'Be not afraid, only believe'


“While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.” Mark 5:35-36 (Read v. 21-43)

Do things ever seem beyond hope? Have you ever prayed for the Lord’s help only to have things go from bad to worse, with no intervention in sight?

Think how Jairus must have felt when he sought Jesus to come to his house and heal his 12-year-old daughter who was ill and near to death. While on the way, with crowds pressing in upon Jesus, a woman with a flow of blood touches his garment and is healed, and Jesus stops to speak with her. Jairus had hope – faith, whether strong or weak – that if Jesus would just get there in time and lay His hands upon his daughter, she would be healed. But then the bad news came. It was too late. His daughter had died! Why bother Jesus – “the Teacher” – any longer?

But note what Jesus did as soon as He heard those discouraging words. He gave Jairus words of hope, words upon which his faith could rest: “Be not afraid, only believe.” Rather than letting Jairus give up all hope, Jesus called upon him not to be afraid but to believe!

The Scripture record tells us what happened next. Jesus arrived and, accompanied by His inner circle of disciples, He puts out those weeping and mourning over the girl’s death, saying she’s not dead but sleeping. They laugh at Him, knowing she’s dead. They had no hope.

Then Jesus takes hold of the child’s hand and speaks to her the words: “Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise” (v. 41). The Scriptures tell us: “And straightway the damsel arose, and walked” (v. 42).

We may see no hope. We may think it is too late for God to intervene. We may even consider our sins too great and think there is no help for us. But Jesus says, “Be not afraid, only believe”

Cannot the God who created and still sustains all things help us in every time of trouble? We remember the words of the prophet in Jeremiah 32:17: “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Cf. Ps. 50:15.).

And need we give up hope of salvation? Jesus died for our sins and rose again (1 Cor. 15:3,4). He suffered our just punishment and paid the price. Jesus will be our judge, but He is also the same one who died on the cross and paid in full for our sins and the sins of the world and rose again. The Bible comforts us: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34; cf. 1 John 2:1-2). And Jesus says to us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

There is still hope, no matter how hopeless all may appear. Rather than giving up in despair, trust Jesus. “Be not afraid, only believe.”

O dearest Jesus, Son of God and my Savior, grant that I not despair and be afraid, even when all appears hopeless, but trust in You and in the everlasting salvation You won for me by Your death upon the cross and your glorious resurrection. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]