There is a beautiful story found in the book of Mark about man who desperately wanted Jesus to heal his daughter. . I actually read and re-read the story of Jairus and his daughter from Mark chapter 5. To help me understand the emotions of the story, I put myself in Jairus’s shoes and re-wrote the story a little differently You may well find it helpful to do the same with any one of the many stories from the Bible where someone had to wait for a miracle, a dream to come true or even a promise from God to be realised.
Jairus: Another story from the waiting room…
When I heard that Jesus from Nazareth had returned from the other side of Lake of Galilee I knew I didn’t have much time and needed to get to him as fast as I could. I promised my family and others who had already gathered at my home that I would go and see if Jesus would come. They knew that Jesus was already causing some confusion in the Jewish community, so they were a little perturbed about my decision but I had no time to waste arguing with them.
As I approached the sea side, where Jesus was disembarking a crowd was already to gather. I pushed my way towards Jesus. People were gracious as they knew who I was and most of them acknowledged me, especially those from my local synagogue. A few had already heard about my daughter’s health but I brushed their questions off as I really wanted to speak to Jesus. I knew if he recognised me, he would not hesitate to come to my home. When I finally reached him, I fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” I didn’t really think about it until later but I must admit I was surprised how easy it was for me to bow at his feet. In a way, I think I was acknowledging that despite my role and my status, he had something that I didn’t have and falling at his feet was my way of acknowledging how desperate I was for help.
On hearing my request Jesus agreed to come immediately. A wave of relief came over me but not enough to ease the anxiety and tension that had been building throughout the day. We started to move towards my home which was right next to the synagogue. A thousand thoughts tumbled through my head as we made our way. The crowd was building and the pace was slow.I could see that many like me had come with their own needs or on behalf of friends and then there were those who had come to watch because they were curious and intrigued. I felt a sense of importance that Jesus was coming to my house….
I only wished it was not under these circumstances. My daughter was dying. We had tried everything. This was our only hope. The doctor had asked us to gather family as there was nothing left for him to do. as we made our way, the crowd got bigger we began to slow our pace. I just wished we could move a little quicker. It was slow going and people were pushing and shoving trying to get closer to Jesus but at least I knew he was coming with me…. At least I thought he was….
I realised in a brief moment while I was lost in thought, that we had come to a stand still and I saw Jesus turn to the crowd and yell out over the crowd. “Who touched My clothes?” I think to myself in frustration ‘You have got to be kidding me’ . Then one the disciples asks Jesus exactly what I’m thinking, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ‘ I was hoping Jesus would just move on as I am starting to get impatient and a little edgy. I know how sick my daughter was when I left. But then I realise that Jesus is in no hurry to move on. As always, Jesus is about to be interrupted. he is always getting interrupted. The crowd loves it. this is what they come to see. Jesus is actually convinced that one of the many touches he felt was more than a touch. Then I see her…a older woman drops to the ground. She is trembling all over and she starts talking in quick excited gasps. At first I did not recognise her and my hope is that Jesus has sensed the urgency of my request and will simply brush her off. The crowd hushes as she begins to speak and the crowd pushes and shoves trying to get a glimpse of the woman who has managed to grab Jesus attention. She looks strangely familiar. I am sure she used to come to the synagogue but I haven’t seen her in years. In our small community she is an outcast also known as an untouchable. I don’t really know her story that well as I was not a leader back then but I do know she has not been allowed to come nar the synagogue or temple for some time. People like her at not welcome or allowed in the synagogue and they are not meant I be near people. So what is she doing here?
As a synagogue leader I know how Jesus should deal with this situation and I hope he does it quickly but I have heard stories of his compassion before and am concerned that this is not going to happen as I hope. As wait, I feel my blood pressure rising. As I fidget on the spot the crowd grows silent as they watch for Jesus response. She then begins to pour out her story I realise this is going to take some time. I feel a sense of disgust that she would have the audacity to come amongst this crowd and touch the people and touch the master. Why on earth is Jesus willing to listen. She clearly should not even be here.
As I listen to her story I feel annoyed and frustrated. ‘This woman is a queue jumper. I was first. She is a nobody and I am a somebody. She has had the audacity to not only touch Jesus but would have had to touch many in the crowd in order to reach him. If her story is true..she should not even be here. But Jesus doesn’t seem to mind. The woman is now going into detail…She talks about the every doctor she has seen, every medicine she has tried , every method, every potion, even the creams to rub on her hands. And I wait…. She names the every doctor, then she goes into detail about how her condition has worsened and how she is now desperate because nothing is getting better. Meanwhile I wait. She then goes into the details of how much this has cost her…the money it has cost her this doctor and that doctor, how her family has no more money and how her relatives have stopped paying for any more medicine and how much of her savings went into this remedy and that remedy yet she gets worse.
I have now stopped thinking about me and am watching Jesus. The compassion in his eyes and the mercy he is showing this woman is astounding. He has stopped for a nobody and at the same time made me (a somebody )wait. He has given a woman his time while i a man with a reputation has to wait. I look again at ‘The queue jumper’ ..this woman who is standing in the way of my miracle. Jesus was on his way to help me and she jumped the queue and she had way too many things to tell. I don’t care too much about her 12 years of sickness…I have a 12 year old at home who is dying.. I realise that this woman has been slowly dying ever since my child was born. This woman has not had a touch , a word of encouragement, a joy filled day since the miracle of my daughter had entered our lives. Here, my daughter has a father who has run seeking an answer and this woman who is a nobody has nobody to come on her behalf. She had no choice but to come and find Jesus. No wonder she tried not to be noticed. Here I am …a somebody…. waiting on a nobody to move out of the way so Jesus will help me instead of her. Still I wait. She goes on and on about the effect on her relationships, the depression, the torment , the tears,the loneliness, insomnia, how the first couple for years people tried to help but when you are so sick it doesn’t take long for people to move on.
I like the rest of the crowd am intrigued by what Jesus will do but am also very aware of my daughters plight as this woman steals away precious time. While this woman gets the attention of Jesus, my daughter lies dying in my home, as I listen to the story of 12 years of agony, I see my own situation in contrast. I am a somebody..she is a nobody, I am in the centre of Jewish society at the height of my career. I come to Jesus on behalf of my daughter …the daughter of a somebody. Here this woman comes as someone who nobody can help or even touch without becoming unclean. I come to Jesus knowing that no amount of riches and glory and glamour and prestige will help me. I come desperate for help but so does this woman who has nothing and no one. here we stand in the presence of Jesus with only Jesus as the answer. Where her story of neediness and the details about her blood flow a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians.
It’s not that I didn’t want Jesus to do a miracle. It was because of Jesus miracles that I had come to find him and interrupt him. But she bumped me out of the line. She goes on… “If only Is could touch your clothes, I will be made well and how she immediately felt the fountain of her blood dry up, and how she felt in her body that she was healed’ . The crowd gasp with relief. While I paced from one foot to the other, waiting for Jesus to continue to my home I heard Jesus say “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” There is a mixed reaction in the crowd and over the commotion I hear my name. While He was still speaking, some of my friends came pushing through the crowd towards me. I had told them that if there was any change in my daughter, to come and find me…..that I was going to go find the teacher and ask him to help heal my daughter. When I saw them I felt the blood drain from my face. As they spoke the words I dreaded the most. “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
Jesus must have sensed or seen the fear on my face. He must have sensed my fear because he immediately looked me in the eye and with authority and great compassion spoke these words “Do not be afraid; only believe.” He spoke to his disciples and some of them immediately moved the crowd back and let Jesus through and we were on our way. I noticed that all of a sudden there was just Jesus and me and three of his disciples. the crowd had not been petted to follow. We began to move towards my home and the words ‘ don’t be afraid! Only believe! Don’t be afraid! Only believe! Don’t be afraid! Stirring my heart with faith. These words gave me a sense of great comfort and strength. The atmosphere became charged with purpose and authority. I felt that something powerful was about to happen. I felt the feeling of faith….the reality that something was not right but was about to be made right…the feeling of confidence that truth was about to confront the facts, that a powerful encounter with Jesus. I felt like my request was for healing but Jesus was about to do more than I had asked for. in fact it felt like he knew that the delay was setting me up for something.
As we approached my home I could not believe how many people had already gathered. The noise was typical but also overwhelming. It confronted my confidence and my belief. I could feel the grief, the feeling of overwhelming sadness was actually tangible. They hardly even noticed our arrival. Jesus had asked me a few questions about my daughter on the way but most of all he was giving instructions to his disciples as to what he wanted to happen.
When he finally arrived at my house he spoke over the din with a calm authority “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” It was obvious he knew more about death than they did. It was as if he was the final authority on death and that he had the right to decide if it was my daughter’s time to live or die. The people who surrounded my home were mostly my relatives and friends and they quickly responded with angry emotion and dismissed his comments as absurd. I was not surprised they mocked him with so much intensity. The disciples moved everyone out of the house into the outer court of my house. No one was permitted inside except my wife, me and the disciples he had bought with him. We showed him where our daughter was lying. My wife had not left my daughter’s side and I could see her distress but also the calm that returned with my entrance and the authority that Jesus bought with him. I felt her tension and realised that being present at my daughters ‘death’ without me must have been extremely difficult. she was tentative and very fragile as we entered the room.
As I entered the room I felt the overwhelming sense of grief as I looked at my daughters still body. The past few days had been difficult for us and our family. I had fretted and prayed like I had never prayed, I had listened to my friends and the other leaders accusing my family of unknown and hidden sins and over the last few hours I had wracked my brain trying to understand what I could have done wrong to see my child become so sick. What could I do to fix this? I was beginning to think I had bought a curse on my family instead of blessing. But now all I could hear over my thoughts were his words: ‘only believe, do not fear, only believe’ . I could do little else but trust him. I watched… as a leader in my community who could not fix my own daughter. I watched a man who had been ridiculed and cristised by my friends and colleagues. I watched a man who had just been touched by an unclean woman and healed her, a woman of no worth and no significance in my eyes. I watched this same man reach out to my daughter. I watched this man reach out and touch a stranger’s daughter with love and compassion as if it was his own daughter. He took my daughter by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately my daughter arose as if she ad been in a deep sleep. I am sure she was surprised to see me standing over her with tears streaming down my face. She looked up to see this stranger in her room I wondered how we would explain this miracle to her in the years to come and how this miracle would change her life and her future. as I reflect on what I experiential day I remember watching two miracles take place today. As nobody and a somebody touched by the Master not because of what they could do but because of who he is. I still hear his words in my head. Do not be afraid. Only believe. Do not be afraid. Only believe. When I face a difficult situation instead if whining and moaning or complaining I now hear myself repeating the words he spoke…Do not be afraid. ONLY believe. Arise.
We often recount this story and the many others stories we have heard and seen but it is this story we share with those who visit our home or we know are in need of a miracle. It is this one that helps others see that their miracles are possible. When you turn to Jesus and earnestly seek him, however long you have to wait..he will come with you of the journey…Do not be afraid. Only believe. (Mark 5:21-43 NKJV)