“On Your Mark”
From Death to Life (Chapter 5 Verses 21-43)
The news has come to Jairus. Too late, his daughter has died (v35). Not even Jesus can help now. Such resignation fills them. It would never enter their minds that the child could be restored. For the masses of humanity death is the end. It is the finality of it, when the mind grasps the reality that the loved one is gone, and forever, that makes bereavement such an utterly devastating thing. Man’s greatest, most formidable enemy, is death (Romans 5.12; 1Corinthians 15.6; 1Corinthians 15.54-56; 2Timothy 1.10; Hebrews 2.14-15), no mistake about it. This is one of the greatest aspects of the gospel surely, that we have a hope, not just in this life (1Corinthians 15.19), but in the world to come. Yet equally there is nothing more devastating about atheism, unbelief, than it is utter hopelessness, it is summed up in these words here, “why troublest thou the Master” (v35). But the Lord is here, he takes control of the situation as always (v36). He does not even allow panic to settle on Jairus mind. Ignoring everyone else he goes straight for him. Here was a man who came to him in trust, and now like a mighty steel door closing in on what faith he had, death is about to quench that trust. There must have been the mother of all conflicts going on in this man’s mind at this point. The Lord Jesus seeks to keep the candle of faith alight (Isaiah 42.3) He draws alongside this poor man and with mighty power injects hope into his soul, “be not afraid, only believe” (v36).
The Lord selecting three of his disciples, disperses not only the crowd but the professional mourners already gathered in the house (vv37-39). The child only sleeps because Jesus, who says so, has the power to change death into life (Revelation 1.18), death to him is but sleep who has the power to awaken any from it. And will at the last awaken everyone from the sleep of death (Mark 12.25; Luke 20.38). The proof is there before us (vv40-42), he speaks and it is done, and so very simply explained. The vulture death has been robbed of its prey, and the reality of Jesus person shines throughout this with utter brilliance. The parents are silenced, they are to go about the normal business of feeding the child, the work itself will bear testimony (v43). This is but one, the first-fruits of life-giving. In the death of Jesus is the death, the abolishment of death (John 12.24). In trusting him, you will find not only life (John 11.26), but see God’s glory (John 11.40).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)