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Jan 16, 2022

Faith's Checklist

Faith's Checklist

Passage: Mark 5:21-43

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Follow: Learning from Mark about Jesus’ Most Misunderstood Command

Keywords: faith, power, healing, death, believe, desperation, asking, arise

For many lists are lifesavers. They keep us on track and in turn we keep our sanity. Mark adds to his profile of Jesus as having authority over disease and death like no one around. But in turn he offers us something like a checklist for faith.

1.16.22 GMR Online Service.mp4 from Grace Mills River on Vimeo.

Due to inclement weather Sunday worship service and activities are cancelled for Sunday, January 16.  

There will be an online Prayer Gathering at 9:45am on Zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 822 6566 0172
Passcode: 164657

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: Psalm 86:11
LEADER: Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;

ALL: unite my heart to fear your name.

CENTRAL TEXT: Mark 5:21-43
Mark 5:21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Mark 5:35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Though we cannot share in your Table this day, we desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving, along with your faithful people at every gathering of your Church, where Communion is now being celebrated. We remember your death, Lord Christ; We proclaim your resurrection; We await your coming in glory. Since we cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, we ask you to come spiritually into our heart. Cleanse and strengthen us with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let us never be separated from you. May we live in you, and you in us, in this life and in the life to come. Amen. 

BENEDICTION: from Hebrews 13:20-21
LEADER: May the God of peace,
who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you complete in everything good
so that you may do God’s will,
working among us that which is pleasing in God’s sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever!
The peace of the Lord be with you all.
ALL: And also with you.


  • Leviticus 15:19-23
  • Haggai 2:10-14
  • Luke 24:41-42
  • John 11:1-44
  • 1 Corinthians 15:25-28
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
  • Hebrews 11:1, 6
  • Hebrews 2:14-15


  1. Are you someone who likes to make lists? Why? (if not, why not?)
  2. Have you ever been witness to–or the beneficiary of–some astonishing reversal for which you had no explanation–and could only be in grateful awe of?
  3. It’s sometimes helpful in studying a passage to imagine yourself as one of its characters. 
    1. Given Jesus’s declining reputation in the eyes of the scribes and Pharisees, what might it have felt like to be a ruler of a synagogue–one aligned with the religious authorities–yet also with a dying daughter?
    2. Imagine why the woman sick for 12 years may have approached Jesus surreptitiously? Then imagine why she fell at his feet “in fear and trembling” when Jesus began asking “who touched me”?
    3. Now imagine being the synagogue ruler when you see Jesus “delayed” by this other moment of healing? What would you think? Feel?
    4. Finally, when Jesus claims the now dead girl is only “sleeping” how would you respond?
  4. It’s clear both Mark’s first readers, and all we who would one day read the same, were meant to believe Jesus had authority over sickness and death. Were they, or we, meant then to believe every sickness would be healed, and each death overturned, if only we have faith in Him? If not, what might Mark’s main point in preserving this moment? Venture several possibilities.
  5. Review faith’s checklist again. Which do you tend to forget? Or to resist–even reject?
    1. Have you remembered in your times of distress to seek Him, to ask for His help?
    2. Have you grasped Jesus’s primary point and purpose: to restore wholenes to all things, both physically and spiritually? (And do you see yourself having that same point and purpose?)
    3. Have you been liberated into Jesus’s impartiality?
    4. Have you realized Jesus’s greatest gift, which is also our deepest healing–namely that we belong to God, having had what separates us resolved?
    5. Have you come to embrace Jesus’s view of death?
  6. We said–as others have said before–that the quality of your faith is not as important as its object. Put that idea in your own words. What does it mean? Why does it matter?
  7. Extra credit: Mark offers us no explanation for why he includes this detail, but the woman healed of her bleeding had had the disease for 12 years, while the child raised back to life was 12 years old. Sit with that. Venture some guesses as to why Mark mentioned that?


InView Media Album 01.16.2022



  • The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Frederick Buechner
  • It is a terrible misunderstanding of the Gospel to think that it offers us salvation while relieving us of responsibility for the life of the world, for the sin and sorrow and pain with which our human life and that of our fellow men and women are so deeply interwoven. Lesslie Newbigin 


  • Evidence for the existence of a merciful God,” a talk by Kathy Keller
  • When a daughter dies,” a story of grief by one of the commentators (one from outside our theological tradition) we often consult in studying the Gospel According to Mark, Ben Witherington, who lost his adult daughter to a pulmonary embolism in Chapel Hill in 2012. The essay ends with a reference to our text.