The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter, Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max (1878)

“When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him saying, ‘My daughter is at the point of death. Please come, lay hands on her that she may get well and live.’ He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. ….People from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, ‘Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?’ Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid; just have faith.’ He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion , people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, ‘Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.’ And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her,’Talitha koum’, which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise!’ The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astonished. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said she should be given something to eat.” (Mark 5:21-24, 35b-43) 

There is not a more heart-wrenching line in all of scripture than this: “…and falling at Jesus feet he besought him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.” (Luke’s telling).

We have no idea where Jesus had originally planned to go that day nor what he had intended to do. We only know that wherever and whatever had to wait, for immediately he was on his way to the father’s house and to the bedside of the little girl.

Jesus did not need to go in order to save the little girl. We know this because in Matthew 8 a Roman centurian came to him in similar distress and besought him  saying, “Lord, my servant is paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” When Jesus offered to go to the house to heal the servant, the centurion said, “Lord,  I am not worthy that you come under my roof; but only say the word and my servant will be healed.” To which Jesus said, ”Go, be it done for you as you have believed,”  and the servant was healed at that very moment.

So why did he go this time?

To show he cared.  His heart beat with love and compassion for the father, the mother and the little girl and he wanted to demonstrate it by his presence with them and for them. He did not heal her simply because he was begged and he could; he healed her because he loved her and loved her mother and father, as well.

Now, we know that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the very heart of God. What we see in Jesus is what God wants us to know about himself. As Kathleen so beautifully wrote some time ago concerning another healing by Jesus, the raising of the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7,

“This is God himself bringing life to the dead, revealing his passionate heart for his people. He is the fullness of all that was hinted at in every foreshadowing of the Old Testament. But as we see here, it is a fullness intimately concerned in the individual cares of his people. God has indeed visited his people in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the supreme revelation of the heart of God not only writ large in the stunning brushstrokes of salvation history, but also intimately inscribed in the heart of each one of his children, whom he dearly loves.””

How beautiful to know that God loves us and wants to come to us in our need- to enter our very home, to sit by our bed, to speak to us, and to heal. How even more beautiful to realize that he so dearly wants to enter our lives that he does not wait for an invitation but comes looking for us, for is that not the meaning of Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me”?



Fred Durham is the President of Alighieri Press and serves as an author and speaker.