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[c] 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.
Jesus Over Anger and Disappointment
Can you imagine Jairus’ feelings as Jesus delays to heal a sick woman? Now he receives news that whilst they were dawdling on their way, his twelve-year-old daughter has died. I can’t imagine the transition that occurs within him as he hears the news. I know that I would have been furious at the delay. The woman Jesus healed had been bleeding for twelve years. She could have bled one more day without dying. Jairus’ daughter had minutes not years to live. Now with the passing of precious minutes she has died. Then Jesus tells him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Professional mourners come to tell Jairus that the mourning is to get started, and now Jesus contradicts them. Is this a sick joke? However, Jairus must have had a shred of faith and they walk together to Jairus’ house. Taking a step past broken dreams and a broken heart into a bright future is hard when the grief and anxiety seem so justified and powerful.
Now Jesus enters into the chaotic wailing and grieving of Jairus’ home. Professional mourners with instruments would have started helping the grieving family to release their distress. Does Jesus have a smirk when he knows how he is about to put the mourners out of a job. What he says to them sounds like a sick joke, and they laugh. However, it is not with Jesus but at Jesus that they laugh.
Jesus has compassion on Jairus’ household and raises their daughter. It is a sign of who he is, but one that is to be kept quiet. Being too well known as a revolutionary, ushering in a new kingdom, would draw the wrong kind of attention. Also Jesus’ mission was not to come as an emergency vehicle (N.T. Wright). He didn’t come as a first-responder but to evoke strong responses in the hearts of those whose lives he touched. The question raised is whether we would choose to believe in Jesus in such circumstances. Would we be enraged at his delay? Would we be crushed at hearing such awful news? Would we still turn to Jesus in a moment of despair and wait to see how he moves?
I have stored up such a well of anxiety about whether I am safe and accepted. I built up layers of protection, but they just kept my grief in, they didn’t prevent life from affecting me. Now you lead me on to places that heal me, but it is not all at once and it is not forever – yet. I look forward to the day when you will raise me from death and say, “Peter, get up.” Then things will be as they were meant to be. All the sinful patterns I have will cease. The Father’s wisdom will be clear to me as I make decisions. I will be accepted by my Creator, the one who knows me more intimately than I know myself.
Help us to see in these days exactly what we are meant to have faith in. I have a childhood friend who is dying very young. I don’t know what to do for him, but I bring his case to you. I have friends who are anxious, grieved, even enraged. I pray that they would come to you in an open way and that you would lift their burdens.
- Why has Jesus delayed his visit to Jairus’ house?
- What is Jesus’ response to news of death?
- What does this story teach us about Jesus, faith, and fear?
- Are there situations where all hope is lost for you? What are they?
- How does Jesus want to walk with us beyond ‘all hope is lost’?