Summary: This is the 2nd in 5 in a series on people who encountered Christ and how thier lives were changed. The invitation is to believe in the ’magic’ of miracles.

In February of last year, a 7 year old little girl named Danielle van Dam was abducted from her home and murdered. Since then, the media has focused on the abduction of one young girl after another. From Danielle to Elizabeth Smart. From Elizabeth Smart to Samantha Runnion. Then there was Tamera Brooks and Jacquelin Marris followed by 4 yr old Jessica Cortez.

Just last week, there was another. This time a 9 year old is missing after her parents were found shot to death in their home.

In every case, we can just imagine the anguish and despair of parents and family. How their hearts must have broken, wishing and praying for thier daughters’ return, to be restored safe and whole to their families.

In some cases, they got their wish. In others, the desparation and anguish lives on.

For the next 4 weeks, we will be looking at biblical people who encountered Christ and examining how their lives were changed by the experience.

Tonight, we look at the lives of two women who experienced healing at the hands of Jesus. In these two stories, desparation is a driving force behind their seeking Jesus out.

As he was often, Jesus is surrounded by a large crowd of followers. A man named Jarius approaches him, only he’s not just any man. He’s the ruler of the synagogue, the senior pastor of the local church.

And he doesn’t just approach Jesus. He falls at his feet. He approaches Jesus in humility, recognizing his authority and submitting to it. Because of his position, this alone is an event to cause us to wide our eyes.

Jesus was quickly earning the reputation of being a troublemaker. He was a renegade, and made comments that shook up the leaders of the church.

Jarius was on dangerous ground as the synagogue ruler. He was taking quite a chance aligning himself with Jesus. But he wasn’t recognizing Jesus as an equal leader within Judism.

By falling at Jesus feet he validates Jesus’ message and ministry. He was submitting himself to Jesus’ authority, acknowleding that Jesus had the power.

Jarius’ actions are public and dangerous for his own position in society. But Jarius is desparate. His 12 year old daughter is dying. Just as the parents of Elizabeth Smart and the others, he is in danger of losing his daughter and loved one.

He knows in his heart of hearts that Jesus can heal her. His desparation, the feeling that all avenues of hope are closing on him, drives him to believe in Jesus ability to save his daughter’s life.

So we find him at the feet of Jesus. And he pleads, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

And Jesus responds. He will come to Jarius’ aide. He will heal his daughter.

You know, as a parent, I can feel Jarius’ pain and desparation, just as I can feel the anguish of the parents of missing children. I can’t comprehend, I can’t imagine what I would do if the life of one of my own children was in such danger.

But I also know, that females didn’t count for much in that day. It is suprising to me that Jarius is so willing to jepordize his reputation and position for a girl child. Mark has recorded for us an expection to the rule for palistinean society.

He’s showing us a slice of life that is different from the norm. Jarius is a unique individual as the value he has placed on his daughter’s life would indicate.

A large crowd of people continue to press in on Jesus, surrounding him closely as he begins to try to make his way to Jarius’ house.

In the crowd is a woman who is also driven by desparation. For 12 years she has had a condition that has gotten steadily worse.

Her bleeding has separated her from society. When her worth is already in question because of her gender, her condition has sealed her fate. She has spent all of her money on doctors searching for a cure, but it hasn’t helped at all. Instead, she’s gotten worse. Just as Jarius’ daughter, there is no hope for her life, no hope anywhere but at the hand of Jesus, and she knows it.

In fact, the desparation of both of these individuals has driven them to extreme faith. All of their hope, all of their survival rests on one thing - the power of Jesus to heal them.

The amount of faith this woman has is amazing to me. She knows - without a doubt - that the power of Jesus is so great, all she has to do is touch the edge of his robe.

It is such a belief that it drives her, moves her in closer, determines her course and won’t let her veer from the path.

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