Please read Mark 5:22-24a, 35-43
It’s one of the most difficult experiences in life. Whatever age. Young or older. Those times when one’s child is struggling or unwell – and being unable to do anything to comfort them, let alone fix it. Thankfully, for this particular daughter, Jairus and his wife knew what could be done.
We don’t know whether she had been unwell for a long time or whether this was a sudden onset of an acute illness. We don’t know what else they’d already done. But it seemed they had tried their best and failed. Perhaps asking for Jesus was a last resort. For this upright citizen, a leader of the synagogue, it’s a step of faith to ask an itinerant and controversial rabbi for help. You would have thought Jesus would respond immediately to such an expression of faith, trust and belief. But Jesus makes Jairus wait.
But eventually, when Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house, he is greeted by grief-stricken family and friends. They mock his ‘It’s all going to be OK’ type responses. These are people who had tried their best and failed.
Our childhood experiences shape many aspects of who we are. Devoted parents, like those of this 12 year-old girl, provide many with stability and love. Children raised by lone parents or in blended families, those adopted or fostered, or brought up by other responsible adults also gain those groundings of security. Reassuring faces. Hands that hold.
For others, though, that is far from the case. Behind closed doors, children and young people experience everything from maltreatment to mockery, from anxiety to abandonment. Where who shouts loudest or who hits hardest rules the roost. What stories they have to tell.
Jesus brought God’s love to the daughter of Jairus. A love that told her she was precious and special. A love that tolerated her moods. A love that rejoiced with her singing and dancing. A love that healed and comforted. A love that accepted her for who she is.
Not for her, the noise and the crowds but instead calmness and quiet and those who loved her most. One size does not fit all. We see here a Jesus who responds to someone’s needs in ways which are both appropriate to the situation and are exactly suited to the person concerned. This is not ‘If I were you, I’d do this’ – this is ‘I am with you, I will do as you wish’.
What does Jesus’ approach teach us about our approach to people in need?
When you’re ready, move on to Part 2 of this story.