Only Christ Can Save Us (Mark 5:21-28)

Only Christ Can Save Us (Mark 5:21-34)


Mark 5:21-43

What a beautiful portion of Scripture we have before us today! My desire is to take the next three weeks, including this one, to unpack this text. For we can quickly see there are two scenarios occurring before us, but only One solution. The Eternal Son of God, Jesus the Christ!

As a shepherd I have one very clear intention, which is for us as a body of believers to reach maturity in Christ.[1] As a fellow laborer in His commission my desire is that the lost, who may be gathered among us, come to their senses and exercise saving faith in Him alone.

Through our study of Mark’s gospel, may God:

  • Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.[2]
  • Open the eyes of our hearts, so we may know what the hope of His calling in Christ is.[3]
  • Help us to know Him and the power of His resurrection in our lives.[4]
  • Teach us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we may have life in His name.[5]

We will be taking a broad look at this text today and a closer look in the two weeks to follow. There are two clear truths laid out in this portion before us pertaining to God and man. For these truths are paramount to the gospel message of redemption in Christ. These biblical truths impact our Theological, Anthropological and Soteriological understanding.[6] In order for us to have a proper understanding of salvation we must have a clear understanding of both God and man according to the Scripture alone. Mark’s account of events gives us a framework by which we can clearly acknowledge all three doctrines.

Let’s look at the text:

Mark 5:21

21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered about Him; and He stayed by the seashore.”

It should be safe for us to assume that Jesus is back in Capernaum, as that is where He left from.[7] Upon returning Jesus is approached first by a frantic synagogue official named Jairus:

Mark 5:22-23

22 And one of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and upon seeing Him, fell at His feet,23 and entreated Him earnestly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may get well and live.’”

Understand, there is absolutely nothing this man can do for his daughter. He is literally thrusting himself at the feet of Christ begging Him to come while there is still life in her. Jairus knows unless there is divine intervention, she is destined to die.

The text then reads:

Mark 5:24

24 And He went off with him; and a great multitude was following Him and pressing in on Him.”

During this time Mark informs us of another individual secretly approaching Christ in desperation:

Mark 5:25-28

25 …a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years,26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse, 27 after hearing about Jesus, came up in the crowd behind Him, and touched His cloak.28 For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I shall get well.’”

It is evident, that like Jairus, there is absolutely nothing this woman can do to save herself. We will look into both of these situations in the next two weeks, but for now all we need to understand is they are completely helpless. They both know it!

There are several things we see here:

1.) Both the rich and poor are equally helpless.

2.) Both the esteemed and disparaged are in need.

3.) Both the clean and unclean have only One Hope.

Jairus seeks Christ so that his daughter “may get will and live”. The woman also seeks Him in order to “get well”. Mark uses the Greek word Sozo, which can literally be rendered to save.[8] It is true this word is used to describe physical deliverance, but it is predominantly used to declare salvation from eternal death.[9] We see this in the following texts:

Matthew 1:21

21 And she shall bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save (Sozo) His people from their sins.”

Mark 16:16

16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved (Sozo); but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

Luke 8:12

12 And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved (Sozo).”

John 10:9

9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved (Sozo), and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Acts 2:21

21 And it shall be, that everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved (Sozo).”

It must be noted that outside of the gospel accounts the word is used 52 times. 46 of those occurrences refer to eternal salvation.

There is one overarching theme here going well beyond physical deliverance, and that is eternal salvation is found only in the person of Jesus.[10] This is demonstrated through Jesus’ interaction with the affliction of the woman, and the death of Jairus’ twelve-year-old daughter. What I want us to see is that this theme did not begin in this portion, but with the calming of the sea.

Mark carefully records Jesus doing the following:

  • Calming the sea when His disciples were perishing under the waves (Mark 4:35-41).
  • Freeing a demoniac held captive by Satan to do his will (Mark 5:1-20).
  • Healing a woman afflicted with an incurable disease (Mark 5:25-34).
  • Raising a dead girl (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43).

Realize, there are four salvific parallels we must not miss within these recorded actions of Christ. They reveal the depravity of fallen mankind, and the exclusivity of the Son of God in saving mankind from the penalty, power and presence of sin.

Pertaining to the depravity of man let us consider that lost humanity spiritually is perishing, captive, afflicted and dead in sin:

  • Just as the disciples were destined to perish at sea, so all of humanity is condemned already and destined to perish under God’s wrath.[11]
  • Just as the demoniac was held captive by Satan to do his will, so all of lost humanity is enslaved to him and mastered by sin.[12]
  • Just as the woman is afflicted with an incurable disease, so all of humanity is afflicted in sin demanding our eternal death.[13]
  • Just as this girl was dead, so all of humanity being born of Adam is spiritually dead.[14]

This is the reality of mankind!

Q.) What then, is the gospel?

Q.) What then, is the good news that Mark shows? The exclusivity of the Son of God in saving helpless humanity from sins: penalty, power and presence.

Consider the solution to every event:

  • Just as Christ was the only One who could calm the storm, only Jesus can calm the wrath of God towards us.[15]
  • Just as Christ was the only One who could free the demoniac, only Jesus can free us from the rule of Satan and sin.[16]
  • Just as Christ was the only One who could heal the woman of this affliction, only Jesus can heal us of our spiritual affliction.[17]
  • Just as Christ was the only One who could give Jairus’ dead daughter life, only Jesus can raise us out of death and into new life.[18]

Q.) How does He do all of this? By humbling Himself and becoming a Man obedient unto death as our sin offering.[19]

Through Jesus’ finished work:

1.) God satisfied His wrath towards us by the blood of His only begotten Son.

2.) God freed us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of Christ. We are; therefore, no longer captive to Satan and sin, but captive to Christ.[20]

3.) God healed our spiritual affliction from sin by the wounds of His scourged and crucified Son.

4.) God raised us up from death into life by the resurrection of His Son.[21]

Truly the only reasonable inclination we should hold is to render ourselves as living sacrifices to God in light of His mercies towards us in Christ. We were dead, but God being rich in mercy, because of His great love for us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ.[22] By His grace we have been saved! He raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.[23] This was in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ.[24] To the lost that may be among us, understand that because of your sin you are: perishing, captive, afflicted and dead, but Christ can save you! Whoever will call upon His name, trusting in His substitutionary work in their place will be saved.[25]

Hebrews 7:25

25…He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

We serve an awesome God!

Q.) How will we live for Him from this point forward?

Q.) Will we worship Him by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, or will we continue to live for self?

Q.) Will we be transformed to the image of His Son by the renewal of our minds, or will continue to conform ourselves to this world?

Q.) Will we prove what the will of God is through study and obedience to His Word, or will we only succeed in demonstrating our will?

Church, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.[26]

He will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus![27]


[1] Ephesians 4:13

[2] Ephesians 1:17

[3] Ephesians 1:18

[4] Ephesians 1:19-20; Philippians 3:10

[5] John 20:31

[6] Theology (Doctrine of God), Anthropology (Doctrine of man) and Soteriology (Doctrine of Salvation).

[7] Mark 3:20: 4:1,35-36; 5:1,21

[8] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number:4982

[9] Matthew 1:21; 10:22; 18:11; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 10:26; 13:13; 16:16; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:40; Romans 5:9,10; 11:14; 1 Corinthians 1:21

[10] Romans 3:20-26; Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 2:21-3:11

[11] John 3:16-18,36

[12] Romans 6:17-23; Ephesians 2:1-3

[13] Romans 3:23; 6:23

[14] Genesis 5:3; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1

[15] Romans 3:25-26; 5:9; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10

[16] Colossians 1:13

[17] Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24

[18] Ephesians 2:5

[19] Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 2:5-8;  Hebrews 9:26

[20] 1 Corinthians 6:20

[21] John 14:19; Acts 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-22

[22] Ephesians 2:1,4-5

[23] Ephesians 2:6

[24] Ephesians 2:7

[25] Romans 10:10-13

[26] Philippians 2:12b-13

[27] Philippians 1:6

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