Two very different people are ministered to by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our lesson this morning.
One, Jairus, is a leader in the religious community. The other was an outcast from society.
Both came seeking a healing, both came in hope. Both came seeking a miracle.
Let’s talk about Jairus first: He was a man of faith, obviously. He sincerely believed that if Jesus would but lay His hands upon his daughter, who was sick unto death, she would be cured and live.
As a leader in the synagogue, he was one who read from the Holy Scriptures, and expounded upon the Word of God to the people in the town of Capernaum. He was regarded as less than a priest, but more than the average attender at the synagogue. Sort of like an elder, or an adult Sunday school teacher would be regarded in our church today.
Jesus has been healing the sick, so many that the press of the crowd caused Him to put out to sea, but even on the far side of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus had healed by casting out the demons from a Gersene.
That man was an infidel, and the ones that Jesus had healed before were the masses, the crowds that followed Him. But here was a leader of the Jews, a leader in the community, coming to Jesus for help.
I think it may be safe to say that Jairus was the most prominent person thus far in the Gospel to seek Jesus, to demonstrate belief in Him.
Contrast the woman: her ailment not only was debilitating, but even humiliating, it was the kind of ailment that caused her to be considered unclean by the religious authorities of that day and age. She would not have been welcome in the synagogue. She could not have worshipped in the temple. She could not have even spoken to a priest. She was but one step above the lepers.
The implication is that this woman was once wealthy. She had spent all that she had and endured much under many physicians, and was no better, but instead grew worse.
Remember, she didn’t have insurance or Medicare. And physicians in those days would use such esoteric remedies as carrying the ashes of an ostrich egg, or drinking a goblet of wine with rubber, alum, and ground crocus bulbs dissolved in it. One that sounded pretty good was onions cooked in wine. But I doubt if it would cure much.
Like Jairus, this unnamed woman believed that Jesus had the power to heal. She had such faith that she was convinced that if she could simply touch the hem of his garment, the edge of his robe, she’d be cured.
Somehow, in that mass of people surrounding Him, she got close enough to Jesus to do just that. And instantly, Jesus knew that the power of healing had gone out from Him, and He asked, “Who touched me?”
Now one might wonder if Jesus really didn’t know, or if He was giving the woman a chance to come forward and profess her faith, and publicly claim her healing and her restored state. I think the latter.
Jesus doesn’t do magic tricks. Jesus does miracles. Jesus doesn’t let His power be taken from Him, He gives it away freely. Jairus didn’t demand Jesus healing power for his daughter, and the woman couldn’t steal it from Him. One cannot steal what is freely given, and to all who believe Jesus gives that hope of healing and the power to be healed.
I think it was E. Stanley Jones who wrote about three kinds of healing. As I recall, the first healing he defined was medical healing, where a physician or another health care practitioner uses his or her skills to bring about a cure to a disease or the repair of an injury.
I’ve got some medical healing going on in my life right now: I’ve got a brace on one leg, orthotics in both shoes, and I’m taking a whole bunch of pills for my arthritis. . I have hope for a medicaI healing.
The second kind of healing is the purely miraculous healing which may be referred to as divine healing, where there is no medical presence and simply through prayer and/or the laying on of hands a person receives a cure or repair. These are rare, but we all know stories about them.
Truth is, most healings, cures, recoveries that I know about are a combination of the two: we pray, the health care professionals do their work, and the results are what we all hope for.
The third form of healing is the ultimate a healing, which is when God removes us from this fragile, perishable, corruptible, physical body, and gives us the perfect spiritual body that we are promised in I Corinthians 15. In death there is the hope of that kind of healing.
Jairus’s daughter was dead. But he had hope that Jesus could still heal her, cure her, restore her, and his faith was answered, as was the woman’s.
None of us would ever be bold enough to demand that Jesus heal us, or our loved ones. None of us need ever be timid enough to sneak up on Jesus to try to steal a miracle from Him.
But all of us may be bold enough to expect to be healed, and bold enough to hope for healing in this life, and if not here, then certainly in the life to come.
Healing and hope are part of what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior.
As we come to the table this day, we come praying for healing, and hoping for Jesus to heal not just our ailments, but our world. We come here hoping for miracles.
Let us pray together for the healings that are needed in the world, in our nation, in our churches, in our lives, and in our bodies. Let us pray.