Summary: Jesus gives back to two grieving mothers their dead and dying children.

A Tale of two mothers.

I read a couple of short stories last week that go like this:

A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: " My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?" When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word Mother.

A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday school presentation. His mother was in the front row to prompt him. She gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it did not help. Her son’s memory was blank. Finally, she leaned forward and whispered the cue, "I am the light of the world." The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud clear voice said, "My mother is the light of the world."

This morning I want to look at two accounts of mothers who lost their most treasured possession and then had them given back.

Imagine the scene of one mother. Her family would have been her life. She was married and had only one son. Then sadly one day she loses her husband. The devastation she and her son must have felt would have been huge. She was now a widow, but at least she had her son to look after and then as she got older he would look after her. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose your partner but I imagine it takes ages to adjust.

But then one day she is struck by a further tragedy. No-one knows how but her only son is suddenly taken from her. All of a sudden her world dissolves around her. She has nothing left. She has now lost the two loves of her life. Not only has her immediate family gone, she will now have no-one to look after her or provide for her. In those days widows were only looked after by the male offspring. There were no state pension or govt. benefits. Lonely widows were left to fend for themselves. This woman faced a hard life ahead.

But I imagine at this stage all she could do was wail and weep for her precious son. Even though she was surrounded by a large crowd, she was desperately alone. After the crowd had gone it would be her going back to an empty home, with no other noises but her crying and sniffing. What a picture of blackness and despair.

And then we cross over to another scene.

A man and his wife have a precious daughter. She is there delight. The little girl is twelve years old and we know that she is adored by her mum and dad. However, one day the mother notices that her daughter is not herself. She’s gone off her food and she seems to be weaker than usual. They decide to take her to the doctors and are then delivered a bombshell. They are told that their daughter has an incurable disease and that she will die. All of a sudden their world seems to be ripped from beneath their feet. Their little one who they had spent twelve wonderful years with was going to be taken from them.

To them it didn’t seem like yesterday that they were holding their little baby daughter in their arms just after she was born. Now that joy had been extinguished as they had to prepare to let go of her. They would do anything to see her recover.

The father’s name is Jairus and he is a Synagogue ruler. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew the family because of Jairus’ position and therefore they would have all known their news.

What could be done for their little girl? The doctors could do no more so now they were in God’s hands.

Then news came to them that the man who was causing such a stir was back in the town. They had heard that this man did extraordinary things. He healed the sick and cast out demons. There were also reports that he changes water into wine and could walk on water.

Jairus and his wife knew there was only one thing for it. Jairus would go and get Jesus to lay hands on their precious one and heal her. He sped off and the mother was left to cuddle her little treasure. However the breathing was becoming more laboured and the mother is talking tenderly to her. Telling her everything will be okay because a man is coming to pray for her. However, in her heart she senses that her daughter is slipping away. Time is ticking away. Where is her husband? But more importantly, where is the man who was their last resort?

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