Summary: God understands the difference between elbows of unconcern or casualness and fingertips of faith.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, I found this one story of a study in elbows and fingertips. It is the story of how God understands the difference between elbows of unconcern or casualness and fingertips of faith.
The story is the setting of our Lord returning from some time of rest and relaxation way up north in Caesarea Philippi. Just as the boat hits the shore, there are people waiting for Him. As He is teaching them a man named Jairus does something that I am quite sure he had never done before in his life.
Jairus was a man who was most respected in the community. He was both a religious and civic leader. He was probably the wealthiest man in the community and a man with high moral values or he wouldn’t have been in the position he was in.
Jairus never interrupted people, but he came and interrupted Jesus that day as He was teaching, because there was something deep on his heart. His twelve-year-old daughter was dying. He came to Christ as soon as he heard He had arrived back in town. Christ read the panic and pain in his face, and He went with him immediately.
All of the people He had been teaching went along, too, and the Bible says they were so close together that they "almost crushed Him." All of a sudden, Jesus stopped in His tracks. People bumped into each other like railroad cars. Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" The apostles said to Him, "Lord, what do You mean who touched you? Everybody’s touching everybody. We’re packed in here like sardines." Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me."
It wasn’t just the elbows of being there. It was the touching. Every time someone reaches out to touch Jesus, He knows it, and they know it, too.
A woman came out of the crowd and told a very difficult story. She told of being an outcast, of having an illness which her society decided made her unworthy of living with her family. She couldn’t go to church with her friends. She could not be seen in a crowd. It was required that, whenever someone got close to her, she must call out, "Unclean! Stay away from me!" She spent all of her recent years and all of the money she had trying to find a cure for her disease. Now she was penniless, helpless, and hopeless, and she decided if she could just touch the hem of the garment of Christ, she would be made well.
And that is exactly what she did. It was a hard story for her to tell, because you see, it was illegal for her to be in that crowd. I think probably, Jesus said the first kind words to her she had heard in many a year. He said, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." At that very same time, a messenger came from Jairus’ house and said, "Your daughter is dead ... Don’t bother the teacher any more."
It’s amazing when you see Jesus Christ as only a teacher how much you miss.
He was saying, "Don’t bother the teacher. There’s nothing he can do. The girl is dead. This is a problem beyond his abilities." Jesus whispered in the ear of Jairus, "Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she shall be made well."
Then Jesus dismissed the rest of the crowd. He dismissed all the people who were excited about a miracle they had just seen and about what was going to happen.
He said "You stay here. You can’t go." He chose Peter, James, John the brother of James and said, "We four will go with this father to his house." He didn’t want that excited atmosphere around. When Jesus is about to do serious work, He doesn’t do it in a circus atmosphere.
Did you ever hear about the little boy who saw a tent and thought it was a circus. He slipped under the tent and found himself in a revival meeting ... such a terrible thing to think you’re going to a circus and find yourself in a revival meeting.
But I will tell you something a thousand times more terrible. That is to go to a place where you think there may be a revival meeting and find nothing but a circus. Jesus said, "I’m not going to do My best work in an atmosphere like that."
He took those four believers with Him, along with the father, and when He got there, there was a crowd at the house, too. They were moaning and wailing.
They were in the grieving process. Jesus said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep." They not only laughed at Him, but they scoffed at Him.