The Faith of a Father

Hands of elderly man and baby holding a young plant against a natural background in spring.

Jairus was a synagogue leader in the Galilee area. He understood the protocols for running a synagogue, the worship and the reading of the scrolls. He may have heard how much the synagogue in Nazareth detested Jesus, and the deliverance performed in Capernaum was the news of the day (Luke 4: 16-37). Not much is known about Jairus’ vocation, but he is remembered in history as a father.

On a certain day when Jesus was walking through Galilee surrounded by a crowd, Jairus had no concern for his reputation. He was a desperate father and nothing mattered more to him than his 12 year old daughter who lay dying at home. Jairus knew Jesus could perform miracles. So, he fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him to come and heal his child. 

Jairus’ faith was tested.

He knew there was a risk. The Teacher (Jesus) could have associated him with the rest of the synagogue staff and completely ignored him. (Jesus knew they weren’t exactly fans!)

Jesus was about to respond to Jairus’ petition when a woman who was ritually unclean (she had an issue of blood), pressed through the crowd and touched the edge of Jesus’ garment. Jesus turned in her direction. She had stolen Jesus’ attention.

Even while Jesus was declaring this woman healed because of her faith, someone came from Jairus’ house to tell him it was too late. 

“Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8: 49-50, NKJV).

Jairus probably hoped Jesus was right. A little hope is better than no hope, right?  Perhaps the report was as mistake, so he brought Jesus to his house to see his daughter. Whatever hope Jairus had probably evaporated when they were greeted by mourners who confirmed the child was dead and ready for burial. Even worse, the mourners ridiculed Jesus for declaring the child was only asleep! Jesus immediately put them and their unbelieving hearts out of the house. Faith can be a lonely place indeed! 

Jesus permitted only the child’s parents, and Peter, James and John to see the astonishing miracle of the girl’s resurrection. (Luke 8:40-56). Faith placed in God is always rewarded (Hebrews 11:6).

The Scriptures are filled with examples of different kinds of fathers and how they were tested. Jephthah had to be heartbroken when he realized that the vow he thoughtlessly made to God had to be paid with the life of his only child (Judges 11:30-40). The patriarch Jacob was inconsolable when he heard that his favorite son, Joseph was dead (Genesis 37:35). Also, when Abraham was asked by God to offer his promised son and heir as a sacrifice, he set out to obey God knowing in his heart that God had the power to raise the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). 

Honoring our parents is a commandment from God. As we honor fathers around the world, including fathers of the faith, whether they are still alive or have already left the earth, some people may find this difficult to do if they have never known the love of a father or if they were raised without a father, or even by a father who set a poor example or was abusive.  

God understands all of this and has made provision for every circumstance. Isaiah prophesied that one of the Names of the Messiah would be “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus taught that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him, He is the only way to the Father, and anyone who had seen and known Him (Jesus) had also seen and known the Father. When He broke the news to His disciples that He would be leaving them soon, He comforted His disciples with the promise that He would not to leave them as “orphans,” but would send the Holy Spirit. (John 14:6, 7-11, 18, NKJV). 

These Scriptures reflect the father heart of Jesus, but Isaiah actually speaks of Jesus’ seed (his offspring).

He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:8-10, NKJV, bolded for emphasis).

When we receive Jesus’ own soul as an offering for sin, as the Lamb of God, He gets to see His seed. In other words, He becomes a Father to us. Through Jesus’ selfless sacrifice we become children of the Heavenly Father who is perfect in all His Ways. We discover God’s agape love – a selfless forgiving love that rises above every circumstance. Unlike earthly fathers who are often far from perfect, our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally. He forgives us every time we repent of our sins. He provides for us, protects us, avenges us, and helps us to develop emotionally, spiritually and with the gifts and talents necessary to fulfill our destinies on this earth. Not only that, we are assigned as heirs to His Kingdom!  With such a rich heritage freely given to us, we will want to celebrate our heavenly Father not once per year, but every day! Amen. 

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