And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, "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." And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I will be made well." And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my garments?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?' " And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, "Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. — Mk 5:21-43
I wanted to use this particular version out of Mark of the story of Jairus' daughter and the bleeding woman, because it makes what my seminary professor (and apparently others too) call a "Markan sandwich". Mark starts out one story, then inserts another in the middle, then circles back to the original story to finish it. So while we talked about the story of the bleeding woman and her faith yesterday, we have to look at it in the context in which Mark sets the story--namely, in between this story of Jairus.
Jairus was a wealthy, well-respected synagogue leader. I'm fairly sure he was probably used to getting things his way, and people listening to his requests. So I can only imagine what he and the disciples thought when Jesus stops to talk to the bleeding woman. Tim Keller describes the scene like this in King's Cross:
"Jesus chooses to stop and talk with the woman who has just been healed. This makes no sense. It is absolutely irrational. In fact, it’s worse than that: It’s malpractice. If these two were in the same emergency room, any doctor who treated the woman first and let the little girl die would be sued... Jairus and the disciples must be thinking, "What are you doing? Don’t you understand the situation? Hurry, or it will be too late. The little girl needs help from you now, Jesus. Hurry, Jesus, hurry!"
There are things in my life where I feel like I am saying, "hurry, Jesus, hurry! Don't you understand MY situation? Don't you see who I am, and what I've done, and why I deserve you to meet my needs and desires?" I see my sisters, my friends, the crazy people from college all getting married, and I think, "Hurry, Jesus, hurry! What are you doing?" But Jesus looks at Jairus and says, "Do not fear, only believe." Um, easier said that done! Fear is my middle name. I could probably be a really good risk analyst, because worst case scenario is my expertise. And yet, Jesus knows our situation so much more deeply and intimately than we even do, and it's in His deep love that we see His glory displayed.
Jesus enters the house, and taking only the three disciples and Jairus and his wife, enters the little girl's room. Surely, they all think, "oh, he'll say prayers over her body. He'll look at her, see she's really dead, and move along." But he tells them she's sleeping. Now they must think he's crazy! He speaks to her with an endearing term, like a parent would use with a child: "Talitha cumi", or "little girl, I say to you, get up!" It's what your mom or dad might have said to you to wake you up in the morning. And what does he dead, lifeless girl do? She gets up! Because Jesus has power that exists beyond death, and his timing is perfect.
His timeline doesn't always match up with ours-- Jairus wants Jesus to come to his house immediately, to heal his sick daughter. Jesus stops, talks to the bleeding woman, and in that time, Jairus' daughter dies. Surely, he thought that was the end. Jesus had messed up the schedule, and irreparably ruined the opportunity for healing. Her healing had gone to the poor, shunned woman instead. How many times have I seen other people's blessings, and thought, "Jesus has given blessings to others, so there's nothing left for me." But Jesus calls me to believe. To trust that He loves me more than I can imagine. To believe that, just like Jairus only wanted healing for his daughter-- Jesus had something much grander and greater in store: a resurrection to perfect health. "Do not fear, only believe."
Dear God, I so often fear that you do not love me enough to give me the healing and the desires of my heart, and yet, what you call me to is to believe. I am so sorry I do not believe strongly or enough that you are faithful. I pray to know you as better than I can imagine. Let your timeline precede my own. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Dig Deeper: Are there areas of your life where you think there's no hope, where you feel like your dream or desire is close to dying, or already dead? What do you need to believe to be true about Jesus to trust that He loves you, and works on a timeline beyond what you or I can understand?