What does Mark 5:31 mean?Jesus and the disciples are trying to follow a synagogue leader so Jesus can heal the man's young daughter. On the way, they are nearly smothered by a crowd trying to touch Jesus to receive healing. Jesus feels one person experiencing the healing she is looking for, through a touch of His robes, and He wishes to stop and identify that person.
The disciples respond with incredulity that Jesus would bother to try singling out the culprit. This speaks to the size of the crowd, but it also reflects a small part of the disciples' prejudices against those they consider beneath their notice. A synagogue leader has need of Jesus! Who in this crowd would be worthy enough to justify a delay? This sense of self-importance will grow. The disciples will attempt to "rescue" Jesus from the distraction of children (Matthew 19:13–15) and argue over who is greatest among them (Matthew 18:1–4). John and James will request to sit in places of honor when Jesus comes into His kingdom (Mark 10:35–37). And Peter will struggle for years with the idea that Jesus came for Gentiles as well as Jews (Acts 10:9–33; Galatians 2:11–14).
We are quick to follow the disciples' example when we use our status as Christ-followers to dismiss those who appear outwardly to be far from Him. God makes it clear that we see the outside, but God knows the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We don't know the relationship between Christ and each person. We don't really know what kind of faith people have. There may be a time, such as here, when we dismiss an entire crowd as being a nuisance not worth our time, but Jesus stops and finds the one lost person (Luke 15:3–10) who is calling to Him in faith.
Jesus' response to the disciples' attempt to keep Him on track is eloquent in its simplicity: He ignores them. He responds to faith (Mark 5:34; 14:3–9; Matthew 15:21–28), not worldly status or even human-based common sense.