Jesus Raises Jairus’ Daughter Back To Life


‘Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.’ Luke 8:40-42

Jesus and His disciples went on to the western shore of Galilee and the view would have been amazing and the pulpit was the boat, which wasn’t far from the city of Capernaum. Capernaum was Jesus’ hometown.

Matthew 4:13 tells us that He had left Nazareth, and was now dwelling at Capernaum, thus fulfilling the prophecy with regard to Zebulun and Naphthalin, Luke 4:16-31. Matthew 9:1 calls Capernaum His own city.

Christ ennobled Bethlehem by His birth, Nazareth by His education, Jerusalem by His death, and Capernaum by making it His hometown.

Jairus was a ruler of the Jewish synagogue in Capernaum, a prominent and respected leader of the people. His willingness to fall upon his knees before the Son of God emphasises the heartbreak which was crushing his soul.

Think about his situation for a moment, here is a man who sits in the synagogue and hears all the plans and plots to kill this same Jesus, but he comes to Jesus because he obviously believes in who Jesus claims to be and can do.

There can be no doubt that many of his peers despised him for humbling himself before the Lord, but what a blessing he is going to receive.

The phrase, ‘my little daughter’, Matthew 9:18 / Mark 5:22, suggests that this was not only his only daughter but his only child. Notice Mark says, ‘She is dying’, Matthew quoted Jairus as saying, ‘she is even now dead’ Matthew 9:18 and Luke recorded that ‘she was dying’, Luke 8:42.

A useful timeline would be this when the father left the child, she was at her latest gasp, and he didn’t know whether to regard her now as dead or alive and, because he didn’t receive any certain knowledge of her death, he was perplexed whether to speak of her as departed or not, expressing himself one moment in one language, and at the next in another. Jesus agrees to go with him, but it seems a large crowd has got in Jesus’ way.

On the way to Jairus’ home, Jesus heals a woman with bleeding issues, Matthew 9:20-22 / Mark 5:25-34 / Luke 8:43-48.

‘While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.’ Luke 8:49-56

Perhaps some of Jairus’ fellow rulers of the synagogue had been embarrassed by one of themselves appealing to the humble Prophet of the poor and there seems to be a kind of calloused argument here to the effect that, ‘Look, she’s already dead, and we all know that this Teacher cannot raise the dead; why bother (with) him any further?’

Whether or not this was exactly what they had in mind, that was certainly the attitude of their class. It is as though they had said, ‘We are already proceeding with the funeral,’ which from Mark 5:38 it is plain they were actually doing!

When Jesus said, ‘Don’t be afraid’, He meant, don’t fear for your daughter’s life, don’t fear the scorn of your peers, don’t fear that our purpose has been upset by this delay in healing the woman. Jairus was instructed to retain his faith.

When Jesus arrived at the house, He allowed only Peter, James, and John to follow Him into Jairus’ house, Mark 5:37. This marked a new milestone in Jesus’ ministry; already the abilities of these three had earned them a closer relationship with the Lord.

That relationship, however, wasn’t predicated merely upon ability, but upon the role, each of these would have in the future spread of Christianity.

James would set a grand example by being the first of the apostles to die for the faith. Peter would preach the first sermon. John would be the last witness and write the fourth Gospel.

Other instances in which these three were singled out for greater intimacy with Jesus were in the Transfiguration and the Garden of Gethsemane. The probable task assigned to the other apostles was that of controlling and dispersing the multitude.

We are surprised to find so quickly the presence of the ‘hired mourners’ who were raising such a tumult in the house of Jairus, which might be explained by supposing some further delay necessitated by the dispersal of the multitude, during which Jairus had returned home and initiated this phase of the funeral himself, but this is denied by the fact that Jairus evidently remained with Jesus.

This leaves open the possibility that preparations had been made to become effective on the daughter’s death, or the additional possibility suggested under Mark 5:35, namely, that Jairus’ peers were proceeding with the customary funeral activities, the latter being the view accepted here.

When Jesus says, ‘the child is not dead but asleep’ He certainly did not mean these words as a denial that the daughter’s death had actually occurred, but it was His customary language regarding death, John 11:11.

In context, it also meant that He intended to raise her to life again. The attitude of the ‘professional mourners’ and the pipe players, Jeremiah 9:17 / Jeremiah 16:6 / Ezekiel 24:17 / Amos 5:16, shows conclusively that the girl’s death had indeed occurred and had been proven.

The scorners were put out by Jesus, the spiritual implications of this being profound and perpetual. Their conduct here denies any other status to them except that of hired performers at a funeral.

Scornful laughter is never the behaviour of broken-hearted friends and relatives, John 11:13 / Acts 20:10. Jesus’ questioning of the noise they were raising also supports the same conclusion.

Mark records the actual syllables that Jesus used in this calling of the little girl back to life, Mark 5:41. The words are Aramaic, supposed to have been the language Jesus used and from Peter who was present in that inner room, Mark remembered the very words that Christ used.

The words, ‘little girl’ can also be translated as ‘little lamb’ which again shows the tenderness of Jesus’ voice to the young girl. Jesus actually takes the young girl’s hand and tells her to get up, Mark 5:41 / Luke 8:54.

Both Mark and Luke record that Jesus didn’t want this miracle to be made known. The reason for this was simply because He didn’t want the crowds to get excited, Matthew 4:24 / Matthew 14:1 / Mark 1:28 / Mark 1:45 / Luke 5:15 / Luke 7:17. Nevertheless, news about the event spread throughout that region.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This miracle of raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead is the first resurrection recorded in the New Testament. There were three such wonders, forming a sequence.

1. Jairus’ daughter had been dead only a very short time.

2. The son of the widow of Nain had been dead longer and was being carried to the tomb.

3. Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days, Luke 7:12 / John 11. Christ considered raising the dead a part of his ministry, Matthew 11:5 / Luke 7:22, and he delegated the power to the apostles, Matthew 10:8. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, acting under this commission, Acts 9:40.

It is a strange coincidence that the age of this child, Luke 8:42 corresponded exactly with the twelve years of suffering endured by the woman, Matthew 9:20, suggesting some connection here that is not apparent to us. All commentators are intrigued by it, but none has a solution.

It has been pointed out that there was no way to prevent public knowledge of a funeral in progress having been broken up by Jesus.

From this, it is clear that Christ intended merely that Jairus and the other witnesses of it should make no announcement of it, thus leaving Jesus’ earlier statement that the child wasn’t dead to remain fixed, to some degree at least, in the popular mind concerning the incident.

That they indeed cooperated in this charge of Jesus is seen in the fact of there being no great clamour, nor any extraordinary efforts of the hierarchy to put Jesus to death.