Luke 8: 40-56
A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.
As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.’ When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’
While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.’ When Jesus heard this, he replied, ‘Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.’ When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, ‘Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, ‘Child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.
Yes, this is the same scripture as yesterday – as we said, it is a sandwich of one story within another; today we look at the sandwiching story, that of Jairus and his daughter.
Jairus was a leader in the synagogue, an important man in the community. But he came to Jesus in distress, falling at his feet with a plea that he come to his house to heal his daughter, who was dying. Jesus started along with Jairus, when he was interrupted by the event we discussed yesterday. Even as he was still speaking to the woman, someone came from Jairus’ home saying to him that his daughter was already dead, he should not trouble the teacher any longer. Others considered his efforts to help his daughter to be an annoyance to Jesus – but Jesus did not. He told Jairus, “Only believe, and she will be saved.” And they continued on the way to Jairus’ home.
But arriving there, they found all the people outside weeping and wailing for the child. Jesus told them she was not dead, but only sleeping – and the people laughed at him. Jesus took his 3 closest friends, Peter, James, and John, and the child’s parents and went into the house. And he took the child by the hand, and said, “Child, get up!” And “her spirit returned” and she got up at once. (Remembering that ‘pneumo’ in the Greek means both breath and spirit; it may be saying “her breath returned”.) Jesus told them to give her something to eat – and they were astounded.
Others did not consider the child worth bothering Jesus about; others thought the situation hopeless; others laughed because Jesus’ words contradicted their observation, their belief and world view. People did not come back to life once the breath had left. But Jesus says that every person matters, including a female child. Jesus says that there is always hope when we come with him. Jairus continued to hope, and to trust in Jesus. And the child was healed, and well. She was not a ghost (as some might have claimed), for she could eat. She went on to live her life.