Who’s In Your House?

Jairus’ daughter has died. But Jesus has told him to not give in to fear and to ‘keep on believing’.

And Jesus also reduced the number of people around Jairus to three disciples: Peter, James, and John.

When they arrive at Jairus’ house, the commotion inside is loud and chaotic. People are wailing and mourning the death of the young girl.

As they should.

But Jesus comes in and gives them a different perspective on what is going on. He says the girl isn’t dead, she’s just asleep.

Well, they know better. Some of them were there when she died. Others have seen her dead body. They know better than this man who just walked in the house.

And they let him know it. They laughed at him. They jeered. They probably called him a few special words. Crazy. Delusional. Deceiver.

Jesus’ response was to kick them all out.

Again, he removes the naysayers. The doubters. The unbelievers.

What do you do when what you see and what Jesus says don’t line up?

When He says keep on believing and you have absolute evidence that there is no reason to?

When everything in your life, in your mind, in your heart says there is no hope, but Jesus continues to whisper hope to your spirit?

What do you do with that?

That’s a difficult but glorious place to be. And what you do there is critical. I believe what Jesus did in this story was an important lesson for us when we face these faith-building situations.

Jesus removed all sources of influence that didn’t line up with how He saw the situation.

He removed words of death when He said there was life.

He removed words of defeat when He said there was hope.

He removed words of doubt when He said ‘keep on believing’.

Who and what are in your house and in your life that are challenging what Jesus says about you? About your identity? About your future? About your children? About your marriage? About your finances? About your ministry? About His unfathomable love for you?

If you continually listen to mourning about a situation Jesus says isn’t dead yet, how will you have the faith to ‘keep on believing’?

38 They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He looked [with understanding] at the uproar and commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing [in mourning]. 39 When He had gone in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is sleeping.”  40 They began laughing at Him [because they knew the child was dead]. But He made them all go outside . . . .

– Mark 5:38-40a (AMP)

Who’s With You?

We’re jumping back into the story of Jairus. He’s just learned that his daughter has died, and Jesus immediately reminded him to keep on believing and to not be afraid.

But before they continue their walk to Jairus’ house, Jesus does something unusual.

Earlier, the entire crowd following Jesus that day were going with him to Jairus’ house, hoping to watch him heal Jairus’ daughter. But now, as they start out again, Jesus doesn’t allow anyone to accompany him and Jairus except Peter, James, and John.

What has changed?

Jairus’ daughter has died. So this has gone from a mission of healing a very sick girl to now raising her from the dead.

Apparently that changed things in Jesus’ mind. I’m not sure exactly why, but I have a couple of ideas.

I don’t believe raising the dead was any more difficult for Jesus than healing the sick. Or casting out demons. Or feeding the hungry.

They all require faith. They all require belief that the power of God can do anything. And I don’t believe Jesus entertained one ounce of doubt.

But I’m not sure about the level of faith in the rest of the crowd – with the exception of the woman with the issue of blood. Her faith in God’s healing power is what Jesus said healed her.

But like I said in that post, she is the only one in the crowd that we know of who intentionally connected with Jesus’ healing power that day.

And we know that at another time in scripture Jesus could only do a few small miracles because of the unbelief in a particular town.

So, apparently, the level of faith of the people around Him could affect the type and number of miracles Jesus was able to perform.

That’s one possible reason he made the crowd stay behind.

The second possible reason is that he did it for Jairus’ sake.

Jairus had just been told his daughter was dead. And I’m sure when he heard the news he automatically started to break down. That’s why Jesus immediately told him to not give in to fear but to keep on believing.

And I think that may be the main reason Jesus cut the travelers down to five people: Jesus. His three closest disciples, men who had watched him perform a multitude of miracles. And Jairus, the little girl’s father, the one person who would want her alive more than anyone else in the crowd.

Five people. All focused on one goal. Five people who have no other agenda that day but to do whatever it takes to bring LIFE to this young girl.

I think we can learn something from this strategy.  

Have you ever had a need in your life so huge that you knew there was no way you nor any other human being could meet that need? You knew God was going to have to come through for you in a miraculous way or you weren’t going to make it, it just wasn’t going to happen.

How many people did you tell about it? How many times did you share it with your small group, or with the church prayer team, or with anybody else you could think of who had any kind of prayer life? How many times did you post about it on social media and group text your friends to remind them of your need?

I think that’s our instinct. When we’re desperate, we somehow equate the number of people we can get praying for us with how quickly and how well God is going to answer our prayers.

While I’m a strong believer in sharing prayer requests with other people, I also believe we need to prayerfully consider which specific people we share those requests with.

We all know how difficult it is to ‘keep on believing’ when things ‘look’ the opposite of what we’re believing God for. Just like Jairus must have felt on this particular day.

And we know how much more difficult it gets when more and more people keep asking us for updates . . . and when those same people we’re trusting to agree with us in faith-filled prayers start reminding us of the facts, and mentioning that things possibly may not turn out like we’re hoping they will, so we shouldn’t get our hopes up too high.

The strategy Jesus used here, when Jairus was facing a tremendous need, was that he surrounded Jairus with a small number of people with faith.

He didn’t want Jairus overhearing the comments of just anybody in the crowd. People who were there only for the entertainment factor. People wondering aloud what Jesus was going to do when they arrived, what the final outcome was going to be, and how anything could possibly be done now that the girl was dead.

You know as well as I do that when you’re believing God for something HUGE, you have to be very careful who you listen to, what you read and watch, which thoughts you allow yourself to dwell on, and what words come out of your mouth. That’s the only way you can ‘keep on believing’.

How many people have you invited to accompany you on your journey to your miracle?

Who are you listening to?

What are they saying?

Are their words building your faith or tearing it down?

How is your thought life being affected?

As a result, what words are coming out of your mouth?

I encourage you to spend some time asking God if there’s anything you need to change about the way you share your prayer requests. And if there’s anything you need to change about the way you support those who have asked you to pray for them.

Prayer is a critical part of our journey and faith is the essential part of prayer.

“He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.” 

Mark 5:37 TPT

Why Bother?

We’re jumping back into Jairus’ story. You can read the first part here if you need to catch up.

The huge crowd that was surrounding Jesus and Jairus on their way to Jairus’ house had stopped because the woman with the issue of blood had just been healed (here). And Jesus was still talking with her when people from Jairus’ house came and gave him some devastating news.

They told him his daughter had died. And they told him there was no reason for Jesus to continue to be involved. It was over.

They said, “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Do you ever feel that way? Have you received any news lately that convinced you there’s no use bothering God about that anymore? It’s too late. It’s over. Done. It’s time to give up and update your prayer request for that situation.

Your dream is dead. That relationship is finished. Your career is no longer an option. You’ll never get ahead. You’ll never even catch up. You’ve made too many mistakes to be part of that ministry. You’ll never get well. That diagnosis is real and deadly.

I’m sure the people who came from Jairus’ house were friends. And I’m sure they meant well. They honestly couldn’t see how continuing to involve Jesus in the situation at this point would benefit anybody. They had no grid for Him being able to do anything now.

They knew what they had seen. A dead little girl. A heartbroken mother. A grieving family. And since they were his friends, they had the horrific duty to give Jairus the news. Then to bring him home and help him grieve.

Because that’s what friends do.

But listen to what Jesus is doing while this is going on.

In verse 36 the Amplified Bible says, “Overhearing but ignoring what they said . . . .”

I love that! Jesus hears the horrible news the friends bring, but ignores it and tells Jairus to not be afraid . . . “only keep on believing.”

What was Jesus asking Jairus to keep on believing? Back in verse 23, Jairus asked Jesus to come lay his hands on his daughter “so that she may be healed and live.”

It’s so easy to let go of our faith and give in to fear when bad news comes. We’re trusting Jesus to come through and we’re believing He’s with us on our way to our miracle. Then we’re blindsided by bad news and we feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us. Fear takes over and our faith quickly fades.

That’s when we need to be reminded to keep on believing.

Jesus was reminding Jairus of the strong faith he had proclaimed just a little earlier that day. Jesus was letting Jairus know that it wasn’t time to give up. That there was still hope. That Jesus wasn’t finished with the situation yet.

What situation in your life have you been believing Jesus wants to heal . . . but right now looks like it’s dead?

What were you believing Jesus was going to do?

When did you expect Him to do it?

What news has made you doubt what you once believed?

Sometimes, in order to keep on believing, we have to ignore some of the news that’s out there. I’m not encouraging you to live in denial. I’m talking about believing what Jesus has told you He would do . . . even when everything you see and hear is screaming the opposite. Even when you’re encouraged by well-intentioned friends to believe what appears to be happening more than what Jesus tells you is happening.

There’s a famous quote that says, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” (V. Raymond Edman)

If Jesus has promised you something . . . if you believe He wants to bring healing into a particular situation in your life . . . don’t forsake that faith you have in Him just because something that looks like the opposite appears on the scene.

The currency of the Kingdom of God is faith. And faith isn’t faith if you can see what you’re believing for. Faith is believing when you can’t see it. Even when things look the opposite of what God has told you will happen. Even when things look that way for a long time. Even when some of your good friends tell you it’s time to give up, to let go of hope, to settle for less than what God has promised you.

Sometimes we have to be like Jesus in this passage and ignore the bad news . . . and just keep on believing.

What bad news do you need to ignore today in order to continue to have faith that Jesus will do what He has promised you He will do?

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Mark 5:35-36 AMPC

35 While He was still speaking, there came some from the ruler’s house, who said [to Jairus], Your daughter has died. Why bother and distress the Teacher any further?

36 Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.

How Desperate Are You?

One of my favorite Jesus miracle stories is actually two of Jesus’ miracles combined into one story.

I prefer the way it’s presented in Mark 5, so that’s the scripture reference we’ll be using. Here are the introductory verses we’re discussing today.

Mark 5:21-24 (AMPC)

21 And when Jesus had recrossed in the boat to the other side, a great throng gathered about Him, and He was at the lakeshore.

22 Then one of the rulers of the synagogue came up, Jairus by name; and seeing Him, he prostrated himself at His feet

23 And begged Him earnestly, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed and live.

24 And Jesus went with him; and a great crowd kept following Him and pressed Him from all sides [so as almost to suffocate Him].

Jesus and his disciples have just landed after another trip across the lake. As soon as they got out of the boat, people started gathering around. Pretty soon a huge crowd surrounds Jesus while he’s still on the shore.

All of a sudden, a man pushes through the crowd and falls down on his face in front of Jesus.

The man’s name is Jairus. He’s one of the rulers of the local synagogue. While Jewish leaders like him weren’t typically big fans of Jesus, Jairus has a huge problem and he believes Jesus is the only one who can help him. So, at least for today, Jairus has set aside any political or religious issues he has with Jesus.

Jairus was probably well known in the community. And I have a feeling he had never fallen face down in the dirt in the middle of a crowd of people in his life. At least not on purpose.

But he does today.

And he does it at the feet of Jesus.

Jairus had heard the stories about Jesus healing people. And while he may have written them off as unfounded rumors last week, today he needs them to be true.

In fact, he’s desperate for them to be true.

Because Jairus’s little girl is dying.

She’s not just sick. She’s not just getting worse.

Today she is at the end of her life.

And Jairus doesn’t want his little girl to die, so he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her alive.

No matter what it costs him.

And being bold enough to ask Jesus for help in the middle of his hometown could potentially cost Jairus a lot.

It will cost him at least some of his pride. But it could possibly cost him his reputation, maybe even his role in the synagogue, his position in the community, or potentially relationships with some of his friends and family.

But today Jairus could not care less about any of that. Because today Jairus is desperate.

And when we get that desperate about a dire situation in our life, we pretty much lose the ability to care about anything else.

Today Jairus is putting all of his focus and all of the faith he can muster on his hope that the rumors about Jesus are true. That Jesus can actually heal people. That He really does have that kind of power.

So as soon as he hears that Jesus has landed in his town, he runs there, pushes his way through the crowd that’s already gathered, and prostrates himself at Jesus’ feet and asks Him to come heal his daughter.

How desperate would you have to be to do that? To push your way into a huge crowd of people in your hometown – maybe in your home church? To forget all about your reputation? To NOT care about how you look? About what people are going to think of you? About what they’re going to say?

What would it take for you to be so focused on Jesus . . . on what He can do for you and for those you love . . . that NOT ONE THOUGHT of what other people are going to think about you would even cross your mind as you fall at Jesus’ feet, telling Him that you believe He can and will do the impossible for you?

There are several things I can think of that I would be that desperate about. But I wonder if there should be more?

Because, instead of waiting until there’s a desperate situation in my life, how would things change if I recognized my complete dependence on Jesus every day of my life? If I took a few minutes every morning to bow before Him and declare that He IS my only hope . . . for life . . . for my next breath . . . for any semblance of sanity in this circus of a world we’re living in?

I wonder if I lived like that every day, how long would it take for my ego to subside? For my concern about my friends’ and family’s image of me to decline? For my self-focus to move out of focus and for Jesus to be the center of my field of vision wherever I go?

With all the faith he could muster in the only hope he could find, Jairus begged Jesus to come to his house and lay His hands on his daughter so she would be healed.

And Jesus didn’t hesitate. I can just see Him pulling Jairus up off the ground, giving him a big hug, helping him dust the dirt off his clothes, and telling him to lead the way.

And the crowd, even more excited now that a big miracle is brewing, went along for the ride.

This crowd was so big and so intent on being close to Jesus during the whole process that it was almost suffocating Him (verse 24 AMP).

They’re all walking as fast as they can, trying to get to Jairus’ house in time. Everyone’s bumping into each other. People are pushing their way through the crowd to try and get close to Jesus, or maybe to say an encouraging word to Jairus.

And then it all comes to a grinding halt.

And while I’m sure all Jairus can think is, Jesus, we need to hurry up, we’ve got to get there before my daughter dies . . . someone else in the crowd is suddenly ecstatic. Because her life was just radically changed.

That’s where we’ll pick up the story next time.

Are You Ready to Start Walking?

We’ve been talking about the miracle Jesus performed at the Pool of Bethesda and the lessons God showed me.

If you need to catch up, you can read the first post (Are You Stuck?) and the second post (How Do You See Yourself?).

In today’s post, we’re going to cover the Continue reading “Are You Ready to Start Walking?”

How Do You See Yourself?

Last week we started talking about the Healing at the Pool of Bethesda.

About getting too comfortable in our lack, hanging around people who are also focused on what they need, and waiting for someone else to come to the rescue.

Today’s part of the story shows what happens when Jesus confronts us  Continue reading “How Do You See Yourself?”

Old vs. New

Last week we talked about Jesus’s answer to John the Baptist’s disciples regarding fasting. And about how freeing Jesus’s answer was.

Today I want to look at Jesus’s comments after He answers that question.

Jesus starts talking about something that at first seems totally out of place. But, of course, it’s not.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:14-17

Jesus has just answered JTB’s disciples question about fasting. They were following the Jewish customs that had been handed down for centuries. Jesus was a Jew. In fact, He was the Son of God.

So you would think He would be very careful to follow all the Jewish customs.

But He wasn’t.

And what He says here is, I believe, the reason why.

Jesus talks about how you don’t use a piece of unshrunk cloth to patch an old garment (that has already been shrunk). If you do, the first time you wash it, the patch will shrink and pull away from the garment and it will be ruined.

Then He said you don’t put new wine in old wineskins. You put new wine in new wineskins so they can both expand. If you put new wine in an old wineskin, the wine will expand, but the wineskin has already expanded as far as it can go, so it will burst and the wine will be spilled.

I believe Jesus is talking here about the new covenant He’s bringing and how different it is from the old covenant that was still around at that time.

I believe He was saying that making His disciples keep all the Jewish customs (like fasting) at this particular time did not fit in with the new covenant He was ushering in.

In fact, trying to force the old structure around the essence of the new covenant would be disastrous. And combining the two covenants could create two different scenarios.

In one scenario, the new covenant would pull away from the old (like the cloth example), because it didn’t belong, it didn’t ‘fit.’

The other scenario would be like putting new wine in an old wineskin. The old wineskin (the Jewish religion structure of laws and rules and ancient customs) could never contain the new wine (the new covenant of love and mercy and grace). The old covenant had already gone as far as it could go. It couldn’t go any further. It couldn’t do any more than it already had.

Another way to look at it is the old covenant worked from the outside in. In other words, you had a list of things you did and things you didn’t do and that external structure was fairly easy to see—although not always so easy to do.

The new covenant Jesus brought does just the opposite. It works from the inside out. It can’t be seen until it has affected the believer’s behavior. So this requires an entirely different structure, a totally new paradigm.

And Jesus is saying that if you cling to the old structure of rules and regulations—and try to force that structure on people learning to follow the new covenant—you’re going to lose the new wine and the old wineskins. Because they just don’t ‘fit.’

It was time for a transition—the passing of the old and the entering of the new.

It was a total change in the way people relate to God—a change to a personal, intimate, individual relationship between each of us and our Creator.

And Jesus came to earth to show us how it’s done.

And to pay the high cost to make it accessible to us.

Thank you, Lord.

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What old structures are you hanging on to?

What new wine is that preventing you from experiencing?