When we ask God for something that He will always give us one of three possible answers? That’s right…three. Most people think He answers either yes or no, but stick around and we’ll talk about it, here on Five Minutes of Truth.
Perhaps one of the most amazing and well-known of Jesus’ healings deals with an unnamed woman who simply longed to touch Jesus’ clothing. We know nothing about her except that she had been suffering from a bleeding issue for 12 years. This story, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, states that the woman had “spent all she had on doctors yet could not be healed by any”.
We are pretty familiar with her story. Seeing that Jesus was passing by surrounded by a throng of people the event as recorded in Mark’s Gospel tells us that the woman surmised “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well”. Which is exactly what happened. She made her way through the crowd, touched a tassel on Jesus’ robe and was “instantly cured”. Jesus, knowing this had happened called the woman out of the crowd and asked her to tell this story which she did as “she came trembling and fell down before Him”.
Jesus then does something unusual. In fact, in all of the Gospels, this is the only time He does this. He calls her “Daughter” but does so by using it as if it were her name…using it as a personal pronoun. Jesus commends her faith and that part of the story ends. But did you know that this story was, in fact, a part of a different story and a different request for Jesus to heal someone?
Though this event is recorded in all three of the Synoptic Gospels, it’s the version in Luke chapter 8 that we are most interested in. If you back up just a few verses before the woman with the issue of blood is mentioned, we see the reason Jesus was walking near her in the first place. And it has to do with a plea from a man named Jairus.
Jairus was a synagogue leader. Historical evidence seems to suggest that though this was a religious position, it did not mean that he was a Rabbi, Scribe or Pharisee. He was the overall leader of the synagogue sort of the way a CEO is in charge of their organization. It was a position of religious significance, cultural significance and power.
It almost certainly meant that Jairus was also a very wealthy man. In fact, many believe that the Rich Young Ruler mentioned in the Gospels was also a synagogue ruler. So Jairus was a wealthy, religious, respected, powerful man in the local community. And his daughter was dying. Just before Jesus’ interaction with the bleeding woman, we see that Jairus came to Jesus and pleaded with Him to go to his house because his daughter “was at death’s door”. Jesus agreed, and began His journey with Jairus when He came across the woman who needed her own kind of healing.
Now, let’s be clear. This could not have been an easy thing for Jairus to do. He was a member of the religious ruling class of the day. And for the most part, the religious ruling class of the day did not care for Jesus at all. In fact, it was this ruling class that would eventually ensure Jesus’ crucifixion. It was a risk for Jairus to do this, but his little girl was dying. He had heard the stories of Jesus’ miracles, I’m sure he had sought out doctors to no help, and he was desperate. He asked Jesus to heal his daughter. Here is where it gets interesting.
Jairus knew that time was of the essence. Jesus was going with him to his home. As a father myself, it had to feel like every step was not nearly fast enough. And so, in this rush to get Jesus to his home, what happens? Jesus stops. He not only stops, but He engages with a woman who had touched His robe and been healed. As a reader of the Scripture, we are overjoyed to hear the story of this woman…but what must Jairus have been thinking? He had to be going out of his mind seeing Jesus delay in going to heal his daughter. What would happen if they were too late? Every second must have felt like an hour. And it turns out, they were too late.
No sooner than the conversation with the woman ended, did Jairus get the news he feared the most. Someone came from Jairus’ house bearing the bad news, “Your daughter is dead. Don’t bother the Teacher anymore”. Jesus then makes an extraordinary statement: “Fear not. Only believe and she will be made well”. What, you might ask, has this to do with what was said in the introduction?
When we ask God for something, He gives us one of three answers. Sometimes He says ‘yes’. Sometimes He says ‘no’. And sometimes He says ‘wait’. Of the three, for all of us, ‘wait’ is the most difficult answer. But that’s because we don’t understand the wait. It’s never because He is too busy. It’s never because we have to take a number and wait our turn. It’s never because He forgot or has better things to do. It’s because there is something we have to learn about Him. Look more closely at Jairus.
Jairus came to Jesus while his daughter was still alive. And so he must have been thinking that if he could get to Jesus before she died, there might be a chance. Jesus knew that his daughter would die before He got there…but Jairus didn’t. So Jesus needed to give him some hope. He stops to talk to a woman who had been sick for 12 years. The exact age of Jairus’ daughter. She had spent all of her money on doctors. I’m sure Jairus too spent a lot of money on doctors. He certainly didn’t run to Jesus at the first sign of sickness, that doesn’t make sense. While Jairus was worried about his daughter, Jesus actually calls the woman “Daughter”. Again…something that He never did in Scripture either before or after that. What does all of this mean?
Jairus needed to understand the depth of Jesus’ power and Who He really was. It was clear from those who broke the bad news to him that Jairus had faith that Jesus could do something so long as his daughter lived. When they told him, “Don’t bother the Teacher anymore” Jairus had a choice. Trust Jesus or start mourning. He chose to trust Jesus. And I don’t think that would have been possible if he not seen Jesus’ miraculous interaction with the woman who had the issue of blood.
That’s why Jesus said ‘wait’ to Jairus. Because that healing of the woman was as much for Jairus as it was for the woman. He will say ‘yes’ to us at times. He will even say ‘no’ to us at times. Often times He says ‘wait’. But the wait is never arbitrary. Even the waiting is for us so that we will be able to heed those words He spoke to Jairus when He said: “Fear not, only believe”. How cool is that?
On behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us here at Growth Project, keep reading God’s Word.
Dr. Purvis started Growth Project with Robert Houghton after spending 20 years on active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Navy. After many moves and multiple deployments, he settled in Winter Haven, Florida to do God’s will. A glutton for educational punishment Danny has a BA in English from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He has been married to his wife Kimberly (whom he met when they were 6 years old) for nearly 30 years and they have four wonderful children.