Mark 5 Continued

21.  Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea.

The Lord completes His journey to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, and is surrounded by crowds once again.

22.  And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name.  And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet

The Lord is met by a man named Jairus (the name Jair in the Hebrew Old Testament) who needs His help.  This man was a synagogue ruler and thus a member of the rich class.  Yet in his time of need, he turns to the Lord, a member of the poor class, for help, something that many of the rich class would have been unwilling to do.  This attitude recommends him to us far above most of his fellows.

This is not the same man as the one we read of in Matthew 9:18-26, for there the man who begged the Lord’s help was a civil ruler, not a synagogue ruler.  This is the same man as in Luke 8:41-56, for there the man is also named as Jairus.

23.  And begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death.  Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.”

Knowing that his daughter was dying, he was not afraid to beg the Lord for help, in spite of the fact that he was a member of the rich, privileged class and the Lord was not.  One has to wonder if some of the Pharisees who hated Him so much would have done this even if their little daughters had been gravely ill.  Often extreme need drives us to God when we might not otherwise be willing to admit our need for His help.

Notice the confidence Jairus has in the Lord’s ability to heal his daughter.  He is certain that if He comes and lays His hands on her, she will live.  Thus, this man did not just have the proper humility to turn to the Lord in time of need, but he also had the faith to believe that the Lord could indeed help him.

Again we see that this is not the same miracle as in Matthew, for there the man already believed his daughter was dead before he even asked the Lord to heal her.  He had faith in the Lord’s power indeed!  Whether or not Jairus would have come to the Lord in the same way if he had believed his daughter was already dead is hard to say.

24.  So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.

The Lord goes to help Jairus, but He does not go alone, for this great crowd goes with Him.  There is no sign here of the rejection that He experienced across the sea in the land of the Gadarenes.

25.  Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years,

Now we meet this woman in the crowd who has suffered from this condition.  Twelve years is a very long time to be plagued by a terrible illness!

26.  And had suffered many things from many physicians.  She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.

This problem that she had is not uncommon even in women today once they reach menopause.  In our day, however, the problem is easily rectified.  Since we have conquered some problems like this, we would like to think that our doctors are better equipped to help us today in all our illnesses, but the fact is that often the best that medical science can do is far from sufficient.  No matter how good we might believe our medicine to be, there are still many people who find that pouring money into the hospitals does little to relieve them from their suffering, and can often just make things worse.

27.  When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.

This woman had tried everything men could do, and now she found that the only One left to turn to was the Lord Jesus.  Let us come to the place in our lives where we realize the same thing!

28.  For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

Here we learn why she performed this seemingly strange action of touching his garment.  She had decided that just to do a simple act like this would be enough to heal her.

29.  Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.

This woman had faith that the Messiah could heal her, as the Scriptures had promised.  One such promise was in Isaiah 42, where we read,

1.  “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles…
7.  …To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”

Here, the Lord’s Servant is said to be a healer when He comes, and this woman believed the truth that He was such a healer.  It was this, her faith, and not her unique way of going about seeking healing, that caused her request to be granted.

The woman felt immediately that she was healed.  This was not a natural thing, for there would be no way of knowing instantly that such a problem was gone.  Rather, just as her healing was a miracle, her knowledge of having been healed was miraculous as well.

30.  And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”

The Lord knew in Himself that power had gone out of Him.  Indeed, we would expect no less, knowing that He is God.

31.  But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”

The disciples, who never seemed to get it through their heads that the Lord never did anything foolishly or without reason, look at the crowds that are thronging him, and realize that there are probably many people touching the Lord.  Thus, they find His question silly.  Of course someone had touched Him…many people were touching Him!  But the Lord knew what He was asking, of course, and the woman knew what He was asking as well.  Perhaps we can excuse the disciples by suggesting that they might have been acting in impatience from their desire to help the synagogue ruler, and thus were exasperated by the Lord Jesus’ desire to find this woman, not understanding or taking the time to understand why He had asked this question.  We can learn the lesson from this that when God asks a question it is never irrelevant, and we had best listen closely to find out the answer.

32.  And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.

We learn here that the Lord desired to speak to this woman, and that is why He is asking around for her.  Of course, being God He could easily have picked her out of the crowd if He had wished, but likely He wanted her to come forward of her own accord.

33.  But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.

This woman perhaps is shy, and seems to almost feel guilty for having “stolen” this healing from the Lord.  Thus, she comes forward only with great difficulty, but we can credit her with the fact that she did come forward when the Lord asked her to, and that she told Him the whole truth.

Notice that this is not the same woman as that mentioned in Matthew 9:20-22, for that woman had no compunction about the Lord seeing her after she touched Him, but stood before Him to receive His words to her without running to hide in the crowd first.  Luke 8:43-48 does record this same event, however.

34.  And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

The Lord Jesus wanted this woman to know that He had seen her faith, and this is what had caused her to be healed, not just the physical act of touching Him.  We too need to remember that it is not physical acts that please God but rather the faith that lies behind them.

35.  While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead.  Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

It seems that the synagogue ruler’s urging haste upon the Lord was not without reason, for the girl appeared to have died during the time it took Him to find the Lord and start bringing Him back to his home.  These members of the synagogue ruler’s household knew that the Lord was a healer, but it seems that they did not believe that He could raise a person from the dead, for they urge the ruler not to trouble the Lord any further, implying that there is nothing that the Lord can now do.  Their lack of faith contrasts sharply with the synagogue ruler and the woman with the flow of blood.  Indeed, there was no reason for them to believe that a healer from God could not raise to life a young child, for that is exactly what Elijah had done in I Kings 17:17-24, and Elisha as well in II Kings 4:18-37.  Yet in spite of these precedents, they seem to feel that they know all about death, and that no one, not even the Lord, can reverse it.  This attitude will come out later, when they will likewise not believe the Lord when He gives His Own diagnosis of the girl’s condition.

36.  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

The Lord encourages the ruler to not waver in faith through fear but rather to believe.  After the miracle he had just witnessed with the diseased woman, he indeed had every reason to maintain his faith.  Yet the unbelief of others can be a powerful influence.  We should remember this ourselves, and encourage our fellow believers when others who do not share our faith seek to tear them down.

37.  And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.

Again it was not Jesus Christ’s desire that this miracle be widely known.  Thus we see that God’s plan can be specific to any given situation, for earlier in the same chapter we read that He had wanted the man out of whom the demons were cast to spread the word of what He had done.  No doubt a story of a supposed resurrection would have given Him too much fame at this time, and so He made certain that only His closest disciples would observe it for their learning.

38.  Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly.

These people, according to the Companion Bible, would have been crying “al-a-lai, al-a-lai,” which was the traditional cry of mourning.  It was the custom at that time to have a great show when someone died, thinking perhaps that those who were truly grieving would be comforted by the showy grief of others around them.

39.  When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep?  The child is not dead, but sleeping.”

Some people think that when the Lord Jesus said these words He was not speaking truthfully.  They see in this statement, “The child is not dead, but sleeping,” a figure of speech similar to that used in John 11 when He said of Lazarus, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go to wake him out of sleep.”  However, what these do not realize is that there is a difference in the Greek words for sleep used in these two passages.  In the case of Lazarus the word is koimaomai, and indicates an unintentional sleep (like a coma, or falling asleep at the wheel,) and therefore can be used as a figure for death.  However, here the word for sleep is katheudo, and is used for composing oneself for intentional sleep, and as such is never used as a figure for death.  Not only that, but when the disciples mistook the Lord’s statement about Lazarus He clarified Himself by acknowledging “Lazarus is dead,” whereas here He not only did not do so, but emphasized the truth of what He was saying by using a further figure of speech, called “Pleonasm” or “Redundancy.”  Whenever God wished to make a statement perfectly clear so that none could mistake it, He would use this figure of speech wherein He put the exact same truth in two different ways so that no one could mistake His meaning.  In this case the figure is used, as Christ says first, “The child is not dead,” and then restates that by saying, “but sleeping.”  These two statements say the same thing, and emphasize and clarify exactly what He meant.  There is no doubt here.  He was saying that this girl was still alive!

Others, realizing what Christ actually said, have proclaimed that He said this so that this miracle would not be widely known, much as He put everyone out for the same reason.  But this does not make sense.  If that was true, then the Lord would here be telling what we call a “white lie,” and would have not been speaking the truth.  Yet God has told us that He is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19.)  If we cannot trust the words of Christ here, then can we truly trust His words regarding our salvation and eternal life?  What if He was only telling us a “white lie” to make us feel better when He told us that when we believe in Him we will inherit eternal life?  Besides, this “lie” did not even work, as no one listened to Him when He made this statement anyway, even as many do not listen today, and label this “Jesus Raises a Girl from the Dead” or some such thing.  No, Christ was speaking the truth here, as always, not a lie.

But how could this girl have still been alive?  The problem here rests upon the fact that we assume that the ones who identified this girl as being dead were correct in that identification.  We tend to be rather arrogant as humans, and assume that if we think a person is dead we must be correct.  The fact is, however, that there are diseases and conditions that can simulate death.  Such an idea is not uncommon to great literature.  For example, Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet wrote of a poison that could simulate death.  Missionaries report that witch doctors have kept their control over jungle tribes by faking resurrections using a poison that simulates death followed by an antidote.  And in centuries past the idea that a person could go into a death-like state and yet still be alive was a relatively common idea.  Breathing stops, the body cools to only slightly above room temperature, and the heart rate is slowed to only several beats per minute.  Such things are known in our day, particularly when one has been drinking alcohol and then is exposed to freezing temperatures.  This is one of the reasons a doctor is required to declare a person dead before it is assumed that he is truly dead.  My guess would be (and I believe that faith in the words of the great Healer is on my side) that this girl had a sleeping sickness that simulated death, and these people did not realize it.  Some people have been buried alive from just such a mistake, and even have woken up terrified in their own tombs!  A terrible fate to be sure, and one that may have happened to this girl if the Lord had not been there to stop it.

40.  And they ridiculed Him.  But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.

These men think themselves wiser than the Author of life Himself, and more able to say when one is alive or dead.  This is not an uncommon attitude in our day, but it shouldn’t be.  Do we truly believe that we can be smarter than God?

Again, the Lord Jesus puts all these people out and only lets a select few witness this miracle.  Perhaps He did not want an incorrect story of “resurrection” to be circulated.

41.  Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

The Lord takes the child’s hand, a very tender gesture.  Then, He speaks these words to her.  Remember, according to John 1:1, this is the same One Who spoke creation into existence in the beginning.  How easy, then, for Him to speak the breath of one little girl back into her!

Mark gives us the exact words the Lord used in Aramaic first.  This is not because these words were some kind of “magic spell,” but rather to emphasize their importance, and perhaps the fact that all it took was two simple words from the Lord to restore this girl to full health.

42.  Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age.  And they were overcome with great amazement.

The girl obeys the Lord immediately, not only awakening, but also getting up and walking, for Mark explains to us here that she was not an infant, but was twelve years old and fully capable of walking.  Thus the Lord heals the girl, not of death, but of a sleeping sickness that simulates death.

What of those who had both doubted the Lord’s ability to raise one who was dead, and who had laughed in ridicule at His diagnosis that she was not dead at all?  They are amazed, and the Greek word indicates that they were entranced.  It seems they had been so sure of what they “knew” about death that they can barely cope with the fact that this girl could be up and walking as she was.  We have seen that faith can be a strong thing, but here we learn that a lack of faith can be strong as well, and these people had so much of it that it seems they could hardly stand the fact that they were wrong!

43.  But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.

The Lord gives these people another opportunity for faith, in that He commands them strictly not to tell anyone else what had happened.  The Scriptures do not say if they obeyed this command or not, but we can hope that after such stunning evidence was presented to them that their faith might have grown at least enough so that they could believe such a command.

Then the Lord, ever compassionate, requests something for the girl to eat.  She had probably been a long time without food while she was languishing with this condition.  It has been suggested that this problem, particularly prevalent among young girls, it seems, was a psychological condition, and it could be that she had been pining away and it had manifested itself as a sickness.  At any rate, whatever the cause, she had been deteriorating and not eating for some time, and the Lord now shows His concern for her by commanding that food be given to her.  Truly He is the God Who knows and cares about all our needs!