“He Went With Him” Let’s Pray... Rev. Stuart C. Buisch Mark 5: 21-43
What was the last thing that you found yourself going alone on? Perhaps the most in my memory
just now is having Mad drive away in the rain from the airport and I went in to security. Even
security has a way of emphasizing one’s aloneness. You go through the winding lines and at the
metal detector you stand in there alone with your hands over your head.
Yet again Jesus is met getting out of the boat by a large crowd. But the crowd doesn’t stop a
frightened parent from getting through to Jesus on behalf of a child. The oddity is that this is the
leader of the Synagogue, a man of Jewish culture and status. His going to Jesus was a risk for his
job, his reputation, his future. But his daughter also was his future. His wife had stayed with her
and he was sent to get help. In the moment of crisis we are struck with two uneasy choices: stay
with the one in need or go and get help. When my father had the third accident on the farm,
which would ultimately take his life, my oldest brother found him and I believe he stayed with
him until the ambulance arrived. I got a call and had to fly home from work in a church several
states away. My previous job supervisor advised me that I needed to be at home with my family.
Jairus has a specific request which would be overwhelming to most today, ‘Please come and
place your hands on my daughter so that she can be healed and live.’ We might easily pass over
that detail. Jesus doesn’t stop and ask anything of Jairus. He simply goes with him. But the
crowd migrates with Jesus and Jairus as they head to his house. Little does the crowd realize that
they are providing cover for a very troubled woman who had travelled alone on a journey of
illness that made her unacceptable to the world around her. Because of her bleeding she was
unclean. Today we do not have such simple distinctions but we do keep ourselves from our own
list of unpleasant ones. Who are you reluctant to walk with? Who do you see and walk away
from instead of walking toward or beside? Probably a more important question is why do you
walk away or what are the thoughts when you determine you won’t walk with someone?
It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t deny or hide anyone that receives help from him. He visibly
walks with the Synagogue leader with no embarrassment for either of them. When he senses
power going out of him it may have been more compassionate to let the woman go home free.
To put her on the spot is to expose her problem. But it also exposes her faith and her answer.
None of us believes in Jesus Christ alone. Some of us are still believing the words and acts that
our parents instilled in us. But we are called to live our personal faith in the context of a
community a family of faith. She is now healthy, clean, her bleeding has stopped. By affirming
her faith, he builds the faith of Jairus when people from his house are telling him his daughter
has died, effectively destroying his hope. Jesus reaffirms that what the woman thought she
experienced was real, that peace was now hers and she could go home confidently.
Next he turns to Jairus, with whom he is still with, walking beside, and says, ‘don’t be afraid;
just keep trusting. Two very different acts that need to be done in order. Fear is a powerful force
that can stop us cold and make us unable to react. Don’t be afraid seems to be something God
says a lot to people. The angel tells Zechariah and Mary these very words. Jesus says these
words to the disciples. But more than that Jesus doesn’t display fear. In front of the demoniac,
the pharisees, Herod, Pilate, even the cross, fear cannot be seen in him. When Christ tells Jairus
‘don’t be afraid’ not only does he mean it, he believes that Jairus can stop being afraid. The
powerful thing to note is that Jesus is still with him. In our fear we have the Spirit of Christ
Jesus with us, inexplicably but never the less there. The other thing to note is that our minds are
wired for one thing at a time. If we are afraid we cannot trust. Jesus knew this as well so he give
this anxious dad words to live by. Trust instead of fear.
Jesus now narrows his audience. He stops all his entourage except three disciples. I imagine that
when he arrived at Jairus’ home he boldly told the devastated crowd that she was only sleeping. I
find their laughter odd. But then laughter can be odd. Jokes are told that are really destructive
and after a nervous laugh the speaker says, you know I don’t mean that. Here Jesus tells the
crowd good news but they laugh. Perhaps it was too much to believe, perhaps they were so
worried for this family in their synagogue whom they loved. Maybe some of them didn’t know
who Jesus was. Mark says Jesus threw them all out. It is interesting to note that when he threw
them out they were not in the room with the dead child. Mark tells us that they went into the
child’s room, the parents, the three disciples and Jesus. I wonder if this was to minimize
distraction. I wonder if Jesus was trying to keep the doubt away from this situation. The parents
were certainly baffled by Jesus’ continued willingness to see their child even though now she
was dead. They were in very early mourning filled mostly with shock when those around a death
are finding it most hard to believe that death has come. They would be willing to hope, to trust
that Jesus could do something.
The story ends with Jesus’ instruction that no one should know what happened. He left, the
crowd has evaporated and he goes home.
For me, this story calls me to go to Jesus in prayer with all the crisis in my life. This story calls
me to discard fear – something only I can only do with God’s help. But it also calls me to trust
instead of fear. While raising the dead doesn’t seem to be happening with great frequency today,
Christ is with us. Christ goes with us and we can let go of our fears and trust that living, loving
and transforming presence, In the name of the Most High, the Redeemer and the One whose
breath breathes in us, amen.
Eternal God, let your might be seen in our day...
Jesus, lamb of God, take away our fear, our sins and our complacency...
Spirit of God, pulse through our souls for your glory...