Summary: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:35.

Theme: Disabled but equally empowered

Text: 2 Sam. 9:1-13; Rom. 8:31-39; Mark 5:22-24, 36-43

The George Bush highway, the N1, has been commissioned and it was an impressive commissioning. A group of people, the disabled, however boycotted the commissioning. They complained that facilities for the disabled were not even considered. The U.N. estimates that 600 million people worldwide - about one-tenth of the world’s population - currently live with some form of disability, ranging from blindness and deafness, to immobility and various mental disabilities. Disability is a natural part of human life and the problems that people with disabilities face often results from society failing in their responsibilities. The Scriptures demand we live according to the word of God and as Christians we cannot fail in our responsibility to the disabled. Although we know His Words our actions testify that we do not obey them. We sometimes even go to the extent of changing them to be able to accommodate our actions. Why do we question what God says? It is because we do not believe the Word of God. Jesus always acted in accordance with the Word of God and met the needs of the disabled. When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of His garment she was restored to good health. When Jairus came to Him on behalf of his daughter, she was raised from the dead. Both women were disabled but equally empowered

God’s divine will for man is “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10. Life is a journey and God’s plan is for us to glorify His name by enjoying this journey. Jesus Christ met the need of the Gentile woman with an incurable condition for 12 years, just as He met the need of the little 12 year old Jewish girl. Just as the Lord met both their needs, so also is He ready to meet ours. We can only enjoy life’s journey with someone who is able to overcome life’s problems and the only person who can do that is Jesus Christ. The abundant life is to live the life of Christ and enjoy His peace. Christ does not only heal our infirmities He saves us, reconciles us with the Father and gives us His peace, that peace that passes understanding. After healing the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus delayed His journey to the house of Jairus.

It would seem a waste of time to us especially when any lost time would seem to endanger the daughter of Jairus. But this time was not wasted at all. This woman had heard about Jesus and believed that He was the Messiah and capable of healing her infirmity and she acted on her belief. Although she was prevented by law to touch another person because she was unclean and although she was weak from the long illness and it was a struggle to get through the crowd, she persevered till she could touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. The hem of His garments refers to the tassels placed at the corners of the prayer shawl worn by the Jews. These tassels on the hem are a reminder of God’s commandments and are also referred to as wings. By touching the hem of His garments the woman was declaring the Word of God in Mal. 4:2 that “The Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings”. Jesus delayed His journey to acknowledge her faith and get a public confession from her to meet her other needs as well. After she had come forward out of the crowd and told her whole story Jesus said to her ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.’ When God delays it is always for a purpose and divine delays usually test our faith and often results in God blessing us in a greater way. The delay gave the woman Christ’s assurance of peace. But the delay was also a blessing for Jairus. Sometimes God delays so that we can focus our attention on what He wants to do. God’s resources, His power and His peace are available to us all. We all have equal access to the Saviour but we have to approach Him in faith. There was a great crowd around Jesus with many coming into contact with Him yet only one of them received a miracle. Only the one who touched Him in faith? Let us touch Him in faith as we sing, pray and worship in His presence today.

The life of faith is the only way to the abundant life Christ has provided for us. But is it not incredible how we can be in God’s awesome Presence and yet not be affected by His mighty power? This is only possible because we are too pre-occupied with fear, doubts and unbelief. Instead of believing the Word of God we believe what is contrary to His Word. Faith is the only thing that really impresses God because faith believes God. Many people, however, are only willing to believe if they would have the evidence. “Seeing is believing,” declares the world and even many members of the Church today would rather see to believe than have faith in what God says.

Jairus believed God and came to Jesus in broad daylight and in the middle of a huge crowd. He fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him about his sick daughter saying, “Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live”. Jairus didn’t care about who saw him or what they thought about him. His daughter was dying and he believed Christ could heal her. He had certainly heard about Christ or may have even witnessed some of His miracles. But Jairus, a religious man and a ruler of the local synagogue, certainly knew about God’s covenant with Israel and Jesus’ concern for those who needed His help. In the time of King David, most kings would wipe out the families of their rivals to prevent any of their descendants from seeking to regain the throne. But David was different and showed kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan - the son of Saul. David’s kindness was the result of the covenant that existed between him and Jonathan and his descendants. After the death of Saul the nurse of Mephibosheth was so afraid and in such a hurry to save Jonathan’s son from what she perceived as certain death that she dropped the child and accidentally broke his legs leaving him lame for life. To further safeguard his life she then took him far away where he would live in obscurity making him very difficult to trace. Mephibosheth, the grandson of King Saul, ended up a lame person and living in an obscure area that made it easy for him to avoid strangers and being recognised. His life could best be described in his own words, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me”. David sought for Mephibosheth and restored him not only to his former status but also invited him into the King’s palace and to eat at the king’s table that is to share in the King’s provisions and to occupy a place of authority. He was accepted, not on the basis of who he was but because of the covenant between David and his father Jonathan. He was adopted into the family, received a new home, received his inheritance and sat at the king’s table. If a man like David could honour a covenant he made with Jonathan how much more will God not honour the covenant He has made with His people. Jairus believed in the covenant God had made with his father Abraham and did not waver in faith even when Christ delayed. His reward was to experience God’s blessings in a greater way. We have all experienced God’s delays. We have prayed but God has delayed in answering our petition. In such circumstances did we behave like Jairus did? Whatever it is that we have asked God to do according to His will, whatever it is that has been delayed in our lives, if God has promised to do it, it will be done. The greater the delay, the greater will be the blessing and the greater our delight. We should not miss out on the blessing because of impatience or unbelief.

Just as the Lord’s delay in going to Lazarus resulted in raising the dead rather than a mere healing, so our Lord’s delay in arriving at the home of Jairus resulted in a greater miracle. It also resulted in the raising from the dead rather than a healing. This greater miracle required greater faith from Jairus and it brought greater glory to our Lord. Jesus could easily have prevented the girl from dying, whether He was present or absent, but He chose to raise her from death instead. The divine delay was therefore for the good of all those involved. After restoring the child to life Jesus told them to give the girl something to eat. One would have thought that if Jesus could raise the girl from the dead He could also have done so with a full stomach. And He could have done so. But here we are thought a very important principle that God does not do for people what they can do for themselves. Jairus could not heal his sick daughter, nor raise her when she died. Jesus could and did so. But Jairus and his wife could feed the child and so Jesus did not do so miraculously. Miracles are not needed where normal human effort is sufficient.

The Lord Jesus Christ promised Jairus, a righteous, devout, and influential Jewish leader a visit to heal his daughter. On the way a woman declared to be unclean by the Law and therefore had no right to approach or touch Jesus receives a blessing from Christ. It appears that the woman is blessed at the expense of the ruler of the Synagogue. For at least a short time it seemed that the woman’s blessing cost the daughter of Jairus her life. Some see in this God’s dealings with the Jews and the Gentiles. God made a covenant to bless Abraham and his descendants, the Jews. The prophets spoke of the ‘healing’ of the nation by the coming Messiah. The Old Testament prophets even described the ‘healing’ of Israel as a resurrection. When Jesus came the Jews naturally thought He had come only for their blessing. Although Jesus made it clear that the Gentiles were included in the blessings as well, the Jews were not ready to accept it. Now we can see that God’s programme for the Jews has been delayed and in the interim the Gentiles are receiving God’s blessings. It may seem that the delay in the fulfilment of God’s promises to Israel is the fault of the Gentiles. But the blessing of one does not prevent the blessing of the other for both blessings are inter-related. Such was the case of the woman and Jairus’ daughter. Paul tells us that the salvation of the Gentiles does not hinder or prevent the salvation of the Jews. But it is a part of God’s programme for blessing both Jews and Gentiles. When the process of God’s dealings with the unclean woman and Jairus was complete, both were blessed, and neither at the expense of the other. For the Christian this means that we do not need to be afraid that God’s blessing of others will in any way limit our blessings. Indeed, if our hearts are in tune with God’s, the blessing of others are a blessing to us. What problem are you facing in your life today? Do you need a special touch from the Lord? Are you ill, troubled, hurting, lonely or without hope? Today you can reach out and touch Jesus in faith and He will meet your needs. Amen!