When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and 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. … While Jesus was speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 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. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”) Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. Mark 5:21-24a, 35-43 NIV

In Mark 4:35 – Mark 5:43 Jesus is shown to have authority over creation, over evil or unclean spirits, over illness and over death. In each of these stories the people in need have fear, uncertainty, even despair, but in each episode the main characters bring their seemingly insurmountable problem to Jesus and have faith he can help.

Jairus most likely lives in Capernaum, a city on the northwest side of the sea of Galilee. Because Jesus spends considerable time here and is well known, a large crowd greets him as he reaches the shore. Jairus has an important job – managing the local synagogue, but does not hesitate to humble himself in front of Jesus and beg for him to come and heal his young daughter. In this society, girls were not valued beyond their potential to become a wife and mother. Jesus demonstrates compassion and Jairus his love, in their mutual concern for this young girl. Jesus agrees to come to Jairus’ home, but is interrupted by the healing of a hemorrhaging woman while on the way.

Messengers from Jairus’ home tell Jesus and Jairus that his daughter has died, don’t bother the teacher any more. “Don’t be afraid; just believe,” Jesus tells the grieving father (Mark 5:36). Jairus had faith to come to Jesus to ask for healing, now Jesus tells him to believe, even though it seems that all hope of healing is gone.

Everything becomes personal and private as this episode concludes. Jesus takes only the parents, Peter, James and John into the room, he takes the girl’s hand, and tells her to get up. She does get up; Jesus tells her parents to feed her and to tell no one about the miracle. Touching a dead body, as Jesus did, was taboo, it makes a person unclean. The man with the evil spirit was also considered unclean, as was the hemorrhaging woman, because of her constant bleeding. Jesus is not afraid of touching those considered unclean. He wants us to bring our messy, unclean, broken, and seemingly insurmountable problems to him. He wants to make us clean, to restore us, to heal us, to save us. His message is, “Don’t be afraid; just believe,” Mark 5:36. Ask Jesus to help you with your mess, He loves you.

By Grace Hunter