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A Great Father

By Dr. Kieran Beville, Pastor of Lee Valley Bible Church, Ballincollig, Ireland
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Visit any good bookshop and you will find a section displaying the biographies and autobiographies of men whom the world regards as great. There are shelves hosting an array of life stories where Presidents and Prime Ministers peer majestically from the dust covers of hefty tomes. They are the familiar faces of famous men who have proved themselves in positions of leadership. There you will see the accounts of the achievements of emperors and kings, great generals and military men who have established notoriety.

Then there are the books with front cover photographs of media personalities, celebrities with charming and charismatic smiles. These include picture books of film stars and pop idols. In the bargain bin you may find the biography of some athlete who thrilled spectators in a previous generation. There you may find big discount stickers partially covering the faces of former sporting giants.

This is the world’s view of greatness but what is the heavenly perspective? When God looks at men he sees either men who have come to faith in Christ, or men who have not. God sees men who love Him, men who have been faithful to their wives, men who have been good examples to their children. Let us consider a man who has been made famous in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; his name is Jairus.

Is there any reason why he should be regarded as a great father? In answer to that it can be said that Jairus did the greatest thing a father can ever do. “And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus' feet and begged Him to come to his house” (Luke 8:41).

Here was a man with a certain position and reputation in the community. He was a ruler in the synagogue, a leader among his people. He did not come to Christ conscious of his reputation. Rather he approached with an awareness of his great need. It is instructive for us to observe how he came in humility and assumed the posture and attitude of a beggar by falling at the feet of Jesus. He implored Christ to come to his house.

Jairus came to Christ with a troubled heart.

The compassionate character of Christ welcomes those who are conscious of their great need and come in humility. Listen to his gracious invitation "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew11:28). What was it that compelled this man to come to Christ? There was a difficulty in his home that upset him. His little girl was dying. It was a problem that he could not solve and he realised that there was one who could make a difference. He had the filial affection of a father that caused him to cast himself upon the compassion of Christ, not for himself but for his only daughter, 12 years old. How he must have loved her, his precious princess! He needed the touch of Jesus on the one he loved. The greatest thing any father can do is to come to Jesus as Jairus did on behalf of his beloved child.

As a father, his love was exemplary. He came into the presence of the one whose pity and power worked in harmony to produce the promise, "Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well." It is an astonishing pledge considering that Jairus had just been informed (in Christ’s hearing) of his daughter’s death. His appeal to Jesus is based on the hope that the heart of Christ is compassionate. It is like David’s plea to God “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion” (Psalm 51:1). Desperation gave birth to a faith that dared to believe that “nothing is impossible with God" (Luke1:37).

He came to communicate with Jesus about his child’s condition. Was she not privileged to have such a father? Surely the most privileged children in the world are those who have such a father to intercede on their behalf. Those children whose names are frequently found on the lips of their fathers in prayer, in the presence of Christ, before the throne of grace are privileged indeed. The most underprivileged children are the ones whose parents do not pray for them. This story gives hope to fathers especially those who are conscious of their own inadequacies in the face of great difficulty. There is one to whom we may come on behalf of our children. He is the one who says, "Fear not: believe only...” What a challenge that was to Jairus’ faith and it is no less a challenge to ours!

Jairus faced a tremendous test of a father's faith. News arrived that his daughter was dead. Jesus spoke words of encouragement "Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole." Who would Jairus believe? Would he accept the report of her death? Would he trust in the promise of Jesus? There are times in a father’s life when all the hopes he cherished for his loved one seem to be displaced by doubt and even despair. Oh the heartache of a father when all seems lost! But Jairus had just witnessed the healing of the woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. Perhaps this incident had strengthened his faith. When we walk with the Master there are incidents that we encounter along the way that bolster our faith.

The daughter of this great father was restored to health. What ecstatic joy that must have instilled in the dear man’s heart. He was astonished. May every father be like Jairus and recognise the terrible condition of their children and how they need the touch of the Saviour! Mark’s account informs us that he specifically requested that Jesus would touch her "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live" (Luke 5:23).

May every father believe that Christ is approachable and able! May every father come in humility as Jairus did, helpless but hopeful! May Christ visit our homes and put out unbelief. May each father know the great astonishment of this great father, Jairus, in seeing the one they love being touched by the hand of Jesus and given new life!

Kieran Beville is pastor of Lee Valley Bible Church (Baptist), Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland.

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I often re-surface from the deep, dark of inner thoughts, into a false reality in which I feel prayer is a silly, awkward sport and one which is better suited for old ladies.

So, I truly value any supportive evidence and encouragement toward fulfilling the God-appointed role of fathers regarding prayer. I appreciate the reminder of the miracles Jesus desires to bestow on our families when we go to Him.

6/22/2010 11:01:30 PM - Ryan, Member of Delve into Jesus since 12/30/2007

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