When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.He 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.” So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
Some people like to be around crowds. They like the buzz. The excitement. The energy. And in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, this is me. I like being around lots of people. I like being sandwiched in a New York subway. I like the “press of the flesh” when in line at Disney World.
But some people aren’t all that excited about crowds. As a matter of fact, they look for ways to avoid crowds. They’re never quite comfortable when people are close by. If given a choice, they’d almost rather choose a root canal without Novocain over being in a crowd.
Jesus seems to easily move back and forth between being sandwiched in a crowd and being focused on an individual. In these few verses, Jesus starts out in crowd when he gets out of the boat. Then, as he walks along, Jairus come up and Jesus gives him his full attention. And finally, Jesus’ is surrounded again by the crowd.
But when Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet, everything stops. Jesus stops. The crowd stops. Everything changes. Jairus pleads over and over with Jesus for the life of his little daughter. And this is completely understandable. But what happens next isn’t.
Jairus doesn’t stop with what’s going on with his daughter. He doesn’t ask Jesus for advice. He doesn’t wait for Jesus to tell him what to do. He does what everyone who’s had a dying relative does.
He tells Jesus what needs to be done.
Jairus has it all figured out. He knows what’s got to happen next. He doesn’t ask Jesus for advice. Or faith. He doesn’t even give Jesus an option. The answer is for Jesus to come, touch his daughter, and heal her. Period.
Now I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like being put in a corner like this. I want options. I want to make my own decision. There might be another way. A better way. How do I even know if it’s God’s will or not?
But not Jesus. What did he do? He didn’t ask the people around him what to do? He didn’t drop to his knees and pray for God’s will and wisdom. He didn’t post a survey on social media and see what everyone on the world wide web had to add.
No. He just went. Jesus was willing to do more than stop and pray. He was willing to go out of his way. He was ready to change his plans at the drop of a hat. Or, should I say, at the drop of Jairus at his feet.
For his part, Jairus was willing to seek out Jesus.
It might have taken the most desperate of circumstances to push him; but push it did. It started with his daughter getting sick. And then getting worse. And worse. There seemed to be nothing that anyone could do to slow it down. To stop it. And then there was the realization that death was the only future for his little girl.
What does it take to push you to that place where you’re going to Jesus? Does it only take a whisper? Or does it take a giant tragedy before you fall down in front of Jesus?
Are we like Jairus? Waiting till a life shattering disaster before we’ll look for Jesus? After all, Jairus was a leader in the local synagogue. What would people think? What would they say? This could ruin his religious reputation in front of his family. His place of worship. His community.
Jesus was ready and willing to change directions. To change his plans. He was willing to walk with someone he’s never met before, to a place he’s never been before. And why?
To go with a broken man who had lost all hope.
As hard as it is to say it, as difficult as it is to live it, this is the time we come to God. This is the place where we fall face down before Jesus. These are the circumstances in life that sandwich us into a tight place, where Jesus is the only one who is there. The only one who can help. The only one who can save.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
So, how has God sandwiched you in? How’s he squeezing you? Is it getting tighter? And tighter? And tighter? Are there fewer and fewer options left? That is exactly where God wants us, where he is our only hope.