These small group studies of the gospel of Mark contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Mark 5:21-43 Inductive Bible Study
Jairus’ request (21-24)
A desperate woman is healed (25-34)
Jesus’ raised the girl back to life (35-43)
I. Verses 21-24 Discussion Questions
Where was Jesus crossing over from? What had happened on the other side?
What was a synagogue?
What was Jairus’ request? What did this show about him?
How did Jesus respond to his request?
As soon as Jesus came back across the Sea of Galilee from his brief trip to cast out the demons from the man in the region of the Garasenes, he was swamped by crowds of people again. He stayed by the seashore teaching them.
Jairus came to Jesus to ask for healing for his daughter. When he arrived he got straight to the point. He boldly walked right up to Jesus and asked for help. Yet he did it with humility (by falling down) and politeness (please) and didn’t make any demands of Jesus. He also had complete faith in Jesus. Jairus believed that if Jesus laid hands on her, she would be made well. It was likely this faith that prompted Jesus to go with him to heal the girl.
Application: Jairus gives us a good model about how to make requests of God in our prayers.
Boldness – We should be bold. The Bible says that if we ask we shall receive. Do not be afraid to make big requests of God or even to ask for divine healing or miracles. There is no point in hinting or beating around the bush when God knows your heart anyway.
Humility – While, we should be bold, this doesn’t mean that we should be impertinent or demanding. It is not our place to demand that God answer our prayers. He is on the throne over the universe and not us. Part of humility is recognizing who we are and who He is. It is understanding that it is God’s grace and favor to us that motivates Him to help us, not our inherent right or something which we deserve.
Politeness – Part of humility is remembering that we are coming before the God of heaven and earth. That motivates us to politely beseech His favor rather than tell Him what He should or should not do. Jairus was a fairly important person, but he didn’t come to Jesus as a peer.
The New Year is a good time to evaluate your prayer lives. Are you satisfied with the amount of time you spend in prayer each day? Do you regularly pray for others? Do you have requests which you persistently bring up to the Lord or do you “pray once and then forget?” What are some specific things you could do in the coming year to improve your prayer life? Here are some ideas.
- Prayer notebook
- Setting a goal to fast 2-3 times this year.
- Finding a prayer partner to pray with either in person or by phone.
Resolving to pray together daily with a spouse.
Jesus went with Him. Once again we see Jesus’ compassion. He seems to be always ready to inconvenience Himself and set aside what He is doing to help people in need. Are you equally ready to inconvenience yourselves in order to help others when they request it of you?
II. Verses 25-34 Discussion Questions
What can we learn about this woman from this passage?
How must she have felt suffering through this illness for 12 years?
Why could the physicians not help her?
Should she have kept seeing them? Did this demonstrate a lack of faith?
What kinds of doubts or feelings toward God may have arisen in those 12 years?
Why did God put her through this trial? Since we can’t know why, what might she have learned during these 12 years?
Why did Jesus asked who touched Him? Did He not know the answer? What was the result of this question? For the woman? For the crowd? For the disciples?
How did Jesus respond to the lady? What can we learn about His character from this?
How might Jairus have felt while all of this was going on?
John 5:1-17 – A man who couldn’t walk for 38 years was healed.
Luke 8:43 – Parallel passage noting that the woman’s problem was incurable.
Faith and healing:
Acts 3:16 – The faith that is in Jesus has given this man perfect health.
Matthew 15:28, 9:28-29 – Jesus healed two people who expressed faith in Him.
James 5:14-15 – We should still pray for the sick.
This woman had this problem for 12 years. Have any of you been sick for 12 years? How about one year? The worst pain in my life was when I had appendicitis. The pain lasted about two days before I had the surgery. It is hard for me to imagine what it must have been like for this lady to have this problem for 12 years. Not only would the hemorrhoids have been quite painful, but it would have also been very inconvenient and kept her from living a normal life. This woman had tried everything that people could do. She was in a desperate situation. She herself was hopeless to solve this problem or find anyone who could. That is the bad news. But the good news is that God is in the business of helping hopeless and desperate people. That is exactly what He does when He saves sinners like you and me.
The lady had tried to help from many physicians. There is nothing the matter with that. Some cultish groups forbid seeing doctors, but we don’t see similar commands anywhere in the Bible. Jesus Himself told the man with leprosy to go and report his healing to the priest. Also, God often uses people to help other people. So it was not wrong to see physicians and it is still not wrong today. However, we must always remember to ultimately depend on God and not on people. We don’t know from the text what the lady’s attitude was like during these 12 years or whether she was depending on God or not. She very well could have prayed for healing during that time, but God had His timing.
So why did God wait 12 years to heal her? We do not know the answer to this question. But we know that there are countless people who are in pain and face health issues today who have the same question. How will you answer this question? While we don’t know for sure why God waited, we can see some benefits.
Firstly, it taught the lady without a shadow of a doubt that God alone could heal her and people could not.
It led the lady first to hopelessness and then to Christ. Sometimes God may allow us to go through these trials to increase our dependency on Him and reminding us to be humble.
It provided an opportunity for Christ to do a miracle which in turn glorified God and encouraged more people to believe in Him.
During those 12 years the lady learned many lessons about God and His character and also had her faith and patience tested. We must always remember that God cares more about our character than our comfort.
The woman had exhausted every avenue and every hope. But in her despair, she heard of Jesus and knew that He had healed many people. She believed that He could heal her and therefore she left her house and found Jesus in the crowd. She had such a high opinion of Jesus’ power, that she believed she only needed to touch His garment for healing. Would this guarantee healing? What should she have done?
The woman seems to have lacked the boldness and straightforwardness of Jairus. She apparently hoped to obtain this healing in secret, perhaps out of fear that Jesus would turn down her request. This does not seem like the right approach. An honest request would probably have been better.
Yet Jesus did not say, “Why did you ask me? Because you were afraid to ask you will not be healed. Leave now.” It feels as though the lady was taking advantage of Jesus a little bit by not asking Him first. But Jesus did not condemn her. He knew full well she was approaching and touched His clothes and yet He still consciously decided to heal her. This is an important reminder of Jesus’ compassion and grace which He always showed to other people.
Application: Jesus often allowed Himself to be taken advantage of. He helped many people who didn’t deserve it. In today’s age people are overly concerned with their own “rights” and go to great lengths to protect these “rights.” We should be more concerned with people than our rights.
Jesus then asked, “Who touched my garment?” He obviously knew the answer. This is another case where asking was not for His own benefit, but for the listener. If Jesus didn’t say anything the woman would have gone away without ever talking to Him. I believe she would have regretted this for the rest of her life. She would likely have felt some shame and guilt at the way she received her healing and blamed herself for not either asking or thanking Jesus. Here Jesus kindly gives her an opportunity to come clean and take the weight off of her own conscience. To her credit, the woman admitted it. Her fear and trembling shows us that she felt a bit guilty at the way this went down.
Jesus recognized the ladies’ faith. She did have a lot of faith and this is why Jesus was willing to heal her. He then pronounced a blessing to her “Go and peace and be healed.” Those words would have been like balm to her soul. Not only was she physically healed, but Jesus didn’t hold her poor way of trying to get help against her. Instead He forgave her and sent her away in peace. God is merciful.
III. Verses 35-43 Discussion Questions
How might Jairus and the people around reacted to Jesus’ statement in verse 36?
Why did Jesus only allow those three disciples to go with him into the house?What did Jesus mean in verse 39 that the child was merely asleep? Had they wrongly concluded she was dead?
How did Jesus respond to their derision? How should we respond when people laugh at us?
How long did Jesus’ miracle take? Why was He say low-key?
How did the people react?
Why did Jesus tell them not to spread this news?
Acts 7:60, 13:36, 1 Thess 4:13-14 – Other places where the Bible mentions falling asleep.
Luke 1:37 – Nothing is impossible for God.
Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is the conviction of things hoped for…
Luke 17:5 – Increase our faith.
John 15:18 - If the world hates you, know that it hated me first.
1 Peter 3:14-17 – Suffer for doing good, not evil.
Hebrews 12:3 – Jesus endured the hostility of sinners.
Luke 6:22 – Suffering for Christ is a blessing.
During this encounter with the woman, Jairus must have been very nervous. Inside he was likely pleading for Jesus to hurry up! Then news came which confirmed his worst fears. He was too late! His daughter had already passed. At that moment many questions could have sprung up in his mind? Why? Why did he wait so long to ask Jesus for help? Why did Jesus not run when He heard the news? Why did his little one have to die? Many of us may have asked “why?” before. Jairus was able to get answers for his “why,” but we may never know the answer this side of heaven. Will you be willing to trust in God during that most difficult moment? If your child or parent or spouse dies, will you grow bitter against the Lord or trust in His plan for you? Make up your mind now to continue to have faith in God and His loving and merciful character no matter what happens.
Jesus simply told him to believe. That was an easy thing to ask, but a hard thing to do. His daughter had already died. How could he believe? This is what faith is. Hebrews 11:1. God also asks us to believe when it is not always easy.
The scene at the house was one of great grief. This child had passed seemingly far before her time was due. Jesus told them that she was merely asleep. This word “sleep” is often used to denote a death that is not permanent. In her case, her death was temporary since Jesus planned to restore her life again.
The people there did not believe. Rather they laughed at Him. Jesus did not pick up His stuff and leave. He didn’t grow angry. He didn’t argue with them. He basically ignored them and continued on doing what He knew He should do.
What do you do when people laugh at you? Do you change your actions and try to blend in? Do you take it personally? Do you throw insults back at them? What should we do?
Jesus then raised her up again. His command could not be ignored, even by a lifeless body. His authority extends to life and death. The girl immediately got up and the people were shocked. Their laughs were instantly gone as Jesus had silenced them. The same will be true of people who laugh at believers today. It might take longer, but one day their laughs will be gone.
Jesus told them not to share this news out. It was likely for the same reason He gave this command before, that is He didn’t want too many crowds around which would prevent Him from fulfilling His preaching ministry.