Mark 5:21-43 (The Girl: vv. 21-24, 35-43)
(Jesus Heals in Response to Faith)
21 Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore. 22 Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, 23 pleading fervently with him. "My little daughter is dying," he said. "Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live."
24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him.
35 While he was still speaking to her [see v. 34], 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.
When Jesus returns from casting the demons out of the Gentile man, he is met by a large crowd which included Jairus, a local official whose daughter is on the verge of death. Setting aside all rank and privilege, Jairus falls before Jesus and implores him (literally, kept on beseeching him) to come and heal her. On the way to Jairus' home, word arrives that the girl is dead. "Don't give up," Jesus commands, as he takes Jairus and his inner circle of disciples and goes and raises the girl back to life.
Jairus (Mark 5:22)
As leader (or "president"385) of the local synagogue, Jairus ([jay EYE ruhs386], meaning "he will awaken"387) was its "administrative head," "the president of the board of elders." While the ruler of the synagogue usually did not participate in the synagogue services himself, he was tasked with making sure they were carried out in an orderly and dignified manner. "The ruler of the synagogue was one of the most important and most respected men in the community."388 ("When Mark wrote this, Jairus and his daughter could still be found in Palestine."389)
Jairus is an apt illustration of what it means to trust in Jesus. In him we find a mixture of "tender affection, intense anxiety, and a considerable measure of faith."390 Setting aside personal pride and dignity, Jairus humbled himself before Jesus. Because he would have had many friends among the religious leaders who openly opposed Jesus, Jairus risked losing not only his friends but also his place of prominence within the community. And, being a man of authority himself, his appeal to Jesus was an open acknowledgement of Jesus' infinitely superior authority to heal diseases and cast out demons.
When word came of the girl's death, with "majestic calmness"391 Jesus refused to listen - and commanded Jairus to do likewise by replacing his fear with faith ("Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." NASB). As one source puts it, Jesus "exhorts him to enlarge his heart with confidence."392 The problem is paralyzing fear; the solution is to trust in Jesus.
Asleep (Mark 5:39)
When, at Jairus's home, Jesus said that the girl was not dead but only sleeping, he may have been indicating that "for God raising the dead is no more difficult than awaking a sleeper."393 We might pause to note that while sleep is commonly used as a metaphor for death, the Bible absolutely does not teach "soul sleep," which is "the idea that the soul, during the period between death and resurrection, reposes in a state of unconsciousness."394 As one source helpfully notes:
[In 1 Thessalonians 4:13] the announcement concerns those who have fallen asleep, that is, those believers who have died. Sleep is used to describe the bodies of departed Christians, never their spirits or souls. Sleep is an appropriate simile of death, because in death a person seems to be sleeping. Even our word cemetery comes from a Greek word meaning "sleeping place" (koimētērion). And sleep is a familiar simile, because every night we act out this symbol of death, and every morning is like a resurrection.
The Bible does not teach that the soul sleeps at the time of death. The rich man and Lazarus were both conscious in death (Luke 16:19–31). When the believer dies, he is "present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). To die is to "be with Christ," a position which Paul speaks of as "gain" and as being "far better" (Philippians 1:21, 23). This would scarcely be true if the soul were sleeping!395
When the professional mourners responded with derisive laughter ("they laughed him to scorn" KJV), Jesus (forcefully396) threw them out of the house. Why? Likely because their lack of faith made them undeserving to witness such an incredible miracle. But also simply because "[t]he dignity of Jesus and the miracle he was about to perform demanded proper silence."397We may pause to note how Jesus turned their skepticism against them: their certainty regarding the girl's death served to confirm that she was truly dead prior to her being brought back to life by Jesus.398
Jesus commanded the girl to get up ... and she did! Although word of this miracle could not be contained, "with force and/or authority" Jesus told the parents not to tell anyone. (There is a difference between second-hand testimony and an eyewitness account.) Jesus' concern over the girl's physical need for food shows his concern for our ordinary needs.399 And the fact that the girl was hungry helped to confirm the fact that she had been restored to complete health.400
A Risky Bicycle Ride
Tim Hansel compares his relationship with Christ to a risky bicycle ride.
At first God seemed like a judge keeping a tally sheet of good and bad so as to determine Hansel's final destination.
After meeting Christ, however, life became something like a ride on a tandem bicycle in which Jesus was seated in the rear.
Eventually Hansel and Jesus switched places on the bike. Suddenly life was new and exciting, with the Lord taking the pair only he knows where.
Jesus does what look like some risky, even scary maneuvers: taking the bike around curves too fast, leaving the ground too often, even flying through mid-air on occasion. All the while, he yells back at Hansel to just keep pedaling.
Hansel is learning to trust Christ more and to enjoy the trip more. And to just keep pedaling.401
Jairus took a real risk - first in going to Jesus, and then in remaining with Jesus following word of his daughter's death.
A real commitment to Jesus Christ demands risks. But even those are turned into a marvelous adventure as we learn to trust in and obey him.
??? What can Jairus's example teach us about taking risks for Jesus?