Limited Expectations

The miracle of Jairus’ 12 year old daughter’s “rise from death” deserves a closer look since it is a story of limited expectations.  God thru Jesus unexpectedly raised her from the dead, similarly to Lazarus’ resurrection which shocked the popular senses. Both Martha and Mary somehow knew that had Jesus been there earlier, their brother, Lazarus, would not have died. They believed that much in His healing powers.  As for the resurrection, that is an eschatological event but never expected before then. [How often theology gets in the way of faith!]

Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. … … Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  – John 11:21, 24 & 32

We know that Jairus did not anticipated Jesus arriving at his house after his daughter’s passing. vs 42, “she was dying….” Jairus knew that his princess, his life’s source of joy, was near death, [but still alive.  He was desperate now.]

He fell down at Jesus’s feet and pleaded with him [Jesus] to come to his house, …. Luke 8:41-21

But someone came to him with an update,

Your daughter is dead. Don’t … [annoy] the teacher … [any longer].” — Luke 8:49.

I didn’t know God was annoyed by our supplications especially if it concerns our children! The “messenger” informed Jairus possibly over the noise of an excited crowd of followers.

The record says of them: [vs 40] “When Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him.” (We do tend to welcome Him more readily if we have been waiting on Him.)

Jesus heard” [vs 50] are one of my favorite phrases in the Bible. We need to learn, perhaps, to trust Him in matters that frighten us into thinking the unthinkable.

This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

Luke’s account adds:  Only the parents and Peter, John & James were welcomed to join Him into her bedroom where she lay in state but Jesus claimed was only asleep. [How transparent is truth. vs. 51. “and the child’s father [oh, yes,] and mother.” The value of this verse awaits another blog.]

A group of mourners had gathered in the living room of the house beating their chests and wailing loudly [vs 52]. “We can easily imagine how great a din.” writes J. P. Lange.  [They went from mourning to laughing—not exactly typical of a truly broken heart. vs. 53]

This was unlike the cry of those mothers who saw their infant sons thrust through by King Herod while Jesus was secretly swept away into the protection of an Egyptian exile until the king died. In the Christmas story: “A voice was heard in Ramah, [a] great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled…..” [Mt 2:18] The language in this account is not a public display like the gathering at Jairus’s house but a private and unsharable pain that only God is merciful enough to hear.

When Jesus took her by the hand, sat her up, and instructed them to feed her [vs. 56] her parents were “astounded”!  This is not the voice of praise but the sound of a limited expectation of God’s loving involvement in a traumatic loss.  Let faith reveal untold possibilities that God might do for us.  We might not know what God is going to do when we pray but let’s not be so surprised when He does it.






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