It is evident that Jairus has been catechized by the Word of the Lord, for he comes to Jesus in the hope of His mercy. He worships Him by faith with his prayers and petitions, and with his body, too, prostrate before his Lord in humility. The posture of his body confesses the faith in his heart.
It is evident that he, a ruler of the synagogue, has not only cared for others with God’s Word and prayer, but has catechized his own little daughter, as well; else she would not only be sleeping. The Christian fears the grave as little as her bed, but those who die apart from Christ are swallowed up, body and soul, by eternal death.
Such death is the legacy and inheritance of all the daughters and sons of Adam & Eve. All of you will die — and must die — because all of you sin and fall short of the Glory of God. Indeed, it is necessary that you die to your sin, to yourself, and to the world, in order that you be set free and raised up to newness of life in the Body of Christ Jesus.
But so it is, in Him, that death does not have the last word, final though it seems. Even death cannot end your gladness when you have become a child, not only of man, but of God. By faith in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, you live, even though you die. That is our bold confession, on this day as throughout the year, as we remember with thanksgiving the faithful departed who have gone before us over this past year. They are not “dead and gone,” but alive forever with the Lord.
For the very Son of God has come in the flesh, with a Body and Blood like your own, conceived and born of the Woman, St. Mary, herself a daughter of Adam. He has entered into the house of sin and death where you are. He has crossed over to the other side of the sea in the new and greater Exodus of His Cross and Resurrection, even as He was baptized for you and for all righteousness in the waters of the Jordan River. He made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over; and, as you are baptized into Him, you pass through death into Life everlasting with Him.
To that end, He now comes with His Ministers of the Gospel, who follow Him and bear His Name, who preach His Word and give His good gifts to the children of men. With His Word and the touch of His hand, He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies you and His whole Christian Church with the Holy Spirit of His God and Father. So does His Word go out into all the world, His Voice to the ends of the earth. And His Word declares that Life and Light and Salvation are found in Him.
Jairus is prompted to seek Him out by his desperate need for the sake of his dear daughter, and by his faith in the Word and Flesh of Christ Jesus he prays and intercedes for his girl, for the life and health and strength of her body. He prostrates himself and worships Jesus with his heart and mind, with his words and actions, and with his whole body, as well. And his prayer is that Jesus would come in the flesh to lay His hands on the little girl, in order to raise her up from death to life again.
You hear the attention that is given here to the body. And at the same time, you know that your own body is afflicted by the curse of sin and death. Your flesh suffers and decays, it perishes and fades like the grass and its flower. There is no lasting life but only sickness and death in your body.
That poor woman with the twelve-year hemorrhage certainly knew and experienced that frailty of her flesh and the weight of her mortality.
For all of that, the truth remains that Christ Jesus has come in His own Body of flesh and blood. He has suffered and died for all your sins and transgressions, and He is risen from the dead in His glorified Body for your justification, in order to rescue and raise you in both body and soul. For all that He has accomplished for you in His Body, He has also given to you in Holy Baptism, and He continues to bestow upon you in the Holy Communion of His Body and His Blood. Already in the Gospel He delivers your soul from death — as He will your body in the Resurrection.
Therefore, do not weep and wail and mourn like those who have no hope. Rather, pray, praise, and give thanks in the hope and confidence of Christ. Call upon the Name of the Lord, trusting that He hears and answers your prayers and supplications, and that He saves you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Do not be afraid, but seek Him where He may be found, and so lay hold of Him by the “hem of His garment,” which is to say, by availing yourself of His Word and Sacrament.
Not what your senses, your intellect, or your emotions tell you, no matter how convincingly, but what Jesus says and does for you and gives to you determines what is true and what is real. The world will mock and scorn, it will laugh and ridicule the hope that is in you. But never mind that.
The Lord your God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live by and from Him. And by His grace, by His Ministry of the Gospel, He has delivered you from the domain of darkness, death, and damnation, and brought you into the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom you have redemption through His Blood, the free and full forgiveness of all your sins in Christ Jesus.
He raises you up and gives you life, already here and now in your body on earth. As surely as He has purified your heart and cleansed your conscience by the washing of your body with the water and His Word in Holy Baptism, so surely does He enliven your body with His Holy Spirit; so that you rise up and live and walk in His Way — from your childhood into your teens and adulthood.
He stretches out His hand to lay hold of you in love, to strengthen and sustain your faith and life in Him through the blessing of His Word and Holy Spirit. And it is your faith in Him that saves you, not as any kind of work or merit on your part, but as receiving and relying on His good Gifts.
The Synagogue and Sabbath Rest of Christ Jesus are where He catechizes you with His Word and calls you daily to repentance. Thus He returns you, again and again, to the significance of your Holy Baptism, to your dying and rising with Him. And He feeds you with Himself for the Life everlasting of your body and soul. He comes to abide with you, that you should abide in Him.
So now, in turn, confess the faith to your neighbors, and catechize your daughters and sons with the Word of Christ Jesus. Be as earnest and eager to do so as Jairus was to seek out Jesus for the sake of his dear little daughter; for it is by the catechesis of the Word of Christ Jesus that you give true and lasting Life to your children and preserve them in body and soul for now and forever.
And little girl, or little boy — young woman, or young man — child of God, whatever your age, do not continue to sin with your body, nor give yourself over to the laziness of apathy and despair, but worship the Lord your God — and love your neighbor as yourself — in and with your body.
As a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, follow Him on the Way that leads to Life even in the midst of death. Enter with Him into the House of your true Father and Mother, in which your weeping is turned into joy and your sorrow gives way to feasting. For your heavenly Bridegroom is here with you, feeding you with the Meat and Drink indeed of His holy Body and precious Blood, that you should not die but live, now and forever. He abides with you, and you abide in Him, both body and soul, waking, sleeping, in life, in death, and in the Resurrection to the Life everlasting
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.