First read the story: Mark 5:21-43
This story begins with a crowd gathered around Jesus. Out of the crowd comes a man named Jairus.Perhaps the reason this man was able to get Jesus’s attention before anyone else in the crowd is because everyone knew him. Jairus was the leader of the synagogue. Back in the beginning chapters of Mark, he may have been the one who granted him that permission. Jairus, being the ruler of the synagogue, was a man greatly devoted to God, a man of great social prominence and wealth, and a man greatly respected in the community. Yet, in verses 22-23 we see him throw himself on the ground before Jesus and plead with him to come to heal his daughter. This situation was so grievous, so tragic, that all rules of social propriety were thrown out the window. Jairus didn’t care who he was or how people thought he should behave, he needed Jesus or his daughter was going to die. Verse 24 says that Jesus went with him with the crowd in tow.
In the midst of all of this, there is an interruption. No doubt Jairus is trying to get Jesus to come as quickly as possible to see his daughter, but someone interferes. A woman who has been sick for years, and has spent all of her money on doctors, who only worsened her condition, hears about Jesus. And she thinks that if she can just touch him, she will be healed. So we read in verse 27 that she does just that, and the craziest thing happens…It works! She was healed! But verse 30 tells us that Jesus notices this because he weakened as a result of it. Power left him. He’s going to see a sick girl who is on the verge of dying, he needs all the power he has, and he needs to hurry, so the last thing Jairus wants to see is someone slow them down or diminish his power. But, even though they are in a hurry, Jesus stops to speak to this woman.
Verses 30-31 are kind of funny. He says, who touched me? And the disciples are like, “You’re in a crowd, everyone touched you, what do you mean who touched you?” Jesus stops to speak to the woman to tell her that she has been healed. He stops to recognize her faith, and while this is going on, verse 35 tells us that a messenger comes saying that Jairus’s daughter has died. Verse 36 says, Jesus overhears this conversation and he speaks to Jairus saying, “don’t be afraid, just believe”.
They word used for “overheard” could also be translated “ignored”. In other words, Jesus says, are you going to believe them or me? Jairus was expecting Jesus to heal his daughter, but now she’s dead and Jesus says “believe”. His expectations of Jesus were not met. He expected Jesus to do something for him and it doesn’t happen. Often our expectations aren’t matched by the timing of God’s display of his grace(1). We expect God to work within the confines of our ability to understand, but when we do, we forget something very important, He is God! He works across space and time and on levels of wisdom we could not possibly apprehend. So when Jesus stops to talk to this woman allowing enough time to pass for Jairus’s daughter to die, once again, God is working in a way a man cannot possibly understand or expect. Talk about your test of faith. He knew that Jesus could heal his daughter, but she has died, and Jesus is saying, “Ignore those messengers and believe me”.
When God doesn’t bow to our expectations how do we respond? When your loved one’s illness gets worse. When you still can’t find work. When your marriage just isn’t getting better. Will you still believe that God’s grace is going to work in your life? Will you set aside your expectations and simply believe that God is in control? Will you still trust in God’s authority over letting suffering and loss come even to those he loves? A major part of Jesus’s message is that “the time is fulfilled”. The Bible says with God a day is as 1000 years and 1000 years is as a day. It says “at just the right time, Jesus died for the ungodly”. Jesus’s delay in getting to Jairus’s daughter was not an oversight. He understood the timeframe he was working in perfectly. God understands time. God has time under control and he calls out to us saying, “Don’t be afraid, just believe!”In your loss and suffering, don’t be afraid, just believe. In your trial and trouble, don’t be afraid, just believe. You may feel like God didn’t come through for you and that feeling may even last for years, but don’t be afraid to believe in God again. Don’t be afraid to trust in his timing I your life.
Jesus goes with Jairus and his entourage to see the little girl. In verses 39-40 we see people were already wailing and mourning because the girl died, but Jesus says she is only sleeping. They think he’s telling a joke so they laugh at his statement. Jesus goes into the room and tells everyone to leave except Jairus and his wife, Peter, James, and John. In verse 41 he sits down and takes this little girl by the hand. He speaks two words to her in Aramaic and Mark translates them for us. These words are simple and gentle words; words that a mother would speak to her child to wake her. The English equivalent might be “Honey, time to wake up.” And the strangest thing happens. This man who spoke to the wind and waves and they obeyed him, this man who commanded an army of demons and they obeyed him, this man who healed a woman of a chronic disease simply through her belief, this man speaks new life into this little girl.
He speaks through death, and life obeys him.
Verse 42 says the little girl woke up. See, Jesus told them she was only sleeping, now make her some breakfast. And it says the people in the room are overcome with amazement But Jesus says, don’t tell anyone. It’s not time to let everyone know who I am yet.
Though death may come, even for those of us who follow him, it is sleep and one day we will awake and it will be time to eat, time to feast with our King. One of the most difficult questions to answer is why bad things happen to good people. It’s difficult to see why God would let tragedy and suffering come to those who he loves and those who follow him. But in this story about Jairus and his daughter we see that this does happen. The girl was sick, and just when she was so close to being healed, she died. But Jesus awakened her. He displayed his authority over illness and death. So maybe we will never have some of our questions answered, but we receive this reply from God through the scriptures: Don’t be afraid, just believe. Suffering and struggle comes to everyone, but we find hope in Jesus. Suffering and struggle even came to him. Jesus’ life wasn’t full of ease and prosperity. In the final days of his life he was betrayed by one of his closes friends. He was arrested and convicted in a rigged trial. After his conviction, he was beaten and then paraded through the streets naked. They took him to the top of a hill overlooking Jerusalem and nailed him to a cross crucifying him. He died on a Friday and was placed in a tomb. A three days later, on Sunday, some of his followers came to his tomb to prepare his body for burial. When they got to the tomb, though, it was empty. To some an angel said, he is not here, he is risen. Later that day, he appeared to his followers. He spoke with them, he ate with them. He had in fact risen. Over the course of 40 days he taught his followers and spent time with them. Then he returned to heaven and there he is enthroned ruling heaven and earth. One day, he will return. One day he will set everything right. One day those who know him will live again. One day we will see him face to face. If we follow him now, we will see him then. If we believe in him and align our lives with his now in this life, we have hope in the life to come.
Who is this Jesus who commands the wind and waves, who overcomes armies of demons, who heals people of chronic disease, who speaks to dead people and they rise, who is he? Who is this Jesus who has conquered sin and death and is seated on a throne in heaven waiting until the proper time to return to set everything right? Who is this Jesus?
Well…He’s the King…Is he your King?