Mark 5:21-24

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.”

So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Mark 5:21-24

Even though we live in the age of the Internet and social media, my guess is that word of mouth remains the most powerful form of advertising for every business that can’t afford television ads. When Jesus was alive, word of mouth was the only form of advertising. Word got out.

Do you remember playing the old game where you sit in a circle, the first person says something in the ear of the next person, you pass it around the circle, and the last person says it aloud? The story always changes. Sometimes the story becomes unrecognizable. That is the drawback of word of mouth advertising. Once it begins there is no controlling the word that gets out.

The word got out about Jesus. Today he is back in Galilee and again he draws a large crowd of people. Notice that the person who draws Jesus’ attention this time in a leader of the synagogue. A trusted community leader. Quite likely aware of the growing opposition against Jesus. But he had no time for that, his daughter was ill. He gave Jesus a shot.

We ought always notice how Jesus always notices those both in the center, and at the edges, of a crowd. He doesn’t see a crowd, he sees people. And when they are hurting, he helps them. It isn’t complicated. Whether a prominent Jewish community leader or a demon-possessed Gentile, Jesus is there for them.

I know the helpless and terrified feeling that comes with a sick daughter. I’ve been there. Anyone with a daughter has been there. But there is sick and then there is really really sick. Jairus’ daughter is really really sick. Any parent would do anything they possibly could for such a sick daughter, even risking humiliating himself in front of the rest of the town to get help from Jesus. Long shot though it might be.

We all remember the old line, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” I don’t think there are many in emergency or ICU waiting rooms either. And I take great comfort to remember the ways that Jesus showed up for people who were hurting. There was no “What have you done for me lately?” involved. That isn’t how Jesus was.

That isn’t how God is.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank you for such open access to your presence. You are as close to us as our next breath. The simplest prayer draws you into our consciousness. Your grace, your mercy, your love, greets every prayer. We pray today for those worried about their children. Bring comfort and hope to those who are hurting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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