Mark 5:35-40a (NIV): 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 saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.
Twice Jesus heard the judgment of men on this girl: “She is dead.” And twice He rejected it. It’s not that the girl was still alive; she was obviously physically dead. It is that, unlike the way that people saw things, this was not the end of her story. God still had another chapter to write.
Jairus wasn’t sure what to think when the men from his household came to him with the news that his daughter, his only daughter (Luke 8:42) had died. He had feared that would happen. She had been failing so quickly when he heard that Jesus had returned. A big part of him wanted to just throw himself into the grief of it all. But Jesus looked him right in the eye and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” It was belief that had sent him to Jesus in the first place – belief that had pushed him through the crowd to Jesus’ feet. But could his belief keep him moving forward in the face of this worst-possible news?
Rather than have hundreds of people in tow, Jesus narrowed the group to five: Himself, Jairus, Peter, James, and John. The rest were commanded not to come along. Then they sped through the narrow streets to Jairus’ house. They could hear the wailing of the family members and friends even before they turned the last corner. Here was clear testimony that the messengers had not been mistaken. The girl really was dead.
Jesus pushed through the mourners into the house and made the statement that should have changed everything: “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead, but asleep.” The girl really was dead at that moment but, in God’s will, this was not an irrevocable state, just at temporary “sleep” from which she would soon awake. But Jairus was the only one who was believing Jesus at this point. Everyone else just laughed at the obvious ridiculousness of the statement.
But the unvarying rule is that in every circumstance God has the last word. Even when the situation seems completely hopeless, He can change it all with a single word, with a touch. Even death itself cannot stand firm before God, the very source of life; how much less any smaller tragedy or circumstance!
Father, thank You that, even when we think some circumstance is completely insurmountable, some enemy is completely unbeatable, some tragedy completely unsurvivable, there is You. You can overcome every circumstance, vanquish every enemy, and walk with us through every tragedy. Even though it is not Your will to reverse every death (many died in Jesus day and were not resurrected), Your promise is that even death itself will be ultimately destroyed. And we can count on that. In the meantime, Lord, help us to hear Your voice in every negative circumstance saying to our hearts, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Amen.