When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 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.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
This is one of the more complex scenes of Mark’s story of Jesus’ life and ministry. It involves two interactions that are woven together across three scenes. This first scene involves a leader of the synagogue. This in itself is notable. Thus far in the story, it is the crowds that have flocked to Jesus – the poor, the dispossessed, the desperate. Those in authority, those who are part of the establishment, have kept their distance at best, and accused Jesus of breaking the law and even being demon-possessed at worst.
But everything changes when your daughter gets sick.
Jairus experiences what every parent knows. Indeed, every person who is bound to another in love knows this – that when you love someone deeply you become captive to destiny and hostage to fate. So many perils, so many threats to the welfare of your beloved that you are more often than not powerless to do anything about. This time it is illness. It might have been an accident, or violence, or natural disaster. But this time it is illness. Jairus’ little daughter is sick, sick unto death.
And so he is now as desperate as any of the crowds.
And when you are desperate, a lot of your preconceptions or judgments or preferences or even prejudices fade away, replaced by a cold dread thats taken hold of your heart. And so whatever he might otherwise have been concerned about regarding Jesus, whatever criticism he may have harbored about his preaching and teaching – all this has been pushed to the side by the rumors he’s heard that this Jesus can heal…and the hope those rumors have kindled.
Little wonder that he, a leader of the people and religious authority, throws himself at the feet of Jesus in a posture at least of respect and perhaps of worship. No wonder he begs him to come heal his daughter. No wonder he doesn’t just beg, but begs repeatedly. He is desperate. His little girl is sick unto death. And that changes everything.
Would you or I do any different?
Prayer: Dear God, keep our loved ones safe. And when they are in need, let us bring our hopes and fears, desperation and need to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.