St. Luke 8:41-56
In man’s life all things are relative. Everything which takes place is relative. In other words, from the moment of man’s birth nothing is absolutely certain. In our daily life, we use the expression: “Everything is written”. But, in reality, nothing is written. Man himself writes his own history, according to his own free will, choices and actions. The future is not written and it remains unknown, the present is known but, yet, it becomes past. But, everything which takes place in time belongs to relativity. For example, it is relative if one will study, or if he will be successful in business; or if one becomes a good parent, or someone will be happy or unfortunate, healthy or ill; if one lives for many years or his life time shall be short; all the previous mentioned fall under the law of relativity. But, one thing is very certain in man’s life and this event is unavoidable and the only certain event in his life which is death. Everything which is born in this life will face death.
The ruler of the synagogue Ja’iros had an only begotten daughter who was dying. She was only twelve years old and she was at the final stage of her life. Death waits without any feelings, without any compassion, without any mercy, and with his painful sting he brings the final strike in Ja’iros’s house. The message: “Your daughter is dead”, was heard as like a lightning.
Death from the time of the Fall of the first created man became an inseparable companion and an enemy of man. The decision of God in the Garden of Delight, “you are earth and to the earth you shall return”, is realized. Through death the life span of sin is terminated and the new way of eternal life is offered. Man is not erased from the face of the earth, he does return to nothingness. Man’s existence is terminated in the grave. But, man through death enters in other conditions, which are real, unchangeable and eternal. He enters either in the Kingdom of Heaven or in the condition of suffering.
The death of one beloved, relative or friend, creates a confusion of feelings. Sadness, fear, anger, anxiousness and many times even disappointment rule those moments. Man is lost in his thoughts and with tears in his eyes, facing the unknown, he stands with helplessness concerning his future.
Ja’iros when he heard about the death of his only beloved daughter, he became speechless and helpless. And before any other thoughts had the chance to enter into his mind, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, interferes and says to Ja’iros: “Do not be afraid, but have faith”! Don’t be afraid because you have heard this sad message, but have faith in Me and your daughter will be saved.
Only when man is closed to Christ he does not fear death. Only with Christ one has hope. Only with the faith to Christ man overcomes death. And for this reason all the Saints through the faith in Christ were victorious against all the methods of Satan and at the end they were victorious over death himself, who is the last enemy.
Faith in Christ is the power which saves and gives life o man. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is man’s only certain hope and salvation. No one can overcome death but only the Saviour of the world, Who through His death on the ross overcame the power of death and offered life to all those who will believe in His Name. Jesus Christ, the Son and Word of God, is the Lord of Life and death.
Man’s life many times I described as the sea. The problems of life rise as enormous waves, which struggle to take us down into the ocean’s depths, into despair and hopelessness. The abyss opens its mouth to swallow us. But, when one is armed with the faith in Christ, then in his most difficult moments, man finds the power to face and to confront these difficult moments, which as great waves they break out upon the ship of life in the multiform of tribulations, illnesses, temptations and deaths.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, invited Ja’iros to stand well in his faith to Him. Believe and do not be despaired. Do not lose your hopes. The fruit of the faith to Christ is the victory of the faithful against death himself. For this reason the holy Martyrs of our Holy Orthodox Church were able to gain victory over death, because they were steadfast in their faith into Christ.
Man who does not have faith, can be described as a ship without a compass. Faith is the victorious power, which leads man into the virtuous way of life. If one is without faith, he cannot achieve any virtue. If man is without faith, then he cannot only overcome the smallest problems of life, but, neither can he will be able to face the frightful hour of death and everything which follow death!
When the hour of death arrives, no one can help us, neither the best and skilled doctors, nor our friends, nor the powerful and rich, nor our relatives, nor scientists, nor those in authorities, nor those who have money and riches. Only Christ can save and comfort us. And the Lord saves all those who turn to Him, as He saved Ja’iros’s daughter. And this was the result of his solid faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Our faith must be solid and truthful, we must stand in steadfastness avoiding any form of doubt. We must never bend before the problems of life, no mater how great they might be. The faith in Christ is a strong alliance, which will never disappoint anyone who believes. This is the reason why during the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, the Priest asks the God-parents to confess faith in Christ, by asking them: “Do you join Christ”? And they respond saying: “I do join Him”!
Man’s life intermingles between joy and sadness. The joyful moments are exchanged with sad moments. For this reason St Paul teaches us saying, that one should be joyful with those who are happy, and sad with those who are misfortune, for our life is like the field of lilies, which today they flourish and tomorrow the wither and die.
Everything around us witnesses the vanity and the mortality of all earthly pleasures. The problems of life will never end. Christ is offering the only solution. Let us strengthen within us the faith in Christ. Only, when we have been armed with the spiritual armor of God, which is offered to us by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, in other words faith, hope and love, and we practice these virtues in our daily life, then we shall be able to overcome all adversity powers and finally death itself.
By His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes