“When the woman saw that she couldn’t hide, she came forward trembling. Bowing down in front of him, she explained in the presence of all the people why she had touched Jesus and how she had been instantly healed. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace'” (Luke 8:43-46 ISV).
This action represented the final test of this woman’s faith. Despite the possibility that Jesus might criticize her, reprimand her, or embarrass her in front of the crowd, He didn’t do any of those things. He simply said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (NIV).
So it’s a happy ending, right? Well, not so fast- whatever happened to Jairus’ daughter? That answer comes next…
“While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher any more'” (NIV).
Now try to put yourself in Jairus’ position for a moment. His only daughter is dying and Jesus is his last and only hope for her survival. Jairus has fought his way through the crowds to finally get close enough to Jesus to plead with Him to save the life of his little girl. Imagine the relief that he must have felt when Jesus agreed to go and to save the life of his child.
But now before they can get back to the house where she lays dying, Jesus suddenly decides to change direction and go off to look for one particular individual in a great crowd of people -all while his daughter’s life is slipping away. Then a messenger arrives with the worst possible news: “Your daughter just passed away- you don’t have to bother the teacher any longer.” How would you feel if you were in Jairus’ position?
Well, here’s how Jesus responded…
“But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to the father, ‘Don’t be afraid! Just trust me, and she’ll be all right'” (Luke 8:50).
These very words also apply to Jesus’ followers today when they encounter circumstances that are just too big to handle: “Don’t be afraid, just believe…” (NIV).
“When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her…” (Luke 8:51-52a NIV).
So Jesus arrives at Jairus’ home to find a big commotion going on. In fact, we’re told that “all the people” were wailing and mourning over this little girl’s death which indicates that a pretty large crowd had gathered. Now it’s certainly understandable for people to become emotional and upset over someone’s death, but there’s actually more to this scene than you might think.
You see, the people of that day would sometimes hire professional mourners to come and grieve over the death of a loved one. These professional mourners would wear black colored garments (as we still often do today at funerals) and would sing or chant funeral songs when the death of a family member occurred.
For a price, these “specialists” would also:
- Dress in sackcloth, a rough, coarse, baglike garment
- Cover themselves with ashes or earth
- Throw dust up in the air to symbolize their grief
- Tear their clothes
- Weep and wail loudly
Depending on how much money a family was willing to pay for these services, these mourners would continue from as few as seven days to as many as seventy-seven days.
“And all were weeping and bewailing her; but he said, ‘Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead” (Luke 8:52-53 RSV).
So Jesus stepped into this scene and said in effect, “There’s no problem here- the child is just sleeping.” That statement brought an immediate reaction from the people who had gathered there. You see, the King James Version of this verse tells us that the people who heard Jesus say this, “…laughed Him to scorn.” This means that the people who had gathered together to mourn the death of Jairus’ daughter ridiculed Jesus and scoffed at Him in a laughing manner.
Now there’s a lot that we can learn from the way that Jesus responded to those who ridiculed Him in these verses. For instance, notice that Jesus didn’t get mad at these people. He didn’t yell at them and He didn’t insult them back. According to John 8:51, Jesus simply put them out of the house and only took those people who…
1.) Made the commitment to follow Him (like Peter, James, and John) or…
2.) Those who had faith in Him. That would be Jairus and (presumably) Mrs. Jairus.
Those people without faith -the ones who ridiculed, scoffed, and laughed at Jesus scornfully- were left outside and missed out on what happened next…
“Then he took her by the hand and called, ‘Get up, little girl!’ And at that moment her life returned and she jumped up! ‘Give her something to eat!’ he said. Her parents were overcome with happiness, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone the details of what had happened” (Luke 8:54-56).
So Jesus took this girl by the hand, restored her life, and then said, “Give her something to eat.” This suggests that Jairus’ daughter was instantly returned to good health because people usually don’t eat very much when they’re sick. And to help keep from being further crushed by the crowds that had gathered to see Him, Jesus made sure to tell her parents, “Don’t talk about this to other people.”
So what’s the lesson that we can take from this episode of Jesus’ life and ministry? Well, those people who scorned Jesus and laughed at Him lost their chance to get in on what He was doing. Remember, those who trust and commit themselves to Jesus in faith are the ones who will get to see Him do great things.
(1) Numbers 19:11
(2) Leviticus 15:25 and 33
(3) Leviticus 15:7
(4) American Heritage Dictionary Of The English Language 3rd Edition
(5) Nelson’s Bible Dictionary