Summary: It wasn’t the faith of this little girl that moved Jesus to come. It was the faith of a father in desperation, crying out to Jesus. Nothing is more powerful than the desperation of a father for his child. THERE IS ALWAYS A DESPERATE ASPECT TO FAITH.
Part 7 - Matthew 9:18-26 - THE DESPERATE CRY OF MY FAITH!
I’ve conducted funerals. I know the kind of grief that hangs in the air with anticipation like storm clouds ready to flood the earth with rain. I know the kind of grief which needs to be expressed in tears and in saying goodbye. Yes, I know the person has already gone, but you STILL HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE, for YOUR SAKE, not theirs. It’s as if the person you loved is at the end of the lane and waving to you and you are too late to say goodbye personally. So you wave and mourn their passing.
Have you noticed that a funeral is often a place where people seek Jesus? In Matthew 9:18 Jesus is obviously the last chance for a man mourning for his daughter because HE ACTUALLY LEAVES THE FUNERAL in order to find Him. He refuses to accept the death of his daughter. After a small delay, (see Matthew 9 - Part 6), Jesus goes to his house.
"When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, He saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. "Get out!" He told them. "The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep." But the crowd laughed at Him." (Matthew 9:23-24 NLT). It was nervous laughter no doubt. Try walking up to the coffin in the middle of a funeral service and pronounce that the person is only sleeping. There’ll be some NERVOUS LAUGHTER, but then you’ll be escorted out by the larger male members of the family before you get any further!
But before they have time to get angry and call for the cousins to escort Jesus out, Jairus probably intervenes. It is his daughter who has died. It is his home. The crowd is asked to leave. I’m sure this is THE SHORT VERSION. Some people would be feeling sorry for Jairus and try to convince him to be MORE RATIONAL. Some would recognise who Jesus was and realise the authority with which He speaks. Jesus wasn’t saying that this was a misdiagnosis and she was ONLY ASLEEP. Even the term he uses can refer to someone who had died but I think He was prophesying that although this girl was dead, she would live!
The last thing I need for a miracle of life to take place in my life is AN ATMOSPHERE OF GRIEF AND LOSS AND DESPAIR. I love the way Matthew summarises this. He is a man afterall. Men are not concerned with the details. In Matthew 9:25-26 (NLT) he says "After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up! The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside." Two sentences!
All the turmoil and noise that issues from grief and loss are cast from the house and in the quietness that ensues Jesus comes. The traffic noise is gone and AN ATMOSPHERE OF WORSHIP PERVADES THE HOUSE. He simply takes her by the hand and she stands.
It wasn’t the faith of this little girl that moved Jesus to come. It was the faith of a father in desperation, crying out to Jesus. Nothing is more powerful than the desperation of a father for his child. THERE IS ALWAYS A DESPERATE ASPECT TO FAITH.
Jairus was an important man, well respected in the community and he wielded a great deal of power, but he SUBMITTED HIMSELF TO THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS. I can’t imagine a religious leader coming to Jesus for help normally.