October 2019


“Do not fear, only believe.”      Mark 5.36     (NRSV)                                

“Do not be afraid; only have faith”   Mark 5.36   (NEB)

 

The words “Do not fear, only believe” or “Do not be afraid, only have faith” were initially spoken to a local religious leader (Jewish) named Jairus. He had begged Jesus to help him because his daughter was very ill: she was ‘at death’s door’. 

Jesus sets off for Jairus’s house. As they go, there is the encounter with the woman who touches his garment and is healed of her bleeding. While Jesus is commending the faith that has cured her, men come running from the house to break the news to Jairus: “Your daughter is dead; why trouble the Rabbi (i.e. Jesus) further?” Jesus immediately says to Jairus “Do not fear, only believe” or “Do not be afraid; only have faith”.

Jesus exercises his power as God to reverse the course of nature, to restore life and health to those suffering from sickness and even the dead. We can imagine the wonder and joy of those who saw and experienced the divine power of Christ the healer but we need more – we need faith. All of us, at some time, face moments of fear, or despair or horror. Whenever we do so, these words of Jesus, I AM, are for us. If necessary we can repeat them over and over again until we have ‘taken them on board’:

“Do not fear, only believe”.

It has been said that fear is like a dark cloud or thick fog which cuts us off from I AM as surely as a switch cuts off the electric current.

Therefore, when we are afraid we have to turn to this Word “Do not fear, only believe”, spoken to us by I AM, and put our trust in Him and His Word. When we do so then His love, wisdom and power is able to flow into us, bringing His peace.

When Jesus says: “Only have faith”, He is telling us that we are to have faith in Him; that His word is true; we are to have faith that, whatever happens to us, He will carry us through it; faith that in the end, however terrible the present is, everything will be alright. Faith comes to us, as a gift, as and when we put ourselves completely in the hands of our Lord and Saviour I AM.