The writer of the Gospel of Mark skips over the calling of Matthew, the feast at Matthew’s house and questions the Pharisees and John’s disciples ask. But Mark gives us a better picture of what happened next, “Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
Matthew had only referred to Jairus as ἄρχων <archōn>, a Greek word meaning a ruler/leader. Mark adds not only the man’s name, but that he was the leader of a synagogue. As such, Jarius is understood as a man of influence among the Jewish people group that Jesus is primarily ministering to. What follows then appears to be a very logical and natural response, “Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.”
What is most unnatural about Jesus’ response is that what the man just asked for is nothing short of the most astonishing miracle. For while Mark’s Gospel makes it clear that the girl is at death’s door, Matthew makes clear what everyone hearing the story understood, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” We can know she was not merely sick. She was almost dead when Jarius left, and expected to be dead by the time Jarius returned. Jarius is asking that Jesus raise the dead!
This is something Jesus has not yet done to this point in His ministry. Yet He shows no discomfort, no exasperation or even hesitation.
There are times when we are asked to minister in ways that are clearly beyond how we have historically worked, and sometimes those occasions arise with little warning and/or with more than a degree of urgency. Think of the when you were first asked to pray for healing, or first asked to witness to a large group! That may have been scary, but in Jesus’ case, one such time was when He was first asked to raise the dead!
Such times call upon us to exercise our faith. They are not occasions to sit down and think about it, or have a pro-vs-con conversation about whether or not to engage. A decision is called for on the spot. It really is a scary moment. But once that first step is taken to act, our faith rises. The Christian experience is truly as the song Oceans says;
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters.
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior…
Like Jesus, we must be willing to be used of the Father as the Spirit leads, even though we know that the Spirit delights in leading us further into ministry and deeper into the Father’s care than we’ve ever purposed for ourselves. Walking by faith is sometimes scary, but it is always worthwhile!
There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.D.L. Moody
Sometimes we have to act on our faith. Sometimes we don’t have enough faith of ourselves, so we have to act by faith on the faith of others. And sometimes we have to act by the faith of the Holy Spirit who leads us, because He is the only one with enough faith for the moment.