Jairus & His Daughter
Open Your Bible
Mark 5:21-43, Leviticus 15:25-27, Revelation 21:4
Stories like those from today’s passage of Jairus’s daughter and the bleeding woman aren’t just about miraculous healings. They also reveal to us what radical love for our neighbor looks like, what it means to deny social norms, and how legalism is disrupted—things Jesus embodied when He walked on the earth. Everything Jesus does is radical, but this particular passage alights something deep within my soul. I am just bowled over by the goodness of our Savior. This passage shows us how everything takes a backseat to the divinity and radical love of Christ.
A woman with a twelve-year-long menstrual discharge, which has made her ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 15:25–27), goes into public looking for Jesus, believing He can heal her—if only she can touch the hem of His robe (Mark 5:25,28).
A leader in the local synagogue (Jairus) comes looking for Jesus, begging Him to heal his daughter (Mark 5:22–23). Jesus goes to the man’s house and touches his dead daughter, and miraculously, she is healed (Mark 5:41).
He healed the woman and He raised the girl from the dead, even though in doing so, He has also made Himself “unclean,” according to levitical law. He does not call attention to Himself, shouting from the rooftops, “Look what I’m doing! Healing WOMEN! Touching the UNCLEAN! Breaking the LEVITICAL LAW! And in the house of a SYNAGOGUE LEADER!” Instead, He speaks with gentleness: “Don’t be afraid. Only believe” (Mark 5:36). He instructs those present not to tell anyone what He’s done (v.43).
Following the rules did not save Jairus’s daughter, nor did visiting the experts stop the woman from bleeding. But belief did—faith that Jesus was who He said He was and would do what He said He would do. Jairus and the bleeding woman did not let fear cover them, but rather an insistent, consuming faith.
Even as I type this, my heart is beating faster than it normally does, anxiety swelling up inside me for so many reasons. I’m worried about health, finances, my church family, the aftermath of tornadoes that touched down in our city in early spring, a global pandemic and resulting quarantine, the need for racial reconciliation within the Church and the country and around the world—and so much more. I fear death. I fear pain. I want to hunker down on the couch and never leave my house again.
But Jesus has two lessons for me from today’s reading in Mark. First, He calls me to live and love as radically as He did. Jesus denied custom and law to touch the sick and heal them. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus prioritizes the weak, the poor, the outcast, the suffering. As I seek to follow Him, I must do this too.
Second, I long for faith and love to chase away fear (1John 4:18), to trust the character of Jesus, to believe that He will accomplish all He has promised to do. I long to believe that the promise revealed to John in Revelation 21:4 is true: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.” His words are my only hope in life and in death: “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.”