Mark 5:21–43 NRSV – When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 5:22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 5:23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 5:24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 5:25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 5:26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 5:27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 5:28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 5:29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 5:30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 5:31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 5:32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 5:33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 5:34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 5:35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 5:36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 5:37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 5:38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 5:39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 5:40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 5:41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 5:42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 5:43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Summary – This passage is one story interrupting another with several parallels. Mark does this to make a contrast. Both of them are about a kind of death, both have authorities, both have “daughters,” and the point is the response of faith. Jairus’s daughter is about to die. She is 12 and Jairus, a Jewish leader, seeks the help of Jesus. This story is interrupted with a woman who has suffered for 12 years with a kind of ceremonial death. Her flow of blood would have made her unclean in the Jewish world so that should couldn’t worship or receive hospitality. She was dead to the community because of her ritual uncleanness. She reaches out to Jesus and touches him for healing. Just as Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” to her, they reported to Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” Despite their unbelief and scorn of Jesus, He sits down on the bed and calls this young girl to “get up.” The word, “talitha” is a term that could best be translated, “honey” or “sweetie” “get up.”
Insight – Jairus’s faith was not strong enough to believe on the basis of Jesus’s word alone. He required Jesus to come to his house and touch her personally (unlike the story of the Centurion who told Jesus to just say the word, Mt 8:8). But this leader was surrounded by even more doubt and fear, so much so that “they laughed at him.” On the other hand the woman with the issue of blood had been cut off from the community and no one had helped her. Yet she had faith enough to receive healing from Jesus even without His personal attention on her. The words of Jesus show this contrast: to the woman – ““Daughter, your faith has made you well.” To Jairus – “Do not fear, only believe.” Jesus then took this young “daughter” by the hand and said, “Honey, get up.” This showed his power over death. We must remember that it is not fear that brings life and healing, but faith alone, holding onto Jesus alone.
Catechism – What did Jesus say to the little girl? “Honey, get up.”
Discussion – Why didn’t Jesus become unclean when the unclean woman touched him? How is does this show His power?
Prayer – Father and God, we thank you for the power of life over death in Jesus Christ our Lord who took our death and was raised to life. Give us this life even now as we trust in Him, letting go of our doubts and unbelief. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.