Mark 5: 21- 42
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “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.” 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”
29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.
39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then 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. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, O Christ.
There once was a man named Jairus, and he lived a pretty normal life.
He came from a good family, and was a leader in his community. He met a nice girl and started a family of his own. He gave money to the poor. When he walked through town, he said hello to people. He was respected by his community. Ask anyone and they would say, Jairus, he’s a good person.
But bad things happen to good people all the time. Even though Jairus did everything right, he couldn’t protect his family from tragedy.
His daughter, his twelve year old daughter, fell ill.
Jairus and his wife grew worried so they called on doctors and healers to come see their daughter, but it didn’t help. No one could cure her.
They grew more and more desperate. Their child was suffering and drawing closer to death even before her young life could really start. He would have done anything for her. But there was nothing more he could do.
And then one day he heard that a rabbi from a few towns over was going to come to his town. And there were rumors that this teacher had done some miraculous things. He had exorcised demons. He had healed the sick. He had performed miracles.
That’s it, Jairus thought. We need a miracle.
He didn’t know exactly when that rabbi would show up, so Jairus told his whole household to be on the lookout. To let him know if someone new came to town. But the stakes were so high, that Jairus spent hours each day waiting by the shore of the lake. He wasn’t going to miss the rabbi’s arrival.
In the beginning, he was the only who was waiting. Just him and the waters edge, and a profound and desperate hope that a miracle was coming. Word spread and others started to join him. They sat on the edge of the lake. The other people chatted and joked, many were skeptical that this rabbi was any different than their own rabbis. Surely, the stories must be exaggerated. But others believed and still some didn’t know what to think. But Jairus showed up every day, waiting for his daughter’s miracle.
And then one day, it came. On a day with nothing special about it, a boat appeared in the distance and it glided its way to the crowd. A crew of men tied up the boat and got out. They all seemed to take the cues from one man in particular.
That must be the rabbi, thought Jairus, and before anyone else could approach him, Jairus made his move.
He told the rabbi his story, about his daughter, and how they had sought healer after healer, treatment after treatment. How nothing was working. How she needed a miracle. How he believed this rabbi could give her that.
Without question, the rabbi followed Jairus through the streets. Jairus picked up speed a bit. They were on the way to heal his daughter!
But the crowd followed them, they blocked the path and made it difficult to get home quickly. Jairus tried to push people aside, he tried to explain why they were in a hurry, but there were just too many people. It was slow going.
When they were just one street away from Jairus’ home, he could where they would turn off the main road, the rabbi stopped.
Something had happened, but Jairus was only half paying attention. He just wanted their group to keep moving. They were almost to his daughter. But the rabbi couldn’t be persuaded to keep walking, and he turned to address the crowd.
Jairus glanced at the followers of the rabbi, but they shrugged. They couldn’t convince him to move on.
Suddenly, a woman came forward to talk to the rabbi. Jairus had seen her around town before, it’s a small town, but he couldn’t remember her name.
The last time he saw her, she had looked tired. She had been bent over in pain. He remembered hearing something about her illness, that she had been sick for a long time, that no physician, the same physicians that had tried to help his daughter, could heal her. Even with all his stress to get home, Jairus felt a tug of empathy in his heart.
But now, talking with the rabbi— keeping him from seeing his daughter. The woman looked different. She stood up a little taller, she seemed more confident, she looked the rabbi in the eyes. She looked… healthy.
Was this proof that Jairus’ hopes he placed on the rabbi were not in vain? That this rabbi could do all the things he said he could? That his daughter could be healed from her sickness too?
He looked at the woman, and saw her standing tall, free of pain, but he also saw his daughter, and her future. She would have a future.
He was so hopeful, taking in this vision, he didn’t notice his servant push through the crowd and approach him. At first.
But he saw the look on his servant’s face. The sadness, the hesitancy to say what had happened. And Jairus’ vision of his daughter, healthy and hopeful, disappeared.
They were too late.
There would be no healing for his daughter.
Others tried to fill the emptiness that suddenly surrounded Jairus with words. They said well-meaning, but ultimately empty things like “everything happens for a reason” or “God needed another angel.”
They tried to find answers to some questions that have none.
And the rabbi, perhaps most confusingly of all, said: “Do not fear, only believe.”
It’s struck Jairus as odd— it’s not that he didn’t believe. He knew that the rabbi could perform miracles. He saw it with his own eyes when he looked at the woman who stood up straight.
Belief wasn’t the issue. The issue was there were not enough miracles for all of them.
The bitter parts of Jairus blamed the woman. Why hadn’t she let them pass? She could have just followed up with the rabbi later.
The angry parts of him blamed God and the rabbi. Why hadn’t they done more? Why hadn’t they made everything magically better?
The grief stricken parts asked no questions. They just wept for his daughter.
But Jairus was a good man. And so there was a part of him that was grateful the woman was healed.
Lots of people need miracles everyday; why shouldn’t this woman be given one?
The crowd started to dissipate, they were no longer curious, just uncomfortable to be in the presence of tragedy. They shuffled away.
But the rabbi stayed. He wanted to go to the house, and Jairus, with nothing left to lose, walked him the final block back to his home, no quickness left in his step. Jairus didn’t want rush to the sad conclusion of this terrible day.
But, it turns out, the story has a happy ending. There was another miracle that day.
There was a miracle that Jairus’ daughter was only sleeping.
The rabbi saw to it that the day would be miraculous, not only for one person, but for two families, and a whole community.
There was another miracle.
There still weren’t enough miracles that day… not for all the good people who needed them. There would still be death and sickness in that town. New life for them today did mean they would immune to future hardship.
The world and its pain is so much bigger than any one or two individual miracles could ever change.
But there was more than anyone had imagined possible. On a day that started off with fear and worry, it ended with abundance.
There was hope where grief once lived.
Jairus hugs his daughter, and one block over, a woman eats dinner with her family, no pain in her stomach anymore.
Where there was pain, there is joy.
Where there was fear, there is hope.
Where there was loss, there is abundance.
There was another miracle.
There is always more than fear and loss.
There is another miracle.
Thanks be to God. Amen.