In May 2000, Newsweek magazine published an interesting story titled “Most Americans Believe in Miracles,” revealing the results of their recent survey. It indicated that 84 percent of Americans believed in divine miracles, 79 percent believed the miracles described in the Bible to be real, 48 percent personally experienced a miracle, 63 percent knew people who experienced miracles and 67 percent prayed for a miracle.
Miracles were an integral part of Christ’s ministry. He revealed God’s infinite love, affection and compassion towards humanity through his teaching, encounters and friendships, and miracles. And while every miracle is beautiful and spiritually educational in its own way, three of Jesus’ miracles were extraordinary in every way. They vividly demonstrated that Jesus was not an ordinary healer or a wonderworker but one who had power over the ultimate enemy of humanity – death itself . These three miracles were the resurrections of Lazarus (John 11:17–44), the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11–17), and Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40–57), which is also the scripture reading for this Sunday.
Today, let’s step into the story of Jairus’ daughter’s resurrection. Let us follow his footsteps which led him to Jesus, hoping to find a cure and healing for his sick daughter and see how he found so much more than he expected and hoped for. Understanding the profound spiritual lesson of this Gospel story can help in dealing with crises in our lives and strengthen our faith in the Lord, who always stands firm with his children in times of joy and sorrow and never abandons them.
Jairus was a religious leader – a synagogue ruler. Surely, he knew how to pray and knew many who could do a healing service for his daughter. But when his daughter fell sick, he did not rely on his resources or knowledge but turned to Jesus. Over and over, this man’s faith was tested throughout the story with setbacks and causes of disappointment. Just when Jesus agreed to go and heal his daughter, their journey was interrupted when a woman suffering for many years found healing by touching Jesus and by the dialogue and interaction that followed. Think about it. Jairus’ daughter is gravely ill. Every second counts. But instead of immediately rushing to her rescue, Jesus stops to converse with this woman in the crowd. Her condition was not severe and she was sick for many years. Surely, she could wait a few more hours for Jesus to save the life of a dying girl. But then the worst of all happens. People come from Jairus’ house and tell them that it is too late and his daughter has passed away.
Anyone in Jairus’ position would probably give up at this point, be deeply disappointed in God and maybe even angry at Him. And it is at this point that Jesus turns to him and tells him these words. “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (Luke 8:50).
We are Jairus and this is the story of our spiritual struggles when the peace and joy of our lives and families are raptured by an unexpected turmoil, tragedy and turn of events. This story contains three essential spiritual lessons that can sustain our faith in difficult times and help us reach our miracle and healing. First, it reminds us about the importance of taking our troubles and worries to God and inviting him into our homes and hearts rather than relying on our abilities. Second, at times it might appear that God is delaying his response and help when we need Him most. It might appear that God abundantly blesses everyone around us and is indifferent to our pleas for help, even amidst a crisis. In such moments, we must recall the story of Jairus and how he faithfully stood by the Lord and was not discouraged. And third, he continued to believe and refused to give up when everyone around him told him that all hope was lost and his daughter was dead. It is never too late for Christ and no situation or circumstance in our lives is beyond his reach and control. In such moments of hopelessness and heartbreak, if we turn to him and follow him, then we will hear his gentle voice guiding us and telling us, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and I will rescue, heal you and carry you to safety in my arms.”