Lesson 25

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:35 While he was still speaking, they came from the synagogue ruler's house saying, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?"

5:36 But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, immediately said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Don't be afraid, only believe." 5:37 He allowed no one to follow him, except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 5:38 He came to the synagogue ruler's house, and he saw an uproar, weeping, and great wailing. 5:39 When he had entered in, he said to them, "Why do you make an uproar and weep? The child is not dead, but is asleep."

5:40 They laughed him to scorn. But he, having put them all out, took the father of the child and her mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was lying. 5:41 Taking the child by the hand, he said to her, "Talitha cumi;" which means, being interpreted, "Young lady, I tell you, get up." 5:42 Immediately the young lady rose up, and walked, for she was twelve years old. They were amazed with great amazement. 5:43 He charged them much that no one should know this, and commanded that something should be given to her to eat.

Today's Lesson 

Jesus and His disciples had returned from the far side of the Sea of Galilee to find the multitude waiting for them. This time there was a ruler of the synagogue named Jairus whose daughter lay ill. He begged Jesus to come to his home and help the girl. When Jesus consented they tried to press their way through the crowd. In Yesterday's Scriptures we read how a women who had been ill for a very long time was healed simply by touching the garment of Jesus as He walked through the crowd. Jesus stops to speak with her a moment and this delay set up today's lesson.


As Jesus was speaking with the woman who had been cured, someone in Jairus' household arrived and told them that they were too late. The girl had died. Jesus insists on going to the house anyway. He tells Jairus to have faith and to be not afraid. He asks Jairus to have the same kind of faith as the woman who had just been healed.


When they arrived at the home, the mourning of the child had already begun. Jesus took only Peter, James and John with Him into the house. He told those who had gathered, "Why do you make an uproar and weep? The child is not dead, but is asleep." They scorned Him, but He sent everyone out of the house except the parents of the girl, Himself and the three named disciples. Then He took the hand of the lifeless girl and told her to rise up and she did.


First a technical note. Mark probably interprets the Aramaic phrase, "Talitha cumi," because the first intended readers of this gospel would not have spoken Aramaic. Aramaic was the common language of Galilee. This lends credence to the thought that Mark was probably writing to a Gentile audience, most likely around Rome. There will be many other such examples of Mark translating or interpreting Jewish words and customs.


This story is another example of how Mark goes from one incident about the life of Jesus to another and how each story tells us something more about who Jesus was and what He came to accomplish. Today we see Jesus exercising control over life and death. Everyone else thought that the girl had passed over from life to death. But, God does not share our imitations. Calling forth life from the dead is no harder for God than filling a net with fish or feeding five thousand people from a few barley loaves. Death is no obstacle for God. God transcends death.


As Christians we recognize death as a fact of life in these limited bodies, but there is no reason for us to fear death. The One who lives in us transcends death. The death of those we love may bring sadness, but there must always be the recognition that death is only a temporary barrier. We cannot see through the other side except through the eyes of faith. When we are confronted with death, Jesus asks us, "Don't be afraid, only believe."


Can you allow even the fear of death to be placed in Jesus' hands? Can you give Him authority over your own death and the death of those you love? One day you will hear Jesus say, "I tell you, get up." Are you prepared to answer Him on that day?


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