A Father Pleads with Jesus
In the Gospel of St. Mark our Lord is approached by a father named Jairus. He is one of the rulers in the synagogue and pleads with Jesus to rescue his dying daughter. St. Mark tells us that this father literally, “fell at his feet” on behalf of his 12-year-old child. He asks that Jesus might come and lay his healing hands on his daughter. While this father is leading Jesus back to his home, a servant from his house comes bearing a grave message. Jairus’s daughter has died.
Soon we will see the faith of the father save his daughter, but at this point the father seems to have acquiesced all hope. For if Christ is like any other physician, He is now too late.
Jesus turns to the distraught father and says, “fear not, only believe.” Only is the incarnate God, who has a human heart, able to show such tender sympathy for a father’s broken heart.
Christ then goes to Jairus’s daughter and calls to her, “Talitha cumi,” or “Little girl, I say to you arise.” As I read this I imagine being Jairus watching the scene unfolding – seeing his dead daughter, hearing the wailing and cries of his family, and then right there in the middle watching as Jesus calls outs, “Talitha cumi.”
I imagine a flashback with Jairus and his daughter as a toddler. He stands at one side of the room and looks toward his beautiful little girl as she struggles to take a step on shaky toddler ankles. “Talitha Cumi,” says Jarius with an ear-to-ear grin and outstretched arms, “come on, walk to daddy.”
Now back in the presence of this man who claims to be the Messiah, Jairus sees his daughter awakened from death. His little girl rises from the dead.
Fathers like Jairus
As fathers, we have much to learn from Jairus. Like him, we will fail and fall into despair. Perhaps we will put too much faith into a certain parenting system or too little effort into developing our relationship with our children, but undoubtedly we will need to bow down to Jesus as Jairus did. Even as I write this I want to ask Jesus for more grace – for the ways I have already failed my family and to help me in the future.
Even now Jesus offers contrite fathers, “fear not, only believe.”
This ruler in the synagogue had hoped that the touch of Jesus would heal his daughter, but despaired with the conditions around him, yet through his daughter’s death – Jairus saw the very words of Jesus give her new life.
A Vision for Our Daughters
Today, our children, and especially our daughters, are under attack. Our little girls are bombarded by a culture seeking to kill their innocence and turn them away from their parents. Many fathers come to Jesus too late. Having missed the opportunity to be the words of Jesus, their daughters are afflicted and destroyed by the empty promises of the world.
Our children need more of us and more than us.
Our daughters need more “afternoon dates with daddy,” more fathers who sing in church, and more papas who are priests over their homes. They need fathers who are loyal to Christ’s Church and take their commitments to Christ’s body seriously. Our Children need fathers who serve mom with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader of the household providing for its needs.
Like Jairus, our daughters need us to run to Jesus, to bow down to Him, and to plead for His help. They need us to lead Jesus to our homes and through obedience to our responsibilities as fathers, give them the very words of Jesus that they, “might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
A New Resource for Fathers: Rev. Uri Brito’s The Trinitarian Father
“Someone has said that most evangelicals have ignored the reality of the Trinity so thoroughly, that they are, for all practical purposes, Unitarians. That is sadly true. And that makes this essay all the more important for the twenty-first century Christian. If we are created after the image of the Triune God, then we must understand ourselves and our responsibilities in life in light of that glorious and amazing fact. Pastor Brito helps us to see what God’s nature implies for us and requires of us as fathers. His essay is an excellent beginning to getting us into Trinitarian shape.”
- Steve Wilkins, Pastor of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana
Buy the book here from the Covenant Media Foundation.