Do not fear

But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” (Mark 5)

Mark is an exceptionally skilled storyteller, weaving two stories together here in a cinematic way.

In the press of the crowds, in front of everyone, a proud religious leader suddenly throws himself onto the dusty ground, begging Jesus to help him, heedless of the stares. His daughter is near death, and he will do anything for her sake.

Jesus helps him to stand, and with a gesture says, “Lead the way.”

Unnoticed in the crowd, just as she is paid no mind by anyone, a woman furtively follows Jesus, taking advantage of the distraction. “If I can just touch his robe,” she says, “I will finally get better.”

And then everything stops. Freeze frame. The religious leader’s hands cover his face; the woman’s fingers reach toward Jesus.

JairusHe feels her. “Who touched me?” She panics and falls to the ground. He lifts her up and reassures her, “Your faith has made you well.”

In the same moment, word comes to the religious leader. “Your daughter is dead. Stop crying now, don’t trouble the teacher.”

Jesus stands with him, meeting his slack, tear-stained gaze. “Do not fear.”

Do not fear.

Do not worry what other people think.

Do not hesitate to reach out to Jesus.

He will reassure you.

He will stand with you.

Do not fear.

Coda: In all of the images I looked through I could not find a single one where Jairus was actually kneeling before Jesus, with the exception of one cartoon. Apparently, pictures (by their silence) tell a thousand words. Men’s shame at appearing weak or in need persists.

Do not fear.

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