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Awakening Jairus’ Only Daughter

09 Feb
jairus-daughter

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A messenger, someone from Jairus’ house, came to tell him his daughter had died (Luke 8:49), and he mentioned to Jairus that Jesus shouldn’t be troubled (G4660) further (Luke 8:49; Mark 5:35). This same Greek word is used by the Roman centurion (Luke 7:6), when he told Jesus it wasn’t necessary for him to enter the centurion’s house. If a Jew entered the home of a gentile it would bring trouble on him from those strictly observant Jews who jealously guarded their separate status, concerning the gentile community (cf. Acts 11:2-3).[1] So, the messenger from Jairus’ home implied, if Jesus continued to the house, Jesus would be troubled or harassed by some of the folks who were already there (cf. Luke 8:53).

The fact that a member of Jairus’ household (whether a servant or a relative) cared for how Jesus would be treated (Luke 8:49), implies Jairus felt the same way toward Jesus. However, the times indicate that Jesus and the authorities of that day didn’t have a harmonious relationship. Therefore, Jairus’ request of Jesus represents a breach in protocol in his relationship with the Pharisees Jairus knew, because synagogue rulers by this time had given in to pressure from Jesus’ enemies to avoid contact with him (cf. John 12:42-43).

Nevertheless, Jesus didn’t allow such things to interfere with his relationship with folks just beginning to trust him (cf. Matthew 12:20), so Jesus immediately told Jairus to continue to hope. He told him not to give in to fear (which Jairus was apt to do – cf. John 12:42-43) but to believe (Luke 8:50). When Jesus arrived at the synagogue ruler’s home, he took Peter, James and John with him, as witnesses, and also Jairus and his wife, the child’s parents (Luke 8:51). The young girl’s room was probably not very large, and a crowd might alarm her when she awoke, so Jesus didn’t allow many to come with him.

Jesus told those who were already in the child’s room to cease their mourning, because the young girl wasn’t dead but only slept (Luke 8:52). Too much excitement over what Jesus was about to do would only alarm the little girl needlessly, when she was raised to life. The people who were in the room were professional or religious mourners. They were men and women who sang at religious services, and as mourners they would sing hymns of mourning and recall events in the child’s life, much like we would today during a memorial service for a loved one. Compare this in Luke 8:52 with Jeremiah’s mourning over the death of King Josiah, when “…all the singing men and the singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations…” (2Chronicles 35:25; cf. Jeremiah 9:17). It was such as these people who lamented over Jairus’ daughter.

Nevertheless, when he offered his diagnosis, the mourners “laughed Jesus to scorn” (Luke 8:53). The Greek word for laughter (G2606) means to deride and has nothing to do with the kind of laughter produced by an entertaining incident. Among these mourners would have been Jewish authorities who wished to get rid of Jesus (Luke 6:11; cf. Luke 8:49). They knew the young girl was dead and understood Jesus’ account of the circumstances as poor taste and needed a rebuke.

They were correct, in that the young girl was, indeed, dead (Luke 8:53). However, Jesus used the word sleep in Luke 8:52 in the sense he used it for Lazarus (cf. John 11:11-13). Indeed, this is the manner that Scripture refers to death (cf. Matthew 27:52-53), but as I said above, Jesus simply didn’t want anyone in the room whose emotions would so affect the little girl upon awakening, that she would be frightened.

Therefore, Jesus put those who derided him out of the room (Luke 8:54). Mark seems to describe the incident a little more forcefully by saying Jesus ‘put each one’ out of the room. The same Greek word is used elsewhere of Jesus casting out demons. Next, Jesus took the young girl by the hand and told her to arise (Luke 8:54). Mark seems to have recorded the exact words Jesus would have used in the Aramaic—“Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, ‘Damsel, I say unto thee, arise’” (Mark 5:41). The words Jesus used might be compared with what might be said by her father or mother, when one of them would wake her each morning out of her sleep. The young girl immediately awoke, and Jesus told her parents to give her something to eat (Luke 8:55).

I find it utterly amazing, seeing the tenderness and compassion with which Jesus treated Jarius, who was just beginning to act on his faith toward Jesus, though he had known and believed Jesus for quite some time. I find it equally awesome to see Jesus’ treatment of the dead child, as he prepared the scene she would see upon arising. The child of twelve years would be at that age just beginning to analyze the behavior of others in order to adopt what she believed honorable for herself. Jesus forbad the presence of those who would criticize his healing, not wanting the child to see. He wished her to interpret the scene as a child should, without intimidating reactions coming from those she may have respected as authorities—who should have been more honorable guides. Incorporated in this account is the compassion Jesus has for every believer, and the trust he has given each believer to care for those within the realm of his or her own influence.

[1] It is interesting that the “great company of priests” who believed (Acts 6:7) didn’t join themselves with the Apostles, until the less fastidious Grecian Jews had separated from the main body of believing Jews (Acts 6:1-3), of which the Apostles were the recognized leaders.

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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Gospel of Luke

 

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