In another fantastic Tim Keller sermon, he highlights the scene in the Gospel of Mark – Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman. I’ve written about this before, but with Jesus, the more you study him the deeper one goes – it’s endless. Essentially, Jesus is on his way to save a dying girl, but he stops and spends time on some woman who has had bleeding issues for years. As any doctor will tell you, this is malpractice.
When triaging patients, doctors address the acute ones first – the ones that are going to die if they don’t get immediate attention. Those with chronic issues, like the woman bleeding for 12 years, can wait a bit longer. It just makes sense. But, like Jesus repeatedly shows us, things are different in the Kingdom of God.
God’s timing is rarely what we think it should be. We want God to heed our timing, our agenda. Dying girl first. Then we’ll deal with the bleeding lady. But Jesus stops the procession. He stops the ambulance, if you will, and starts looking for the woman who touched him. Why?
There is a lot one can draw from this, but imagine how poor Jairus was feeling. I have three daughters. If one was dying I’d like to think I could wait patiently, trusting that Jesus had things in hand. The reality is that I’d be jumping up and down like a mad man yanking on Jesus’ tunic.
But helping this woman was important to Jesus – despite the urgency from those around him. What was he up to?
While relieving the suffering of the woman was important to Jesus, he didn’t want her to believe in him superstitiously (i.e., If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be healed). We see Jesus’ larger intentions, by what he says to her. He calls her daughter. Here’s what Mark tells us Jesus said to her:
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
The woman had just a little faith – it was even a superstitious faith. That was all she needed. She was freed from her suffering. But Jesus took it a step further. She was simultaneously elevated from her marginal status as a woman in the first century to a daughter – a child of God. Put another way, Jesus was saying, welcome to my Kingdom. My time. Bringing you to me is just as important as saving a dying girl.
We can put this another way. Jesus was saying trust in me completely first, all else will fall into place. I know you have worries and concerns, we’ll get to those. Jesus didn’t come to be a miracle worker to the delight of onlookers – that’s why there were crowds – the crowds wanted miracles. Jesus repeatedly drove them deeper.
Jesus drove the superstitious woman deeper. He forced Jairus’ faith deeper. In this story, Mark is forcing us deeper. Why? Because Jesus is life. He’s the source of life. He wants us to plug into him – the author of life.
Upon hearing that Jairus’ daughter was dead, we can imagine Jesus smiling and looking Jairus right in the eye and saying, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
It’s so simple, right?
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson