“And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.” (Luke 8:41-54)
The two miracles described in this passage are deliberately blended together by the Spirit of God for our learning and consolation. Who can imagine what a great trial it must have been to Jairus’ faith to see the Lord Jesus stopped by the woman? What fears must have risen in his heart! His need was urgent. His daughter was dying. He must have been completely distraught. Yet, the Lord Jesus stopped to heal a poor woman before going to heal his dying child. Often, that is exactly what the Lord Jesus does with us. He seldom answers our prayers immediately or in the way we expect. He requires us to trust him to do what is best. Jairus did just that. What compassion he showed! What patience he exercised! What self-denial he exemplified! What faith he practiced!
I do not doubt that all the time the events recorded in verses 43-48 were going on, Jairus was thinking about his dying child. Yet, he said nothing. He just waited patiently before the Lord Jesus, trusting that he who had moved toward his daughter would heal his daughter in his time. Then, while the Lord Jesus was still talking to the woman, “there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.”
Yet, Jairus continued to look to the Lord Jesus. What a great miracle of mercy, love, and grace the Master performed for this needy soul who believed him! His dead daughter was raised to life by the power of the Savior’s word. Death is called, “The King of Terrors.” But here is One who is mightier than the king of terrors. The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ is he who has the keys of death and hell in his hands. He who is the Resurrection and the Life vanquished death by his death and resurrection as our Substitute. Soon, he will “swallow up death in victory” (Isaiah 25:8); and, just as he raised this young girl from death to life, he will raise all the hosts of God’s elect from death and the grave to everlasting life in resurrection glory.
The first thing demonstrated most clearly in this passage is the utter vanity of all earthly, material things. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! saith the preacher.” Those are not the words of a frustrated, grumpy old man, but the words of the wisest, mere mortal ever to walk the face of God’s earth. When Solomon considered all the things a man can possess and enjoy in this world of time and space, in this present state of things, he said, all earthly, material things are utterly vain and meaningless.
Jairus was, in all likelihood, a man of tremendous political power and influence, and of considerable wealth. He was “a ruler of the synagogue.” Yet, his daughter, his only daughter lay dying. The apple of his eye, the darling of his heart was dying; and she was only twelve years old. Go ask Jairus, “How important is money? How useful is power, influence and fame? If the world were yours for the asking, what would you want now?” He would tell you, I want only one thing. I want the Son of God. I want him to come under my roof, to visit my family, to have mercy upon my only dear, dying daughter. Nothing else matters.
I wonder if we will ever learn that nothing here is really of any value, significance, or importance. “The things which are seen are temporal!” Everything here is temporal. Be wise. — “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Let us ever beware of the “cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things!” Let us value nothing in this world more highly now than we will value it when we stand before God.
This passage also demonstrates the certainty and universality of sorrow, sickness and death. Jairus’ daughter was only twelve years old. Yet, she became ill and died. Sickness, sorrow and death are common things that believers must suffer, just as all other people do. Jairus was a believer. Yet, his young, darling daughter was dying when he left home to seek the Lord’s help; and she died while he was seeking that help that Christ alone could give.
Like Jairus’ daughter, each of us must soon die. We will all die at the time appointed, by the means appointed, in the place appointed. For believers, death is a blessed rest. Our Lord said, concerning Jairus’ daughter, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth” (v. 52). That is the same thing he said regarding Lazarus. In reality God’s elect never die. Did not the Son of God say, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26)? Those who die in the Lord sleep in the arms of Jesus. Their bodies sleep in the earth; but they have entered into heavenly rest. Yet, for the unbeliever, death is the beginning of sorrow and woe everlasting.
“Behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house” (v. 41). — I do not pretend to know very much about prayer; but I know that wherever there is true prayer in the heart of a man or woman before God, it has these five characteristics.
I know this, too. — None of us knows “what we should pray for as we ought” (Romans 8:26). We never know what is best. None of us knows what is best for the glory of God, the good of our own souls, or the accomplishment of God’s purpose of grace in Christ. Because we do not know what is best, we do not know how to pray for anything as we ought.
Prayer is not for the gratification of our carnal lusts. It is not the means by which we obtain what we want from the Lord. Prayer, true prayer involves submission to the will of God. It is the cry of the believer’s heart to his heavenly Father to do what is right and best. If I am God’s child, if truly I know him and trust him, I want what he has purposed. I bow to him, surrendering my will to his will, my desires to his purpose, my pleasure to his glory, knowing that his will is best. Therefore, when we pray (in our ignorance), the Holy Spirit cleans up our prayers and presents to the Father the true groanings of our hearts (Romans 8:26).
Jairus demonstrates this spirit and attitude in this passage. He had come to the Lord Jesus seeking that she might not die. When he heard that she had died, he continued trusting the Savior, bowing to his will.
Verses 49 and 50 show us what our God requires of us. — The one thing that God requires and demands of us is faith. I am fully aware that faith is the gift of God and the operation of his grace in us. Yet, faith is what he requires of us. He requires that we “only believe.”
“While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.”
If we would be saved, the Lord Jesus says, “only believe.” If we would honor God, his command is “only believe.” If we would see the Lord God work, he says, “only believe.” If we would see the glory of God, we must “only believe.” In John 11:40 we read, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God.”
In all our exercises of faith, when the Lord seems to give no gracious answers to prayer, when he brings us into trials and difficulties, when our hearts appear to be cold and dead and our spirits are languishing, let us remember Jairus, and look still to our blessed Savior. It is one thing to trust the Son of God when things appear hopeful; but it is something else to trust him when everything appears hopeless.
With regard to our own selves, when we most feel and know our own impotence before God, the depravity of our hearts, and the corruption of our souls, when we feel utterly dead before him, it is a good thing to have “the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (1 Corinthians 1:9). In such times let us rejoice to trust him who says to our souls, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
I am sure the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record this event to remind us that our Lord Jesus Christ is the omnipotent God to whom alone “belong the issues from death” (Psalm 68:20). — “And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done” (vv. 54-56).
In this glorious miracle we are once more shown what Christ can do for dead sinners and how he does it. When God our Savior saves a sinner, when he calls a sinner from spiritual death to life and faith by the power of his omnipotent grace, he secretly, sovereignly touches the dead soul by the hand of his irresistible mercy. He calls the chosen sinner by the power of his Spirit through his Word. The dead, being called by omnipotence, arises and comes to Christ. And everyone who sees it is astonished. The living sinner is astonished. The observant saints are astonished. And the confused religionists are astonished.
In verse 43 the Lord Jesus “commanded to give her meat.” He said to those who stood by, “Give her something to eat.” Our blessed Savior has provided and continually provides food for the souls of his children in this world, by which he sustains us in life and causes us to grow in his grace. To this end he has given his church pastors according to his own heart, called and gifted by his Spirit, to feed his people by the preaching of the gospel with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15; Ephesians 4:8-16).
The resurrection of Jairus’ daughter stands before us in the Book of God as a remarkable pledge of our own resurrection in the last day. As our Lord Jesus came to Jairus’ house and raised his daughter from death to life, soon he shall come again to this earth and raise us up to glory (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
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