Last week we talked about how Jesus healed the bleeding woman simply by her touching his garment. She is finally set free from this disease that isolated her from everyone for 12 years, and peace is restored in her life. It was an amazing miracle, unless your name was Jairus. You see, before this miracle a man named Jairus had come to Jesus for help because his daughter was quickly dying. We must understand that any inconvenience may have meant it would be too late to save her. So today we will take a look at Mark 5:35–43 and see what happened. The crowd had just seen this woman healed, and is once again impressed and inspired by Jesus. No wonder they were all wanting to hang out with him. But if you were Jairus, how would you be feeling at that moment? I would have been pretty impatient. I would have been thinking, This lady can wait. We all know her. She’s had this problem for years. My daughter is about to die. My need is more urgent than hers. Why don’t you come back to her after you heal my daughter?
Now the passage lets us know that just as Jesus finishes talking to the woman who touched his garment, word comes from Jairus’ house that his daughter is dead so there’s no need for Jesus to come after all. Poor Jairus. What an emotional roller coaster. He’s worried about his daughter but when he finds Jesus, his hope is renewed. With the delay because of that woman, he’s worried all over again that it will be too late. He can anticipate Jesus wrapping up his conversation with her and his hope is rekindled, but then dashed completely when he hears his little girl is dead.
Think of all the thoughts that instantly start to fly around in our heads in this kind of situation: Why didn’t I come sooner? Why did Jesus have to talk to her so long? But Jesus doesn’t give those doubts and fears even a moment to capture the mind and emotions of Jairus. He says simply, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” It was the faith of Jairus that brought him to Jesus, and it would be his faith in Jesus that would trust him that day. Have you ever felt the rug of your faith was pulled out from under you from some tragedy that all seemed lost? Listen for the voice of Jesus is saying, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe in me and everything will be okay.”
It’s important here to point out that Jesus did not say, “Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t get there in time. It must have been God’s will that your daughter wasn’t healed. He has called her home.” Unlike some Christians today, Jesus never said that sort of thing. We should adopt his attitude and follow his example. Personally, I believe Jesus could have healed Jairus’ daughter the minute her father asked him for help. He didn’t have to be physically present. He could have raised her from death with a word, right where he was. But there was more that needed to be healed than just his little 12 year old girl.
Jairus needed to be healed of his fear, his despair, and any self-condemnation he might be feeling for not getting to Jesus sooner. Jesus didn’t just tell him not to be afraid. He put feet on his words, and started walking to Jairus’ home. Once more, imagine if you had been Jairus, what would you be thinking as you walked with Jesus to your home having just heard the bad news? Jesus was not taking timid little steps wondering what the outcome would be. He walked with spiritual assurance and confidence, knowing already what the outcome would be. Jairus must have picked up on this, and wondered if he could just have hope once more. We don’t know what they talked about, or if they talked at all, but by the time they arrived at Jairus’ home, I think this previously distraught father was feeling a little more at peace with Jesus than he would have felt alone.
When they finally arrive, the weeping and wailing of the mourners greets them. No wonder. Everyone felt the tragedy of the little girl’s death. But Jesus made a simple declaration that interrupted this moment of despair and grief. Jesus simply said, “She’s not dead. She’s only asleep.” Their response is a typical one when we hear something so absurd and illogical they laugh at Jesus. But that’s exactly what Jesus intended. He had to deal with all their negativity and reroute it. He changed their thinking with about a 90º turn, but he wasn’t done with them yet. He tells everyone to get out of the house with the exception of her parents, and Peter, James, and John. Jesus begins by removing all doubt from the room, and the home is now a place filled with hope.
I believe shutting out the doubters had another effect on their thinking, and was part of the bigger healing. Put yourself in their shoes or actually sandals. You’ve just been kicked out of the house. You were showing your love and support in the best way you knew how and Jesus comes along and says please leave. I would have probably been pretty upset, and wondered how on earth Jesus could say the little girl was not dead. The conversation outside could have gone something like this: “That Jesus guy is just too much. Who does he think he is? That little girl is dead. I saw her.” “Why did he kick us out? What does he think he’s going to do?”
“You know, I saw him heal a blind man the other day. If he had gotten here sooner, I think he could have healed her.” ” He sure walked in there like he was going to do something.” “I wonder what he’s doing in there.”
Now, I realize this conversation is just my own imagination. So please take it in that spirit. I’m not trying to add anything to the Bible. I just want us to see the possibilities. To understand everything going on in a story, it’s helpful to look at things from the perspective of everyone involved. I really believe the body language of Jesus communicated that he was about to do something. He had already turned them from mourning to laughter, and perhaps to curiosity as to what was going to happen inside. Now it’s possible that this group had heard the stories, but was the kind of people that needed to see it before they would believe it. When they see the little girl alive, then they will say to Jesus, “She’s not dead.”
Jesus took the hand of the lifeless form and told her to get up, fully knowing that she would respond. And of course she did. Jairus, the mother, and this little girl were changed forever, and desperation turns into a family celebration. Do you have that same confidence when you pray for someone? Do you have the same expectancy of healing they did? The Spirit of Jesus is completely present today to heal us, to take away our doubts and fears, to walk with us, to calm us, to correct our misguided faith, and more than anything to reveal how much God loves us and how worthy we are of His love. This Sunday at South Side we will further unpack this miracle, and how it impacts us all. Our Elevate Worship time begins at 10:45, and we have classes for all ages of children as well. Be sure to come early, and pick up a fresh cup of coffee and a snack at “Café Connect.” We would love to see you Sunday!
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.