A ruler asks Jesus to come and heal his dead daughter. Jesus could have said the same thing to the ruler that He said to the official’s son in John chapter four about seeing signs and wonders before believing. Jesus doesn’t gripe about the request. He doesn’t chastise the man. He doesn’t tell him it’s too late. Jesus rose and followed him.
What a stunning development! Why does Jesus go with him? Shouldn’t this ruler, of all people, know Who Jesus is and what He comes to do? Shouldn’t he merely ask Messiah to heal his daughter and Jesus will speak the word to make it so? Jesus goes with him. Jesus goes without a word of complaint.
Perhaps the reason why Jesus goes with the ruler is to carry this man along with Him. You may be familiar with the Christian devotional writing called “Footprints”. The writer has a dream about walking along a beach with Jesus. All of a sudden there was a moment where two sets of footprints became one set of footprints. The writer wonders if that is when Jesus left the person alone. Not so says our Savior. “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you; never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
A little editorial work on “Footprints” would make the image line up with how Jesus walks with you and me. There can never really be two sets of footprints in the sand. This means you are able to walk with Jesus and never need His help. Our life in Christ is a life of being carried around by a loving Shepherd Who cares for us like a little ewe lamb. Whether our trust in Him is as small as a mustard seed or as large as Denali in Alaska, Jesus carries you from womb to tomb. Jesus today carries this man with Him even though the two of them, and many others in tow, walk together to the corpse of a dead girl. Even though the man asks Jesus to come with him, the man did ask for Jesus to lay Your hand on her and she will live.
While Jesus carries the ruler back to the ruler’s house, something strange happens. When a unique event happens in the middle of another story line in the Gospels, you can bet the farm the strange and unique occurrence isn’t a random event.
The woman with a flow of blood touches Jesus at the perfect moment. Why is it a perfect moment? Because Jesus is carrying a ruler with Him whose trust in Christ as Savior and Helper is not as strong as her trust in Christ. Before the ruler sees his daughter alive again, he sees Jesus turn around and look at a woman who touches the hem of His garment. Saint Mark writes that Jesus felt power leave His body when the woman touched Him. Jesus knew something was happening. He never saw it coming…or did He?
Another pastor I know once told me, “Ministry happens in the interruptions.” It sure does. Jesus ministers to the woman’s illness without saying a word. She, while also being carried by the Savior, receives what she wishes without even asking. All it took was a touch. Not only is she healed, but Jesus blesses her by saying, Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well. At that moment she was made well.
So now Jesus has one more person to carry to the bedside of the little girl. When He gets there, the mourners laugh at Him because He said the girl is not dead but sleeping. Who is laughing now that the girl is alive? Because the girl cannot reach out to touch Jesus, He extends His hand to her. She takes it. Now she is carried along with Him, just like everyone else who looks to Jesus as their Help in every time of need.
That’s a comforting image, isn’t it? You are being carried along by Christ. You could try to go it alone but you’ll never get to the end of the journey by yourself. You could ask Jesus to drop you for a while but those butt prints in the sand, so to speak, will show you that it’s much better to be carried. The load isn’t burdensome for Christ. After all, He bore the sins of the world upon His body as He laid on the cross. He didn’t need your help. He had to do it alone. He also carried your sin into the tomb and left it there. Jesus has spoken for your sin. It has no power over you because of Christ’s blood.
Jesus again carries us with Him into His house, where He cares for your death by applying His life. You will die, unless Jesus returns soon. Here is where you receive palliative care for your death. There’s no need to touch the hem of His garment or to ask Him to lay His hand on you. Jesus comes to you in His preached Word and in His true Body and true Blood. Though death may surround you even in the midst of life, Jesus carries you through from death to life. You are not too heavy. His burden is light. He will see to it that your slumber is turned into everlasting life.