35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this,and told them to give her something to eat.
(Mark 5:35-43 NIV)
As you will recall, there are two events woven together into one story here. The story began back in verse 21 with Jairus, a temple official, finding Jesus, falling at His feet, and begging Jesus to come heal his dying daughter. Jairus held the highest non-priest position in the synagogue. He was the head of operations, responsible for the building, the grounds, security, and the day-to-day function of the temple. Jesus immediately heads toward Jairus’ house.
Along the way, Jesus’ progress is interrupted by the incident of the woman with the bleeding issue. Jesus confronts her, then comforts her. Her healing (and restoration to normal life) is complete.
As we pick up the story today, folks from Jairus’ home come to tell Jairus that his daughter has died. Notice these folks’ assumption that Jesus could help while the girl was alive, but now that she has died, not even Jesus could help. Death was believed to be final. This unexpected delay has now cost Jairus the life of His daughter.
Jesus overhears the private conversation and quietly tells Jairus to not be afraid, but believe. Jesus knew that Jairus exhibited a great deal of faith to come find Jesus in the first place; Jesus is now asking Jairus to have even more faith – extreme faith that transcended understanding – that Jesus could grant his request and that this would work out for the best.
Jesus then disperses the crowd, takes three disciples, and heads to Jairus’ house. When they arrive at the house, the professional mourners are already there, lamenting the daughter’s death. Jesus confronts them and tells them the girl is merely asleep. The professional mourners mock Jesus and laugh at Him.
Jesus chases the mourners out, closes the door, and takes the three disciples, the girl’s parents, and goes into the girl’s room. Seven people in all are in the room, including the girl. Jesus speaks tenderly to the girl, holds her limp hand, and asks her to get up. Jesus speaks to her, not in the Greek trade language of the day, but in Aramaic, Jesus’ native language which the little girl obviously knew.
Immediately, the little girl, twelve years old, gets up and starts walking around. The disciples, the girl’s parents, and the girl are all astounded. They can’t fathom what has just happened!
Jesus then commands everyone in the room to be silent about this event. The little girl running around outside with the other kids would soon enough bring many questions; Jesus told them to be silent about how she was presumed dead and was now alive. There would likely be as many theories as there were people to speculate, but the parents would have to keep their mouths shut about the details and point only to the results.
Finally, Jesus reminded Jairus and his wife to remember to give the girl something to eat.
In these past few days, we have seen three people fall at Jesus’ feet, presenting their deepest needs to Him – the tortured, demon-possessed man, the woman with the bleeding issues, and Jairus the temple official, on behalf of his dying daughter. All three find what they are looking for when they seek Jesus humbly and in faith.
May we do the same, falling at the feet of Jesus with broken hearts and in faith with our soul’s deepest desires.