“While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why are you making such a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him.” - Mark 5:35-40
I imagine Jairus had mixed emotions about the encounter with the afflicted woman. On one hand, he was desperate to get to his daughter, and the delay must have felt excruciating. And yet, he had also witnessed a miraculous healing that strengthened his faith in Jesus. As the group resumed their journey, he was more hopeful than ever that his little girl would recover. The anticipation built with each step. At last, his home came into view and it seemed that everything was about to be set right. Until they received the devastating news that they were too late. Jairus’ daughter had died.
Thankfully, Jesus saw things from a different perspective. Instead of throwing up his hands in dismay or leaving for a new assignment, he looked at Jairus with the same love and compassion he had shown the bleeding woman: “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36). Once again, Jesus invited Jairus to feel hope. Would he let go of his fear and instead choose to believe? In the end, what other choice did he have? Desperate people cling to their only source of hope, and for Jairus, that hope was Jesus.
As Jairus, Jesus, Peter, James and John approached the house, they were greeted by the pervasive sounds of grief. Professional mourners had gathered to perform their services, weeping and wailing so that all would know that death had come. Hope was gone, replaced by sorrow. Jesus, however, was not deterred. He announced that the child was not dead but merely sleeping. Of course, the people in the house mocked and ridiculed him for saying such a thing. Some might even have thought him cruel to give Jairus false expectations. The child was dead; there was no hope for healing.
They did not yet understand that, with Jesus, hope is never really lost. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is above every earthly power, including the power of death itself. While the mourners mocked Jesus, Jairus clung to him and the hope he offered. If this man could heal the sick and drive out demons, could he also raise the dead?
Reflect and Respond:
Many still mock the power and work of Jesus today. How can you look to him for hope, even when it seems that all is lost? How would that hope change you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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