” Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any longer?” v.35
“Your daughter is dead.” These words pounded like nails into this desperate father’s heart. He stood there in the middle of the street, listening to the echo of his worst nightmare. He had tried so hard to get Jesus there in time. “If he hadn’t stopped to help that cursed woman we could have made it! He could have saved her!” He felt himself imploding under the weight of the dreaded news. The messenger reached to help Jairus to his feet, “Why trouble the teacher any longer?” He said, slowly leading him toward home. You see, to the messenger, it was over. Jesus, the teacher, was too late. Hope was gone. There was nothing left to do but plan the funeral and endure the grief. So this well meaning friend said to Jairus, ‘Why bother the teacher any longer? Perhaps he could have healed her while she was alive, with whatever magic arts he has but what can this mystic do in the face of death?’ They were resigned to fate. Hope was shattered against the rock hard reality of death. If Jesus had been only a teacher, there would have been no reason to seek his help. After all, who needs a teacher when your world has come crashing down? The scripture tells us that Jesus overheard this conversation. Aren’t you glad today, that our Lord overhears our pain and sorrow. He’s always listening in to those dark moments when our worst nightmares are being played out before our eyes. He’s overhearing when the doctor tells the young couple, “I’m sorry but there’s been a miscarriage.” or when worried parents get a late night phone call, “There’s been an accident and it doesn’t look good.” He overhears the long nights of a grieving soul screaming curses into a pillow. He overhears the loved ones trying to make sense of tragedy, with all sorts of clichés about “God’s will”, that usually bounce off the broken heart like pebbles against a gravestone. Jesus overhears our sorrows. Not only did he overhear, but he also overruled. He showed here that is more than a teacher, he is Lord over our darkest moments. In this story Jesus says three things that show who he is when our hearts are broken.
- “Do not fear, only believe.” – Grief brings with it, among other things, great amounts of fear. I can imagine Jairus thinking, “How will I go on without my precious daughter?” We think our world has come to an end. We tell ourselves we will never recover. Subconsciously we make plans to be miserable for the rest of our lives. Death has left a hole in our lives that we think could never heal. Jesus told Jairus not to fear but to believe. The one who has power over death, has power over grief as well. Faith is the antidote for fear. As is often said, we don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future.
- “The child is not dead, but sleeping.” Jesus said this to the professional mourners, whose job it was to weep and wail in time of death. They laughed at him when he said, “She’s just asleep.” From our perspective death is cold and final. It’s the delete button on all our hopes and dreams. To us there is nothing more final than death. Yet Jesus calls it sleep. From his perspective death is the nap before the party. He understands our loss, but also knows that this dream thief, called death, is temporary. He knows because he existed before time with the father, and because now he has died himself, and risen from the dead. When he was crucified he entered into a real death, descended temporarily into hell itself, and rose again in power. This same hope is ours and can fill us with peace even as we stare death in the face.
- “Talitha Cumi” which means “Little girl, I say to you arise.” Jesus rose this girl from death with a single word. What does this mean? Jesus, the teacher, would have only been able to heal the sick, but Jesus, the savior, can step into the realm of death and say, “arise”. Even today we have testimony of people being raised from death by his power. Secondly, as mentioned earlier, this means that death is temporary and we who have lost our loved one have the hope of seeing them again, only this time it will be forever. There will be no more separation. No more saying goodbye. No more grieving. Finally, it means that one day each of us will hear his voice saying, “Arise!” Those who have placed their trust in the savior will rise to eternal life, but whose who have rejected him to judgment. We will all discover that he was far more than a magic teacher, or a mystical sage. He was and is Lord of all.
Perhaps today you are facing tragedy. It may be that you have felt the sting of death. A loved one. A marriage. A career. If Jesus were just a teacher, all you could hope to get from him would be advice or possibly comfort. In that case there would be no point in troubling him any longer. Death has come. It’s over. But he is far more than that. He can speak life into your death. He can bring hope and real healing if you will but trouble him with it.