The Secret About the Little Girl's Healing Hunch 35
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher any more?" Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe." He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus encountered the din, with people crying and wailing loudly. Upon joining them he said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Later, when the story was told of how Jairus had pleaded with Jesus to come and restore his little girl, that other part of the story, where the elderly lady grabbed Jesus' cloak, would also be told. There is no doubt about Jairus's sense of urgency. He had told Jesus his daughter impending death! But by stopping, Jesus had shown him that when you put your trust in God's Son, you can trust His time-table. Still, Jesus hadn't seen the little girl yet! And, by the way, hadn't He and the crowd, become unclean because of that woman?
And then, some men, members of Jairus' household, came and told the Rabbi not to worry. The danger had passed. The child had died! What was Jairus to think? Hadn't the delay prevented Jesus from getting to his daughter on time? But apparently not. Mark tells us that Jesus kept going. He told Jairus to believe, and not to worry. Jesus simply ignored the message and kept going to Jairus' house. He wasn't backing off. He was taking Jairus with Him. At first it seemed as if Jesus was going along with Jairus. But as it turned out, in that trip to Jairus' house it was Jairus who was going along with Jesus!
When they got there, the mourners gathered to lament a death could only laugh at Jesus when He said to them that she was only sleeping. But Jesus raised the little girl to life. That laughter would have been transformed into something quite different! Jairus, his wife and the little girl were just like any other needy person in God's sight. Jesus showed them His power, a power that not only defeated demons and long-term illness. He showed His power over death.
Jesus continued to work and strong opposition continued to grow. We read of these healings and now we know that they were part of the lead-up to His trial and execution. They help us understand why the Gospel is Good News about God's Kingdom. Some of the first to hear and read these stories would be the people of the Decapolis and Galilee whose lives were changed after meeting Jesus. That was years before this gospel was written down. They might also have seen Him again when He returned there after His resurrection.
Let's think about it some more. Knowing there was a secret is not the same as knowing what the secret was. My hunch is that though we know they had a secret, we do not know what it was that they had to keep secret. Here's what Mark 6:43 says. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. It sounds like Jesus told Jairus and Mrs Jairus to keep it all to themselves. Why would He say that? What did they have to keep to themselves? The little girl had been raised. Surely the crowd would hear about this sooner or later, anyway? She'd be running around the village playing tiggy with friends and they'd see her and say: "Hey, there's that little girl Jesus raised on the day He healed that woman!" So why did Jesus give strict orders not to tell? I think He wanted this family to enjoy the occasion together; keeping quiet was their part in keeping the crowds away. He wanted this synagogue household to enjoy the special event and not to proclaim it. Yes, the news would get around eventually. But it wasn't their task. Jesus helped them enjoy family life again and was well and truly in control at the centre of their family life. Remember, He made sure the "great crowd" stayed away (v.24), and those who laughed, the prayer meeting preparing for a funeral, were told in no uncertain terms to butt out (v.40)?
The little girl's health now depended on the parents doing exactly what the Healer said. No ifs, buts or maybes. They had to not tell anyone about what had happened when He raised the little girl and what He had said to them. Jairus, the girl's mother, as well as Peter, James and John were all parties to that secret. They knew what they were to keep secret. We don't. It is enough for us to know, just like the people in the village would learn, that the little girl had been raised. That's all we need to know. Jesus strictly advised them to keep it between themselves.
Jesus gave Himself to that family in a special way, saying something like: "You need your privacy to be a family again. Here's your little girl. Be a family together!"
We don't know girl's ailment, only that Jesus said "Little girl get up!" The parents were stressed and Jesus helped them, by reminding them she needed food. Eating together they would become a family again. Jesus' strict words meant Jairus and his wife would not even be telling the members of the synagogue. Think about that. These important people of that community had a life of their own to live and they had certainly not solved this problem on their own. They had discovered how much they needed God's help to live day by day. Mark's Good News is also about how Jesus came into people's family lives, helping them to live together. For families, that sometimes means those on the outside, like members of that synagogue, do not get to know the details. They don't have to. Jesus' advice helped the synagogue ruler and his wife and kept the synagogue in its place so that it didn't rule their life. Jesus protected them as a family. It's good to tell others that Jesus has helped us, but sometimes families have to keep the details to themselves. Both parents and children need to grow wise about family secrets. By receiving family life as a precious gift of the Lord, we may find ways to avoid situations where we have to tell others to "butt out".
Think about this! What does this story teach us about the coming of the One who brings God's Kingdom? What part does the strong advice that Jesus gave to Jairus and his wife, to Peter, James and John, tell us about God's rule? They were to keep their "astonished amazement" to themselves. What's going on? And was it the little girl herself, now grown up, who gave Mark the inside story of this event?
My Hunch is this: Jesus is saying that He, God's Son, has work to do, and part of that is to receive the privilege granted Him by His Father of sharing in people's marriages, in the intimacies of their family life. Yes, the Jairus family had been privileged to share intimately in His work, but Jesus safeguards the intimacy of that privilege because God's Kingdom had come to permeate and bless the deepest healing that any marriage and family could receive. They are confronted by God's love in their marriage, in their family. The healing of their little girl was God's precious gift to them. And in this context, God's Son is not wanting to presume upon that gift of healing to the people He has been privileged to serve, by having it broadcast all over the district. No, that was not what this was all about. Their healing was not a means to some other end. Their family healing is about God's rule coming home to bless them in their intimacy. And the Lord God is happy for it to be that way. He's that close! He's that upfront!