While Jesus was saying these things, a synagogue leader came and knelt before Him. “My daughter has just died,” he said. “But come and place Your hand on her, and she will live.” So Jesus got up and went with him, along with His disciples. Suddenly a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak. She said to herself, “If only I touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take courage, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was cured from that very hour. When Jesus entered the house of the synagogue leader, He saw the flute players and the noisy crowd. “Go away,” He told them. “The girl is not dead, but asleep.” And they laughed at Him. After the crowd had been put outside, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. And the news about this spread throughout that region. Matthew 9 : 18 – 25 (NASB)
Have you ever been desperate for help? So desperate that you would accept help from anyone, maybe even someone you wouldn’t normally associate with. That was the case for the two people in our story today. Both had real need and both would not dare to approach Jesus in normal circumstances, for different reasons.
This account takes place in Capernuam, just after the healing of the paralytic man and the calling of Matthew. Jairus the synagogue leader seeks Jesus who is at Matthew’s house. He was an important man who undoubtedly knew Jesus and had watched Jesus from afar. Leaders of synagogues and Pharisees were suspicious of Jesus and His disciples. Yet here is Jairus seeking a miracle of Christ, his daughter lies at home gravely ill. The pharisees at Matthew’s house would have been aghast at their desperate colleague now kneeling before the Nazarene, beseeching Him to go and heal his only daughter. Jesus agrees, as He leaves many guests and bystanders crowd Him and those following in haste. One can imagine Jairus quickly leading the way through the narrow streets to his house. But progress was interrupted much to Jairus’ frustration.
In the crowd there was a lonely woman who was also seeking Jesus. For many years she had suffered constant bleeding, which barred her from the synagogue. She had spent a fortune on doctors to no avail, Jesus was this woman’s desperate last hope. This was personal, she did not want everyone knowing her business. Having heard of Jesus and the miracles He had done she was certain that just touching the hem of his clothes would heal her. As she touched Him she was healed, Jesus did not feel her touch but felt power leaving Himself. Did she know her success at that moment I wonder? Jesus stopped, turning he found her kneeling before Him. Rather than chastising her He tenderly commends her act of faith, confirming she is healed. This woman must have wept tears of joyful relief at that moment. Meanwhile Jairus looks on, hearing Jesus bless this simple woman’s faith.
At this point people came with news that Jairus’ daughter had died, I cannot bear to think of his grief in that moment. But Jesus exhorts him “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”(Mark 5:36) as they resume their journey to Jairus’ home. The poor woman had displayed faith, it was now Jairus’ the synagogue officials turn to excercise faith. On arrival they encountered the noise of extravagant mourning for the departed girl, which Jesus interrupted by evicting the mourners. Can you imagine the indignation of such an interruption, and their derision at the idea that “The girl is not dead, but asleep.” The girls mother probably was stunned by all that was happening, and what her husband had done bringing this Nazarene to their home in their moment of grief. But the confusion and grief was replaced with utter joy as Jesus presented the parents with their live daughter. News of this would spread like a tidal wave throughout Capernaum, and the surrounding villages. One can assume that Jairus was a grateful man, whose beliefs had been altered forever that day.
Dear reader, despite these two people who sought Jesus coming from opposite ends of society they were both in desperation. The compassion of Christ was the same for both of them, as it is for you today. They only needed to have faith, which they did. In your need pray to God in faith, listen and obey as Jesus says to you “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.”(Mark 5:36).