Today’s article is part of Sister Alena X. Ricci’s series on Women of the Bible.
There are a lot of stories in the New Testament of Jesus and His disciples bringing people back from the dead. I think my favorite is Jairus’ daughter, and not just because it follows the woman with the issue of blood (one of my all-time favorite scripture stories).
No, I love the story of Jairus’ daughter because it is so incredibly simple.
Found in Mark 5, Jairus comes to Jesus and tells Him that his beloved daughter is near death. Not only is Jairus a grieving father, but he is a leader of the synagogue, someone who is probably doubting Jesus’ claims of being the Son of Man. But Jairus is desperate enough to seek Him out for his daughter’s sake.
Jesus follows Jairus to his house (and on the journey heals the woman with the issue of blood). When Jesus arrives at the house, he is told that the girl is dead but He takes a look at her and announces that she’s not dead but asleep.
He commands her to rise, and she does, much to the surprise and joy of her family and those present.
Let’s break this down for a second: Jesus follows a man who He does not know to heal a daughter He has not met.
This is a moment where we get just a glimpse of the great compassion and love Christ has for each of us—that He would travel to an unknown place with unknown people to do a miracle.
But that’s not what I’m trying to get at here.
I’m sure that in the course of this girl’s sickness, her father had every expert come to his house to try to heal her.
But the reality was that only Jesus Christ could bring her back.
Only He could heal her.
And that is the crux of Jairus’ daughter: that she was healed only by her redeemer.
It’s especially easy for us in today’s world to pull out our phones if we have any sort of physical ailment, diagnose ourselves, run to Target and pick up some Advil.
But Jairus’ daughter experienced the truth of our everyday lives: Jesus healed her when no one else could.
No one else could pull her from the hands of death except for Jesus Christ.
And that is us today, whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual—whatever it is, only Jesus Christ can heal us.
After Jesus brings this girl back, He commands that someone give her something to eat, and I believe that this is another glimpse into Christ’s compassion for us. The story ends with Jesus not just healing this girl, but by providing for her next step, for taking control of her needs right then and there with something so simple and so very necessary.
Sometimes we’re asking for the next job or the next house when instead we should be grabbing what Jesus Christ is giving us: the simplicity of the Gospel wrapped up in the love of our brothers and sisters.
To conclude, Jairus’ daughter is not just an example of compassion, but of a great miracle and of the reality that no one can reach us like Jesus can.
Image credit: “The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter” by Gabriel Max, 1878, Oil on canvas, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.