“While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, ‘Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.’
But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus,‘Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.’
Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. He went inside and asked, ‘Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.’
The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, ‘Talitha koum,’ which means ‘Little girl, get up!’ And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.”
– Mark 5:35-43
Jesus had essentially “pressed pause” on the healing of the daughter of the synagogue ruler to determine who had been healed in the crowd. Then, before Jesus even has the opportunity to turn back to the synagogue ruler, messengers arrive to tell the synagogue leader, Jairus, that his daughter is dead.
In that moment, what was going through Jairus’ mind? This is how I picture it.
“We stopped. . . We were on our way, and then we stopped and now it’s too late.” There is a flood of emotion, for sure: grief over the death of his daughter, a level of disbelief and possibly even anger because he was on his way, but his passage had just not been quick enough.
And then Jesus walks over. His head was probably down as he wept and struggled to contain all his whirlwind thoughts and feelings. I picture Jesus walking over to him, possibly placing his hand gently underneath his chin to lift his head to face Him. And the words Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” Although these are the words He speaks, I hear in the undertone of those words as He has Jairus locked in a direct gaze, “Do you trust me?” Barely visible to anyone, Jairus nods his head.
For a moment, picture what it could have been like if things had gone differently. What if Jairus would have refused to look at or respond to Jesus? What if instead he had pulled away from Jesus when He tried to lift his head? And what if he had screamed at Him for delaying their travels? I mean, was it not Jesus’ fault that they were not yet at his house? If they were there, his daughter would still be alive, at least alive enough that He maybe, possibly, could have healed her?
Do you hear how that sounds? It may even sound vaguely familiar. Maybe the specifics of the situation were different, but things not going the way you wanted them or had planned for them to go is something we have all experienced. We may think, “Why did Jesus not respond to my prayer?” or “Why is this happening when this should not be happening to me?” Our fists go up in frustration as our anger rises, a very similar response to the “what if” I proposed.
But let us turn back to Jairus and how he did respond. Because he was willing to have faith as Jesus asked him to, because he was willing to set aside his doubt and, literally, all the voices around him telling him to stop bothering Jesus because his daughter was already dead, he returned to his home with Jesus. As I see them going on their way, I picture him walking alongside Jesus, his head facing forward except for a few quick glances at Jesus in slight astonishment of who this man could be. But it does not stop there. They arrive at his home, Jesus takes him and the child’s mother into her room, and simply says to the child, “Get up!” And she does!
The relief and awe and joy Jairus must have felt upon seeing his daughter alive, standing before him, is unfathomable to me. And all because he did not fear but had faith.
I think back to that moment where Jesus asked Jairus to have faith, and as I see that image in my mind, I ask myself, “If my Savior were to look me directly in the eye and ask me, ‘Do you trust Me?,’ would I stare back at Him and say, ‘Yes!’?’ What would you say?