the parents of the girl, had they feared, they would not have seen the fruit of faith - raising people from the dead. As described in the Bible, there were people pressed Jesus (verse 24), people wailing (verse 38) and people laughing (verse 40), yet only the parents of the girl on whom he performed the miracle and his disciples followed him from beginning to end and witnessed the raising of the dead. Those who did not believe were left outside, unable to know of such things. (verse 43). Today, what do we fear? Perhaps we may say that we fear the virus, but will it cause us to be “left outside”? Are we one of the people crowded against Jesus, thinking we know God, but not understanding the cost of discipleship, forsaking him after hearing his teachings; or perhaps we may be among those wailing, wailing and weeping because we have lost the things of this earth, the things that are visible, yet we do not desire to grasp onto God and his promises, and see the greater reward; perhaps we may be among the laughers, considering ourselves to be so great that we cannot see God’s work, saying that we believe God, yet worship only ourselves. Dear brothers and sisters, may God take away our heart of fear, so that faith and only faith may be our strength in following him. Please meditate with prayer: Do we give thanks for the pandemic, seeing that it has increased our faith in Christ and has diminished faith in ourselves? Let us walk by faith on this path of grace, trusting God as we path through this season of pandemic.