And he took the damsel by the hand, and saith unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” Mark 5:41
Some days, Jesus was a pretty busy fellow. People clamored around him to hear his words of wisdom, to ask for healing, or just to be near him. Wouldn’t you?
One day he was making his way through the crowds when one of the local synagogue officials, a man named Jairus, came up and asked him to come heal his dying daughter. Naturally, Jesus went with him. You can read the whole story in Mark 5:22-43 and Luke 8:41-56.
Can you imagine the relief Jairus must have felt when he found Jesus? And when Jesus agreed to come, it must have been an immense burden lifted off his shoulder. He had renewed hope that his daughter, his only child, would be healed.
As they’re making their way slowly through the crowd, Jesus stops suddenly and asks, “Who touched me?” His disciples are a bit perplexed. The crowd is shoving and pushing him around and he wants to know who touched him. Everyone was touching him, for crying out loud!
But Jesus knew this touch was a specific plea for help and he asked again who touched him. A woman in the crowd came forward trembling and explained she had convinced herself that if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she believed she would be healed of an issue of blood, or hemorrhage, that had plagued her for 12 years and had eluded the efforts of the physicians to help her.
The hem of his garment
Have you ever wondered why this woman believed if she touched the border of Jesus’ clothes that she would be healed? I wondered if there were any deeper meaning to this and found this reference in the book of Numbers (17:37-40):
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
The boarder or hem of the garment was to remind the Israelites to obey God’s commandments and be holy. I think the woman who sneaked up behind Jesus to touch his clothes must have been well aware of this. She was reaching out to touch and acknowledge Jesus’ holiness and obedience to God’s commandments. It seems like a pretty reasonable thing to do. In her mind, she believed she has to touch his clothes to be healed.
For whatever reason, she did not feel comfortable coming up to Jesus directly to ask for healing. Maybe she was embarrassed and shy. More likely, she knew she shouldn’t be out in public with the bleeding problem. Jewish law considered women like this as unclean. She might infect the whole crowd with “girl cooties.”
Anyway, she didn’t want to make a scene, but that’s exactly what happened anyway. Jesus stops and deals with her tenderly. She thought she was healed because she touched his clothes, but Jesus corrected this misconception. He said it was her faith that healed her, not touching the hem of his garment. But the healing of the physical problem was not all she needed to be healed of. Jesus said, “Go in peace, and be whole of they plague.”
It’s one thing to be healed physically, but to let go of all the mental and emotional baggage associated with a long-term illness is another thing altogether. I think Jesus was telling her that she was free from all the burdens of the past twelve years as well as the disease itself. She had a right to be completely free from any bad effects from the past.
Hey, what about Jairus’ daughter?
So here’s a wonderful healing. The crowd sees it and is once again impressed and inspired by Jesus. No wonder they were all wanting to hang out with him. But if you were Jairus, how would you be feeling at that moment? I would have been pretty impatient. I would have been thinking, This lady can wait. We all know her. She’s had this problem for years. My daughter is about to die. My need is more urgent than hers. Why don’t you come back to her after you heal my daughter?
But it’s probably not the best thing to interrupt Jesus while he’s healing someone, so Jairus keeps quiet, biting his nails, or the Jewish equivalent of the day, hoping, hoping, hoping Jesus will get to his daughter in time.
Just as Jesus finishes talking to the woman who touched his garment, word comes from Jairus’ house that his daughter is dead so there’s no need for Jesus to come after all.
Poor Jairus. What an emotional roller coaster. He’s worried about his daughter but when he finds Jesus, his hope is renewed. With the delay because of that woman, he’s worried all over again that it will be too late. He can anticipate Jesus wrapping up his conversation with her and his hope is rekindled, but then dashed completely when he hears his little girl is dead.
Think of all the thoughts that instantly start to fly around in our heads in this kind of situation: Why didn’t I come sooner? Why did Jesus have to talk to her so long?
But Jesus doesn’t give those doubts and fears even a moment to wreak havoc on Jairus. He says simply, “Be not afraid, only believe.” Have you ever felt the rug of your faith was pulled out from under you from some tragedy that all seemed lost? Listen for the voice of Christ saying, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe in me and everything will be okay.”
It’s important here to point out that Jesus did not say, “Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t get there in time. It must have been God’s will that your daughter wasn’t healed. He has called her home.” Unlike some Christians today, Jesus never said that sort of thing. We should adopt his attitude and follow his example.
I believe Jesus could have healed Jairus’ daughter the minute her father asked him for help. He didn’t have to be physically present. He could have raised her from death with a word, right where he was. But there was more to be healed than just a little 12 year old girl.
Jairus needed to be healed of his fear, his despair, and any self-condemnation he might be feeling for not getting to Jesus sooner. Jesus didn’t just tell him not to be afraid. He put feet on his words and started walking to Jairus’ home.
Once more, imagine if you had been Jairus, what would you be thinking as you walked with Jesus to your home having just heard the bad news? Jesus was not taking timid little steps wondering what the outcome would be. He walked with spiritual assurance and confidence, knowing already what the outcome would be. Jairus must have picked up on this and wondered if he dare to hope once more. We don’t know what they talked about, or if they talked at all, but by the time they arrived at Jairus’ home, I think this previously distraught father was feeling a little more at peace with Jesus, acting like everything was going to be okay, at his side.
She is not dead
When they finally arrive, the weeping and wailing of the mourners greets them. No wonder. Everyone felt the tragedy of the little girl’s death. But Jesus made a simple declaration that broke the spell of grief. He said, “She’s not dead. She’s only asleep.”
Ha! Are you crazy Jesus? We know she’s dead. We saw her.
Now, instead of mourning the girl, they are scorning Jesus with harsh laughter. But that’s exactly what Jesus intended. He had to deal with all their negativity and reroute it. He changed their thinking with about a 90º turn, but he wasn’t done with them yet. He kicked them all out of the house. He didn’t want that negativity around when he went to see Jairus’ daughter. He only took her parents and Peter, James, and John with him.
But shutting out the mourners had another effect on their thinking and was part of the bigger healing. Put yourself in their shoes, or sandals actually. You’ve just been kicked out of the house. You were showing your love and support in the best way you knew how and Jesus comes along and kicks you out. I would have probably been pretty upset too and wondered how on earth Jesus could say the little girl was not dead.
The conversation could have gone something like this:
“That Jesus guy is just too much. Who does he think he is? That little girl is dead. I saw her.”
“Why did he kick us out? What does he think he’s going to do?”
“You know, I saw him heal a blind man the other day. If he had gotten here sooner, I think he could have healed her.”
” He sure walked in there like he was going to do something.”
“I wonder what he’s doing in there.”
Now, I realize this conversation is just my own imagination. Please take it in that spirit. I’m not trying to add anything to the Bible. I just want to get the full meaning. To understand everything going on in a story, it’s helpful to look at things from the perspective of everyone involved.
By shutting these mourners out Jesus was actually giving them a moment to think more clearly. His bold body language said he was going to do something. He turned them from mourning to derisive laughter, and perhaps to curiosity as to what he was doing inside. When they see the little girl alive, they can say with Jesus, “She’s not dead.” It’s a complete 180º shift in their thinking.
This is so typical. Jesus always deals with the thoughts of those he heals as well as the thoughts of those around the one he heals. It’s all part of the bigger healing.
How did Jesus raise Jairus’ daughter from death?
Jesus is imbued with the awareness of God’s kingdom here on earth. The keynote of his gospel is, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In this kingdom there is no death (see Revelation 21:4). Jesus came to bear witness to this truth. That’s why he could proclaim she was not dead. He knew that spiritually she was alive. His spiritual vision pierced through the dark mists of human misconceptions about life and death.
Jesus took the hand of the lifeless form and told her to get up, fully knowing that she would respond. And of course she did. Do you have that same confidence whey you pray for someone? When “we have [and use or think with] the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16), we will have the same awareness that heaven is at hand and we will heal as Jesus did.
I know this is true, because I have seen it with my own eyes.
When you read the story of Jairus and the woman who touched Jesus’ clothes, see how it relates to your life. Do you have the same expectancy of healing they did? Do you think you have to touch Jesus or he has to be physically present to be healed? The Spirit of Christ is completely present today to heal us, to take away our doubts and fears, to walk with us, to calm us, to correct our misguided faith, and more than anything to reveal how much God loves us and how worthy we are of His love.
Much love and all God’s blessings to you,
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comment section below.