At The Feet of Jesus

Today’s Scripture is Mark 5:21-43

When important individuals enter a room, others in the room stand, however, when Jesus enters a room, people fall at His feet.

Jairus, an official of the synagogue, a man of high standing in his community, is a troubled man. The pressure of the day has taken his mind and heart into total desperation. Friends, family, and neighbors are gathering at his home.  He and his wife are watching their daughter’s life ebb away. More than half of the children in this era who survived childbirth die by their mid-teens. For Jairus’ family, the tragedy is unfolding on an only daughter.  Professional mourners soon arrive to await the seemingly inevitable demise of a beloved child.

In another part of town near the sea there is another crowd gathered:

¶ And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. (Mark 5:21)

The heart of Jairus is soft because of his trouble, so the loving, yet heartbroken father found himself going towards Jesus.

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

Many of us can relate to the plight of others desperate times simply because life is too fragile for anyone to escape misfortune and heartbreak as we move across the stage of life and we often find our way to God to plead earnestly.

And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. (Mark 5:23)

I have felt this same desperation.  I have held a small lifeless body in my arms, a stillborn child, perfect in every way except for life itself.  Standing with family, stunned, looking and holding a child for the only time. Thinking of memories that would never come to pass except for poignant reminders marking time because of the absence of events.

What is a parent to do? Can we have faith, believe, and quiet our fears? Is that what Jairus is doing as he implores the Savior to lay hands on his daughter?

And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. (Mark 5:24)

The scene must have been spectacular, here is a man of high standing in the community, a man who others respected. Jairus gave respect and honor at the feet of the teacher, this Jesus of Nazareth, who most Jewish leaders held in low regard and even contempt.  Is it any wonder that the people followed and thronged Him as they followed along with the father back to his sick daughter?  What would they see? Those in the crowd heard the plea “I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may…live.”  We can presume they expect to see a spectacular healing or a spectacular failure.  Expectations are high among the people as they jostle and push their way with Jesus and Jairus. What will ensue?

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. (Mark 5:25-32)

The narrative in the Gospel of Mark seems broken, even disjointed at this point. Mark disrupts the present story with a story about a woman that is also reaching for the Savior. Nevertheless, as we go on, we will see the Lord encourage, uphold faith, and remove fear.

As the second story unfolds, we see a woman that is an outcast because of her illness. She finds her way to Jesus.  This woman has been sick for twelve years; she is troubled, desperate and willing to take an enormous risk. She wants to touch the hem of the Saviors clothes, knowing she is ceremonially unclean and everyone in the “throng” she touches will be unclean, including the master healer from whom she seeks favor. The woman wants to remain unseen, yet her faith is strong enough to receive healing.

Jairus’ heart is in tatters; he knows there are few valuable moments to spare as his child is dying. He is worried about the family’s suffering at the death of his twelve-year-old daughter while a woman with a twelve-year-illness also shows a great need for healing. The two lives cross paths, Jairus is a person of high standing and the woman with the illness is an outcast. Both are together for the only time. Before this time, circumstances of his office and her illness keep them apart, and yet here they are together where both of their crossroads intersect. What will we learn from the intersecting stories?

But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

¶ While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:33-36)

These two lives and two stories intersect at the Savior’s message to “Be not afraid, only believe.”

Healing comes to the woman after twelve agonizing years of suffering, and at the inquiry of the Lord, she “told him all the truth,” so instead of a secret cure, the Lord is bestowing an open blessing. The affectionate and honored word “Daughter” stilled her fear, and it was her faith that made her whole.

The worried Jairus after witnessing a miracle on the way to his daughter is comforted, encouraged and has his faith strengthened by Jesus’ words “Be not afraid, only believe.”

Once again Jesus and Jairus are moving but without the jostling crowd. Jesus is moving toward destiny; He only wants those with faith to move forward with Him.

And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. (Mark 5:37)

The believing followers leave the crowd in the commotion and arrive at a home filled with tumult.

And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. (Mark 5:38)

Jesus and those gathered at the house know that death is stilling the little girl’s body, and yet He offers hope and urges faith towards the parents; only to be met by laughter by some who are at the home that we presume have come to offer comfort and support to the family.

And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. (Mark 5:39-40)

Those who’s tears were quickly turned to laughter reveal the superficiality of grief they display, and once again, we see that Jesus has separated those that believe and have faith from those that do not trust the Lord.

The time of healing is gone, the child has moved into the eternities.  It would seem to anyone, and even these parents, that this will be a time of comfort and kind words from Jesus at the loss of their dear one.   Can there be the laying on of hands as Jairus asked when he first fell and begged? What of faith? What of belief? Does fear grip hearts now?

And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. (Mark 5:41)

Jesus speaks the words “Talitha cumi” and the child hears Him in the eternities and responds. Jesus is speaking to the child who is very much alive and yet not present in the flesh. The disembodied damsel responds to the call of the Lord and returns to her body.

And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat. (Mark 5:42-43)

There are times of fear and desperation in each of our lives, yet when the Holy Ghost echo the words of comfort, we can also “Be not afraid, only believe.”

God teaches us in His Holy Word that He has power over life and death.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (Acts 15:22-23)

If, as a parent, our young child dies, we have the power to trust the Savior, because we know He has power over life and death. One day He will untie the bands of death. God uses the daughter of Jairus to give the world the ability to “Be not afraid, only believe.”

I know a man that dreamed of his family in a large room waiting with expectation. As they wait, this man is standing at the far end of the room. After some time, the Savior appears in the room; love splendor and glory fill the room.  As this man walks forward toward the Savior reverence is filling his heart, and overpowering him, he cannot stand, and falls at the feet of the Savior.  He is not compelled to bow before Him, but in the presence of the Savior, he can’t help but bow in humble adoration.

Be not afraid, have faith, and believe and one day you will see the Savior; and when you do see Him will you also fall at his feet?

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