Throughout life, we end up asking much from God. We ask for healing, success in our efforts, relief from life’s anxious times, more followers on social media, victory against our foes, the list goes on and on. Our requests focus often on the here and now. They are defined so much by cultural expectations and immediate needs that we don’t comprehend what Jesus Christ brings with the kingdom of God.
The reading is a sandwich of two healing stories. A young girl was seriously ill and her father (Jairus – a leader in the synagogue) fell at Jesus’ feet and begged for him to come and heal her. A crowd pressed upon Jesus looking to be witnesses of Jesus’ healing powers. Along the way, healing flowed from him to a woman having touched his cloak among all the others.
The woman had been left destitute in her efforts to be healed from the hemorrhages for which she had suffered the past twelve years. She simply wanted to be healed so she could function normally in life. Jesus gave her more. The hemorrhages left her unclean to stand before God and even be touched by others. Yes, she was healed when she touched the edge of his clothing. She was unnamed but Jesus called her “daughter.” She had lived a tough life but Jesus gave to her the blessing of peace.
While this was going on, Jairus was still begging for Jesus to heal his daughter. Then word arrived that Jairus’ daughter had died and so there was no reason for Jesus to come. Jesus said to Jairus, the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” The mourning had begun when they arrived and Jesus commented that she was only sleeping. The mourners laughed at him. Then Jesus took her hand and said, “Little girl, get up!” She got up from her death bed to the obvious amazement of the mourners.
Both stories tell of Jesus giving more than what was being asked of him. An unnamed woman was given a new title and restored not just to normal life but to stand before God as a daughter. Jairus was privileged to witness with his own daughter more than a healing. He was allowed to see the power of God extending beyond the limitations of this life.
The reading ends with Jesus ordering that what had just happened should not be told. This seems ridiculous. Why wouldn’t Jesus want the news of his abilities to be known? Raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead would be great advertising. This is the point. He was more than a traveling healer. He came to give us more – the kingdom of God.