Lukeby Mike Raiter
Jesus has stilled a storm and cleansed a man possessed by demons. Now, He confronts humanity’s last and greatest enemy: death (1 Corinthians 15:26).
The ruler of the local synagogue, Jairus, desperately pleads with Jesus to come to his house quickly; his beloved daughter is dying (vv. 41–42). Jesus agrees to come but, on the way, stops to help a woman who has suffered from bleeding (vv. 43–48). What might Jairus be saying to himself? “Certainly, her problem is serious, but she’s lived with it for 12 years. My daughter has her whole life before her and is inches away from death.”
Once again, we see Jesus’ compassion for a woman whose condition would render her unclean (Leviticus 15:25–27). Her act of touching Jesus’ garment is not some act of foolish superstition, but of faith in the power of Jesus. Despite her fear, Jesus kindly commends her faith as the kind of faith that saves, both now and forever.
Tragically, it seems, this delay has proved fatal. Jairus receives news that his daughter has died (v. 49). What must he be feeling now—pain, grief, perhaps even anger? Then Jesus brings him his greatest personal challenge: believe or despair.
While the crowds weep and wail, mocking any suggestion that the child isn’t really dead, Jesus takes the parents and three disciples into her room. With the same authoritative word that calmed a storm and dismissed a legion of demons, death is banished as, with a touch of His hand, Jesus restores the girl to life (vv. 51–55).
Jesus tells those present to say nothing about this. Mind you, how could you keep such a thing secret? While He delights to bring physical life to people, Jesus knows He has an even greater work to do, and that is to bring to people the words of eternal life.
How foolish in today’s world that people compare Jesus to other religious leaders and teachers. No one else commands the forces of nature. Before no one else does all the hosts of darkness tremble and submit. Only one man has authority over life and death. He is incomparable. No wonder they call Him the Saviour. No wonder they call Him the Lord.
You would probably not consider Jairus or the woman with the flow of blood people of great faith. Both were fearful (vv. 47, 50). What does Jesus’ response to them teach us about the character of faith?
Think about the people Jesus has met and blessed over the past two chapters. What conclusions can you draw about the kind of people whom Jesus then—and now—ministered to?