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19. Good News for the Sick

b) The Daughter of Jairus, a Synagogue Leader

On this occasion also, we are told that a large crowd was following Jesus when Jairus, a synagogue leader, approached Jesus and pleaded with Him to help his twelve year old daughter. After Jesus cured a woman who had unsuccessfully sought help from various doctors because of her excessive bleeding, He went to Jairus' house.

The Gospel account reports the whole incident:

“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 still 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)

When Jesus arrived at Jairus' home, loud mourning for the dead girl had commenced. Then Jesus told Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” When the mourners mocked Jesus for telling them that the child was not dead but slept, Jesus had the house cleared of all people. Then He, three of His disciples and the girl's parents approached the child. Jesus took her by the hand and said in His own language, Aramaic, Talitha koum!” (“Little daughter, get up!”).

Again the voice of Jesus. Again the dead heard and obeyed His voice! Again Jesus demonstrated how God acted through Him and why He was called “Jesus”, which means, “God helps”, “God saves”.

In this book how many indications of the coming of the Kingdom of God and God's Messiah we have already seen! The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed. And now, as if to climax all these works, even the dead are raised! (Cf. Luke 7:18-23)

Then let us remember once more Jesus' words to Jairus: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” If the opposite of belief is unbelief, it can also be fear – fear that you are alone, helpless, forsaken, despised, beyond forgiveness, without hope; that God has abandoned you and cares not about you, your condition and your future, even your salvation. Is this how, for whatever reason, you sometimes think and feel? Then look once more at Jesus and His works to discover God's love and care for you. And ponder the words of His great apostle John who said: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

Finally, what a wonderful testimony of God’s care of children! And Jesus’ assurance that children best qualify to come into God’s Kingdom!

Father of mercy,
Lover of all children,
Who in their form didst send thy Son;
Gladly we bless thee, humbly we pray thee,
For all the little ones of earth.
In thy compassion,
Helper of the helpless,
Tend them in sickness, ease their pain;
Heal their diseases, lighten their sorrows,
And from all evil keep them free.
Power and blessing
Grant us now and ever,
Who fain would serve them in thy Name;
May all our labour, crowned by thy favour,
Bear fruit eternal unto thee.
(The Book of Common Prayer, Oxford University Press, 1938)

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