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

After an agonising interruption for the grief-stricken father, Jesus and His disciples moved towards Jairus’ house, surrounded by the ever-present throng. A delegation from Jairus’ house met them with a message that Jairus was dreading to hear, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?” Their words seemed like the cut-off point. Alive – Jesus could still step in and heal her. Dead – she was beyond His reach, so Jairus thought.

I can imagine the strangled cry of grief that escaped from his throat. But this was no time for turning from Jesus, and Jesus was quick to reassure him. I love His words, “Don’t listen to them. Just trust me.” How many times do I need to hear Him say that? It’s always about the choice of, “Whom do I trust?” As this story proceeds, it becomes quite clear who knew what He was talking about and who was proved wrong. Jesus said she was sleeping; they ridiculed Him. They said she was dead.

How did the child’s parents feel at this point? I cannot imagine. They had no experience of ever seeing a dead person live. It all seemed so final and yet; they were about to witness something in their own home that fully satisfied their prophetic expectation – Malachi 4:2 – coming alive before their very eyes. Jesus stepped forward, spread His talith over the child and said, “The Messiah is here. Little girl, get up.” And she did.

What was the significance of Jesus’ cautioning words, “Don’t tell anyone what happened here”? This seems crazy when everyone outside would know that the dead child had come back to life in that room. That was not the issue. The issue was that Jesus’ action was the fulfillment of Old Testament and especially Malachi’s prophecy and they had witnessed it. At that point, He did not want them to broadcast what had happened. People needed to come to faith by being fully convinced themselves that He was Messiah, not because of other people’s faith.

Luella Campbell

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