Dead And Alive


When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around Him while He was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet. He pleaded earnestly with Him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her and she will be healed and live.’ (Mark 5: 21-23).

Jairus – who was he? One of the synagogue rulers, according to Mark. He was an important man in the community, one of the religious ones. What was his attitude towards Jesus? Was he like the other religious leaders – knew all the answers and had no room in his thinking for what Jesus brought? He, no doubt, taught the children who came to school at the synagogue. He drilled them in the ABC of the Torah. Was he as arrogant as the rest, rejecting Jesus and His compassion in favour of obeying rules?

Something happened to change everything. His only child, a twelve-year-old girl became deathly sick. All his religion and his scruples went out the window. He had no answer for this crisis, but he had seen and heard the effects of Jesus’ presence in the village. People he knew who had chronic conditions and were not permitted in the synagogue, arrived on the Sabbath, healed, whole and beaming with joy.

Jesus! His name rippled around the community and He happened to be in town! Jairus just had to get to Him before his daughter died. He rushed after the crowd, pushed his way through the jostling mob and fell at Jesus’ feet, breathless, sobbing and pleading for a hearing. In spite of the noise and the turmoil around Him, Jesus bent down to listen.

Then something happened – an interruption that sent Jairus into an agony of impatience . . .

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 any more?’ overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ He did not let anyone follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly (Mark 5: 35-38).

The interruption delayed Jesus. Jairus was in an agony of impatience. If He didn’t get to his house immediately it would be too late. “Come on, Jesus. Hurry up! Don’t you realise this is urgent?” Then he saw the contingent from his home and he knew. She was dead. His heart broke. He was shattered. Too late!

Jesus heard the news but seemed unperturbed. With a quiet word of encouragement, “Don’t be afraid, Jairus. Just trust me,” He followed the people to Jairus’ home. What a carry-on met Him there. Wailing and crying enough to wake the dead!

He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at Him. (Mark, 5: 39).

That was a sudden change of mood. Crying because the child was dead and then laughing at Jesus because they thought He didn’t know what He was talking about. Professional mourners – that’s what they were – hired to weep and wail when someone died. Jesus was irritated with them. What was the point of all the noise? It would not bring the dead back to life. Perhaps it was their way of “sitting shiva” – mourning with the bereaved parents.

After He put them all out, He took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with Him, and went to where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up).

Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave them strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat (Mark 5: 40b-43).

Why the secrecy? How were they to keep quiet about what happened when their dead child appeared at the door? Everyone would demand to know how this miracle happened. What were they supposed to say/ “No, she wasn’t dead, only asleep or in a come!” Who would believe them?

There are some interesting intricacies to this story which I shall explain tomorrow.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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Luella Campbell

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