The Reading: Mark 5:21-42
“Little girl, I say to you, arise” (v.41) RSV
There are three recorded raisings from the dead performed by Jesus. We have already considered one: “Lazarus, come out” (John 11:43). The second is the widow of Nain’s son: “Young man, I say to you, arise” (Luke 7:14). And the third, which we consider this week, Jairus’ daughter: “Talitha cumi” which means “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (v.41). Surely the consistency of working cannot be missed, nor can it be coincidental. Each time Jesus gives a short word of command. This word is heard, received and responded to.
But as ever, faith is the prerequisite. Without faith it is not only impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), but it is more or less impossible for God to work through us. A world in rebellion and unbelief stifles God’s activity.
Jesus had to work hard to create the ambience of faith in order for the little girl to be brought back to life. Jairus, her father, had to overcome his status as a ruler of the local synagogue. Not only did he have to risk the disapproval of his congregation, but he also came in abject humility to fall at the feet of Jesus. This man expressed true love for his daughter; he would do anything for her. And the direction of his hope was Jesus.
All was well at first, Jesus “went with him” (v.24), but then disaster struck. Jesus was diverted and distracted with the needs of the woman who had been haemorrhaging for the past twelve years (the same length of time that Jairus’ daughter had been living). During this delay news came of the girl’s death. But Jesus strengthened the father’s faith, “Do not fear, only believe” (v.36). When they arrived at the house, Jesus put out all the unbelievers and scornful mourners. He took with him his strongest (in faith) disciples and the child’s parents. Their combined faith and love enabled Jesus to exercise that confident authority over all evil: “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (v.41).
Thank you Lord for those who are strong in faith. May we encourage one another so that we can become channels of your power to heal and save. Amen.
1 How did Elisha raise a dead boy?
2 How did God create the world?