They were the words he had hoped he would never hear. The words he had done everything he could think of to avoid. He would give up everything, even his good standing among the religious elite, if could only find something that would prevent those words from being spoken. And so, this elder in the local synagogue publicly broke with the scribes and the Pharisees and fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him for help.
“My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”
(Mark 5:23b ESV)
But despite his desperation, despite his best efforts, despite risking his reputation among those who wielded power in his religious world, he still heard the words, “Your daughter is dead” (Mark 5:35).
And I’m chewing on what was going through the mind of Jairus, one of the rulers in the synagogue, as he processed those words. As he took in what he heard and tried to make sense of them in light of what he had just seen.
Jairus was quickly leading Jesus, along with the crowd that thronged around Jesus, to his house to save his daughter. And then Jesus stopped. Just stopped. As in, He wasn’t advancing toward the sick little girl anymore. Instead, the Man who was his last hope turned about in the crowd and asked, “Who touched My garments?”
What? He couldn’t be serious! With all the people pressing around Him who was He looking for? And how long would He delay in order to find that person?
And then she stepped forward. The women who had touched Jesus’s garment. The woman who had suffered with a chronic condition for over 12 years. The woman who had heard about Jesus. The woman who believed that if she could just touch the hem of His garment it would be enough to heal her and do what scores of physicians had failed to do. The woman who ultimately delayed Jesus from rushing to the side of Jairus’ daughter.
And Jairus had seen her come forward. He had heard her testimony of being made well by just reaching out her hand to touch Jesus. And had heard Jesus say to her, “Daughter, your faith had made you well; go in peace . . . ” (5:34).
Jairus had seen a miracle. But then, he heard those words he never wanted to hear, “Your daughter is dead.”
Overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
(Mark 5:36 ESV)
Jairus had seen the Master’s power in the woman healed. But he had also heard the dreaded words from his daughter’s bedside. “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” the bearers of bad news asked. Good question. And I can imagine Jairus being uncertain what to do. Rend his garments, fall in the dust, and try and deal with his broken heart right there and then, or keep going with Jesus? The fear of failure could have been paralyzing.
Isn’t that how fear works? The unknown has a way of making things unsure. The dread of confronting what we sought to avoid can cause us to curl up in a corner. But Jesus says, “Do not fear, only believe.” Believe in Me. Believe that I’ve got this, regardless of how it turns out. The faith you had when you came running to Me is the faith that will sustain you as you follow Me. For I AM the antidote for fear.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
(1John 4:18 ESV)
Jairus heard those words he worked so hard to avoid hearing. But he believed and kept going with Jesus. He walked by faith and found that fear became less of a factor.
And after hearing words he never wanted to hear, he went home and saw something he never thought he’d see, and heard other words he could never have imagined hearing, “Little girl, arise” (5:41).
Because of God’s grace. All for God’s glory.