You know the feeling. In the airport or on the runway, desperately checking the seconds and wondering if you’ll make that connecting flight. You can already see yourself running faster than O.J. in a Hertz commercial to your gate and getting there as they are about to close the door. You’ve convinced yourself that you can make it, as long as everyone does their job and there is no emergency. Then your heart sinks as soon as you hear the crackle of the speaker announcing a delay. What do you feel? Anger? Resentment? Indifference?
A synagogue leader by the name of Jairus had a lot more than a missed flight on his mind the day he sought out Jesus. Little did he know, on that day of all days, someone else would seek Jesus’ help and ruin everything for him (or so he thought). Three lives converged at just the right time for a divinely timed, miraculous display of God’s power; changing forever the lives of two very different, but desperately needy people.
The respected man is Jairus and his 12 year old daughter is dying (vv.41-42). Jairus knows that Jesus has performed miraculous works in the past and humbles himself in front of Jesus because he believed that Jesus could (if he was willing) help him (v.41). Jesus is willing to help and as he begins the journey to Jairus’ home, he stops in his tracks because someone has touched him (vv.45-46). That’s like being at the starting gate at Churchill downs during the Call to the Post and saying, “hey, someone bumped me.” Ludicrous!
Peter, of course, can hardly believe his ears. In essence he says, are you kidding me? Look, everyone is pushing in on you (v.45). But Jesus knew that there was one touch that was different than the rest. The throng wanted to make sure they didn’t miss a thing; Jesus’ reputation as a wonder-worker preceded him. The exorcising, miracle worker was here and everyone wondered what he would do next. But one woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years, cut through the crowd and only wanted to touch his cloak; she believed that would be enough to heal her. Her faith, however superstitious, saved her.
Picture the scene. Jairus is hurriedly talking to Jesus as they go to his home and he looks over, and Jesus isn’t there; he has stopped to interact with an unclean nobody (v.45). Jairus can’t believe this is actually happening. The miracle worker is actually coming to his home and there is hope that his daughter will make it, but now precious time is wasting. How would you feel if you were Jairus? Would you be angry with the woman? Angry with Jesus? Would hopelessness and fear overcome hope? Would you be confused that he would stop while a twelve year old girl’s life hangs in the balance?
This interaction between these three individuals is providential and serves a purpose.
Humanly speaking, we have on the one hand a woman who was considered a nobody; a social outcast, unclean, and excluded. On the other hand, we have a popular, respected, and accepted man; a man of influence and power. However, in God’s economy, we have two helpless individuals in need of God’s grace, both equal in their puny faith and in desperate need of healing. Isn’t it in suffering we notice that there is not much difference between the prince and the pauper?
Jesus, not playing favorites, calls out the woman who touched him for two reasons. One reason was so she could be publicly declared clean/healed. She could be restored to fellowship. Her physical pain was ended and so was her loneliness. The second reason was so she would know that it was Jesus who healed her and not his garment. Jesus’ power and not magic was the cause of her restoration.
Hooray for the woman. What about Jairus? His situation was about to go from bad to worse and this delay isn’t helping. In the midst of all the commotion, news comes that the daughter has died; don’t bother the Teacher anymore Jairus is told (v.49). Jesus has other plans as he hears the news also and challenges Jairus not to fear; only believe and she will be well (v.50). Jairus must bring to bear whatever he believes to be true about Jesus, coupled with what he just witnessed, in able to have any hope whatsoever. The very fact that they still went to the house testifies that Jairus still held onto some hope (v.51). Dismissing the detractors, Jesus enters the house, speaks lovingly to the dead girl and brings her back to life, admonishing the parents not to tell anyone what they witnessed (v.56).
It is in this story of two daughters that we see the grace, love, and healing of God miraculously revealed to those who believe. For twelve years, one daughter was let down by her body, her religion, and her community. However selfishly she approaches Jesus, he declares her clean because of her faith. Her faith, and not her superstition, has made her whole.
The second daughter lives because of the faith of her father. However selfishly he comes to Jesus (to heal his daughter), he will witness God’s grace to his family in an amazing way. His simple faith in Jesus’ ability, bolstered as he witnesses a miraculous healing in a poor woman, is the avenue God will use to restore his daughter.
Here is a truth; all hemorrhages are not healed and not all who die early or unexpectantly are raised. When faced with the calamities of life, we are to act by faith like the unnamed woman and Jairus; we go to Christ by faith. The woman took a risk, she hoped beyond hope that Jesus would help her, and instead of settling for a secret touch of his garment, Jesus brought her into the light. Jairus, knowing that the specter of death has already visited his home, still leads Jesus there to do something. Small faith? Yes. Imperfect faith? Yes, but it’s all God needs to do magnificent things for those who believe.
And why the special treatment for those who believe? Because they are children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:14-17). However, that relationship is no guarantee that things will go your way. Whatever your sufferings may be, know that you have a Father (Abba) who cares for and loves you. He will do what is right even if your faith is puny and you find it hard to believe. Christ is the Lord over nature, demons, and death (Luke 8:22-25, 26-39, 40-56); he is Lord over all. Bring to him your mustard-size seed of faith and trust him to do what’s right.
Grace and Peace,