Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February 21: Matthew 5:21-43; Deadly Interruptions



            You are probably familiar with the episode in Jesus’ life when Jairus came to him in desperation. Jairus is a synagogue leader and his daughter is dying. He has had to swallow his pride and even risks offending the chief priest, scribes, Pharisees, and elders to ask Jesus to come and touch her so that she will get well. These religious leaders had already plotted how to kill Jesus (Mark 3:6) and had recently said that Jesus only heals by the power of Satan (Mark 3:22). We often have to decide if we are going with the crowd or we are going with the Bible when we are in desperate situations. We have to decide to trust in Jesus or in what people say. It probably didn’t take Jairus long to make up his mind since he may have even seen Jesus heal others.
            But what happened? A woman, of all people, sneaked up behind Jesus and touched his robe. Not just a woman, but an unclean woman because of her unceasing flow of blood. The Bible doesn’t say what was going through Jairus’ head at the time, but we can put ourselves in his position as a religious Jew of the day and a man of position. How dare that woman stop Jesus on a life and death mission? She could have come later; after all, she has been ill for a long time and she isn’t about to die right now. Come on Jesus, let’s get this show on the road. My need is greater than hers. We may not have such dire interruptions in our lives, but we nonetheless treat them in the same way. We put our needs ahead of others. We don’t look at each interruption as a divine appointment. We don’t acknowledge that God is in control.
            Then it gets worse. Someone comes to Jairus and tells him that his daughter has died. Again, we can put ourselves in his shoes and imagine what is going on in his head. If only this woman had not stopped Jesus. If only Jesus had understood how close my daughter was to death he wouldn’t have stopped. It’s the blame game. When misfortune happens, we want to blame someone, even when we are at fault. Jairus wasn’t at fault so that means someone else has to take the fall and we often come to the conclusion that it must be God. This is a very dangerous road. The advice Jairus received was to not bother the teacher. We often give up on God, we stop praying or we become angry with him. We need to be careful because we would be no better than those Pharisees who claimed he healed by Satan’s power. Blaming God is accusing him of evil and that is true blasphemy. It doesn’t end well until we repent.
            However, it doesn’t look like Jairus had much time to think about it because Jesus gave him the same answer he give us today. “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36). Jesus worked it out for his glory and the good of all involved. The woman got to tell her story which glorified Jesus. Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead, which glorified Jesus even more than a healing would have done. A bunch of professional mourners were put in their place. And we can learn that waiting on the Lord and trusting him may bring interruptions into our lives that are divinely orchestrated for our good and God’s glory.

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