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Lesson 11: Waiting in the Crucible *

Introduction: Most lawyers handle cases in the town or state where they live. Unlike most lawyers, my nearest case would often be hundreds of miles away. Many of my cases were thousands of miles away. This meant traveling. One of the lawyers who worked with me announced one day that he "never waited in line." How could that be? I was constantly waiting in line. Getting through security at the airport, getting on the plane, getting a rental car or cab, checking into the hotel: all involved some sort of wait. As I was patiently (or impatiently) standing in line this fellow's words would come back to me. He described a world which, in my experience, did not exist. If you wanted to get somewhere, you had to wait. Our lesson this week suggests that this is a Biblical principle - patient waiting helps us to get somewhere. Let's dive into our study and learn more about what the Bible teaches about why waiting is good!

  1. Jairus and the Wait

    1. Read Mark 5:21-23. Assume that you are Jesus' "handler," His "booking agent," to help promote the gospel. What kind of opportunity do you see here? (This is an opportunity to help someone of great influence in that town. It would really help to promote the gospel there. I would tell Jesus to "go for it!")

    2. Read Mark 5:24. Does Jesus follow your good advice? (Jesus decides to help Jairus.)

    3. Read Mark 5:25-26. Compared to Jairus, what position does this woman have in society? (She is poor, she is sick, she is "unclean" (because of the constant bleeding) and she is a woman.)

    4. Read Mark 5:27-28. Why would this woman decide on this approach? Why not say to Jesus, "I've been sick for years, have no money, and the doctors cannot figure out the problem - I really need your help!" (We can be sure that she had faith. Whether she was too embarrassed to explain her problem in the middle of a crowd, whether she thought Jesus would turn her down because of her low status and being unclean, or whether she did not want to "waste" His time is unclear.)

      1. Read Leviticus 15:19-23. How do you think this rule plays into her thinking about sneaking up and touching Jesus? (She would arguably make Him "unclean" just by her touch! He might not like that. It might interfere with some official business of His.)

        1. Does this teach us anything about coming to Jesus?

    5. Read Mark 5:29-33. How does this woman react to the healing and to Jesus' question?

      1. Does she feel guilty?

      2. How do the disciples react to Jesus' stopping to determine who touched Him?

      3. Most important, how would you react to the delay if you were Jairus?

    6. Read Mark 5:34. I have no doubt that this whole sequence of events took some time. Put yourself in Jairus' position. This woman had been sick for 12 years and had not yet died. For his daughter, seconds were important. Why would Jesus stop to fool around with this woman when He had a genuine emergency on His hands? The woman could wait, his daughter could not.

      1. How would you take the delay and the wait?

    7. Read Mark 5:35. The worst has happened. Waiting has caused the worst tragedy. Jesus has absolutely no sense of priorities, right?

    8. Read Mark 5:36-42. What is Jairus' view about the delay and waiting now?

      1. Assume that Jesus spent two hours or two days with the woman who had been sick for 12 years, would even that kind of delay have mattered NOW to Jarius?

    9. Read Psalms 27:14. Compare Mark 5:36. Does God have a consistent message to us about waiting?

    10. Are you waiting for God right now? Are you waiting for Him to fix a problem? Are you waiting for Him to fix an illness? Are you waiting for Him to fix a relationship? Are you waiting for Him to return?

      1. If so, on what logical basis can we accept God's command to be strong and confident, not fearful and upset? (In Jairus' case, the "faith event" was the raising of his daughter to life. Imagine a time-line which has in the middle of it the "faith event." When Jairus was on the right side of the "faith event" (i.e., after the miracle) the delays that took place on the left side (before the event) were now meaningless. As faithful Christians, we need to live as if we were on the "right side" of the faith event. Whether that faith event is the Second Coming of Jesus or something before that, we can know that ultimately the waiting makes absolutely no difference.)

  2. The Timing of the Faith Event

    1. Read Galatians 4:4-5. This suggests that God had a specific time in mind for the first coming of Jesus. What does this suggest about the timing of Jesus' Second Coming?

    2. When you consider the story of Jairus, did Jesus make an executive decision on the timing of the faith event, or did the events of the day shape Jesus' timing?

      1. Assume your answer is, "Events shaped Jesus' timing. We live in a sinful world, and thus God's work has to take into account the impact of sin." The delay in Jairus' case had to do with Jesus getting physically to the daughter. The delay took place because the two needed to get together in the same room. Did Jesus have to "take [Jairus' daughter] by the hand" (Mark 5:41) in order to heal her? (In Matthew 8:5-13 we read the story of the healing of the Centurion's servant. Jesus performed that healing remotely. Jesus had the power to heal Jairus' daughter from the moment Jairus asked Him for help. Jesus was not delayed because of the events of life.)

      2. If I'm right that Jesus had full control over the timing of the faith event, why did He delay? Why does He delay in fixing your problem? (Reading the mind of God is hardly an exact science and humans are not fully equipped for such a task. But, we do get some insight into God's mind from the Bible. Jesus did not control when the sick woman came to Him. That delay allowed Jesus to do the most good for two sick people. The delay also increased the magnitude of Jesus' work. Raising someone to life is an extraordinary event that gives us faith that Jesus can raise us to life. Finally, the delay teaches us the value of waiting in faith.)

  3. Delight in Delay

    1. Read Psalms 37:1-2. This describes events which have gone wrong. Evil people are creating a problem. What does God tell us to avoid? (Fret. To fret means to worry. Worry is concern that things will not turn out right. It is the second cousin to impatience over delay.)

    2. Read Psalms 37:3-4. If the entire time Jairus had known the end of the matter, would he have been impatient, upset or worried?

      1. This text reveals the end of the matter for you. What is it? (The Lord will give you the desires of your heart!)

    3. Friend, do not grind your teeth when God does not intervene on your timetable to fix a problem. Do not worry and fret over the evil that happens. Do not get upset when it seems that God is doing the wrong thing, or has lost His priorities. Live on the right side of the faith event, because you know that Jesus "will give you the desires of your heart." Will you pledge today to do your best to ban worry?

  4. Next week: Dying Like a Seed
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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