40 And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.
43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45 And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” 47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
49 While He was still speaking, someone *came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.” 50 But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” 51 When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother. 52 Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. 54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. 56 Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.
We covered some of the differences between this passage and Matthew 9:18-26. Namely, in Matthew, Jairus tells Jesus that his daughter is dead, while here he says she is dying. Most commentators translate the passage in Matthew as Jairus telling Jesus that his daughter is at the point of death and may have died already during his brief absence.
The image is desperation. Jairus is a synagogue official. He’s a priest or scribe. Probably a Pharisee or Sadducee, who, as you recall, were not exactly fond of Jesus. But any parent will understand this story. We’d do anything to heal our kids when they don’t feel well, and there is nothing like the sense of helplessness that comes over you as you realize that you can’t make the pain stop or can’t make it all better.
Jairus will do anything for his little girl, even buck the leaders of his religious order and go to Jesus for help. All pride went right out the window when he arrived and fell down on his knees, begging Christ to come to his house and heal his daughter.
Jesus doesn’t hold grudges. He doesn’t spurn the man. He doesn’t turn him away. Jesus accepts Jairus. And Jesus goes with him.
Of course, the other difficult part of this passage is dealing with the fact of sickness, pain, and death all around us now. Or even then, really. There were other little children all around the world who would lie sick and not be healed. Others who would suffer and pass away, leaving behind grieving families and broken hearts. Leaving behind questions as to where God is in the middle of our suffering.
Jesus was helping those in need who were right in front of Him, while pushing onward to the cross where He would triumph over death, end sin, and give us hope that even in death, there would be life in Him.
But there’s still the problem of pain. Especially innocents afflicted with pain. And I don’t think there is an answer to that. God is there with us, feeling and understanding our grief. And I guess we have to try and hold on to that.
Well, Jesus is surrounded by a crowd, so much so, that it was probably difficult for Him to move through the streets, with all of the jostling and bustling. You can imagine Jairus’ frustration that things were so slow going.
And then Jesus stops and asks who in the crowd touched Him.
I imagine Jairus thought of screaming, “Everyone! Everyone is touching you, can we please go?!” Fortunately, Simon Peter says that for him. Jesus insists that someone touched Him. He felt power go out of Him.
But instead, a woman comes forward. Also desperate, also suffering. She is an outcast as well. In ancient Judaism, a woman having a period was ceremonially unclean. This woman had been suffering from bleeding for 12 years. Twelve years, cut off from her faith (and really from God according to her faith.) Twelve years of going from doctor to doctor until she had spent all of her life’s savings on various treatments to try and stop the bleeding.
You can imagine her pain and frustration too. Until she hears of Jesus of Nazareth and believes that if she just brushes her fingers against the hem of his cloak, she’d finally be free from her affliction. So she gets close enough. She fights her way through the crowd, reaches out her hand, and catches the lower hem of Jesus’ cloak.
And she’s healed.
And then Jesus stops, turns, and calls the one who touched Him to come forward. She does so and confesses everything to Him. Jesus looks at her and calls her daughter.
It’s an interesting thought to think that God cares as much for us as we do for our children. That should make each of us feel good. And there is a promise that our Father will wipe away every tear. A promise that all will be well, if not now, then when we come face to face with Him.
As all this is going on, Jairus is tapped on the shoulder by a messenger from his house. Jairus probably knows what the messenger is going to say before the words leave his lips.
His daughter is dead.
And Jesus interrupts to tell Jairus to continue to have faith. All will be well. Well, Jairus could have laughed. Other people did. There was no coming back from death. But he didn’t. There was something about Jesus or His words that made Jairus hold on to hope in the middle of a hopeless situation. So they went on together to his house and found a house of mourning.
Well, the crowds did laugh at Jesus and the hope He offered. So He had them removed from the house. This wasn’t the place for them. This was a place of intimacy. A family in grief. God with them in their house comforting them.
And then Jesus demonstrates His own power over death and calls the little girl back. She wakes up and sits up in bed.
You can imagine the tears of joy and the many hugs and kisses that followed as mom and dad rejoiced in awe that in the darkest place, there was still hope. They were so overcome with emotion that Jesus stepped in and reminded them that the girl hadn’t eaten in a while and they should make her some lunch.
Jesus tells them not to spread the word around about what happened. I’ve speculated before that if word had become wide-spread, then Jesus would have been overwhelmed with endless requests for resurrections. People would have swarmed Him asking or demanding that their loved ones be brought back to life. And Jesus would have been distracted from His overall mission to end death once and for all. But admittedly that’s speculation on my part.
Regardless, word gets out. There were scores of people at Jairus’ home that day that had heard or seen the little girl die. Now they’d see here walking with her daddy or playing in front of their house. And they were no longer laughing. Perhaps now they were wondering if there really was hope in the midst of our mortality and suffering.