- Lesson 5 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Miracles: The Transforming Power of Jesus” focuses on Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26.
Jairus’ belief that God could raise the dead to life was rooted in biblical precedent. God had empowered two of Israel’s great prophets, Elijah and Elisha, to restore dead boys to their families (1 Kings 17:21–22; 2 Kings 4:33–35). If then, why not now? Though centuries stood between the days of prophetic miracles and Jairus’ time, the same God governed all. The Almighty said through the prophet Malachi, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Clinging to hope rooted in faith, the grieving father fell at Jesus’s feet.
Upon entering Jairus’s house, the first thing Jesus did was take hold of the dead girl’s hand. Touching the untouchable was a hallmark of Jesus’ ministry. From lepers (Matt. 8:3, Mark 1:41, Luke 5:13) to Gentiles (ref. John 18:28), Jesus did not shrink from contact with those who occupied the margins of society, those considered unclean by the self-proclaimed righteous of his day. In every case, Christ’s touch was a living example of his words in Mark “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them . . . For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:14–15, 20–23). Jesus wanted to show his disciples and everyone else that ritual uncleanness of the body cannot separate a person from God. Instead, the pollution of an evil heart makes a person genuinely unclean before God.
Compelled by love
When Jesus took the girl’s hand, death fled and impurity was cleansed. The immediate result was a family’s restoration and the permanent affirmation of Jairus’ faith. As believers today, we can recognize that moment as a picture of the rebirth that takes place within hearts as they receive Christ’s gift of cleansing and forgiveness. Both figuratively and literally, Christ makes everything new.
True love is never irritated by interruptions but views them as opportunities for blessing. If we trust God and submit ourselves to the Spirit’s leading, we will be ready to embrace every person and circumstance we encounter without balking or feeling that anything is imposing upon our time. As Peter said, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). This edict not only means being confident in what to say but also in God’s timing for our response. Like the Savior whose image we bear, we should be compelled by love to serve others and meet their needs, regardless of who they are.
Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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