It has often been said that the Bible is so simple that a child can understand it, but so complex that the most learned scholars cannot exhaust its meaning.
I believe this is true. Remember the Bible stories we heard as children in our Sunday school classes? One of these stories was the raising of Jairus’ daughter. He was a ruler in the synagogue, and the Bible tells us Jairus had a twelve-year-old daughter who was very ill. He came to Jesus and asked if He would heal her. Jesus obliged. When they got close to the house, Jairus received the message that the daughter had died. Jesus continued to the dead girl’s bedroom. He had with Him Peter, James, John and the girl’s parents. The Lord put his hands on the child and said, “Talitha koum!” which was Aramaic, meaning, “Little girl, I say to you, Ôget up!'” and she stood on her feet. The dead daughter had been resurrected (v. 22-24; 35-42).
Hearing that story, our Sunday school class concluded that Jesus was so powerful He could even raise the dead. It made us feel secure. We understood the story. But is there more to this story? This is a question I have asked many times in preparing a sermon on the text.
There is more! In fact, Tom Wright, one of the world’s leading scholars on the New Testament, tells us that the raising of Jairus’ daughter is not the primary message of the text. Jesus was actually asking, What does it take to bring us to our knees, that we might taste of His grace?
Look at these words: “Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, ÔMy little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ So Jesus went with him” (v. 22-24).
Jairus’ story is interrupted when a woman who had been subjected to bleeding for twelve years saw Jesus and thought, If I just touch his clothesÉ Immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus realized the power had gone out of him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” Then the woman fell at His feet, trembling with fear. Jesus said to her, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (v. 25-34).
Before they arrived at Jairus’ house a messenger brought the news that his daughter had died. Jesus told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (v. 35-36).
Arriving at the house, Jesus took the parents, along with Peter, James and John and went in to where the child was. He took her by the hand and said, “Talitha koum!” which means “Little girl, I say to you get up!” Immediately the girl got up and walked around, astonishing the people. Jesus then gave strict orders to let no one know about this (v. 40-43).
Jesus is anxious to serve us all, but what will it take to bring us to His feet? It took the thought of losing his daughter to show Jairus he could not remain neutral toward Jesus and still expect Him to be his Savior. This, according to Bishop Wright, is a basic message of the text. It was this “something else” that I was looking for as I worked with this text. It brings a powerful message to me and I pass it on to you.
What will it take to bring us to Jesus’ feet? Is it only a one-time experience?
We carry many burdens of a spiritual nature. Christ can help us with these troubles, but first we must come to Him. He needs to hear from the burdened soul the same prayer that Jairus prayed: “Please Lord, help me.” If Jesus does not take away the concerns, He will help us walk through it. He will direct, strengthen, and forgive us.
Let me try to make this concrete so that you will know what I am speaking about. Here is a family who has problems which have divided them. It is obvious there is hatred in their souls for one another. They cannot agree on anything that comes up for discussion. You might suggest that each side go his or her own way and just forget each other. But this is not the answer, for they have too many fond memories of good times with each other. These experiences will not return until these strong negative feelings are erased. And that will not happen until they kneel before the Lord Jesus and pray, “Father, help us.”
To change these hearts is another miracle that only the Holy Spirit can do. But what will it take to bring them to Christ for help?
We need a Savior. Some will say, “Who me? I can take care of my own problems.” Had Jairus said that, his daughter would have died, and so many live and die today because humans are not convinced they need a Savior, nor do they know who the Savior is.
The words of this text bring a special warning to those who know Christ intellectually but have yet to bow to their knees and ask for help. Believe me, He will be there to take you by the hand and bring new life to your dying soul.
We carry many spiritual burdens in this life. Jesus is willing to help us with the load of those troubles if we will but take them to him. But what will it take before we bear our burdened soul with him? In this week’s sermon we will talk about a man who took his desperate situation to Jesus, and the lesson we are to learn from it.