This post is part of the thinking the unthinkable series.
The name Jairus appears to be related to that of an Old Testament character called Jair briefly mentioned in Numbers chapter 32 verses 39-41:- “The descendants of Makir son of Manasseh went to Gilead, captured it and drove out the Amorites who were there. So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, the descendants Manasseh, and they settled there. Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, captured their settlements and called them Havvoth Jair. Gilead being situated on the high ground to the east of the Sea of Galilee. That brief account suggests an action hero, the sort of man portrayed in a film by an A-list celebrity, but Jairus is in most people’s minds is just a bit player in a Jesus movie whose role is little better than that of an extra. How many times have you heard a sermon with Jairus as its chief subject, I do not remember one. Yet, the woman with the issue of blood has been the subject of not just many sermons but also has inspired many songs as well. We seem to be taking him for granted, an unsung hero indeed. If he indeed was married to the “woman with the issue of blood,” as I believe was possible, then he must have provided the funds for the money spent on physicians. (See earlier posts in the thinking the unthinkable series.) He must have loved her dearly, a lesser man would have found an excuse to divorce her and marry again in order to secure a son and heir. As such he is a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. It must have been an act of desperation as his daughter’s condition worsened that he felt the need to prostate himself before Jesus. Do we look down on him because of that? He was risking his status as a synagogue elder, John’s Gospel states that known followers of Jesus were being expelled from synagogues towards the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. How few times have we metaphorically or physically prostrated ourselves before Jesus?
When look at the Western world it has been largely overlooked that humble godly men like Jairus have been the bedrock of society for most of the past 2000 years. Quietly going about their business, raising their families and building a just society. Yet today’s ‘Worldly Wisemen’ despise the Judeo-Christian ethic and want to erase all traces of Biblical influences from the business and cultural marketplace. But their dreams turn into nightmares when the consequences leave a society that finds life meaningless. Superheroes do not really exist in this world yet the more the world tries to tell us that nothing exists outside the physical realm, the more the we crave something more than this mundane everyday existence. A hundred years or more ago nobody wrote stories involving heroes with special superhuman powers, because people generally believed in a supernatural God would right their wrongs, if not in this life then the next. Jairus’ neighbours seem to have written him and his family off as soon as the daughter became ill and seem to have started the preparations for mourning while the daughter was still alive. Matthew states that they were playing flutes, but Jesus did not dance to their tune. Instead he was the ultimate party-pooper as far as they were concerned, when he raised the girl back to life. Jesus is in the resurrection business.
David Rose, 2017.