Summary: Jairus reached out on behalf of his daughter, the woman in the crowd reached out to Jesus for herself, and the crowd just wanted to be near to Jesus. How about us?
(This is a short Homily given at a midweek Communion Service)
As the events unfold, I wonder which character you most relate to. Which character is closest to your present circumstances? Which character best describes your friend or neighbour for whom you are praying?
There’s not time today for me to talk in detail about each person or each group in this event, but I wonder who you most relate to: There is the crowd gathering close to Jesus, and then there is Jairus the synagogue ruler. His daughter is dying and falling at Jesus’ feet he pleads earnestly with him to come and lay hands on her so that she will be healed and live (Mark 5: 22-23). Jesus sets off with Jairus but the crowd are pressing in around Jesus (verse 24).
Next there is a woman who has been ill for 12 years and this is not a criticism of the great work that Doctors and Nurses do, but we are told that the woman “…had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26). From out of the large crowd she reaches out and touches Jesus because she believes that touching Jesus will be the key to her healing (5:28). She touches him and is healed.
Jesus wonders who has touched him and the woman falls at his feet, trembling with fear (5:32-33). Meanwhile, the disciples had been asking how it was that Jesus could possibly be wondering who had touched him when such a large crowd was already pressing in around him (5:31)!
Jesus releases the woman from her suffering; and then comes the news that Jairus’ daughter is dead.
“Why bother the teacher any more?” (5:35). As far as the household of Jairus is concerned, this is now a lost cause. The girl is dead. The reason for Jairus falling on his feet and pleading with Jesus (5:22-23, sounds like prayer doesn’t it) has now ended, yet Jesus is still at work and even though the girl is dead Jesus takes time to be with the family. When Jesus says she’s not dead but asleep (5:39) they laugh at him (5:40) but Jesus is still at work. He takes the girl by the hand, saying, “Little girl, I say to you, get up” (5:41). Immediately, the 12 year old girl stands up and walks around (5:42). Understandably, her parents and the disciples were completely astonished.
So I wonder which character you most relate to. Which character is closest to your present circumstances? Which character best describes your friend or neighbour for whom you are praying?
Is it Jairus, needing a miracle from Jesus?
Jairus was on his knees pleading with Jesus. Have you been pleading with Jesus on behalf of someone you love? Jesus will answer your prayer, but as we saw from the story, the answer may not come in the way that we hope. There was much weeping, wailing and grief for the girl’s family before their prayers were amazingly answered.
Which character is closest to your present circumstances? Is it the woman who has been sick for 12 years? She knows that Jesus is the only one who can resolve her problems and so it is to Jesus that she goes, even though she is just one woman within a large crowd that is pressing in towards Jesus. Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by a crowd of people who all want to be near Jesus? Perhaps you wonder if Jesus would be interested in you because there are so many other pressing matters for him to deal with. Take courage from the woman who came to Jesus and received a personal response from him.
Or are you another person in the crowd? Do you want to get closer to the risen Lord Jesus today? Do you want to get to know him better?
Are you anything like the disciples, learning from Jesus and preparing to put into practice what you have learnt?
Whatever your circumstances are, Jesus is near. When he walked amongst us he could only be in one place at any one time, but now he ministers to each one of us by His Holy Spirit.