Summary: Jesus shows Jairus that we have a God with skin on - someone who understands our pain and weaknesses, but who can do something about it!
Mark 5: 21-24, 35-43 Pentecost 6
A Lutheran pastor who grew up in a missionary family in Papua New Guinea recalls living through some of the tremendous thunderstorms that are common in that region. As a child, he was quite frightened when the storms came in the middle of the blackened night. In the dark, he would cry out, "Mom, come quickly! I’m scared!" Immediately, mom would come and wrap her arms around him in the darkness. "Don’t be afraid," she said. "It’s all right. God is here with you." On one occasion, he remembers replying, "I know God is with me, but sometimes I just need God with skin on."
Friends, that’s what we have in Jesus Christ - God with skin on. Our God came into this world to become one of us. He experienced first hand trials, afflictions, and temptations. He witnessed the pain of his people that was caused by guilt and shame, by sickness and death. In our text, he witnesses first hand the helplessness of a father who stood by while his only daughter lay on her deathbed. But don’t let this God with skin fool you. He became a man like us to be our Savior. He experienced our every weakness except the weakness of sin. But He is still almighty God and able to help us in our every time of need. And in our text, he invites us to do the same thing that he invited Jairus to do.
DON’T BE AFRAID! JUST BELIEVE!
I. COME TO JESUS IN FEARFUL TIMES
From our text, it would seem that Jairus came to Jesus as a last resort. Why didn’t he come sooner? Was he put off by the large crowd that always seemed to be about Jesus? Did he think that he would have to wait in line and that Jesus would no have time for him? Our text tells us that he was the ruler of the synagogue. No doubt, the rabbi’s were already jealous of Jesus’ popularity and speaking against him and his teaching. Perhaps he was afraid to jeopardize his position as ruler of the synagogue by coming to Jesus. But he had no choice. His daughter was dying. With tears in his eyes, he fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded as only a father could plead. "MY LITTLE DAUGHTER IS DYING. PLEASE COME AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON HER SO THAT SHE WILL BE HEALED AND LIVE."
Friends, why do we so often make Jesus our last resort? "Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!" Do we think that Jesus is too busy to listen to our small requests? Do we think that his arm is too short to help us when we are in real trouble? Do we think that we can turn to him only for spiritual problems, or for the forgiveness of sins? Don’t we know that he also cares for us in times of sickness? Or when the bills aren’t being paid? Or when we haven’t been able to cope with our loneliness when a loved one has passed away?
Friends, Jesus cares. Our text says simply, "SO JESUS WENT WITH HIM." It is just a simple statement of fact. But there is so much comfort in those words! He left the large crowds. He set aside the urgency of preaching and teaching. Whichever disciple was in charge of his busy schedule that day probably threw up in hands in despair and said, "There he goes again! How can I possibly keep his schedule in order!" But Jairus needed Jesus at that moment. He needed a God with skin on. So Jesus went with him.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus gave us a wonderful promise. "AND SURELY I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE." This promise was spoken to us by our Savior who rose bodily from the grave. He is exalted at the right hand of God. But he is still a God with skin on. He knows our troubles. He sees our afflictions. He feels for us in times of sorrow. Why wait until we are at wit’s end, or we’ve reached the end of our rope? Come to Jesus when you are troubled. And Jesus will go with you, too.
But do recognize that when we come to Jesus, our time of testing may not immediately be over. Doesn’t it seem that about the time we reach the end of our rope, things seem to get even a little worse? That’s the way it was for Jairus in our text, too. "Don’t be afraid. Just believe," Jesus said. These words are given to further encourage us.
II. DON’T BECOME DISCOURAGED