This is such a beautiful passage of scripture.
In it we see two people encounter Jesus.
This morning, we will spend some more time looking at who they are, and what that meant.
First we meet Jairus.
He was a local synagogue president.
As a religious official, he was part of a large group upset by what Jesus was doing.
Both from the perspective of religious tradition, and because of the threat of the authorities.
On the other hand,
Jairus knew that this rouge teacher was gaining a huge reputation and following.
He would want to keep a safe distance.
He would be best to try and preserve neutrality.
But then something happens, and Jairus is forced out of his non-committal position.
His daughter becomes gravely sick.
We can imagine the agony of this father.
Now he is in a different role,
and a different perspective changes everything.
As a religious official,
he wants to keep his distance.
As father, he would do anything.
What was the risk to him of approaching Jesus? He is risking his pride, his dignity, religious controversy and political danger.
But he has come to the end of himself and turns to Jesus to rescue his daughter, and the whole family from the tragedy they face.
In the face of all this,
Jesus tells him not to be afraid but believe.
And Jairus found the faith to trust and go with Jesus to confront his worst fears.
At the bedside of the dead little girl,
Jesus reaches out to touch her and bring healing.
Jesus says, ‘Talitha koum’;
one of very few phrases left in Aramaic,
[the everyday language of Jesus]
words beautiful in their simplicity –
‘time to get up little girl.’
Like I would use when waking Beth.
The power of God breaks through the ordinary when this man risked coming to Jesus.
We also meet a woman.
She is older, suffering from an isolating illness, she has chronic internal bleeding and this is most likely painful, and makes her perpetually unclean within her culture. That has consequences on her social and family life.
But she has faith that Jesus can rescue her.
What was the risk to her of approaching Jesus? The fear of exposing herself, of being discovered, and the intimacy of touch after years of isolation.
This time, it is the woman who reaches out to touch Jesus for healing, and Jesus says to her ‘your faith has rescued you’.
Her courage in coming to Jesus restored not only her health, but her relationships and life.
There is another character in the story of Jesus I would like us to consider for a moment: you.
What do you bring when you approach Jesus? What are your hopes and fears?
What would you like him to heal and restore?
And what is the risk for you of approaching Jesus? When life crowds in, do we have the courage to creep up behind Jesus and reach out and touch him with that same mixture of faith and fear?
The crowd laughed at Jesus for saying the little girl was asleep, as the followers of Jesus have been laughed at ever since,
but that is the risk.
Jesus got on with what he needed to do,
to transform a life, and in the process a community.
As we spend time in Mark,
we hear many encounters with Jesus that turn people’s lives around. These are signposts, vital on the journey, but not the destination. These are signs of the Kingdom of God breaking into the ordinary, healing and restoring health, relationships and life. Signs of the new heaven and new earth that Jesus came to establish. And it is our faith that acts as a conduit for the power of God to transform.
Do we have the faith, are we willing to take the risk, are we open to an encounter with Jesus that will turn our world upside down?