The renowned artist Paul Gustave Dore (1821-1883) lost his passport while traveling in Europe. When he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards. Giving his name to the official, Dore hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass. The guard, however, said that many people attempted to cross the border by claiming to be persons they were not.
Dore insisted that he was the man he claimed to be. “All right,” said the official, “we’ll give you a test, and if you pass it we’ll allow you to go through.” Handing him a pencil and a sheet of paper, he told the artist to sketch several peasants standing nearby. Dore did it so quickly and skillfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be. His work confirmed his word!1
Just as the guards would not accept the artist’s words alone, so too, when Jesus began His earthly ministry, few would embrace Him as the Messiah based on His word alone.
In the gospel of John chapter 14 verse 11 Jesus addressed the issue of trustworthiness, and why people ought to trust Him. There He said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
People had cause to question the validity of Jesus’ claims for in that day, a number of men sought to lead movements. In Acts chapter 5 verses 34 through 38 we see this illustrated during a meeting of the Sanhedrin, a rabbinical court gathered to discuss what to do with the apostles who were sharing the gospel throughout Jerusalem and causing a stir.
During the meeting, at one point verse 34 points out, “a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people,” offered wise advice to the counsel. In verses 35 through 38 he said, “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing.”
Men rising up and claiming to be someone was nothing new to the people of that day.
Christ understood this and realized that some would not believe apart from seeing miraculous “works” displayed before their very eyes. Thus, throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry He performed many incredible miracles, in part, for the purpose to validate who He was, not only to the masses, but to His apostles as well, as they would be given the responsibility to establish and build the Church of Jesus Christ here on earth, after Christ ascended to Heaven.
One such miraculous work Jesus performed is seen in the gospel of Luke chapter 8 verses 41 through 42, and in verses 49 through 56. Verse 41 says, “And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying.”
Verse 49 goes adds, “While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” 50 But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” 51 When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. 52 Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.” 53 And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” 55 Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat. 56 And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.”
When your young daughter, whom you love dearly, is near death, what do you do? Without thinking, you risk everything. That is exactly what Jairus did. In what way did he risk all? He left home to find Jesus!
Who was Jairus? The gospel of Luke chapter 8 Verse 41 says he was “a ruler of the synagogue.” He was someone who was known to those in the community he lived in as one who helped lead the reading of scripture, instruction and worship of God in his synagogue.
Think about it, Jairus, a ruler in his synagogue, coming to Jesus. That was not small act on his part. Luke chapter 5 verse 21 helps put his decision in perspective. There it points out that the Lord was already considered to be a blasphemer by the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus was deemed a very bad person by the scribes and Pharisees because of the things He taught and did. Thus, for any Jewish religious leader to look to Christ for help was a very dangerous thing do.
In the process, Jairus went well beyond going to Jesus. When he arrived, verse 41 says, “he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house.” Jairus humbled himself in the clearest of ways. He did not merely ask Jesus to help him, he “begged” the Lord. He did not merely beg Jesus to help him, “he fell down at Jesus’ feet.”
As “a ruler of the synagogue,” Jairus had a reputation to keep. Falling down at the feet of Christ and begging Him to help was not going to go over well with the religious leaders if they found out. But Jairus didn’t care. The scribes and Pharisees were not going to heal his daughter. The scribes and Pharisees were not going to raise his daughter from the dead. Jairus was led not by his head, but by his heart. He no longer was concerned with the social or religious implication of his act. Most likely he felt like he had only one shot at getting this right. If he failed to recruit Christ’s help, the Lord may have moved onto a new location and his daughter would be lost.
When all hope was lost, Jairus risked all to save his daughters life. At that point it did not matter what the religious leaders thought. It did not matter what the members of his synagogue thought. It did not matter what his family and friends thought. It did not matter if he lost his position in his synagogue and was tossed out. Jairus risked all to save his daughters life.
TROUBLE THE TEACHER
Being the Son of God, the Lord had the great advantage of grasping the fullness of the powers He had at His disposal. This knowledge came in handy throughout the course of His time with Jairus.
In verse 49 not long after Jairus meets the Lord it says, “While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.”
All hope was lost. Jairus’ daughter had died. The purpose of requesting Christ’s help had passed. He was no longer needed. It was a very thoughtful gesture on the part of the little girl’s family to send someone to notify them that the girl was dead.
When Jairus heard this, it must have pierced his heart. Perhaps at that moment he might have thought, “Why didn’t I look for Jesus sooner? If I had, my daughter might still be alive.”
Regardless of what Jairus thought, Jesus nipped such thoughts in the bud. In verse 50 it the Lord looks to Jairus and says, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” What an incredible moment that must have been. One second your hopes are crushed. The next, you’re told, “believe, and she will be made well.” Jairus came to Christ with a strong sense of belief, so it was not difficult for him to muster up a little more faith in Christ, and optimistically head home with Him.
Jairus’ friends and family did not want to “trouble the teacher.” But this was no ordinary person they were talking to. He was the very Son of God. This was not a source of trouble, but rather a great opportunity to glorify His Father in Heaven.
SMALL MINDS, SMALL PICTURE
When Jesus, His followers and Jairus arrived the words of the messenger were confirmed. It says in verse 52, “Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.” 53 And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.”
For a moment, this one called Jesus did not look too smart or insightful. For when He encouraged the people not to weep and mourn, they looked at Him like He was crazy and as verse 53 says, “they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.”
What’s up? Don’t they know who they are speaking to? Of course, they do. But at that point they knew the girl had died and hope was gone.
These people responded as most would. “She’s dead. Are you deaf man? Go about your business and leave us to grieve.”
When it came to Christ and His abilities, they were small minded people. Their small minds led them to see only what was taking place before their eyes. An event they were all too familiar with. Unfoundedly, they had witnessed more than their share of young children dying. In their minds, the small picture they were used to was not going to change just because Jesus showed up. Their small minds formed a small picture of what would surely take place. In every other case, this would be true, but not today!
LORD OF LIFE
In the gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus understood something the friends and family did not understand, He is the Lord of Life!
As a result, in the gospel of Luke chapter 8 verse 54 Jesus said, ”Little girl, arise.” And with this simple command, verse 55 says, “Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately.” The Lord of life reunited the young girl with her spirit and her life was returned to her. Incredible!
The Lord of life understood the teaching of the apostle Paul, long before he became a follower. In 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 52 through 55 it says, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
Scripture teaches that for all those who have embraced Christ as Lord and Savior, will have final victory over death. This victory will come in the form of a transformation from that which is passing away to that which is eternal.
We see a glimpse of this when Jesus put death in its place at the house of Jairus. All it took was a true act of faith in Christ by Jairus. The end result was the return of his little girl from the dead.
When the going becomes insurmountable, it’s time to trouble the teacher by turning from the small mindedness that encourages us to look to self or others for the solutions rather than the Lord of life. As days pass, and insurmountable troubles come our way, like Jairus, let us seek out the Lord, humble ourselves before Him, and with childlike faith and trust, cast our burdens upon Him. Knowing, regardless of the outcome, He truly loves us and wants the best for us.
1Our Daily Bread, January 6, 1993.