Our story this morning is a story about people.
Jairus was an official of the synagogue. He was a layman, not a priest. His role was to supervise the synagogue buildings and arrange the services and sometimes lead worship. He was their equivalent of our church secretary. To hold that post Jairus would have been a prosperous and influential man. Yet here we find him understandably worried, deeply distressed, even desperate. His precious child is sick. So Jairus comes to Jesus.
22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and 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.
On the way they met a woman with severe bleeding who had problems of her own. An incurable condition. Twelve years of pain, getting worse and worse. But more than that, because of her illness under Jewish Law she was ritually unclean. In the past she also had been wealthy, but now she had been cast out by her family, her friends and her synagogue. So this woman comes to Jesus, hoping not only for healing but to get her life and her home and her friends back.
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Then there was Jairus’s daughter, only 12 years old. Can you picture her childlike joy, just into her teens. Now sick. On the point of death. Would Jesus be able to heal her?
At the centre of the story of course is Jesus Himself. Jesus who cares about people and cares about their problems. In the midst of the pressing crowds Jesus cares about every individual: Jairus, the sick child, the woman in pain. Jesus who cares just us much about us and every one of our situations.
So it’s a story about people, but it’s also a story about faith. I hope you will allow me to take things out of order, and start by thinking about
WHEN FAITH TOUCHES JESUS
Here was this woman with severe bleeding. She did not have great faith – but she had enough faith. Her faith was ignorant and misdirected.
27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.
The woman had faith that if she could just touch Jesus’s clothes then in some almost magical way she would be healed. Not great faith, but still a living faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ. Enough faith to push through the crowds just to touch Jesus.
Well, the woman was successful, and she received the miracle she was hoping for!
29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Praise God! Jesus healed people in miraculous ways then and He still heals people in miraculous ways today! His touch has still its ancient power!
The woman had been healed, but then all she wanted to do was melt away into the crowds. But instead Jesus drew her out into the open.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
If God blesses us it is never right for us just to keep quiet about what he has done for us. Remember Jesus’s command to Legion we heard about last week. “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
And Jesus wants to lead the woman on in her faith. This was as important as her physical healing. She had to realise it was not touching Jesus’s clothes that had healed her, but Jesus Himself.
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
“Your faith has made you well.” The words could as easily be translated, “Your faith has made you whole.” “Your faith has saved you.” Only a simple faith, but it was enough to open the door to healing and wholeness. And Jesus still offers those blessing today, to everybody who reaches out to touch him, to everybody who asks for his help and who puts their trust in Him. Here is a story of what happens when faith touches Jesus, but it is also a story of what happens
WHEN FAITH RUNS OUT
Imagine the scene. Father and mother and child at home, surrounded by family and servants. The daughter is literally at death’s door. And there is just one last desperate hope. Jesus is in time. Mother stays at the bedside as father goes to find Jesus. The minutes pass by – and then it is too late. All hope is gone. The girl is dead!
It is hard for us to put ourselves into their shoes, because we know there is a happy ending on the way, but just try. The girl is dead. Any last glimmers of hope the mother may have had are cruelly extinguished. Why didn’t Jesus come in time? It’s just too late now. So they send the heartbreaking message.
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”
It’s too late. There’s nothing the teacher can do. He can’t help us any more – your daughter is dead. Faith runs out.
Has your faith ever run out? We pray for God’s help. Nothing happens. No answer. While the daughter was sick there was always hope of healing. Once she has died, all hope is gone. It can happen in a relationship, when a marriage breaks down. It can happen at work with redundancy. An accident can turn life upside down. In so many areas of life, things can go wrong. We can feel that God has let us down. Sometimes things can go so wrong that we feel not even God can put them right again. And faith runs out. Has your faith ever run out? I don’t have any easy answers for situations like that. But I do want this story to be an encouragement to us. Because it is never too late for God. Even when we have lost all hope, even when our faith has run out, Jesus can still work miracles. Miracles of healing, miracles of restoration, miracles of forgiveness, even the miracle of raising the dead back to life. God’s love and God’s power never run out! As this story shows us a marvellous example of what happens
WHEN FAITH KEEPS ON
Don’t miss the humility with which Jairus had come to Jesus in the first place. Although he was an important man he had “thrown himself at Jesus’s feet” and “begged him earnestly.” Jairus had already put his faith in Jesus as the one person who could help.
But then it might appear to some that Jesus had let Jairus down. Instead of going straight to the sick girl, Jesus had stopped on the way to heal somebody else – a woman who, did you notice, had been sick for the whole of that girl’s life. And then Jesus had kept on talking to the woman for so long that by that time Jairus’s daughter had died. You might think that Jairus would be angry that Jesus had taken so long . Even angry at the woman who had been healed, which meant his precious daughter had died. But Jairus gives no signs of anger or grief.
And then Jesus speaks, words full of understanding, words full of authority.
36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Jairus may have lost hope. His faith may have run out. But Jesus encourages him! The command there is what is called a continuous imperative. Not just a one off action, but, “Keep on believing.”
It can be so hard to keep on trusting when God seems to be too late, when it seems as if nothing if left to be done. But Jairus did keep on believing.
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 ruler, 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.
It can’t have been easy to keep on trusting with so much grief, crying and wailing. It can’t have been easy with everybody around laughing at Jesus’s words. But Jairus did keep on trusting. Believing in the face of grief. Believing in the face of derision. Because real faith does keep on believing. Despite problems and setbacks and delays. Real faith keeps on trusting. And the result here in the second part of the story is an even greater miracle than in the first part!
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 walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
The young girl had been dead – and Jesus brought her back to life. It is NEVER too late for God. Even in the most hopeless and desperate situation God’s love and power can break in and change things! And Jesus still offers life, life in all its fullness, to people who are dead without Him. Jesus still transforms the lives of those who keep on trusting Him.
But how can we have that kind of faith? What made the difference for the woman who was healed? When the mother and the family at home ran out of faith, what made the difference for Jairus? It was one simple thing – the presence of Jesus.
When Jesus seems very far away it can be hard to trust Him. But when we realise just how near Jesus is to us, when we are aware of His love and His power, then it is easier to keep on believing, and then miracles can happen. The closer our relationship with Jesus, the better we know Him as our Saviour, Master and Friend, the easier it is to trust Him. Like Jairus, and the woman, we simply need to take our needs to Jesus, to reach out and touch Him, and keep on believing.
It’s never too late for God. No situation is so hopeless that God cannot help us. So put your trust in Jesus who makes the blind see and the lame work, who sets people free from evil, who heals the sick and even raises the dead to life again. Just keep on believing!