Its a very normal day for me to have over 160 notifications in a day. Plus, all of my devices are linked so I get that notification on my phone, my ipad, my laptop, and my iMac. We are living in a world of distractions.
Distraction is defined as “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.”
The french word for distraction was actually used as the name for one of their torture methods. I do have to give credit to the early humans. They knew how to torture someone or to inflict pain. The things that these people came up with are disturbing. For this actual type of torture they would tie each of the 4 appendages to a different horse and make the horses pull the individual apart.
Death by Distraction!
I think that is an accurate summary of our lives and at times we could say that about Jesus’. If you look at these last two chapters there are all kinds of distractions in Jesus’ life. From crowds to storms, and scared disciples to people in need all around him. He was constantly surrounded with distractions.
So how are we to handle all of these distractions?
I have read all the books, listened to all the podcasts and I know "don’t let the urgent interrupt the important." Someone else’s lack of planning, or lack of executing that plan does not dictate an emergency in your life. I can quote you the leadership talks on priorities and how to establish them, but what I see Jesus do is:
1. Discern The Demands
We see Jesus in Mark 5:2 preaching once again to the masses that have waited and come to hear Him teach. Being surrounded by hundreds or maybe even thousands Jesus is interrupted by a man named Jarius with news that his daughter is sick and about to die.
Now I see this story and it challenges me. Jesus is speaking to all of these people teaching, hundreds or thousands of people may be present, and Jesus hears about one little girl and begins to go with Jarius to heal her.
This is a conflicting moment for me as a pastor. I think it could be easily justified for His response to be let Me finish up here and when we wrap up for the day, I’ll go with you. Let's put that in context…
I’m speaking on Sunday morning and someone busts into the middle of service, comes running up on stage and says "Pastor I need you! Come pray for my kids! They are sick and we need you right now!" And what happens in the story is Pastor walks off the stage and goes with him. What would be running through your head at that moment? You would have thought that you were getting slighted right...??
I think verse 24 is pretty powerful…
Mark 5:24 says: So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around Him.
The only thing we can imagine is that Jesus is discerning the demands on His life because this doesn’t make sense at all to the leave the crowd, but here Jesus goes.
Now the story continues and we meet a new insignificant character in Mark 5:25-28
For the first character we are given his name and profession, but now enters a women with the issue of blood. She has been bleeding for the last 12 years and she has exhausted all of her resources. She has been to every doctor, tried every wives tales, done every home remedy, but nothing has brought wholeness to her. But she places her focus on Jesus and she fights through the crowd.
Now Jesus is on the way to save this little girls life, which is a pretty important moment, right? And it is not just any little girl, but the little girl of a very important religious leader, and Jesus stops and turns around and asks who touched me?
The reason that Jesus wants to stop is because He knows He was touched. Which brings us to our second point...
2. Its not a distraction when you’ve been touched
Mark 5:30 says:
"At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
Jesus knew that when He was touched power went out from Him.
We are spirit lead people and as we are trying to discern the demands of life we have to be able to recognize when someone touches us. At that moment it doesn’t matter what the demands on you are, or what is going on in or around you, because in that moment you know a supernatural moment has been created.
Once again this moment goes against every leadership principle, because what is the more urgent need? The little girl who is about to die and you are the only one that can save her or the woman who had a condition that she has dealt with for 12 years??? The little girls need is more urgent. And in this story who is the more important person or issue? Jarius is. So once again we see Jesus make a decision that is contrary to our way of thinking.
In that moment Jesus is not only providing physical healing, but an emotional wholeness to this woman. It is then that Jarius gets a message in Mark 5:35:
"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?”'
I can imagine the thought of Jarius and the disciples in this moment… "Well Jesus you screwed this one up. Why did you waste time with this woman. You could have saved her." The disciples are thinking "Do you realize the opportunity that you could have had here? Do you understand who Jarius is? Do you understand what this could have done for us in the Jewish community? Do you understand what could have been possible?"
Now I find it interesting that something changes here. He tells Jarius to believe and then He sends the crowds away and only lets Peter, James, and John follow Him. Which leads up to point #3:
Sometimes we have to put an end to distractions.
Mark 5:37 says:
"He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James."
He stops the distractions and when He arrives He arrives in what the bibles calls "a commotion with all those there grieving the loss." A common Jewish practice would be to hire people to come grieve at the funeral and the house of someone who died. Jesus immediately comes in and asks in Mark 5:38-40:
"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.
It shows us that these were professional mourners not the family, because those that are actually mourning don’t laugh at hope.
Then there is a short phrase that I think we can learn from…
“After He had put them all out”…
Now, we know the rest of the story - the little girl is healed - but not until AFTER He had put out the distraction. It is when He stopped the distractions in the street that we see His mission fulfilled.
I think we need to take some advice from Jesus’ playbook and close the door on some distractions. To push them out of the room. To leave them in the street.
Some of you have people in your life that you need to close the door on because all they are is commotion and drama.
Today what I want you to know is that we are all faced with what could be known as distraction - every sermon, every play session or coloring session, every business proposal - but what we have to do is discern the demands in our life, to recognize the moments that touch us, and close the door on distractions to avoid missing the greater things Gods wants us to see in our life.