rest·awe Youth Talk – Humility and Helplessness in a Hurting World

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Humility and Helplessness in a Hurting World

In Matthew 9:18-26 we see two people who are completely helpless when faced with sickness and death. In verses 18-19 we meet the first one,

“While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”  Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.”

Now in the Mark version of this passage, we learn that this ruler’s name was Jairus and we already know from above that he was a synagogue ruler. This means that he was a very important and powerful person in his society and most likely had a lot of money. Another important thing to mention is that a lot of his friends in the synagogue probably didn’t like Jesus, so it would have taken a lot of courage for him to come to Jesus.

Now Jairus’ daughter has just died and he comes and kneels at Jesus’ feet, he would have felt completely helpless. There was no state of the art hospital nearby, no ambulance service and no helicopter that could bring a doctor to heal her. His daughter had died and there was nothing he could do about it.

You may have experienced or seen a similar sort of helplessness in your own life or in the lives of the people around you when they are faced with sickness. And whilst I have never been a father to a very sick daughter, at the end of last year I was a daughter to a very sick dad who was diagnosed with cancer. Whether it was visiting him after surgery or being with him at home, this was a time where like Jairus, I felt a true sense of helplessness. I had no medical knowledge or ability to be able to help my dad and that sucked.

Now before Jesus even arrives at Jairus’ house, he is interrupted by the second person we meet who is need of his help, in verse 20.

“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him[Jesus] and touched the edge of his cloak.”

This woman had been bleeding for 12 years. 12 years! In Mark 5 we learn that she had been to doctor after doctor trying to find a cure and that she had become bankrupt in the process. And additionally, because of the law and its regulations about blood, she would have been treated as what is called “ceremonially unclean” which meant that people weren’t allowed to associate with her. Imagine what she would have felt like. She was alone and helpless over her sickness.

But she thought to herself, see it in verse 21 “If I only I touch his [Jesus] cloak, I will be healed.”  And that is what she did. She reached out and touched his cloak and Jesus turned and saw her and said “your faith has healed you.” We are going to discuss what this does and doesn’t mean for us today a bit further on.

Now let’s go back to Jairus and his daughter in verse 23 which says, “When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.”

In this time, people actually hired professional mourners to cry outside when someone died, and the more money you had the more mourners you could afford, so that is why it was loud and noisy. When I read the passage and the crowd laughed of him, I sort of took them as the bad guys. Why do they have the right to laugh at Jesus? Do they know who he is? He’s Jesus! But then when you think about it – dead people usually stay dead. If the crowd thought she was still alive, or that maybe she was in coma, or she had been knocked out, they wouldn’t have laughed, but they all knew she was dead so it made sense to have a nervous laugh at Jesus as he entered inside.

In verse 25 it says “After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.” Jesus brought her back to life. Jesus has power over sickness and death and the ultimate example of this will be seen in his own death and resurrection.

Now if we look at both of these stories, they have some things in common. Firstly, both Jairus and the sick woman were helpless, there was nothing they could do in their own strength to save the one they loved or to get better. Secondly, they both came with humility. Jairus, one of the leaders of the town, one of the highest people in society came and knelt before Jesus, as true King. This would have surprised many of the people there and is a complete reversal in authority. The woman also came, crouching down, stretching to reach Jesus, with faith that he would heal her. This shows how Jesus cares for everyone, he looks out for all people. Whether you are the lowest, poorest, sick woman in society or the richest, upper class ruler. Whether you are the most bullied, most unloved or most unpopular person or the most attractive, powerful and well-liked leader – Jesus cares equally for all of us.

Now it is very important to remember that just because these people had faith and Jesus chose to heal them does not necessarily mean that if you have faith, he will heal your family member or friend. Jesus used miracles for his own purposes, to glorify God and to show us a little bit of what heaven will be like, with no sickness or death.

You may hear some churches or people saying that if you just have enough faith you will be healed from a sickness. But this isn’t true. We know that Jairus had faith, and so did the woman, but we don’t know what the faith of the dead girl was like. Miracles or healing are not dependent on a person’s faith, beliefs, actions or circumstances. They are from God and for his purposes. There have been plenty of God-honouring, faithful Christians who have died during their ministry despite hundreds of people praying for their recovery. Jesus himself didn’t always heal every sick person in a crowd.

Despite this reality, we must hold onto a few ideas from this passage with our minds and hearts.

1. Miracles show what heaven is going to be like.

If we read passages like this or God chooses to work miraculously in our lives today, we should be more able to hold onto the hope of no sickness or death in heaven. Our King has overcome and is preparing a place for us where these things will be no more. In Revelation 21:4 it says “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” That is the heaven we are hoping and striving for. 

2. Come to Jesus with humility in your helplessness.

In situations where you are helpless in your life today, whether that be struggle, temptation or sickness. Come to Jesus with humility, don’t feel guilty or don’t come with pride. Come to him with your head bowed and heart open.

Written By Miki Sinfield.

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