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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

June 28, 2018

Jesus Heals Jairus' Daughter - Pentecost 6

Jesus Heals Jairus’ Daughter – Pentecost 6

June 28, 2018

Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

 

“You boys are making enough noise to wake the dead.”   My father said that to me and my brothers more than a few times when I was a kid.  We could get loud, but I never took him seriously.  I didn’t believe we could or would wake the dead.

 

I had an experience recently that reminded me that noise could keep the almost dead awake.  A few weeks ago my wife and I went to Minnesota to visit my mother-in-law.  The room in our hotel was directly under the room in which a group of pre-teen girls were having a birthday sleep-over.  I knew that girls that age could stay up past 2:00, but I did not know they would do gymnastics most of the night. They made enough noise to create horrible thoughts about causing the death of pre-teen girls . . . or at least a mother or two.

 

While doing some research on waking the dead, I came across a rather unusual article about the subject.  It’s from a French newspaper article from the 1870s:

 

“A person named Piffady died lately at St.-Martin-du-Mont, aged 91, whose early life was marked by a curious circumstance. When about 30 years of age, and in the army, he was taken ill at Lille, and to all appearances expired in the hospital of that town. He was taken to the burial ground in the usual way, and was on the point of being consigned to the grave, when the volley fired by his comrades over his coffin roused him all at once from his lethargy, and caused him to strike against the wood loud enough to attract notice. The lid was raised at once, and Piffady stood forth on the burial ground, before the eyes of his astonished comrades. What was also curious is that he found himself cured of his illness by the sudden shock his system had received.”

The noise did indeed wake the dead, or someone who was soon to be in that condition.

 

Jesus had healed many people without a lot of noise.  That news of his ability to heal spread throughout Israel.  Today, in our lesson, a great crowd gathered around Jesus when he got off the boat on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Among those waiting there was a leader of a local synagogue named Jairus.

 

Jesus didn’t discriminate.  While he spent much of this time with the outcasts of society, he was open to the needs of the socially elite, too.  Jairus would have been an elite member of society.  It’s no surprise Jesus would listen to him.  The surprise was that Jairus went to Jesus.  Those in the religious community were suspicious of Jesus.  They most likely believed he was a con man using God to deceive people.

 

But Jairus was desperate to try almost anything.  His 12 year old daughter was very sick. Jairus was afraid she was going to die.  He was so desperate he got down on his knees before Jesus and asked him repeatedly to heal his daughter.  This man from the social elite was begging.

 

Jesus agreed to go to Jairus’ home.  When they arrived, the mourning period had begun.  The little girl had died and people had come to mourn her death.  They greeted Jairus with bad news and told him to send Jesus away.  It was too late.

 

“Do not fear, only believe.” 

 

Do you remember what Jesus said after he stilled the storm in last week’s Bible reading? He asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid?  Have you still no faith?”  Jesus challenged them to live fearlessly through the gift of faith.  Jesus wanted that for Jairus, too.

 

Jesus cleared the house except for Jairus and his wife and Peter, James and John.  There was nothing fancy that took place.  Jesus took the little girl’s hand and said, “Talitha cum”, “Little girl, get up.”  And she did.  And she began to walk around, perhaps even did some gymnastics.  Jesus told them to feed her.

 

When I talk to young parents before they have their first child baptized I warn them that their child will be taken from them.  That’s a parent’s worst nightmare, is it not?  But I remind them that God wants them to know that their child will be HIS child . . . forever.  No one and nothing will ever be able to separate that child from God.

 

They will raise God’s child.  And knowing that their child is God’s child adds a whole lever of responsibility.  It also helps take away worry and fear.

 

We are God’s children. We are always in God’s care, now and forever.  That can take away our worry and fear.

 

God sent his Son into this world and the worst possible thing would happen to him. He would be rejected and abandoned, tortured and killed.  But then Jesus was raised, just like that little girl.  The message is clear. Through Jesus we have forgiveness and never ending life and love.

 

My father was wrong. Noise will not wake the dead.  Love wakes the dead.  Love wakes the dead after physical death but it also wakes the walking dead. Love gives us the ability to face life and all that it brings with courage and strength and hope.  

 

So when we wake up in the morning, or whenever we feel like we can’t go on, we can hear the voice of Jesus say, “Little girl/Little boy, get up?”  And we can get up and do the best we can to be the people God wants us to be, one day at a time.  AMEN