Series: "DEALING WITH DESPERATION" • Pastor Mike Zizolfo


Have you ever been DESPERATE for something? If you’re a Redskins fan, then you obviously identify with that question ;-)

People who are desperate will go to extremes. We’ve all heard the phrase “desperate times call for desperate measures” and I think most people find themselves in a DESPERATE situation at one time or another.

In our story we meet two contrasting souls who are desperate for hope & healing and both of them find it at the feet of Jesus.


READ: Mark 5:21-43


When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the handand said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.  He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.


Read: Devotional


Dealing with Desperation….

1. Forces me to Face My Faith

I think most people want to have a sincere faith, but they seem to miss the point that their faith is only as good as the object of that faith. Desperation will force you to identify the object of your faith and anything other than Christ will ultimately leave you feeling empty and worse off.

So many people worry that their faith seems too small. But we need to distinguish between the size of our faith and the object of our faith.

As an official of the synagogue Jairus was a respected leader, steeped in the Old Testament, and devoted to the religion of Judaism. But Jairus did not come as a representative of the religious elite. He came as a grief stricken father whose only daughter was dying.

Jesus is more concerned with your relational connection to Him than your religious comprehension of Him.

He knew everything there was to know about religion, but it wasn’t until he was in a state of desperation that he was forced to identify the object of his faith and embark on a relationship. Where Jairus beforehand has had Faith in a system his desperation has led him to place his faith in the Savior.


2. Causes me to Fall at His Feet

So many of us have become numb to our desperate need of God because we already have everything we think we need. But nothing will bring us to our knees quicker than being in a state of desperation.

Despite the overwhelming demand, Jesus was never indifferent to individuals in need. I find it interesting that Jairus and this woman, two opposite people, met at the feet of Jesus. The contrast between these two needy people is striking and reveals the wideness of Christ's love and mercy. Jairus was in important synagogue officer, and the woman was an anonymous "nobody," yet Jesus welcomes both of them. Jairus was about to lose a daughter who had given him 12 years of happiness, and the woman was about to lose an affliction that had brought her 12 years of sorrow.

You’ve got both ends of the spectrum seen within these two people. Both Jairus and the poor woman found the answers to their needs at the feet of Jesus. He’s a personal God who knows you and wants to speak into your desperate situation, you just need to fall at his feet.


3. Enables me to Find Freedom

People who are desperate often feel trapped in their desperation, but God offers freedom through our desperation.

When Jesus heals the anonymous woman and tells her to "Go in peace" - the word peace here means not just freedom from inward anxiety, but the wholeness or completeness of life that comes from being brought into a right relationship with God. Not just that, but he calls her “Daughter” - the only time in the gospels that Jesus used that word to address a woman. The woman who beforehand had no identity is now given one of the most intimate labels from a personal Savior. She was restored, physically, socially, and spiritually through the grace and personal power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, the delay in healing the anonymous woman had proven deadly for Jairus’s daughter. While Jesus was ministering to a lowly outcast, the child of one of the Capernaums leading citizens had died.

When Jairus had first come to Jesus, He did not speak, but acted. (verse 24 “Jesus went with him.”) Now, when Jairus pleads for Jesus to act, He speaks. We always prefer for God to act. But more often than not, while we’re waiting on God to move He’s already given us a word.

When it feels like God is delayed, don’t trust what you’ve seen. Trust what God has said.

Jairus could’ve easily lost all hope, but instead chose to believe. After a significant delay in getting there, Jesus finally came to Jairus's house and brings his daughter back to life.

Two contrasting souls - both in a state of desperation, both find hope & healing at the feet of Jesus. Jesus Christ not only has the power to heal, but also the compassionate desire to do so.




  • How do you deal with desperation?

  • How often do I fall at God’s feet?

  • When was the last time I was desperate for a word from God?

  • How do I react when it seems like God is delayed?


further reading: