Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3: 20-21)
Would you agree that God often asks us to give Him more than we plan to give… but He also gives us much more than we dare to ask? In Mark 5:21-43, there are two accounts of Jesus exemplifying this.
Jairus was a man of prestige, one of the synagogue rulers. Out of his deep love for his daughter, Jairus was desperate to seek help from Jesus. When they were on their way to Jairus’ house, an unexpected incident happened. Among the crowd, a sick woman, who had suffered a great deal and had nearly lost all hope of healing, came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched his cloak. She thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering (v28).
Jesus could have continued the original plan to go to Jairus’ home because his daughter was sick. However, he stopped, turned around and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (v30b). It’s not a big deal, his disciples thought. There were a lot of people crowding around. Hurry up! The little girl was sick and needed immediate attention. Keep the main thing the main thing. Stay focused and remain on task.
Jesus knew better and took his time. He wanted to help the sick woman understand the power of her faith in freeing her agony.
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (v32-34)
It was inappropriate for an unclean woman to touch a rabbi. However, Jesus asked her to step up and witness God’s grace in her life. In return, Jesus gave her a new understanding of faith and healing, much more than what she came to ask.
On another hand, Jairus and the others might have been burning with impatience. Waiting must have felt like torture when a loved one was sick and in critical condition. They might have thought that if they had kept rushing to Jairus’ house, the worst might not have happened. “Your daughter is dead,” they said, “Why bother the teacher anymore?” (v35b).
Likewise, Jesus had something more planned for the family of Jairus. Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (v36). Jairus only asked Jesus for medical help, but Jesus raised his daughter from death.
He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were astonished. (v41-42)
Jesus asked Jairus to give him time, more than what Jairus was comfortable to give, but Jesus gave Jairus a new understanding of faith and resurrection, much more than what he came to ask.
My best friend introduced me to William Carey’s biography. Last Saturday, I attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony of a school. The Chairman of the School Board quoted William Carey, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” Indeed, God often asks us to give Him more than we plan to give… but He also gives us much more than we dare to ask.