“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.” - Mark 5:21-24
I cannot fathom the overwhelming despair and helplessness a parent feels at the bedside of a dying child. Mothers and fathers are driven by the desire to guide and protect their children, to make things right, to take away their pain. Jairus was a prominent man in his community, a ruler of the synagogue. His position afforded him great authority, admiration, and wealth. He enjoyed what some might call the good life. And yet, he was powerless to save his beloved daughter. He had tried everything; there was nothing more he could do for her. Where was a desperate father to turn?
As Jairus prayed for God to heal his precious child, he recalled the stories he had heard about Jesus. This man had taught in the synagogues and cast out demons. He had restored the sick and diseased, the lame and deformed, and even a paralyzed man. Surely such a healer could cure whatever illness consumed his daughter! Seeking his help, however, meant taking a huge risk.
The Jewish authorities did not approve of Jesus’ teachings or the miracles he performed. They saw him as a threat to everything they had believed and practiced for thousands of years. They would not look kindly on one of their own associating with such a radical. And yet, Jairus was willing to jeopardize all of his worldly blessings because they were worthless compared to the life of his child. He knew that Jesus was the last and only hope for his daughter.
As always, Jesus was surrounded by an enormous crowd, but Jairus was a man on a mission. He wended his way through the sea of bodies and fell at Jesus’ feet. No pride. No judgement. No fear of reprisal from the Jewish community. Jairus felt only hope that Jesus would hear his cries and heal his daughter before it was too late. Lying prostrate on the ground, he professed his faith even as he begged for his little girl’s life. You can hear the urgency in his voice: “Come and lay hands on her, so that she may be made well and live” (Mark 5:24). A heartfelt plea from a frantic father!
Jairus approached Jesus out of sheer desperation. He had exhausted his strength, his resources, and his options, all to no avail. Having come to the end of himself, he knelt before the only one who could save his daughter. He poured out his anguish, and Jesus responded with compassion and concern. Can you imagine the joy that welled up within Jairus when Jesus agreed to accompany him home? After all of the false promises and repeated disappointments, the prolonged despair and futility, he felt real hope for the first time. Jesus had heard his cries and was present with him!
Where do we turn when our lives fall apart, our strength is depleted, and it seems that all hope is gone? We can continue trudging down the dead-end road of self-reliance. We can place our trust in the people and things of this fallen world. Or we can lay our despair at Jesus’ feet, profess our faith, and rest in his power and presence. Strange as it might sound, desperation is a gift that leads us to a place of hope. It is an invitation to seek out the only one who can truly save and heal. The question is whether or not we will accept.
Reflect and Respond:
In your times of desperation, to whom or what do you look? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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