Summary: In Mark chapter 5 we find three different situations, and Jesus using three different methods to bring release to prisoners. The man who was demon possessed was helpless and couldn’t reach out, and was in fact hostile to Jesus because of the legion. So Je
In Mark chapter 5 we find three different situations, and Jesus using three different methods to bring release to prisoners. The man who was demon possessed was helpless and couldn’t reach out, and was in fact hostile to Jesus because of the legion. So Jesus came to him. The woman with the infirmity was barely able to reach out to Him. For her, Jesus allowed that touch to heal. For Jairus, Jesus demanded more, that he choose to believe his circumstances or trust in Jesus no matter what.
21 – 24
We’ve already discussed part of this, namely that Jairus was an elected superintendent of the local synagogue there in Capernaum, a respected member of his society who took enormous risk to come to Jesus. But in times of extreme personal crisis, your position in society, the possible outcomes of siding with Jesus—they all go out the window. It is at these times that you find out just what is valuable to you and what lengths you will go to protect it. Jairus came to Jesus because his only daughter was very ill and he begged Jesus to come to his house. Jesus agrees and sets off, only to be delayed by the woman with the issue of blood. We don’t know how long that healing and interaction took place but it was long enough for messengers from Jairus’ household to reach him, and the news they bring would turn his heart to stone.
It’s interesting to me what takes place here. Most likely Jairus had told the people in his household that he was going to find Jesus. No other cure apparently worked. I wonder if his wife or others were skeptical. They had no doubt heard or even witnessed Jesus heal and maybe in their heart of hearts they thought “what have we to lose?” Healing the sick is one thing, but death—no one comes back from death. There was no more sense in holding on to hope that something could be done. It was too late. So with heavy hearts they set off to tell Jairus that not only was his daughter dead, but that he had not been there to say goodbye.
You can imagine the scene. Jairus is standing there by Jesus, checking his sundial, wondering why it was taking so long with this woman when out of the corner of his eye he spies familiar faces in the crowd—faces that bore an expression that make words unneeded. When they reach him they confirm his worst fear—his daughter is dead. What they say next is understandable. “Why bother the Teacher anymore?” It was time for Jairus to face up to reality, abandon Jesus, and come home.
So now Jesus presents Jairus with a choice—a choice that at some point or another we will all have to make when faced with who Jesus really is—the King.
Jesus is standing there nearby as Jairus’ friends tell him the bad news. He turns to the synagogue ruler and says to him probably the five most important words a Christian can hear: “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” A difficult situation just got a whole lot worse. How much did Jairus really trust Jesus? Jesus didn’t actually promise any sort of outcome but urged him to do two very crucial things: stop being afraid and start believing.
The word “afraid” is pho-beh’-oh. It’s just what we would think—to be frightened. What would Jairus be afraid of? Both death and loss are pretty scary. If you have lost someone close to you, you know what I mean. But there is another fear that I think Jesus is addressing, the fear of trusting Jesus when all his senses and everyone around him tells him to give up. The easier thing here would be to give into the fear of death and the grief of loss, to abandon hope because death is the final end—no one comes back from the dead. Yet here is this man who is not even fazed by death? How could this be?
We don’t hear Jairus response, but we know it was the right one.
Peter, James and John had become Jesus’ inner circle. Jesus was not going to turn this into an “event”. This was for the girl and her family. But as the Scriptures say, every fact needs to be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut. 19:15). This particular healing demonstrates not just Jesus’ power over sickness, creation, or the demon forces—this goes to the heart of why He has come, to overpower the greatest power of all—death.
38 – 40
Jesus left one crowd behind, only to run into another. Apparently Jairus’ household had not held out hope and sent word for the mourners. Mourners in these days could even be professionals who would send up wailing after a death. This would have been a sign of respect. I think you can tell they are professional mourners by how they react when Jesus tells them the child is not dead. They would have seen a lot of death and would know the difference. They aren’t connected with the family or they would have perhaps gotten angry. To intrude on a family in mourning is one thing, but to suggest that the child is not dead is cruel, unless it’s true.