"Don't be afraid; just believe..." I am afraid a lot. Sometimes, I just think too much about endless possibilities and things going pear-shaped if I decide to step out and do it. As a consequence, I do very little.
As a theorist, I am tremendous at coming up with wonderful ideas. Ideas aren't bad things. Ideas are the raw material for many wonderful systems and inventions. But ideas without implementation are like minerals that sit out in the middle of the outback. Until those minerals are mined, refined and built into something useful, those minerals are worthless.
This is the problem with fear. Fear is a spiritual cancer. Fear paralyzes us. Fear causes sloth, bitterness, depression, regret, anger, jealousy, etc... Worse, fear keeps us from realising our true potential in Jesus Christ.
Do you notice how many times beings from heaven tell human beings not to be afraid. It seems to be the standard greeting from angels, "Do not be afraid..." Paul tells the Roman church that we are not given a spirit that makes us slaves again to fear but we are given a Spirit of sonship. Paul later tells his protege Timothy that we are not given a spirit of timidity but a Spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Fear truly is a spiritual cancer because it keeps us fulfilling our destiny of producing fruit that will last and doing the good work that our Father prepared in advance for us to do.
Fear seems to have come up a lot lately in these accounts of Jesus' ministry. To review, fear led the people in the Gerasenes to ask Jesus to leave. Fear came over the bleeding woman when Jesus discovered that she was the one who touched him. And now, Jesus tells the father of a dead 12-year-old girl, "Don't be afraid, just believe..."
The bleeding woman (who had a 12-year ailment) was actually an interruption to where Jesus was going. A religious leader, a synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus, begged Jesus to come and heal his daughter. Jairus must have been overjoyed when Jesus granted his request. Furthermore, we discover that time is of the essence. Jairus' daughter is gravely ill. They could lose her at anytime.
As a father myself and one that is prone to impatience, I can imagine Jairus' heart leaping into his throat when Jesus suddenly stopped. I can imagine what was going through his mind as Jesus searched for the person who touched him. "In the midst of this crowd? Is he crazy? Why is he so worried about someone touching him?" I certainly won't judge Jairus and put thoughts against the unclean woman who interrupted this important journey.
As Jesus is still talking to the now clean woman, Jairus' worst fear comes to past. He is sent word that his daughter is now dead. His heart must have felt as though it sank into the pit of his stomach. They were too late. She was gone.
"Don't be afraid, just believe, and she will be healed." Remarkably, he does believe. This powerful community leader had the opportunity to publicly chastise Jesus for stopping on the way to healing the one he loved. But he doesn't. Instead, he leads Jesus who allows his disciples Peter, James and John to witness what will happen to Jairus' daughter.
What kind of feeling is it to go from absolute despair to absolute relief and joy? Jairus and his wife were blessed people indeed. Despite extraordinary circumstances, Jesus does exactly what he said he would do for Jairus and his family.
Why does Jesus tell the parents not to say what happened? It's not like Jesus hasn't raised the dead in public before. Remember the widow's son? My guess is that Jesus knew by the Holy Spirit that word of this event would endanger the religious leader's family and possibly Jesus' ministry and journey to the cross.
Father, thank you for giving all of us who follow your Son, Jesus, a Spirit of Sonship and power. Thank you so much for the words of our Lord, "Do not be afraid, just believe..."