ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS

JAIRUS' DAUGHTER

The man was desperate. In a frantic last-hope bid he threw aside the thought that this action could alienate him from the other synagogue leaders; in his despair he cast his own personal pride and dignity to the winds and knelt at the feet of Jesus, begging his help.

Back in his home Jairus' only daughter lay dying. Neither the collected wisdom of the women nor the advice of the doctors had succeeded in holding back the encroaching shadow. Even now the mourners were gathered in ghoulish anticipation, and the fingers of the flute players ready to pipe their sad lament.

Death came.

Even as Jesus spoke to the woman healed of her haemorrhage, the message was whispered to Jairus. Death has come. No need for Jesus now. No hope for healing now. Death has come. The final enemy of us all has claimed the girl. Don't bother this teacher any more.

As these hopeless words pound their way into Jairus' consciousness there comes another word, as if from some far off world inhabited only by life and hope: 'Don't be afraid; just believe.'

Fear and faith fight within him as he takes Jesus to his house. There the very air reverberates with the sounds of death.

The noisy wailing crowd laughs when Jesus says: 'She is not dead but asleep.' Death has come. They all know it. He says 'Stop wailing!' Does he not know that death cannot be reversed? Does he not understand that only God could do anything here?

The hopeless crowd is put out of the house. Their dirge has no part in what is about to happen. Only hope is permitted here, only faith that flees from the grasping fingers of fear, only desperation that dares to defy the deadening dictates of doubt.

The child's hand is cold and lifeless. Her ears deaf. Her spirit gone. But at the touch of Jesus, at the word of Jesus, life returns.

Death comes. But here in this miracle is the possibility, the promise, the preview of our own resurrection: of life beyond death through the touch and the word of Jesus.

Scriptures: Luke 8:40-56; Matthew 9:18-26; John 5:24; 11:25-26.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004,2008