Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

The Love of a Father - the Story of Jairus

The Love of a Father - The Story of Jairus

Today is Father's Day. This is a day set aside to honor fathers. We all have one. Some are still with us and some have left us physically but will always be with us in our hearts. I always struggle when it comes to Father’s day sermons. Ideally a father’s day sermon should be about some great father God has lifted up from the Bible….. but that becomes a real challenge when you look at the Father’s in the Bible. Its hard to find a man who really stands out as a good father…..
I could give you all manner of stories from scripture about bad fathers… and maybe the could serve the purpose of saying something like - don’t be a father like this… Remember Jacob who had 12 sons but really only paid attention to one - his favorite son Joseph and Jacob didn’t seem to mind letting his other sons know that he c=only cared for Joseph which turned Joseph in =to a little brat….So the lesson here perhaps is don’t show favoritism to one child. And there are lots more of these kinds of stories.
Of course we look at God who is the ultimate good Father who is presented to us in the story of the Prodigal Son where the son runs off and squanders all the father has given him and his Father waits and watches for the run away son and takes him back and lashes wonderful things on him when he returns - God teaches us the unconditional love and care of a Father.
But it really is unrealistic to hold God up as the marker when determining a good father.
In the book of Luke, however, we do have an example of a normal guy, someone we can relate to, who is an example for us of a good father. Here really is someone we can look to and say - “Here is what God wants a good father to be”. So let’s look at the story of Jairus.
Like so many of the stories of Jesus, they are told in the context of a crowd of people. We get the impression that everywhere Jesus went, large crowds of people formed around him; the people wanted to be in the presence of this special man - there was just something about Jesus that attracted people to him and word spread all around the area about the things he said and the things he did. How he taught with authority and how he healed the sick and how he spent time with people no one else was willing to spend time with. And it was no secret how much he was despised by the religious leaders.
Sometimes when we tell these stories of Jesus we have to take a moment to remember what society was like in ancient Jerusalem because it is so different than our experience and it is important in understanding a lot about Jesus and the context for much of his teachings. The case in point here is that the religious leaders in Jesus day had great power. As a Jew, your daily life was dictated by the rules and regulations governed by the religious leaders. And the religious leaders had the power to hold you accountable for how well you followed the rules and regulations. The religious leaders had their own army; their own judicial system; their own jail. And it was not an equitable system. There was no “I’m going to get a lawyer and defend myself”. The religious leaders had complete control. They said you broke a religious law then you suffered the consequences and that was that. The other important point to remember is that salvation was not through the love and grace of Jesus Christ - salvation was through your appearance at the temple and your offering of the correct sacrifice. Without your presence at the temple, you lost your relationship with God. So if the religious leaders would ban you from the temple for some infraction, then they were in essence taking away your salvation.
Understanding this life as a Jew under complete control of the religious leaders helps us better appreciate the story of Jairus.
First, Jairus was the ruler of a synagogue. The Jewish synagogue was more like a community center than what we would think of as a church. There were Bible studies there; they would have held the Jewish school for the sons; the local jews would gather there for lots of different activities.

There was some worship there but real worship could only be done in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jairus, as the
ruler of the synagogue, would be the one of oversaw the activities; who took care of the physical property and pretty much just was a caretaker. He was not a priest or a rabbi who held different functions. As a ruler of the synagogue he would have been answerable to the religious authorities and expected to be a ‘good Jew’ who followed the rules and lived life as he was ordered by the Jewish leaders. He would have had a lot to lose had he made the religious leaders angry.
Another thing to keep in mind - the religious leaders had declared that anyone associated with Jesus could be banned from the Temple association with Jesus could be considered a crime punishable by the religious leaders. One would have to think clearly before rushing to Jesus to ask for help.
But there was a crisis at Jairus’ home. His 12 year old daughter had fallen ill - and she was very ill. She was sick enough her father was worried about her survival and he was a good father who was willing to do whatever was necessary to help his daughter. He must had heard that Jesus was in town and he would have known that Jesus was going to be surrounded by crowds - because Jesus was always surrounded by crowds. He also knew that if the religious leaders head that a man of his position had gone to Jesus; had publicly talked to Jesus; had brought Jesus back to his home - his livelihood and the salvation of himself and his family could be in jeopardy. But we get the impression from the way this story is written that Jairus was willing to risk every to help his daughter get well and he knew that his only hope was in the hands of Jesus.
So Jairus leaves his home and goes to seek Jesus out, obviously not caring who sees him. Right now the most important thing to Jairus was getting help for his daughter. He finds Jesus and falls down at Jesus feet, humbling himself before this man he was suppose to be avoiding. How hard is it to ‘humble’ yourself? Jairus was a man of stature in the community; someone who would have been very sure of himself and a man who would expect others to humble themselves before him….. and yet he was willing to do that because he was sure Jesus was the answer to his dilemma.
Think what it must have been like at that moment for Jairus - he had to put aside a lot of baggage to seek Jesus out in a crowd and to kneel down before Jesus and to beg Jesus for help. Who among us likes to make ourselves so vulnerable we are willing to
beg for help?
Jesus says ‘yes’ he is willing to help and starts working his way through the crowd towards Jairus’ house when he is stopped by a women who wanted Jesus’ healing. What do you think it was like for Jairus when he had Jesus on the hook to come help; he knew his daughter needed immediately help; and then this woman stops Jesus and Jesus stops to help her. I picture Jairus hoping up and down saying, “Come on Jesus! Come on! My daughter needs you now! This woman has been sick 12 years, she can wait a few more minutes…..”
But also see what Jairus witnessed - Jesus healed the woman right in from of him. Jairus go to see this miracle and had to have had an impact. And then Jairus’ heart must have sank when someone from his house comes running to him and says, “You don’t have to hurry anymore. Your daughter has died.”
The amount of emotion in Jairus had to be enormous. Here he had risked everything to come to Jesus; he had humbled himself; had allowed himself to beg; had his hopes up because Jesus was actually coming with him; and then to have the bottom fall out because Jesus had stopped to help this other woman….. Can you imagine how he felt? Grief over the loss of his little girl; anger over the interruption by the woman; and regret that he hadn't come to Jesus sooner.
Jesus had heard the report about the little girl and Jesus looked at the grieving father and said - “Don’t worry. She will be healed. Have faith in me.” And then Jesus continues on to Jairus’ home where he indeed heals the girl and she is restored to life because of what this loving father was willing to do.
Jairus did the greatest thing a father can do; he came to Jesus. Jairus was a good father because he showed us a father's love for his child. He was a great father because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Jairus showed us the secret of being a good father and the secret is simple - it is faith. Being willing to put your faith in someone other than yourself. To realize that being a good father is not taking care of everything yourself, but of realizing that you can’t always take care of everything yourself; of realizing that you need help and that help comes from faith in Jesus Christ. Amen!