A Devotion for 21 January 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. 24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him……… 35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
Mark 5:22-24, 35-43
We read of the old endearing stories of how the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus’, daughter is brought from death to life after a serious illness and how the poor woman with an issue of blood sought only to touch the garment of Christ for healing, so great was her faith! We also read of the doubting and mocking crowd who doubted the power and divinity of Christ but were put to shame at the door of the house of Jairus.
“And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.” Christ has been to the other side of the Sea in Gadara preaching and casting out devils. He was asked to leave that land – not because His power to do good was doubted, but rather because they feared His preaching and healing would hurt their profits. So now He again crosses the Sea and is met immediately by the multitudes seeking healing and light. How busy was Christ every day of His life. He has no more than disembarked from the ship, after a stormy night, when the crowds gather.
“And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,” Now, it is altogether natural that Jairus should fall at the feet of Christ for that is the right place for all who approach Christ. That is why we kneel in the Anglican tradition for prayers. It is obvious that Jairus had some understanding of Jesus to so come before Him in this pose. This will be a good point at which we might consider some features of Christ that we often neglect to mention.
There are so very many good people who are pining to see the face of Christ, and that is a laudable desire. But perhaps we should consider the Heart of Jesus, His Hands, and His Healing Compassion, first.
The Heart of Jesus: Our paramount concern regarding Christ should be how His Heart is inclined toward us. We can feel the heart-throbbings of Christ in every word and on every page of the Gospels. We can feel, through our understanding, the wonderful compassion and pity which He has for sinners and those who are in pain or suffering. His love is to the extremity of death and even beyond as demonstrated in His Resurrection for us. The mighty oceans of the world open their gates to receive all the flowing waters of rivers and streams and, yet, are never filled. This represents also the open Heart of Christ in receiving our burdens, our sorrows, and our pains into His own Bosom. His Heart is inclined toward His people in the same way it was inclined to the little daughter of Jairus. Jesus never changes, either, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The Hand of Jesus: His pure Hand reaches down and touches us in our filthy afflictions – even the leper. It touches the sick and forlorn, and healing is imparted with the power of Heaven. Christ could have healed the precious daughter of Jairus by simply speaking the word at a distance, but He PREFERS to touch those who are most precious, and no one is more precious to Him than little children. Moreover, the greater miracle of His Hand could be seen in reviving a little girl asleep in death rather than recovering her of a terrible affliction. Jesus took the little girl by the hand. His Hand was warm and loving – the warmth of life had left her little hand – but it immediately surged back into her body, hand and head, as the tiny heart began to beat as healthily as it had ever before done. Jesus is always close enough to those of faith to touch them with the same comfort and healing as Jairus’ daughter of twelve.
The Healing of Jesus: This girl must have had strange feelings when her soul returned to the body it had recently forsaken. We are not told that she was startled or frightened. Perhaps she could say about her new life: “I was awakened as a mother awakens her child with a kiss,” with all the power of God and with gentleness more than a mother’s, Christ by touch and voice awoke the girl, and welcomed her back to life. Jesus has more than a touch, a tear and a kind word to give to our misery. His name declares the work to which He gave himself on earth, and gives Himself still in heaven. Jesus means healer. Nor is He like the healers in our hospitals, who must sometimes leave the healed to starve and to find hunger as cruel as disease. Christ did not heal and then leave this girl: He helped her up, and got her food. He preserves and strengthens for ever the life He gives to the soul. About the after history of this girl we are told nothing. But we are sure that she loved her healer while she had being. We readily believe that she was made Christ’s by every tie of gratitude. And so our religion is a religion of gratitude for the greatest and freest favours. It is, therefore, a religion of love and joy.” J. Wells, Bible Children, p. 199
“And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.” Do you know that we meet many, many souls in the normal course of the day who are at the point of death? They are dead in trespasses and sin for no one has ever told them of Christ, or, if they have done, they did not speak with the conviction of the adulterous, Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well outside the gates of Sychar. You, too, were once dead in trespasses and sin. Why not share the glorious news of the grace available in Christ with all who will listen (as did the woman)? “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2:1-9)
THE HANDS OF JESUS: There is no greater need that Jairus has ever had than the need he has for Christ at this moment. The same is true of each of us. There is no greater need we have than that of Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jairus knows that Christ can deliver his daughter, and He can deliver you and me as well. Jairus, too, knows the power of the Hands of Jesus. All He need do is lay hands on his daughter and all will be well. Now see how Christ responds the moment we pray for a righteous cause: “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.” Jesus did not waiver. He did not express how tired He was from crossing the stormy sea the night before. He did not complain of being asked by the citizens of Gadara to leave. He did not claim to have more important business, for to Christ nothing would be more important than healing a twelve year old darling of Jairus’ heart.
THE HEALING OF JESUS: He went immediately with Jairus as the crowd thronged about so densely that it would seem impossible for another soul to approach. But given the urgency and great need of a poor woman who had been sick of an issue of blood for twelve years, the approach to Christ would not be impossible for it is our great need that drives us to Christ, and we will not be prevented by church officers, elders, or clergy if they block our way. Our Lord first addresses the urgent needs of a woman taken with an issue of blood before proceeding to the home of Jairus.
After healing the woman, he would proceed to go with Jairus.
Though we often get impatient and hurry our prayers, God never rushes. “While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?” Note two things here: first, the servant of Jairus may have believed that Christ could heal, but, secondly, he did not believe that Christ could restore life. He was very courteous to Christ for he thought Him a great teacher, but the faith of the servant had a limit-line. The little daughter has fallen asleep in Christ, the best place of all for sleeping.“As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.”
How often have we read of the Angels of God appearing to man and hearing their very first words: “Fear not!” If we believe, we have no need for fear. Christ takes with Him only the apostles that believe in His power to heal and perform every miracle. As with Gideon, it is better to have three hundred Christians praying with great faith, than thirty thousand praying in doubt and lack of faith.
“And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.” The mourners have already gathered. They come now to celebrate death, but there can be no death in the ministry of Christ. These people know well what death looks like for many were paid mourners as was the custom of the time. They knew death, but Christ knows LIFE!
THE HEART OF JESUS: “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” In the presence of Christ, there is no need for weeping. Unfortunately, many good Christians have yet to learn that secret. Neither is there death. The damsel (young girl) is sleeping only as are all who die in Christ. “And they laughed him to scorn.” Scorners have no place in the presence of God. They laughed Him to scorn, true, but they did not have the last laugh, did they? “But when he had put them all out.” If we have scorners disrupting our worship, the proper place for them is outside with the five virgins who had no oil for their lamps. “He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.” Wherever we fall asleep in Christ, He will find us in the process of time.
For me, the most tender of events occur in this next verse. I can see it as clearly as if I were there! “And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” A lifeless little girl lies in the sleep of death. She is more precious to her parents than all of the world’s gold and gems. They are ripped in their hearts and suffer greater anguish than we can imagine. But Christ simply goes to her. He tenderly takes the small hand into His strong and warm Hand. And once we have been taken into His Hands, he speaks to us – even in death – “Talitha cumi,”or, “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” This sweet little girl has heard no voice from the moment of her death. There have been many loud voices shouting out mournful words, yet she heard them not. Her little spirit has already returned to God who gave it, but that same God is able to restore the spirit to the body at His own Will and time. The words of Jesus have a mystery to them that is beyond our knowing. It has such great power, though spoken calmly and in love, that the restoration of life is possible. If Christ tells us to arise at the appointed time, we will hear that voice as clearly as did Lazarus and this little girl.
“And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years.” No delay here! Straightway, she arose from her deathbed and walked. Can you see the joy in this? Could we have been there, this is one experience that would have burned in our souls forever! “And they were astonished with a great astonishment.” Who were astonished? Those who were in the room and saw the miracle: Peter, James, John, and the parents of the girl. Even these were astonished! No matter how well we believe that we know God, we will always be astonished at His Love and Power.
“And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.” There is something is this last verse that astonishes me, and another that causes me to praise my Lord! I am astonished that Christ charges these parents that ‘no man should know it.’ How is that possible with the crowd of mourners gathered without who know full well that the young girl died? Is Jesus playing games with our minds here? Absolutely not! The message conveyed here is that, when God works a miracle in your heart, you cannot keep it a secret! When He called and chose you, when He forgave you of all transgressions, when He has lifted your burden of sin – these things you cannot, and will not, keep silent about even when cautioned. You simply cannot hide so great a salvation from those who know you! Once men have seen you dead (in trespasses and sin) they cannot help noticing that you are now made alive by the grace of Christ.
The thing here that also causes me to praise the Lord is that His Prevenient Grace continues to care for our needs even after He has given newness of life. He “commanded that something should be given her to eat.” One needs food after being made alive in Christ, and that food is the Bread of Heaven found in God’s Word! Have you eaten of that Bread today, friend?
A Devotion for 21 January 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide