In his sermon last weekend, Pastor Jeremy Choy taught City Harvest Church how to let go of things in life in order to take hold of Jesus.
On the weekend of February 5 and 6, Jeremy Choy, associate pastor of City Harvest Church began his sermon reading from the Gospel of Mark. “Mark makes it clear that Jesus is King,” he began. “We cannot ignore Jesus—He is the King and we have to take hold of Him.”
The Gospel of Mark is an action-packed book, one full of miracles. Pastor Jeremy picked two incidents in Mark 5:21-42 to illustrate his teaching. In this passage, Jairus had come to Jesus asking Him to heal his daughter. While they were on the way to Jairus’ house, Jesus encountered a woman with an issue of blood. “Mark intentionally recorded these two stories together to teach us something important,” the pastor said.
He pointed out the many similarities between Jairus’ situation and the woman’s. Jairus’ sick daughter was 12 and the woman had had this condition for 12 years. Moreover, both the sick girl and the woman faced impending death. Some in the congregation could identify with this feeling of hopelessness and negativity.
“However, both of them approached Jesus in humility and faith—they took hold of Jesus,” Pastor Jeremy pointed out before launching into what this meant. In taking hold of Jesus, there are three things to note:
1. GOD’S TIMING RARELY OPERATES ACCORDING TO OUR “HURRIED” SCHEDULE
When a person is facing challenges, he comes to God to pray for deliverance. “But very often, when we do not see tangible results, especially after praying, we can easily get discouraged,” Pastor Jeremy observed. One might even wonder if God had abandoned them, or he may even doubt His existence.
Looking to Ecclesiastes 3:1, the pastor pointed that one cannot hurry God, as God has His schedule for things. Verse 11 further emphasises that God makes everything beautiful in His time.
On the way to Jairus’ house, Jesus stopped to tend to the woman with a flow of blood. “Have you ever wondered what was going on in Jairus’ mind? He would have been so frantic, hoping Jesus could hurry to his house!” noted the pastor. While Jesus was talking to the woman, Jairus’ worst fear came to pass—he was told that his daughter had passed away.
“Sometimes, when our hope is not met, it can make us miserable. We have to guard our hearts and not give in to frustration,” cautioned the pastor as he read Proverbs 13:12.
Instead, he advised the congregation to look at how Jesus responded. When Jesus had heard the news, He said “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mk 5:36). Jesus meant that His timing did not operate according to Jarius’ understanding. Jairus at that moment in time had to make a choice: to either take hold of Jesus’s word or choose to walk away.
Pastor Jeremy then shared a testimony of his member, Vivienne Leaw. When she first received Christ she was in a relationship with a non-believer, who disapproved of her attending church. She had to make the decision to let go of that relationship. As years passed, she got increasingly worried about finding a life partner. This was even more discouraging for Vivien as she was struggling with infertility.
After many years of praying for a partner, Vivienne heard God ask her if she would follow Him even if she never met someone to share her life with. She was angry with God initially, but came to realise that God was revealing that the idea of getting married had become an idol in her life. Like Jairus, Vivienne had a choice to either take hold of God or walk away. She repented, making the decision to let go of her idol of marriage, and to simply trust God.
God brought Vivienne a good man, Don, to marry. Despite her infertility issues, she conceived through in-vitro fertilisation and gave birth to a baby girl last month.
Reading Isaiah 55:9, Pastor Jeremy said, “We can expect from God, but we must also let God be God.” As Vivien let go of her fixed expectations and learned to wait upon God, not only did she receive God’s blessings, she also became more Christlike in the process.
2. WE WILL RECEIVE MUCH MORE THAN WE ASK FOR
When the woman came to Jesus, all she wanted was to touch Jesus and leave silently. Like this woman, many believers feel unworthy and shameful as they try to take hold of God. Their past leaves them wondering if God would ever bother with them.
“But God notices you. Jesus sees you,” encouraged Pastor Jeremy. He highlighted how Jesus engaged the woman intentionally, even amid the urgency of the situation.
Reading from Psalm 34:18, the pastor illustrated that God longs to connect with every single person deeply and personally, regardless of one’s past and circumstances. When Jesus healed the woman, He wanted her to be healed, not just physically but totally.
The word “heal” in Mark 5:34, is sozo in Greek, which means to be made whole, body, soul and spirit. The woman had a transformative encounter with Jesus that day.
Pastor Jeremy noted that when Jesus addressed the woman, He called her “daughter”. “A daughter speaks of family and family speaks of belonging and acceptance,” he elaborated. When she let go of her shame to take hold of Jesus that day, she entered into a relationship with God and her life was never the same again.
Similarly, Jairus’ life was transformed when he decided to take hold of Jesus. While he had expected Jesus to perform a healing miracle, he received much more. Jesus eventually raised his daughter from the dead and Jairus got to witness the miracle of resurrection.
“God has something more in store for us. When you’re in the midst of it, you may assume that you’ve been abandoned by God when in fact, you’re right in the middle of God’s work over your life,” Pastor Jeremy declared. “It is in this process of trusting, waiting, and surrounding that God can do a transforming work in our lives and much more.”
Pastor Jeremy shared his personal testimony of entering full-time ministry. In 2002, he rejected an opportunity to serve God full-time when he realised he had to take a 50 per cent pay cut. He struggled with the fear of lack.
He pushed his calling to the back of his mind but during one weekend service, he once again felt God telling him to trust and to obey Him in full-time ministry.
“Back then, I felt as though time had stood still. My heart was beating very fast,” recalled the pastor. He noted how he felt two distinct feelings,:the fear of God that He is godly and powerful as well as the love of God that He could be mindful of His people in spite of who they are.
While Pastor Jeremy was fearful, he decided to surrender his means and providence to God. He went into full-time ministry and since that day, God has shown Himself to be his Provider. Over the years, he had the privilege of witnessing how God worked through His people, and he has had the opportunity to minister to many people, including inmates and ex-offenders.
“God saved me from a life of mediocrity and gave me a life of purpose,” recounted the pastor gratefully. “This is not something that can be measured in financial terms.”
3. PURPOSE AND HOPE WILL BE RESTORED
By healing the girl and the woman, Jesus transformed their future. The woman was no longer considered unclean once she was healed and could return to the community as a dignified member. Jairus’ daughter had her life restored to her—she would have the opportunity to have her own family and follow her dreams.
Pastor Jeremy shared that this story is particularly impactful and special to him because of his past struggles.
Back in 2015, when the church was going through a period of court trials, Pastor Jeremy was also feeling lost in the ministry. He was unclear of his purpose and ministry soon became mundane. “I felt that God had set us aside while he attended to other people,” he recalled honestly.
He came across Mark 5 in one of his devotions and was moved by how gentle Jesus was to Jairus’ daughter. It spoke to Pastor Jeremy as a parent, for he could identify with how Jesus was trying to wake the child. “Do you know that Jesus was staring at death? But death could not overcome Him because He is the King. So, with very little effort, the little girl resurrected,” Pastor Jeremy shared.
At that moment, God spoke to Pastor Jeremy and told him that He is holding his hand. “Do not fear, I will not let go of you,” he recalled Jesus saying. “At the cross, I let go of the Father’s hands and died for you, so that the Father can hold on to yours.”
That encounter restored to Pastor Jeremy a sense of hope and purpose. Since then, he has learned to let go of his fears and take hold of God’s power, resurrection and faithfulness.
“Today, Jesus is walking by and he’s not too busy,” the pastor said in closing. He encouraged the church to let take hold of Jesus and go deeper in their relationship with him.