Last night in the small group I was leading we studied the story of Jairus and the woman who “interfered” with Jesus coming to heal Jairus’ little girl (Mark 5:21-43).
I put “interfered” in quotations because it had never before occurred to me that that may be exactly what an anxious father might have thought in that situation. “Why are you doing this? Why now? My daughter is dying and we need to get there!”
I’ve had to take my daughter to the hospital and know what it is to have a very sick child, one sick enough that I couldn’t do anything to help her. I also know the frustration of having to wait at admissions to get her checked in when she’s fighting for a breath.
I wonder what Jairus thought as he waited on Jesus to finish with the woman who had delayed the Lord. I wonder if he thought the chance to heal his daughter was passing by, perhaps the same way Martha felt about Jesus delaying to come to help her brother Lazarus’ (John 11).
I wonder if Jairus worried that Jesus might use up all his miracle working power on this woman and not be able to help the little girl. I wonder if he rejoiced in the Lord’s mercy on the woman who had suffered for 12 years. Or was he too focused on his own situation?
As I began to think about these things last night, I realized that rather than find anxiety in the delay, Jairus, the desperate father should have found hope and encouragement, even as he waited. After all, he witnessed the healing of a woman who had suffered terribly for 12 long, painful years. I hope Jairus said, “If he can do that for her, imagine what he can do for my daughter.”
I’ve been really encouraged lately as I’ve met some men whom Jesus has worked the “impossible” in their lives. And their testimonies encourage me to be hopeful in the way I hope Jairus was hopeful.
Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11 KJV).”
The latest group who were blessed in this manner in Israel was the Beersheva Congregation. You can see some photos and videos of this orchestrated protest turned assault here. [Update: The link is no longer good.]
The Beersheva and Arad congregations have been particularly targeted over the last couple of years and seem to be growing more vulnerable to such attacks. The police have been fairly ineffective at protecting the congregants in these cases. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but it probably will not be long before that changes. Mob violence can get out of hand very quickly, even unexpectedly.
Persecution in Israel is primarily accomplished through social pressure intimidation, and ostracism, but occasionally manifests itself in violence. There is a tremendous amount of social stigma placed upon Jews who believe in Jesus.
Currently, it is legal for Jews to believe in Jesus and promote that belief through many different means, except toward those under 18 years of age. However, over the last eight years there have been a few attempts in Parliament to make it illegal to evangelize at all, or in another case to possess literature that might be used to encourage one to convert. So far, all political attempts to silence Jews who believe in Jesus have failed.
Please pray that the believers in Israel would “Remember the word that I [Jesus] said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me (John 15:20-21 KJV).”