Stained glass with a cross

Do you have the faith of a leader in the synagogue or the faith of a woman who would not be allowed in the synagogue if they knew her dirty secret?

12 years

In twelve years a little girl grew from birth to the verge of womanhood. She lived in a lakeside fishing village large enough for a small military unit and a tollbooth for the trade that went through town. Her father, Jairus, was a leader in the synagogue and she was his only daughter. One day she became very sick.

For twelve years a Jewish woman had menstrual bleeding. This made her religiously unclean. She either lived outside of village life or she hid her shameful condition. (Luke 8:40-56; Leviticus 14-16; Numbers 8; 19)

The leader’s request

Jairus heard that Jesus had returned to town. He knew this travelling preacher and healer. Jairus was probably part of the delegation that asked him to heal the favorite slave of a generous military officer. Some of the local fishermen had become followers of Jesus as well as the former toll collector. (Luke 5:27; 7:1-10)

He went to Jesus and begged him to come and heal his daughter. There were testy relations between Jesus and the religious leaders but maybe he would come.

Jesus came with him

The woman and her faith

As the crowd went with Jesus and Jairus, the unclean woman put her plan into action.

Jesus had touched lepers and the lepers were healed. She would touch the edge of his clothing. The crowd would hide her and she was confident that, just like the lepers, she would be healed and her nightmare would be over. She worked her way through the crowd and touched him. She felt it happen. She was healed.

Before she could get away, Jesus asked who touched him. She couldn’t escape and she fell down in front of him and the crowd and confessed what she had done. Jesus commended her faith and told her to go in peace. She was healed and free from her defiling disgrace.

The leader’s faith

Jairus was confident that Jesus could heal his daughter. He had healed people before. However, while Jesus was speaking to the woman, someone came from the house and told him that Jesus was not needed. His daughter was no longer sick. She was dead. It was over.

Jesus heard the messenger and told Jairus not to be afraid but have faith and his daughter would be well. They arrived at the house and the mourning had already begun. They mocked Jesus when he told them that she was only sleeping. They knew that she was dead. He took some of his disciples and the parents into the room where her body was lying. He did the unthinkable. He touched the dead body. He was not afraid of becoming unclean. Instead, the girl came back to life.

Jairus and his wife were amazed. They knew he could heal but this was beyond their faith.

The woman was an unclean outcast but had complete confidence.

The religious leader was an insider and a leader and had faith up to a point.

What are the limits of your faith?

When do we have confidence? When are we amazed?

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