21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. Mark 5:21-24

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?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 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. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:35-43

Once again, the impact of the details of this story jumps out at us. Jesus, ever-popular because He was meeting people’s needs, was back on the Jewish side of the lake. He was thronged by the crowds as He disembarked. One man pushed through the crowd with an urgent plea, Jairus, a man of some importance and influence in the religious community.

Would he have been one of those who opposed Jesus, either because He did not live up to his religious scruples or, because He did not match his expectation of Messiah? Whatever Jairus’ religious stance was, it crumbled in the face of a looming domestic disaster. His twelve-year-old daughter lay dying and he was helpless to do anything about it.

Whatever he believed at that moment meant nothing in the face of this impending loss. He knew what Jesus had been doing in his region and he had seen the effects of His presence among his people. And, miraculously, Jesus was right there then. Flinging every caution to the wind, he pushed through the crowd to Jesus and begged for help.

It’s funny how our own scrupulous belief system falls apart in the face of desperate need. When the chips are down, our carefully constructed doctrinal, protective castle collapses and we run, screaming, to Jesus. Even those who have argued or reasoned their way into atheism, cry out to God in a crisis. Why is that? Is it because fear or despair melts all our antagonism towards God and we stand naked before Him with our broken hearts, knowing instinctively that He is the only one who can help us?

Jairus was no longer the synagogue ruler, but a desperate father, crying out to the only one who had the power to help him. His need immediately connected him with Jesus’ compassion and He set out with him to his home where his child was slipping away from him beyond his voice and his touch.

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Luella Campbell

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