Soft spots

While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

36 But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat. – Mark 5:35-43

Ship & Birds | Galveston, Texas | August 2020

Do you have a soft spot? It is for cute little puppies, newborn babies, or kindergarten girls? Jesus seems to have had a soft spot for little ones. Physically small children. Emotionally small women. Spiritually small men. Crippled beggars. Blind men. Sinful women. He had a soft spot for such as these. 

In this case it is the daughter of the synagogue ruler. She is sick and in urgent need of Jesus’ help. Her father has begged Jesus to come to his home and heal her. And so he goes. But while he’s on his way he is interrupted by another person for whom he had a soft spot. The bleeding woman who reaches out to touch Jesus’ garment gets his attention. He, afterall, has a soft spot for people in need.

I’m thinking that when the messengers arrived saying that the daughter had died, the synagogue ruler’s soft spot for Jesus might have been hardened a bit. I might run out of patience with Jesus, the woman who inserted herself into this moment, and perhaps with himself for not seeking Jesus’ help sooner. 

But when it comes to people in need, an early intrusion of death, or a premature conclusion about the daughter’s health, Jesus has no soft spot. He’s as hard and focused as nails. He will not let his soft spot for bleeding women, or dull disciples, or late fathers get in the way of his gracious healing power. He will not be dissuaded.

He will go to the man’s house. He will put everyone out of the room. He will heal the daughter. He will instruct her parents to give her something to eat. 

Soft spots can blind us to the hard realities that surround us all. They can numb us to needs of which we may not be aware. They may capture our attention and distract us from other places where kindness, grace, mercy, and love may also urgently be needed. 

Jesus, however, takes them all in stride. He attends to the woman. He instructs his disciples. He overrides the cancellation of the servants. He heals the daughter. Where is your soft spot – not for someone else, but in your soul. Jesus is the balm of Gilead which heals and soothes. And sometimes he has a hard word that breaks down our hard hearts and opens them up to his goodness and love. 

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