Let’s look again at Mark chapter 5, and this is part 2 in this text that records really two incidents, one inside the other, from Mark 5:21 to the end of the chapter, verse 43. We have already considered the first portion of this passage down through verse 34, and we’ll pick up the story in verse 35 with a little bit of a review; and what we’re going to see in verses 35 to 43 is Jesus breaking up a funeral by raising the person from the dead.
Breaking up a funeral; wouldn’t you love to be able to do that? Wouldn’t we all love to be able to do that? We understand that funerals are the most desperate of all human occasions and experiences. The Bible accurately says that all the human race is in slavery to the fear of death, Hebrews 2:15. Romans 6 says that the whole human race is in slavery to sin, and the consequence of being a slave to sin is being a slave to the fear of death. Death, of course, is the ultimate fear that impregnates all other fears with its threatening and final reality. That is why Job 18:14 calls death the kind of terrors.
In Psalm 55, verses 4 and 5, we read, “My heart is in anguish within me. Horror has overwhelmed me. Fear and trembling come upon me.” Why? “The terrors of death have fallen upon me.” Everybody in the human race understands the fear, the terror of death, which then raises the question of all questions, “Can anyone, has anyone conquered death; and can I enter in to that experience of triumph?” That is the compelling question. Has anyone conquered death; and in so doing, have they made it possible for me to triumph over death?
Many years ago there was a Canadian scientist by the name of G. B. Hardy who in his search for the true religion said, “I only have two questions: Has death been conquered? And has it been conquered for me?” And in his search, he ended up the only place anybody in that search will end up, and that is with Jesus Christ who rose from the dead; and by His resurrection, provides resurrection for all who put their trust in Him. He said that is the only question that anyone should ask with regard to the selection of a religion: “Has anyone conquered death? And can that triumph be applied to me?” He checked and he said, “All religious leaders in the world have occupied tombs. Only Jesus’ tomb is empty.”
Certainly in the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – Jesus claimed to have power over death. The gospel of John begins by telling us that everything that was made was made by Him. That is to say He created everything that lives. It also says, “In Him was life.” He Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He said, “I am come to give life and to give it more abundantly.” He said, “Whoever believes in Me shall never die.” He said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” And in that one statement in John 14:19 He answered the two questions: “I live; and you can live as well.” Conquering death is the great question.
In fact, Jesus went so far as to say early in His ministry, at the very beginning, in John 2:19, “Destroy this body, and in three days I will raise it up.” That is not an idle claim. Every one of the four Gospels ends with the historical account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, unmistakably true because there were over five-hundred eyewitnesses. All the evidences are in. He conquered death for Himself.
But not only for Himself. When the disciples of John the Baptist wanted to know whether Jesus was the Messiah, when they were asking the question, “Is it He, or should there be another who would come?” The answer came; and these are the words of that answer, defining the reality of who Christ was: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.” That’s the answer to the question.
It’s one thing to make the claim to raise people from the dead, it’s another thing to be able to do it. It’s one thing to claim that you will conquer death, it’s another thing to do it. And Jesus showed His power over death in the resurrections that He accomplished with a word, with a command during His ministry, and by the power exhibited in His own resurrection. And consequently, as Hebrews 2 tells us, He then destroyed the one who had the power of death, namely Satan, and delivered them who through fear of death for all their lifetime subject to its bondage or slavery.
Now in the passage that we’re looking at, chapter 5, it’s kind of the final factor in a series of stories that give us insight into the power of Jesus. The first one came in chapter 4, and we saw His power over nature as He controlled the wind and the waves. And then in chapter 5, the chapter opened with a maniac in Gadara who was possessed by a legion of demons, thousands of them. We saw Jesus’ power not only over nature, but over demons. And then in our last study, we met a woman with an issue of blood, and again we saw Jesus’ power over disease. And here in the final portion of this text, we see His power over death. Certainly there is no one who has ever lived, no figure in any religion that has exhibited this kind of historical power. He stands alone.
Now let me set the scene for you a little bit. Go back to verse 21, because, as I told you, the miracle of the woman healed of the issue of blood is sandwiched inside the story of the resurrection, and it begins in verse 21.
“When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat,” – that is from the eastern side of the lake back to the northwestern side, near the town of Capernaum, after the experience of the storm getting over there, and then the deliverance of the maniac, now they return – “a large crowd, as always, numbering in the tens of thousands, very likely, gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet and implored Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay your hands on her so that she will get well and live.’ And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.”
What did we learn last week about this man? He’s a desperate parent. He is what any parent would be; he’s at the end of his resources, and his twelve-year-old daughter – verse 42 tells us she was twelve years old – she is near death, and he is profoundly anxious over this reality – a desperate parent with a dying daughter. He is a synagogue official. That is to say he is part of the religious establishment, not a clergyman, not a rabbi or a priest, a Pharisee or a scribe; but a lay person who is part of the clerical system, nonetheless, part of the religious establishment, certainly under the authority of the scribes and Pharisees.
We all know how they felt about Jesus; they hated Him and wanted Him dead. But here is a man who is unfaithful to his religious system. He has come to believe in Jesus. He has come to believe in His power. He is so confident, that no matter what happens, he never demonstrates the least amount of doubt. He is confident, he is strong in faith in the person and the power of Jesus. He comes and makes an open public confession of the dilemma that he’s in, and an open confession that he believes in the power of Jesus.
And that is public, and that would demonstrate his indifference toward the political religious establishment to which he was accountable. This is a bold step. We see him come then humbly. He comes and falls down worshipfully, and he begs in full confidence for the healing of his daughter.
We noted last time that he would surely have been previously aware of all the miracles Jesus had done, even of the time when He forgave the sins of the man who was lowered through the roof in that very area – very much possibility that it was at Peter’s house, which is a very, very short two-minute walk from the synagogue in Capernaum where he very likely was the official. He may well have been in the synagogue when Jesus cast the demons out of the man who screamed at Him during the time He was speaking there. He certainly was aware of the miracles. He had come to the conclusion that Jesus indeed was a divine miracle worker. He had absolute trust in and confidence in His power, and so he comes to Jesus.
And Jesus responds to him. And we put a little outline together and said, first of all, if you want to look at the whole scene at the perspective of Jesus and how He ministered to people, we would say, first, He was accessible. He was right in the crush of the crowd day, after day, after day, only escaping occasionally to teach His disciples in some isolation, or to be alone with His Father.
He was not only accessible to the crowds, He was available to individuals. And here comes a man, and it tells us in verse 24 that He went off with him. It wasn’t easy to get to the house where the man lived and where the daughter was so ill, because a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him. It would be very, very difficult even to move.
We then said that not only was He accessible and available, but He was interruptible, because all of a sudden in verse 25, a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years appears – and we went in to the details of that story. That would fall under the medical term today “obstetric fistula.” That is a problem even today. This kind of continual bleeding is a problem, particularly in Africa. I was reading something about it this week. There are as many as four million women who have this problem in Africa. It can be remedied by a simple surgery to which they have no access, sadly. And certainly the woman in this story in Israel had no such help.
But Jesus healed her on the spot. And not only did He heal her, it tells us in verse 34 at the end that she was healed of her affliction. But in the same verse before that, “Daughter,” – identifying her as a child of God – “your faith” – literally in the Greek – “has saved you.”
She, I believe, was not only delivered physically from this terrible, terrible blight which made her perpetually unclean, and anybody she touched unclean, even her own husband and family. She couldn’t go to the synagogue; she couldn’t go the temple; she couldn’t be with people. She was healed with that with all of its social implications; but more importantly, she was healed of her sin. And so, Jesus interruptible, never in a hurry, stops to bring into the kingdom one of His own daughters. This, as we said last time, her effectual call into salvation. He knows His sheep and He calls them.
Now He is speaking to the woman, in verse 35, still speaking, perhaps to the woman and to the crowd around, doing further teaching. Who knows what that conversation was about. But it’s precisely at that time as He’s finishing up with this woman and beginning to move in the direction of the house of Jairus who was extremely anxious. Just on the edge of pushing through the crushing crowd as they’re beginning in that direction, verse 35 says, “They” – meaning plural, messengers – “came from the house of the synagogue official, saying,” – speaking to Jairus – ‘Your daughter has died. Your daughter has died.’”
The delay has proven deadly. Did they know that Jairus was going to find Jesus? Certainly they did. Certainly he would have told his wife, family, friends. But now Jesus has delayed, and she is dead. This is reminiscent, isn’t it, of Martha’s attitude in John 11:21 when they sent word that Lazarus was sick. Jesus was up on the Jordan, and they sent word to Him that Lazarus, His friend, was sick; and Jesus delayed. And when He finally arrived, and Martha says to Him, “It’s too late. It’s too late. You could have done something if You had gotten here before He died.”
These are people who had seen the miracle power of Jesus, but found it difficult to believe that He could raise the dead. The implication is that Jesus has been wasting His time. Certainly the implication of these messengers, whether they were family members or associates, was that Jairus was an exceedingly important person. Wherever Jesus had focused His attention, to whomever He had been giving His interest, whatever reasons there were for the slow movement, perhaps Jesus didn’t really understand how important Jairus was. Wouldn’t it have been pretty much standard procedure for people to jump when Jairus wanted something, or needed something?
Maybe he was a good man; certainly he was a noble and religious man. And I think he’s come to be a believer in Jesus Christ. In this story his faith is rock solid. And perhaps they were looking at the situation in a way that he didn’t even look at it, because there never is any statement that comes out of his lips but confidence in Jesus. But certainly those who were part of his life who were unbelievers, we know that, because later on they laugh at Jesus, thought that Jesus had been wasting his time when he should have been spending it with a very important man. If they had known about this woman, maybe some told them what was going on; if they did know, they would have said that Jesus had spent His time with the most rejected instead of the most respected.
Well the messengers express hopelessness at this point. They say, “Why trouble the Teacher anymore? Why trouble the Teacher anymore?” That title “the Teacher” is important for you to note, because if you think that Jesus’ reputation was as a miracle worker, you’ve missed it. His reputation was as a teacher. His message was more important than His miracles. His miracles made the point that He was divine, but His message was critical; and He was known as the Teacher, Teacher – title of respect, didaskalon, shows His emphasis. “It’s too late to bother the Teacher; your daughter has died.”
Now Jesus is in the midst of a crushing, noisy, demanding, even aggressive crowd, and He is so calm. He is like the eye of a hurricane. And so I want to give you a fifth point. It’s a word that I like, it’s not used very much. He was imperturbable. I like that word. A synonym – if you like it better – is another word I like: unflappable. It means calm, tranquil, undisturbed, unruffled.
There could be absolute chaos going on around Him, panicky messengers, an anxious Jairus, a crushing crowd laying all of its demands on Jesus; and He is just completely at calm, moving inexorably in the sovereign purposes of His Father. We see that unfold in the whole scene as He moves to the house.
But let’s pick it up in verse 36: “But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken,” – the dialogue about the fact that the girl is dead, and there’s no reason to bother Him anymore – “said to the synagogue official,” – here’s the literal Greek language, ‘Stop fearing; keep on believing. Stop fearing; keep on believing. Replace your fear with your faith.’”
There’s a wonderful Old Testament demonstration of that in one of the most wonderful Psalms, Psalm 22, which our Lord quotes on the cross a portion of it: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” This is one of David’s cries of anguish. “Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night; but I have no rest. Yet You are holy. O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel, in You our fathers trusted. They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered. In You they trusted and were not disappointed.” There is David exercising praise so that his faith can triumph over his fear.
That’s the attitude that Jesus wants for this man Jairus: “Stop fearing; continue believing.” And Luke 8:50 adds in the parallel passage – this is in Luke and in Matthew, parallel accounts. Luke adds that Jesus also said, “And she will be made well. She will be made well. You have nothing to fear.” And there Jesus gives him the words that so much wanted to hear. Our Lord’s perspective is completely different than everybody around Him, because He moves in the perfect knowledge of the will of His Father.
Verse 37, they begin to move toward the house, that’s implied: “And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James.” Obviously He couldn’t take the crowd. He couldn’t even take the twelve into the house; that would be too much, asking too much.
This is the first time in the ministry of our Lord that He isolates these three; this is the first time. And get used to it, right? The inner circle: Peter, James, and John. They were three of the first four apostles that He called. James and John were brothers, and Peter and Andrew were brothers. Peter becomes the leader. James and John, the other two intimates. And Andrew is a sometime inclusion in the inner circle. This is the first occasion where He separates them out: Peter the leader, John the lover, and James the first martyr.
It isn’t that they were to be given special treatment, is it rather that they were to become the channel of intimate experiences, personal teaching back to the rest. They were not the end, they were not the cul-de-sac, they were not the dead end; they were merely the conduit. Jesus could only give Himself intimately to a few; and this must be the perfect number for Him to work with intimately; and through these three disseminated the experiences and the instruction back to the rest. Important for leaders to understand that, I think.
So Jesus says, “Only you can come.” For the first time they’re looking at each other and saying, “Wow,” because this is their first time as His intimate triumvirate.
Verse 38: “They came to the house of the synagogue official.” Took a while. I would think that the occasion with the woman was a lot longer than it took to read it, and maybe even a lot longer than it took to preach it.
Remember now, these are stories that are summarized. These are cryptic reports on these events. The conversations were longer, and more extensive, and more repeated; that’s why you have differing statements in comparing the gospel records together, because they weren’t just one statement, one answer, one movement, one act. That’s just simply a reporting of it in a condensed way. We don’t know how long it took for Jesus to talk to the woman, to speak to the woman, to speak to the crowd about the woman, to teach. But perhaps hours, perhaps hours, because by the time they get to the house, pressing through the crushing crowd, the house is in a commotion, and people are loudly weeping and wailing.
What does that tell you? The funeral was on in full force. So time for the knowledge of the girl’s death to be disseminated, for the weepers and the wailers and the flute players – we’ll talk about them in a minute – to be invited, everybody is there, and this chaotic cacophony is in full force. And again I see the imperturbability of Jesus in this; He just never moves in a panic, never. He moves so calmly, so tranquilly from one thing to another in the purposes of God. The commotion was stimulated by Matthew 9:23 saying there were flute players, and Matthew says the crowd was in noisy disorder.
Now I need to tell you, folks, this is a different kind of funeral than you’ve been to. I’ve never been to a noisy, chaotic, loud funeral. In fact, typically when you go to a funeral, if you go to a funeral home, there’s a sign outside the door that says, “Please be quiet. Quiet please.” People talk in whispers and hush, and everybody moves slowly, not wanting to cause any kind of disturbance. And the organ plays soft kind of mellow music. We do funerals that way. We approach funerals in that kind of somber way in the Western World. That was not how they did it in the Eastern World; and it isn’t even that way today.
Let me tell you what would be going on there; we can put this together from history. Jewish funerals had three elements that would be a little bit unique for us. One, you came and you expressed your grief loudly. You shriek and howl; and everybody does that. And it is required that you tear your clothes. Okay. So when you go to a funeral in our environment, we find good clothes. When you went to a funeral then and you knew you were going to have to rip it up, you found something you didn’t mind ripping up.
This became so involved that Jewish tradition came up with thirty-nine regulations on how to tear your clothes. So I suppose you had people talking to each other about the regulations to make sure they didn’t leave anything out. Tearing was to be done, for example, while you’re standing up. If you were related to the dead person, you had to tear your garment directly over the heart. If you weren’t related to the person, you could tear your garment somewhere else near the heart.
And by the way, the tear was to be there, and the garment was to be worn over a thirty-day period so that you continue to show your attitude of mourning. You could sew it up for obvious reasons, but originally it had to be torn big enough to put your fist through. Modest people would tear their undergarments, or wear the torn garment backwards. The tradition developed that you could sew it up loosely, but it had to be evident that it had been torn. So you have people there who are shrieking, and howling, and wailing, and weeping, and ripping their clothes.
Now the second element of a funeral was you brought in the professional wailers who had developed the art of howling and shrieking. They wailed, sort of priming the pump, you might say, to get everybody else wailing. Agony was magnified, not shrouded in silence.
And then the third thing they had was the playing of flutes. That was the most common instrument. And lots of folks could play flutes; and they all showed up with their flutes and played dissonant notes, a cacophony of things that didn’t go together. So if you ever walked into an event like that, you wouldn’t even believe it was a funeral; you would think it was a contemporary musical event. Yeah.
The very poorest of the Israelites had to have at least two flutes and one wailing woman. In fact, this was part of the Ancient World. Seneca, the Roman statesman, reported there was so much screaming and wailing at the death of Emperor Claudius that he felt Claudius heard it from the grave. And that’s what was going on, just chaos.
And Jesus, in this majestic tranquility comes in, verse 39: “Entering in, He said to them, ‘Why make a commotion and weep? Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.’” According to Luke He said, “Stop weeping. Why are you weeping and making this commotion? It’s pointless.” Matthew adds, “He said, ‘Get out. Get out.’” Strong language.
Peter did the same thing, you remember, in the book of Acts, when he came to the house of Dorcas who had died, also called Tabitha; and he threw everybody out, and then by the power of Christ raised her from the dead.
“This is no place for screaming, howling, wailing. Stop it.” This is Jesus in this magnificent, majestic, authority. He says, “Get out.” Literally the Greek word, “Back out. Back out. This funeral is over.”
Well, those words would shock the crowd. Could you imagine? They would offend the mourners who were doing what their tradition dictated. And then the Lord explains why He said, “Stop and get out. The child has not died, but is asleep.”
In that moment, Jesus redefined death as a temporary condition. That’s why He uses the metaphor or the analogy of sleep. Sleep is a temporary disconnect, isn’t it? You’re insensitive to the environment around you when you’re asleep. You don’t hear the conversations, you don’t participate socially; you’re asleep. But it’s a temporary situation. And Jesus is saying for this girl, “This is just asleep; it’s temporary. This is not permanent.”
Well, unless any of them had seen another resurrection Jesus had done, they would have never in their life heard of anybody being raised from the dead; and they would never ever refer to death as sleep – sleep being something temporary. This concept of death as sleep is picked up by the apostles, isn’t it?, in the New Testament. The apostle Paul loves to refer to believers dying as being asleep, like he refers in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, to “all those who sleep in Jesus will be caught up in the rapture.”
God will raise us. We who know the Lord Jesus Christ when we die, the body sleeps, the soul immediately in the presence of the Lord. “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” “Far better to depart and be with Christ.” That’s the soul. But the body sleeps until the glorious resurrection at the return of Christ. And so you can refer to the death of a Christian as a release of the soul into the presence of the Lord, but the body sleeps until the day of resurrection. And so death, in a sense for a Christian, becomes described as sleep because it’s temporary, temporary, temporary state.
Well, the reaction of all these mourners – and pretty predictable, I suppose, in one sense – tells us that Jairus may have been a rather isolated believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, because they don’t have any respect for Jesus at all. Verse 40: “They began laughing at Him, laughing at Him,” – and Luke adds – “knowing that she had died.” It’d be obvious. I mean a few hours have passed; this child is blue; this child is dead. They’d been there. “What in the world are you saying? The child has not died, but is asleep?”
Jesus didn’t respond positively to that kind of derision. It says, “But putting them all out.” He had already told them, according to Matthew, to get out; but they had not left. Rather, they stayed and mocked Him, and so He began putting them out. This would be reminiscent of His cleansing the temple, wouldn’t it? I don’t know how He did it, but He ran them out, and He emptied the place.
Their laughter was a gloating over a stupid remark, showing ignorance. It is the laughter of one who feels superior. It’s mocking laughter. And by the way, if you can go from weeping and wailing and mourning in a split second to laughing, you’re not really grieving. But the act is over.
In Luke, if you were to read Luke’s words about this in the King James, the original Authorized Version, it’s really richly translated. It’s the verb katagelaō, and it translates, “They laughed Him to scorn.” It was that kind of laughter, the laughter of ridicule, the scornful laughter of supposed superiority. “What kind of fool is this who thinks this child is merely asleep?”
The world still mocks and scoffs at the reality of Christ’s power over death, but that doesn’t limit Him in any way. Accessible, available, interruptible, indomitable, imperturbable, perfectly calm. Finally, what can I say, kind loving, maybe charitable, if you want a B-L word, B-L-E word like we’ve had.
The last point here is just His tenderness, His love, His kindness. He came, displayed power. The resurrection, could have simply been a power display, say a word and it’s done. But there’s so much tenderness displayed in this that we see His loving heart.
Back to verse 40: “After clearing the house, He took along the child’s father and mother.” You can just see Him getting them in their grief and in the silence after the chaos. He takes them literally. The implication here is that He collected them somehow; maybe put His arms around them, maybe He took them by hand. “And He brought along His own companions, Peter, James, and John; and He entered the room where the child was,” entered the place where the child was, which tells us this was probably a prosperous man with a large house with many rooms.
So He comes into the room, and again you see this tenderness, taking the child by the hand. Here again this very personal touch, this very tender sensitivity, “And He said to her,” – and by the way, only Mark gives us the original Aramaic. Jesus’ daily language was Aramaic. That was the language they spoke in Israel, the New Testament being written in Greek. The other writers give us the Greek translation. “Little girl, arise.” Mark gives us the very words of Jesus in Aramaic, “Talitha kum!” – which translated means – “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”
“Talitha means a youth or a lamb. It’s as if He said, “Little lamb.” We use those kind of endearing terms, don’t we? We say to a little baby, “You little lamb you,” when we dote over them, don’t we? We don’t say that after they’re about three or so. We use other animals to describe them. But when they’re little, lamb works really well, really well.
Now this one was still a lamb in the eyes of Jesus, and she was twelve, she was twelve. And she was a lamb to that family. That was a term of endearment. “Kum, get up. Little lamb, I say to you, get up!”
Do you get the picture? Jesus is talking to a dead girl. And Luke says, “Immediately her spirit returned.” She was alive, breath in her person; life, soul, spirit came back. I love this: “Immediately the girl got up and began to walk.” No therapy. Wonderful. I mean how do you go from being dead to getting up and walk?
And it’s not just walk, it’s peripateō. We say somebody is peripatetic, we mean they never sit down, they just walk around all the time. And that’s exactly what it is, it’s the verb pateō, “to walk,” and peripateō, “walk around everywhere.” She just got up and walked around everywhere. There was no need for rehabilitation.
This was creative. She not only had life, she had all the normal strength of a twelve-year-old young lady. No rehab from a terminal illness; no recovery. But that’s the way it is in every single miracle Jesus ever did. There is no place in the Bible where therapists came in or rehabilitation came in to help a person who had just been healed get back their strength. It doesn’t happen. Every miracle is a complete miracle.
I have a new appreciation for that, having had sixty therapy sessions just for my knee. She’s old enough to walk; that’s the point of telling you she was twelve. She’s alive; she’s healthy; she can walk around with full strength.
You know, the Lord could have healed her from afar. He didn’t have to go to the house, did He? He could have healed her from afar. He could have said, “I don’t have time to go to your house, I’ve got a lot of things going here. But I’ll call down the power of God.” But then something would be missing here. What would it be? It would be the tender, personal touch, wouldn’t it? It would be the tender, personal compassion, sympathy. Let’s call that last point: charitable. That’s a word that just embraces kindness, sympathy, compassion, love, and everything.
And He’s so sensitive. At the end of verse 43, He said, “Something should be given her to eat.” Well, that’s real sensitive, because once she came to life, can you imagine how Jairus and Mrs. Jairus were responding, and all the other little Jairus’ that were running around there? I mean there was some kind of reunion going on, wouldn’t you think? And they were trying to process just exactly what was going on. And it was a great celebration, and it was great joy, and it was an exhilarating thrill and love flowing between all of them. And, hey, no one even thought of giving her something to eat.
There’s something so normal about that, isn’t there? I mean it was a miracle. But still she’s a human being in a physical body, and she needs food. She hadn’t eaten probably in a long time if she had a terminal illness. The tender sensitivity of that, Jesus attending to her simplest need for food, for nourishment.
Well, again His tenderness evident. The response? Look at verse 42: “Immediately they were completely astounded.” By the way, “immediately” appears a lot of times in the miracles of Jesus. Just to solidify the point that I’ve been giving to you, when He healed somebody, it was immediate, and it was complete, and it was permanent. And immediately there was complete astonishment on the part of the parents and everybody else who was in the room, including the three apostles: Peter, James, and John.
The verb existēmi literally means “to stand outside oneself,” or “to be beside one’s self with bewilderment.” In other words, you have no logical explanation for what you have just seen. The same word is used in chapter 3 verse 21, and translated, “out of His senses.” It’s also used in 2 Corinthians 5:13, “beside ourselves.” I mean this is just inexplicable. This just doesn’t happen. It’s a common response, by the way, to the demonstration of divine power by our Lord.
And then lastly, still in the category of His great love, “He gave them strict orders” – verse 43 – “not to tell anybody about this.” Not to tell anybody about this? Now we’re getting used to this, are we not? Chapter 1 verse 25, 34, 44; chapter 3 verse 12; here; chapter 7 verse 36; verse 26 and 30 of chapter 8; verse 9 of chapter 9.
Why does He always say this? Why does He tell them not to spread this around? Certainly Jairus’ faith was confirmed, wouldn’t you think, vindicated? And, folks, you’ve got to understand too, there was conversation going on in that house with Jairus and Jesus and the family; we just don’t have the record of it. But Jairus had his faith confirmed. I think we’ll meet Jairus in heaven, very likely that little girl too.
The strength of the faith of Peter, James, and John was certainly increased, wouldn’t you think? And so if it strengthened their faith, why not spread it around? Our Lord gives this explicit statement: “Do not do that.” But He doesn’t tell us why. In fact, as many times as it’s recorded that He said that in the Gospels, we’re never told why He said that, never.
But let me make some suggestions to you. Number one, He could have said it to avoid a stampeded on the house, to give the family time to feed the girl, and to celebrate and rejoice, and give Him more time to instruct and teach. If they went right out of the house, as you might be prone to do, and spread this everywhere, there would be a kind of a sensational response; and curiosity would drive the crowd to the house and debilitate Jesus from doing what He wanted to do, and rob away that precious time for the family and that reunion. Is that possibly behind the statement that, “You need to get her something to eat; that’s the first thing you need to do is take care of her before you draw a crowd”? Was that in His mind?
It is also possible that Jesus said this because He knew the crowds had these messianic expectations, right? Now the Jews were looking for a Messiah. They wanted the Messiah who would come demonstrate massive, divine power, and use that power to overthrow Rome, and use that power to provide everything they needed and everything that had been promised to them in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. Jesus was believed to be that Messiah; and if it ran rampant and it got carried away, the crowds could get very aggressive and try to force Him into a role that was never His intended role. Read John 6:15 where it says, “After He fed them all, they tried to force Him to be a king.” Was He trying to keep the flame of messianic expectation low, and not throw gas on it by a report of a resurrection?
Or, thirdly, was it perhaps that He was motivated not to escalate the fear and the hatred of the scribes and Pharisees who were His enemies? If the crowd got excited, then Jesus becomes a bigger threat. Then they escalate their animosity, and they have to do something to stop that threat; and in premature action against Him, they might come after Him to kill Him. That had already been tried, right? Up in Nazareth in His own hometown they tried to throw Him off a cliff.
He didn’t want wrong messianic expectations escalated, that’s true. He wasn’t going to be killed on their timetable, but on God’s timetable, at God’s time, in God’s place, and in God’s manner. And those, I think, are valid ways to understand that.
But I think there’s one that is the capstone of all, and it is this: It wasn’t time for the evangel, it wasn’t time to spread the message of Jesus Christ; it was time to listen to Him. But it wasn’t time to turn yet and go with the message. What do I mean by that? Until the cross, which is only a few months away, until the cross, the full understanding of His mission cannot be known; it can’t be known. People can be saved by repenting and believing in Him, like an Old Testament saint; but the message that is to be proclaimed is a message that has at the very heart of it the cross, the cross.
Yes, He is the miracle worker, but far more than that. Yes, He is the greatest teacher ever; yes, but far more than that. He is the Holy One, He is the Son of God; but to fully grasp His mission, you must understand His death. For it is there that He is revealed as Redeemer, and Savior, and substitute for sinners. There you really see the Son of God. That’s why the first time any person says, “This is the Son of God,” is at the cross. The Centurion looking at Christ crucified, hearing the echo of His message, understanding the truth, he says, “This truly is the Son of God.”
The full story must include the cross. After the cross, the resurrection. After the resurrection, Jesus then says this: “Go into” – where? – “all the world, and preach the gospel.” The story’s not yet complete. He can be seen as conqueror of demons, conqueror of disease, conqueror of death; but He can’t be fully understood until you see Him as the conqueror of sin on the cross as our substitute and our Redeemer, and His death on the cross then ratified by His glorious resurrection. That enables Him not only to give temporary life to a dead girl, but to give eternal life to a spiritually dead soul. The cross is everything; and that is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “I’m determined to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” We preach Christ crucified.
What an example of ministry He is: accessible, available, interruptible, indomitable, imperturbable, charitable; and the ultimate act of His charity, the ultimate act of His love is the sacrifice of Himself. Hold the message until the story is complete. And we, on this side of the cross, have the full message. Aren’t we thankful for that?
Father, we thank You for Your Word again as we step into the life of our Savior. How thrilling it is to spend a day with Him, and attend a funeral with Him, and be at a resurrection with Him, and understand that the cross even then was on His heart just a few months yet ahead. We thank You that He did give His life, that He is more than a miracle worker, more than a teacher. He is the Redeemer, the Savior, the one who gave His life in our place. We praise You for that.
We ask, Lord, that You by Your grace would impress the truth of the gospel of Christ who gave Himself for sinners, and rose again, triumph over death, that they too who believe in Him might live forever. Press that message to every heart. Open the heart to a true understanding of sin, the need for repentance, and faith in Christ our Savior, our Redeemer. This is our prayer in His name. Amen.
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