Medical oddity

And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Ja′irus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, and besought him, saying, “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.” And he went with him.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years,and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease…. 

While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But ignoring[a] what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But 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. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Tal′itha cu′mi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-43


A quick note today. Two things struck me as I read this passage:

The first was the condition of the woman with the hemorrhage, because she “had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”

If you’ve ever gone through invasive medical procedures for yourself or with a loved one, especially when trying to track down an elusive diagnosis, you know what this is like. You start to wonder if the doctors see you as a human being or just a medical mystery to be solved. People you don’t know come in to study you. You wonder if the cure is worse than the disease. You get tired of being a medical oddity. An anomaly. A freak.

That thought put me in a frame of mind to read the following story about Jairus’ daughter a bit differently than I usually do. When Jesus tells the crowd that the girl is “not dead but sleeping” and allows no one but Peter, James, and John and the girl’s parents to witness the miracle of her resurrection, he is giving the girl more than just life. Jesus gives her a life–which is to say, he gives her the cushion that a twelve year old would need to grow up and be happy. He strictly charges the adults not to tell what has happened so she can grow up as a person and not always be known as a freak or The Girl Who Was Dead. Ja’irus’ daughter is brought back to her parents and to herself–for all anyone outside knows, she really was just sleeping. It’s such a compassionate miracle. Not a manifestation of God’s glory at the expense of an adolescent. No, Ja’irus’ daughter will be all right. Now if someone will just get that child something to eat.


  1. Bob says:

    Good observation!

  2. Ellen says:

    Excellent. I will be pondering! One note of correction – she was not resurrected; she was resuscitated. Resurrection is by definition a totally different thing that has only happened thus far to one person, Jesus of Nazareth.

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