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. 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.
Mark 5:39-40 (NIV)
Read: Mark 5:21-43
Consider: The latter part of Mark 5 describe two incidents where Jesus again demonstrates who he is; this time by showing that he has power over sickness and death. These incidents are connected in so much as one takes place while Jesus is on the way to deal with the other. When you read the passage you should notice that it is almost as if Jesus is side-tracked by the woman on his way to heal Jairus’ daughter. However, this would be an incorrect reading of the passage.
When reading about Jairus’ daughter, the incident reminded me of Lazarus and how after hearing that Lazarus was ill, Jesus waited two days before going to Bethany (John 11:6). The death of Jairus’ daughter is no more a surprise to Jesus than the death of his friend, Lazarus. If Jesus had gone straight to Jairus’ house and healed his daughter, it would have been recorded as another physical healing. The fact that he was delayed and the daughter had died, gave Jesus the opportunity to demonstrate something unheard of: the power to raise a person from the dead.
Being a synagogue leader Jairus went out on a limb to ask for Jesus’ help. He probably recognised the powerlessness of his formal religion to deal with such a major incident in his life. It is likely that he had already heard something about Jesus, so that when he saw him he was willing to ask him for help. In Mark 5:22-24 we read – ‘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 so that she will be healed and live.’ So Jesus went with him’.
At this point Jairus would have been relieved. He had asked for Jesus’ help and Jesus was going with him to his home. Then comes the delay as Jesus heals the woman. Can you imagine what Jairus would have been feeling at this moment? I’m sure he would have been like most of us, he would have been focussed on his own needs, wishing that Jesus would hurry up and come to his house to heal his daughter. However, think of it this way – because of the delay Jairus hears that his daughter has died (5:35), but Jesus says to him ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’ (5:36). What Jesus is saying to Jairus is: ‘You’ve just seen me healing the woman, so you have no reason to be afraid. I can do this’.
We know from the passage that when Jesus arrived at the house the people there ridiculed him. They knew the girl was dead and as far as they were concerned no-one could raise a person from the dead. The end of the story is that Jesus raises the girl to life in the presence of Jairus and his wife and the disciples who were with him (Peter, James and John).
In the previous post we talked about reactions to Jesus. It is the same in this second part of Mark 5. Firstly there is the reaction of Jairus who could say: ‘Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live’ (5:23). Secondly, there is the woman who said: ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed’ (5:28). Thirdly, there is the reaction of the crowd at Jairus’ house who thought they knew better than Jesus as we are told: ‘They laughed at him’ (5:40). Lastly, we have the reaction of Jairus, his wife and the three disciples: ‘… they were completely astonished’ (5:42).
As I said at the end of the previous post – don’t be surprised at people’s reactions to Jesus. While some believe, others will ridicule him. Pray that more and more people will be completely astonished by what Jesus can do in their lives.
Pray: Father, we thank you that even when people ridicule you and your Son, you are patiently waiting for them to be astonished by the fact that only in Christ can they find forgiveness. We pray that your Holy Spirit would bring those you have called to a point of repentance. Amen