Both Jairus and the woman are in desperate situations, and both of them know that they are exposing Jesus to the risk of becoming ritually unclean, and of Jesus having to go through the various processes to become ritually clean again. To be ritually clean was a pre-requisite for public worship of God.
Anything or anything touching a woman with a haemorrhage would be unclean until evening; and anyone who touched a dead body would be unclean for 7 days and have to go through two ritual washings with lustral water.
But they are both desperate.
We are told Jairus begged Jesus earnestly, and the word used is ‘parakalei’, which is very close to ‘paraclete’; (giving us a visual image of the work of the Holy Spirit), and he begged Jesus many times. Like the widow in the parable of the unjust judge, Jairus does not stop pleading until Jesus agrees to visit his daughter. So in this desperate situation Jairus wasn’t concerned about making a pest of himself, nor about what his public expressions of desperation would do to his reputation.
This poor woman had suffered greatly with this haemorrhage, and despite treatment by many doctors, and the depletion of all her monetary resources, she was no better, and in fact her troubles had become worse, more severe and more aggravated by the various treatments. Apart from the physical pain, the woman would have suffered from ostracism by the community – who would want to become ritually unclean by associating with her? Any husband she may have had would have left her and formally divorced her; any children she may have had would have been kept far from her. The depths of her desperation were greater and had gone on far longer (twelve years) than Jairus’ acute desperation.
However Jairus can approach Jesus publicly and openly, this suffering woman cannot. To even be among the crowd would have necessitated some form of disguise. She can’t even ask in private for help, due to the constant experiences of rejection that are her lot in life. But what she can do, she does; and it takes a similar kind of bravery to Veronica on the way to Calvary for this woman to work her way through the pressing crowds around Jesus to get close enough to touch His outer garment.
Immediately she is healed completely, and immediately Jesus is aware that a healing of magnitude has taken place.
Can you imagine the terror she goes through when Jesus asks ‘Who touched My clothes?’ She isn’t supposed to be out in public, and if she tells the truth…..
But she is still a woman of great courage, so in fear and trembling she tells Jesus the whole horrible truth, (how easy would it have been to hide and say nothing?!) and Jesus doesn’t tell her off. He calls her, ‘My daughter’, when He could easily have called her ‘woman’; publicly acknowledging that her faith and her courage are worthy of membership in His family, and publicly confirming to all that she is healed completely, and that there won’t be any adverse consequences, so she may depart in peace under His protection.
Poor Jairus, these delays must have been agony for him. Then he gets the unwanted news that all hope is gone, his daughter is dead. Healing is no longer possible.
Yet Jesus reassures him, and continues on His way to Jairus’ residence, but with only a chosen few disciples. What is going to happen, is going to happen in private. Was she asleep (in a deep pre-death coma), or was she truly deceased? Jesus still restores her completely and immediately back to health.
What does this teach us?
That no matter how dire, nor how lacking hope our desperate situations are, Jesus can immediately and totally fix them. Even if they are even beyond all earthly hope.
Nothing is beyond the power of Jesus.
But if we are honest, we also ask, why did God permit things to get so very dire before He stepped in?
An easy answer is, ‘to display the divine power of God, when all human help was decisively proven useless’.
But why did they have to suffer so much before God stepped in?
Was it as simple as ‘Jesus hadn’t passed by near to them yet’?
Well then, why didn’t God send Jesus sooner?
And here we meet the same inscrutable wisdom and providence and timing of God that Job, and Tobit, and Naomi, and Jeremiah, and many other holy ones wrestled with.
He is God. We are not.
Therefore everything He does is done perfectly and with perfect timing; even if we can’t see or comprehend the reasons why. (Frustrating, isn’t it?!)
But let us place our trust in Him afresh.
Because He alone can fix everything; fix it totally, fix it perfectly, and fix it immediately.
Nothing, but nothing, is beyond our hope in His almighty power.
May He give us the grace to live this truth, and to never forget it. Amen.
O great God of mercy and compassion
we bring before You the many desperate situations
we feel we have been importuning You about forever.
You have not forgotten us,
even if everything else screams the opposite.
In particular we bring before You our most impossible desperate situations
and entrust the timing, and the complete and perfect fixing of them to You.
We expect from you spectacular and immediate miracles worthy of these Gospel accounts.
You are the same God today, as you were back then,
and as you will be forever.
You can do it again in our time.
You can do it again today, if You so will.
Please remember how human and limited our patience and endurance is.
Please send us Your reassurance,
lest fear cast out whatever little faith we have left.
We entrust all of it to Your capable hands and Your loving Heart.
Take care of everything, especially our most desperate situations, as only You can.
We decide today, to trust in You,
with a deeper trust than we have ever had before.
Please help us by the power of Your Holy Spirit to live in that level of trust and to grow in it.
Jesus, I trust in You.