Don’t be afraid, just believe.

I’ve been thinking about Jairus lately.

In May, when I came to the end of my stay on one friend’s couch and had nowhere to sleep that night, I heard the voice of Jesus exhorting me from the story of Jairus,

“Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

Jairus was a well known religious leader in his day and Jesus was pretty controversial. I think it’s pretty clear that Jairus had been putting off going to Jesus with the problem of his sick daughter as evidenced by the fact that when we catch up with Jairus in Luke 8, he, a dignified director of the synagoge is prostrate in the street, begging. His daughter is near death and Jairus’ desperation is past his pride.

Jesus agrees to go to his house and they rush off. Part of me suspects the reason the crowd formed around them was the fantastical nature of seeing this religious leader running with urgency through the streets with the controversial teacher.

The biblical narrative shifts at this point to the woman with the issue of blood but I’ve been spending time thinking about the narrative of Jairus. We get the disciples incredulity saying, “What the hell do you mean, who touched you?” but in the past as I’ve followed the biblical narrative I’ve always lost what must have been the utter desperation of Jairus in that moment.

“What does He mean, who touched Him? She’s dying.”

Then, Jairus’ miracle is interrupted to make room for someone with no right to be in public. According to the concept of righteousness at work in the majority mind at the time, one who was forbidden by law to be within 50 paces of members of the public, one who’d been socially cast aside for over a decade, one who was so sinful they’d brought disease upon themself, this one had interrupted righteous Jairus’ desperate need for a miracle.

Of course we’re tempted to shift to her story here because it’s full of richness and profound revelation into the nature of God. So is Jairus’ narrative.

While Jesus was still standing still, speaking to someone society considered worthless, the news came that Jairus’ daughter had died. I wonder how close they were to his house. If Jesus hadn’t stopped, would they have made it in time? Where did Jairus’ mind go in that moment? Surely he must have lamented waiting so long to go to Jesus. Was it Jesus’ fault for stopping in the middle of a rush to spend lavish amounts of time on some nobody? How could Jesus prioritize the most important seconds of Jairus’ life to THAT street rat?

“Don’t be afraid. Just believe.”

We know how the story ends.

When I had nowhere to sleep, I didn’t know how that story would end. When I flew to Redding, California without tuition money for BSSM, I didn’t know how that story would end. We never really know how the story we find ourselves in will end.

This year He’s been taking my deadlines that I perceive to be set in stone and He’s been blowing past them, stretching what I thought was possible and then coming through, miraculously, in a way that’s better than I had imagined.

The rule with BSSM is if you’re an international student, the full tuition is due day 1 or you can’t go to class. I arrived on registration day and waited in line not knowing what would happen. I met with the finance team and when they were supposed to tell me to go back to Canada, they told me I had an extension till Friday. Then at 8:30 pm on Thursday night, an anonymous donation of $3330 came through.

So what? So, to quote Brian D. Maclaren, He has the last word. And the word after that.

A ramification of the Most High being a God whose goodness is infinitely beyond our most daring hopes, dreams, imaginations or prayers is that regardless of what life presents us in the way of circumstances, however hopeless or disappointing our circumstances present themselves to us, there exists within ultimate reality an anchor which we may attach ourselves to: He is good.

That anchor is also a key to the inevitable need to redefine our realities. Since He’s good, then what? Goodness beyond the stretchiest reaches of our perception… this requires a redefinition of what is possible. Even after it’s too late.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid, just believe.

  1. Hi, I was wondering. how do we know the details (no right to be in public etc) about the woman with the blood issue that you mentioned? The bible doesn’t give those details but I’m sure you are more knowledgable about Jewish culture at that time? Are you saying that she was shunned because she was sick? Wow.Just looking for information, thanks in advance for your answer. Great articles btw, really enjoying them GodSpeed my friend!
    Thank you so much

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    1. You’re right that the bible doesn’t give certain details. The reason is because the original audience would have known these details and so they would have been arbitrary information. You don’t need to explain 1st century cultural climate to people in the 1st century.

      My understanding of the hebrew culture of the 1st century is that the Romans were brutal to any nation they occupied and as such the Jewish leaders were desperate to be delivered from the Roman oppression. They believed that the Messiah would be a military leader and also believed that the reason the Messiah wasn’t showing up was that there was too much sin going on amongst the people of Israel. Generally, their understanding of righteousness was different to the modern evangelical theology on righteousness. They believed that if someone was ill it was because of sin in their life. They thought that illness was a symptom of being sinful. Since they were trying to get the people of Israel to not sin, they cut out people they believed to be sinners in order to try to increase the righteousness of the nation. I’m going to write a bigger post on this in the next week or so. Hopefully this is enough for now. I encourage you to do some study on 1st century Palestine and look at the gospels through the lens of what the original audience would have read into the text!

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