A Father’s Choice

My crisis of BELIEF

 Several years ago we celebrated Vicki and Nan Nan’s birthday at the Cracker Barrel in Fairmont with her sister and husband.  They sang Happy Birthday and gave them each a brownie sundae which she gave to Stefani.  Stefani ate a bit and then when shopping with her Aunt Glenda.  Just to try it, I ate a bite and discovered a walnut—something Stefani is deathly allergic.  She soon appeared at the table complaining her throat was scratchy, drank something and went back.  I had already told Vicki and we were going to see if anything happened without alarming her.  Again she returns and we make the decision to call the ambulance.  Holding my daughter and trying to calm her and remain calm too, the squad arrives and begins to apply oxygen.  They asked if they wanted us to transport her or them.  They would not give us the oxygen and I had to make a decision to place my little girl into the hands of someone I did not know.  We surrendered her into their hands and followed closely behind. Jarius had the same choice.  Nothing was working as he sought out Jesus.  Would he be able to help?  He had no other choice. 

As president of the synagogue he was responsible to make sure worship was according to the traditions.  He would invite speakers, lead discussions and debates.  This was a community voted position which speaks of his impact in the community. But,Jesus was not educated according to the Jewish traditions nor schooled to the best schools and he was not the disciple of some famous Jewish philosopher.  Jesus was a nobody special from Nazareth—a nobody town.  This is who Jarius was coming.  When Jarius approached Jesus, the word says he pleaded.  The sense of the word is he did not stop pleading, having fallen to his knees, and a position of humility for the president of the synagogue. 

Another father’s crisis of BELIEF

Jarius faced a challenge to his beliefs. Mark records the woman with the issue of blood which according to the Law of Moses, she was a defiled woman and anything or anyone she touched would also be defiled.  She had not only been unable to enter into the court of the Women at the temple for twelve years, but she would have been cut off from friends, family and even society.  This woman touched Jesus!  Can you imagine the man, Jarius, as now the only hope for his daughter was not defile according to the Levitical law.  Jesus does heal this woman, stopping to talk with her.  This must have really tested Jarius.  Jesus called her daughter.  This term, bat mitzvah, means daughter of the commandment or the daughter of the Divine Law.  This same woman, whom Jarius would not be able to welcome into his synagogue, was being welcomed back into the same covenant with God as any other Jew–especially Jarius.  

At that same moment someone comes and tells Jarius his daughter is dead.  The first reaction to his grief might have been to run home to comfort his wife and weep for his daughter, but Jesus gives him a command: Do not continue with fear or be frightened but continue to believe!  He had believed to come to Jesus, would he have enough belief to continue with him the rest of the way.  We now see Jesus facing off against the paid mourners of the time.  The higher your status, the more you could afford and given Jarius status, there may have been many crying and mourning with the family.  Jesus asks why the uproar and Jesus is recorded saying the child is asleep.  This brings a scornful laughter from those who are paid to attend funerals.  “We know dead, and she is dead!.” But Jesus is not denying her death; he is simply saying that death does not have the final word.  We see the tender and compassionate Christ apart from the learned Jarius touch the dead girl’s hand and speak to her.