Yesterday I preached from Mark’s gospel account of the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter. As we look at the text of Mark 5:21-43, we see the scene unfold through the perspective that was given to Mark as the story was told to him by Peter. Consider the fact that Jairus was in a state of desperation as he approached Jesus. Although he was a ruler of the synagogue, he approached Jesus out of desperation to save his dying daughter. The way in which he fell at the feet of Jesus begging Him to lay hands on his dying daughter demonstrated the despair in which Jairus experienced.
As Jairus was leading Jesus to his home, they were stopped by a woman who needed to be healed of a perpetual menstrual hemorrhage. This delayed their progress and Jesus did heal the woman. As Jesus was speaking to the woman, some people came to Jairus from his home and delivered the worst possible news, “Your daughter is dead.” If you notice, they didn’t pull Jairus off to the side and tell him in private. They crushed his heart in the midst of the crowd – dashing his hopes to the point of deep fear. What seemed difficult before was now something that looked impossible. In fact, they reinforced this thought by saying, “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” J.C. Ryle, in his commentary on this passage, writes, “Death comes to halls and palaces, as well as to cottages—to landlords as well as to tenants—to rich as well as to poor.”
Jesus was ignoring the bad news bearers, and then turned immediately to the broken Jairus and said, “Do not fear, only believe.” From that point they made their way to the home with three other disciples (Peter, James, and John) accompanying them. As they arrived at the home, they witnessed a great commotion. The scene was heart wrenching. People were weeping and wailing. Flute players were playing (Matthew 9:23). The family was visibly broken. In the midst of turmoil, Jesus entered the scene and explained that she was merely asleep – not dead. Jesus was communicating something similar to the scene of Lazarus. He said that he was sleeping too, but he had been dead for days.
Jesus moved the crowd out of the home and in a startling turn of events, with the background noise of professional mourners and flute players who had gathered for a funeral, Jesus said, “Talitha cumi” meaning, “Little girl, I say to you arise.” Mark says, “And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement” (Mark 5:42). The family and disciples were overcome with amazement. The little lifeless cold corpse of this twelve year old girl had been restored to life and she immediately stood up and walked! This was no fake miracle. With a bit of effort, you can pull a rabbit out of a hat. Raising a lifeless girl from the dead is beyond a trick. This entire scene validates the reality that Jesus is God.
I often imagine what the scene would have looked like as Jesus and His disciples opened the door and departed from the home. As the crowd of friends, family, and flute players entered the home to prepare for a funeral, perhaps Jairus said, “Well, since you are all here and the flute players are playing, rather than a funeral, let’s have a party!”