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They Walked with God: Jairus

They Walked with God: Jairus

Before You Begin

Read Mark 5:21–24, 35–43 NIV

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around Him while He was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when He saw Jesus, He fell at His feet. He pleaded earnestly with Him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around Him.

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him.

After He put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with Him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

When my daughters were young, we tried an experiment.

I asked Jenna, then eight years old, to go to one side of the den. I had Andrea, six, stand on the other. Three-year-old Sara and I sat on the couch in the middle and watched. Jenna’s job was to close her eyes and walk. Andrea’s job was to be Jenna’s eyes and talk her safely across the room.

With phrases like, “Take two baby steps to the left” and, “Take four giant steps straight ahead,” Andrea successfully navigated her sister through a treacherous maze of chairs, a vacuum cleaner, and a laundry basket.

Then Jenna took her turn. She guided Andrea past her mom’s favorite lamp and shouted just in time to keep her from colliding into the wall when she thought her right foot was her left foot.

After several treks through the darkness, they stopped and we processed.
“I didn’t like it,” Jenna complained. “It’s scary going where you can’t see.”
“I was afraid I was going to fall,” Andrea agreed. “I kept taking little steps to be safe.” I can relate, can’t you? We grown-ups don’t like the dark either. But we walk in it.

We, like Jenna, often complain about how scary it is to walk where we can’t see. And we, like Andrea, often take timid steps so we won’t fall.

  • We’ve reason to be cautious: We are blind. Blind to the future.

It’s one limitation we all share. The wealthy are just as blind as the poor. The educated are just as sightless as the unschooled. And the famous know as little about the future as the unknown.

None of us knows how our children will turn out. None of us knows the day we will die. No one knows whom he or she will marry or even if marriage lies before him or her. We are universally, absolutely, unalterably blind.

We are all Jenna with her eyes shut, groping through a dark room, listening for a familiar voice — but with one difference. Her surroundings are familiar and friendly. Ours can be hostile and fatal. Her worst fear is a stubbed toe. Our worst fear is more threatening: cancer, divorce, loneliness, death.

And try as we might to walk as straight as we can, chances are a toe is going to get stubbed and we are going to get hurt.

Just ask Jairus. He is a man who has tried to walk as straight as he can. But Jairus is a man whose path has taken a sudden turn into a cave — a dark cave. And he doesn’t want to enter it alone.

Jairus is the leader of the synagogue. That may not mean much to you and me, but in the days of Christ the leader of the synagogue was the most important man in the community. The synagogue was the center of religion, education, leadership, and social activity. The leader of the synagogue was the senior religious leader, the highest-ranking professor, the mayor, and the best-known citizen all in one.

Jairus has it all. Job security. A guaranteed welcome at the coffee shop. A pension plan. Golf every Thursday and an annual all-expenses-paid trip to the national convention.

Who could ask for more? Yet Jairus does. In fact, he would trade the whole package of perks and privileges for just one assurance — that his daughter will live.

The Jairus we see in this story is not the clear-sighted, black-frocked, nicely groomed civic leader. He is instead a blind man begging for a gift. He fell at Jesus’ feet,

saying again and again, ‘My daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and will live’. — Mark 5:23 NIV

He doesn’t barter with Jesus. He just pleads.

There are times in life when everything you have to offer is nothing compared to what you are asking to receive. Jairus is at such a point. What could a man offer in exchange for his child’s life? So, there are no games. No haggling. No masquerades. The situation is starkly simple: Jairus is blind to the future and Jesus knows the future. So Jairus asks for His help.

And Jesus, who loves the honest heart, goes to give it.
And God, who knows what it is like to lose a child, empowers His Son.
But before Jesus and Jairus get very far, they are interrupted by emissaries from Jairus’s house.

Your daughter is dead. There is no need to bother the teacher anymore. — verse 35 NIV

Get ready. Hang on to your hat. Here’s where the story gets moving. Jesus goes from being led to leading, from being convinced by Jairus to convincing Jairus. From being admired to being laughed at, from helping out the people to casting out the people.

  • Here is where Jesus takes control.

But Jesus paid no attention to what they said… — v. 36 NRSV

I love that line! It describes the critical principle for seeing the unseen: Ignore what people say. Block them out. Turn them off. Close your ears. And, if you must, walk away. Ignore the ones who say it’s too late to start over.

Disregard those who say you’ll never amount to anything.

Turn a deaf ear toward those who say that you aren’t smart enough, fast enough, tall enough, or big enough — ignore them.

Faith sometimes begins by stuffing your ears with cotton.

Jesus turns immediately to Jairus and pleads:

Don’t be afraid; just believe. — Mark 5:36 NIV

Jesus compels Jairus to see the unseen. When Jesus says, “Just believe,” He is imploring, “Don’t limit your possibilities to the visible. Don’t listen only for the audible. Don’t be controlled by the logical. Believe there is more to life than meets the eye!”

“Trust me,” Jesus is pleading. “Don’t be afraid; just trust.”

Excerpted with permission from They Walked with God by Max Lucado, copyright Max Lucado.

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Your Turn

Are you believing Jesus for your healing or for your miracle? Don’t listen to the naysayers. Don’t listen to anything but His voice. We are blind to the future, but Jesus isn’t and His plans are good. Trust! ~ Devotionals Daily