Summary: The story of Jairus and his dying daughter teaches us that even our potentially greatest losses should be faced in faith toward God, Who possesses ultimate control over every circumstance.

From Desperation



Text: Mark 5: 41, 42

Intro: Most of us here have experienced, at some point in time, what we would consider desperate circumstances. It may have been searing physical pain, a long-standing financial problem, or perhaps, as in the case of our text, the grave sickness of a loved one. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary Of American English, to be desperate is, “having a very great desire, need” (Victoria E. Neufeldt, Editor-In-Chief, and David B. Guralnik, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus, Webster’s New World Dictionary Of American English, Third College Edition, copyright 1991, published by Simon & Schuster, Inc.; pg. 374). However, there is usually an aspect of anxiety attached to this feeling of great desire or need. So much so, that one is willing to do almost anything to have that need met. You see desperation drives us to seek a solution—to find deliverance.

Such was the case with Jairus (Ja-i’-rus), a religious leader in the synagogue of Capernaum. His twelve-year-old daughter was deathly ill, and he wanted her to live more than anything in the world. When he heard of Jesus’ miracle-working power, he knew that this must be the solution to his dilemma.

This situation gives us a picture of what our attitude in prayer should be in matters of dire importance. Far too often we pray with an attitude of aloofness and virtual unconcern. If I read my Bible correctly, that kind of praying is unproductive. I do not mean to imply that God is so disinterested in us that we have to somehow convince Him to hear and answer our prayers. Quite the contrary. But a prayer that has no sense of urgency will likely receive no response from Heaven.

A desperate person possesses a sense of need. They don’t just want what they are requesting from God, they must have it. That’s the attitude with which we need to pray for the lost; the spiritual and physical growth of our church; as well as our personal walk with the Lord. We don’t need to pray depressed prayers, but desperate prayers; prayers characterized by urgency and brokenness.

Theme: In the story of Jairus we see:


A. Jairus’ Respect.

Mark 5: 22 “And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,”

NOTE: [1] It is rather significant that the name “Jairus” means, “whom Jehovah enlightens” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies From The Greek New Testament, Vol. I, published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; pg. 108). Jeremiah 33: 3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty (hidden) things, which thou knowest not.” There is always an element of enlightenment in the process of prayer. Jairus was about to receive enlightenment concerning the power and person of Jesus Christ.

[2] When Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus; he was showing adoration and submissive respect. Matthew, speaking of this same incident, translates the idea as, “worshipped him” (Matt.9: 18a). This simply means that Jairus “…bowed down before him as an expression of profound respect” (Alvah Hovey, D.D., LL.D., An American Commentary On The New Testament, published by The American Baptist Publication Society, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; pg. 204). This should certainly be our attitude when we pray.

Clark Clifford shares this reminiscence of his former boss, Harry S. Truman:

Every morning at 8:30 the President would have a staff meeting. One day the mail clerk brought in a lavender envelope with a regal wax seal and flowing purple ribbons. Opening it, the President found a letter from King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, whose salutation began, “Your Magnificence.”

“Your Magnificence,” Truman repeated, laughing. “I like that. I don’t know what you guys call me when I’m not here, but it’s okay if you refer to me from now on as ‘His Magnificence.’”

Truman subsequently sent a message to the United Nations supporting the admission of 100,000 Jews into Palestine. Soon afterward he received a second letter from King Ibn Saud. This one began: “Dear Mr. President.”

Clark Clifford.

B. Jairus’ Request.

1. His request was characterized by urgency.

Mark 5: 23a “And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death…”

NOTE: [1] The English version somewhat softens the meaning of this phrase. The words “besought him greatly” mean that “…He kept begging, perhaps repeatedly and desperately” (Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, Editors, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 998). This is a picture of importunate prayer (Luke 11: 1-13).

[2] The words “…at the point of death…” mean, “to be in the last gasp” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies From The Greek New Testament, Vol. I, Mark In The Greek New Testament, pg. 108). Jairus was simply relating to Jesus in the most urgent terms, that his daughter’s death was imminent.

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