Jairus, a synagogue official, came to Jesus in Mark 5:22 with an unsurmountable problem. His twelve year old daughter was dying. Jesus was always compassionate. He went to the home of Jairus to help. However, Jesus was also always aware of teachable moments to train his disciples. In this case, Jesus took the opportunity to separate His inner circle from the rest of His disciples so that He could teach them a very important lesson. Jairus’ daughter died before Jesus got to her. Jesus was about to restore life to this very dead girl. We know that she was dead because of the presence of mourners, both volunteer and paid. It was customary to pay musicians and wailers to give a public demonstration of the family’s grief (Amos 5:16). In spite of Jesus speaking metaphorically about her only being asleep, there is no doubt that she was in fact dead.
Some teach that Jesus brought Peter, James, and John to the home of Jairus so that they could serve as witnesses to the fact that this girl was dead. That was totally unnecessary. The paid mourners testify to that fact. Peter, James, and John were there for their education. Jesus was showing them a physical resurrection to illustrate spiritual resurrection. Jesus can raise the physically dead, imparting new life to them. More importantly, Jesus can raise the spiritually dead, imparting new and eternal life to them. In this scene (Mark 5:35-43), Jesus spoke four times. In verse 36, He gave a word of encouragement, which is a word of faith. The key is “only keep believing”. In verse 39, Jesus spoke a word of hope, declaring not that the girl was not dead, but rather that He could raise the dead as easily as we can wake the sleeping. In verse 41, Jesus spoke the word of life and power. He commanded the girl to do that which is impossible apart from His enabling power.
Peter, James, and John witnessed a frantic and emotional scene. They learned many valuable lessons about what happens when Jesus is brought in faith to the spiritually dead (verses 35-43). Unbelievers will jeer and mock, treating Jesus with scorn. Those walking by sight will tell us under the guise of kindly helpfulness, that it is too late and no use to bring Jesus. Bystanders will cause distractions and they will only get louder. Jesus can and will quickly and forcefully dispense with the distractions and those who cause them. Only Jesus can speak new life into the spiritually dead. Some readers are confused about Jesus command not to tell anyone and they teach that since it was not yet time for Jesus to go the cross, He was simply keeping His fame from spreading too quickly. Certainly there is some truth to that, but I think there is a more important reason.
When we bring Jesus to a spiritually dead person and He imparts life, there is no need for us to testify or witness to that. If a dead person comes to life, the new life in the formerly dead person is testimony that cannot be hidden. If the watching world cannot see the change from death to life, then life has not been imparted and this spiritually dead person is still dead in trespasses and sins. Mark notes that Jesus told them to feed the girl. When a person is born again, it is our responsibility to nourish him with Truth. This newborn will be helpless to feed himself; he will need us to teach him about Christ. He will need us to teach encouragement and gentle correction that is found in the sacred Scripture.