Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009 – Raising a Ruler’s Daughter – Mark 5:22

Do you know what God looks like? In cartoons and paintings, He’s usually displayed as a wise-looking old man with white hair flowing past his shoulders. He tends to sport a painfully clean robe or toga of some sort and gives the appearance that He should be sitting on a throne somewhere, looking down His long nose at His cowering subjects. His expression evokes feelings of wisdom and power…but no love or grace. Is this the type of God that Christians believe in?

The Gospels paint a very different picture of God, one that I tend to appreciate much more. When God took on the form of man and called Himself “Jesus,” He set aside his pristine robes and scowling persona. In their place, He chose a shirt smudged with dirt and a pair of hands and feet that couldn’t stay away from the poor and desolate of this world…even people like me. The man Jesus fought against the law-declaring visage that had been pinned on His heavenly Father and instead offered the picture of someone who could be a friend.

Despite the warm smile and booming laugh that I believe Jesus shared with so many during his time on earth, a person still needed faith to believe that God walked among us. Mark 5:22 begins the story of one such moment of absolute reliance. A synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus, a respected and revered Jew who had been raised on the hope of a promised God-sent savior, fell to his knees before Jesus and laid his pain at the Savior’s feet.

Now let’s think for a moment how you’d feel if you were Jairus. Your beautiful child is on her deathbed. The doctors can only sigh and say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.” Could you, as her parent, simply accept the diagnosis and let her die? Or would you turn to even the smallest hope that there might be someone who could cure her? Not much is known about Jairus’ feelings about Jesus. But we can figure out from just reading this passage that he was desperate. He’d probably heard rumours of Jesus’ miracles and growing fame. Would that be enough for you too to turn to him as the last possible cure for your daughter?

The best thing about Jesus in this story is that He doesn’t even question Jairus’ belief in Him. Instead, it says simply in verse 24, “So Jesus went with him…” But the story doesn’t end there. While Jairus and his family all lived happily ever after with a little help from the Judean carpenter, their adventure of faith proves that we can find a happy ending with God too. Rob Hensser, an Australian Christian author, puts it this way: “[God] is a relentless pursuer--a divine madman who hunts us down, throws himself prostrate before us and asks us to come home, to dare to believe in him even though we are full of doubt and overwhelmed by our own brokenness.” I don’t know about you, but THAT’S a God I want to believe in!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for being my God. No matter what you look like in my life, I can rest in the peaceful assurance that you’re always there for me. Help me remember to turn to you in all times, in both sorrow and joy. Thank you for offering me such an amazing promise of hope by living on this earth and dying for my daily mistakes. In Your Name, Amen.

-Alicia Drier

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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