The Gospel of Mark – Part 16

The daughter of Jairus, 5. 21-24, 35-43

The next major event in this chapter of deliverance is the raising of Jairus’ daughter.

The attitude of Jairus, vv. 21-23

We should note the manner in which Jairus approaches the Saviour. He comes:

  • Publicly - ‘much people gathered unto him’, v. 21. The crowd would see and hear all that was done. This was not a covert meeting arranged in a corner. Wiersbe makes an interesting observation, ‘One crowd sighed with relief as they saw Jesus leave, but another crowd was waiting to welcome Him when He returned home to Capernaum’.1
  • Humbly - ‘he fell at his feet’, v. 22. Jairus was ‘one of the rulers of the synagogue’. He was a man of social standing and importance amongst the community. He could well have been a man of some wealth. All this he counts for nothing in the presence of the Saviour. He prostrated himself before the Lord.
  • Earnestly - ‘and besought him greatly’, v. 23. Jairus was earnest in his pleas to the Lord. He was not averse to begging for the Lord’s help although it might bring him religious ridicule and public embarrassment.
  • Believingly - ‘lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed’, v. 23. There was no question in Jairus’ mind. If the Lord was to act, his daughter would be saved, healed, and restored to the family. Jairus had great faith in the Saviour’s ability.

The action of the Saviour, v. 24

The Lord’s response to Jairus was immediate and speedy. Wuest states, ‘Jesus went with him. The Greek has it, went off with him promptly’.2 However, progress was not as fast as Jairus may have wanted. The following crowd throng the Saviour and impede His progress. They were almost suffocating in their attention to Him.

It is interesting that the Lord did not heal the daughter at a distance as He had done with the nobleman’s son, John 4. 46-54. It would seem that, in the purpose of God, the journey was necessary for the blessing of the woman and that the greater miracle of the raising of Jairus’ daughter might be witnessed.

Thus, at this point the woman with the issue of blood uses the crush of the crowd to seek her own healing.

The assurance of the Saviour, vv. 35-37

Whilst the Lord is dealing with the woman with the issue of blood, a message comes from Jairus’ house indicating the death of his daughter. The bearers of the message assume the finality of this situation, ‘why troublest thou the Master any further?’ v. 35. They not only assumed the situation to be closed, and the cause lost, but they also assumed this whole request of Jairus to the Lord to be a trouble, an inconvenience, or an annoyance to Him. How little they knew the Saviour!

It is at this point that the Lord gives assurance to Jairus, ‘Be not afraid, only believe’, v. 36. One of the continuing themes of the Gospel is the contrast between fear and faith, 4. 41. They cannot co-exist. Where there is fear, faith is marginalized. Luke tells us that the Lord added the words, ‘and she shall be made whole’, Luke 8. 50. The faith that Jairus had exercised in seeking the help of the Saviour would be rewarded, if only he kept believing! With the three disciples, those chosen to be the witnesses of the miracle, the Saviour went on to the house.

The activity of the mourners, vv. 38-40

The reality of the death of Jairus’ daughter is confirmed for us here, for the mourners had arrived. As Mark records, they ‘wept and wailed greatly’, v. 38. These ‘professional lamenters’ were making a considerable tumult, but the hollowness of their supposed grief is seen as soon as the Lord gives His assessment of the situation. Their grief is turned to mockery and laughter, ‘they laughed him to scorn’, v. 40.

The Lord declared that ‘the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth’, v. 39. What a testimony to Jairus! His daughter was dead, but she would not remain so. When the Lord is present, He has power over death. Whatever the mourners may think and say is of no consequence. They are put out.

The one who is master of the storm is now master of the house before He becomes master of death. Only five people were privileged to see the miracle performed - Jairus, his wife, Peter, James, and John.

The animation of Jairus’ daughter, vv. 41-43

It is interesting that all three synoptic Gospel writers mention the fact that the Lord took the girl by the hand. It is significant in its tenderness but also in its strength in assisting the damsel, once alive, to sit up and then walk.

The importance of the words of the Lord are seen in the fact that they are:

  • Authoritative - ‘I say’, v. 41. It was by His authority that the life of the girl returned to her. The one in whom the power of life is resident can speak with all the authority of heaven.
  • Personal - ‘unto thee’, v. 41. This was not a general resurrection but a specific one.
  • Commanding - ‘arise’, v. 41. This is a voice that cannot be ignored and a power that cannot be denied.

The outcome of the words of the Lord are seen ‘straightway’, v. 42.

The reality of the miracle is seen in that she ‘walked’, v. 42, and kept on walking about,3 and that she ate, v. 43. The evidence was conclusive! What wonder and astonishment filled the hearts of those who were prepared to believe and whose faith was ably rewarded.

The deliverance of the woman, vv. 25-34

As what is almost a distraction from the general account of the raising of Jairus’ daughter comes the account of the woman with the issue of blood.

Her condition, vv. 25, 26

The full nature of the healing that is accomplished by the Lord can only be appreciated against the detailed background of her condition. Mark tells us of:

  • The disease - ‘an issue of blood’, v. 25. Where the blood was flowing from is unclear, but the consequences of that flow were considerable. She would be constituted ritually unclean and this would affect her religious and social relations.
  • The duration - ‘twelve years’, v. 25. What a burden!4 It is interesting that she had experienced this malady for the same number of years as Jairus’ daughter had been alive.
  • The distress - ‘had suffered many things of many physicians’, v. 26. Mark emphasizes that she had suffered. Apart from the physical, religious, and social effects of the disease, she had also tried various remedies, all of them seemingly costly, and without benefit. All that the medical sciences of the day had succeeded in doing was taking her money. She was physically, emotionally, and financially distressed.
  • The decline - ‘but rather grew worse’, v. 26. All the expense had achieved nothing. She was now aware of the growing toll that the disease was taking on her frame.

Her conviction, vv. 27, 28

This woman was now desperate. All human resources, medically and financially, had been exhausted. But Mark tells us that ‘she … heard of Jesus’, v. 27. This was the hearing of faith. She acted upon what she had heard and made her way to meet the Saviour.

The extent of her faith is given us. Her inner thoughts were that, ‘If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole’, v. 28. She felt that any part of the outer clothing would do. A touch was sufficient. The discretion with which she moved was to avoid any embarrassing public disclosure of her condition.

Her cure, v. 29

In Mark’s customary language, he reminds us that the cure was immediate. There was no wait afforded by a lengthy treatment.

There was no period of convalescence. There was no doubt, ‘she felt in her body’. The cure was complete as ‘the fountain of her blood was dried up’. She was delivered, the scourge of the disease was taken away and taken away permanently.

What an extensive and remarkable miracle was performed! What relief and joy were brought to the woman as a result of her faith in Christ!

His challenge, vv. 30-32

But the woman’s desire to effect a cure without public disclosure is thwarted by the Lord. As quickly as the cure had been wrought, the Lord also knew ‘immediately’ what had been done. The Lord’s repeated question, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ v. 30, was asked, not because He did not know the answer, but to allow the woman to come forward and make herself known willingly.

The disciples were incredulous. They assumed that the crowd, pushing and pressing forward around the Saviour, would have made physical contact on numerous occasions. But the Lord was not interested in the involuntary touch caused by physical nearness. He was concerned to meet the one whose touch was the voluntary, dependent touch of faith.

With the question comes the searching and probing look of the Lord, ‘he looked round about to see her’, v. 32. He kept looking and, it is clear from the verse, He kept looking for the woman. He knew her identity and searched to locate her. Nothing can be hidden from Him!

Her confession, v. 33

She had heard the question and, no doubt, felt the penetrating gaze of the Saviour. Now, she came in response to the Saviour’s command:

  • Reverently - ‘fearing and trembling’. There was a sense of awe and reverence in her approach.
  • Humbly - ‘and fell down before him’. She prostrated herself at the feet of her healer and benefactor. It was an acknowledgement of the unworthiness of her stealth.
  • Candidly - ‘and told him all the truth’. He knew the account before it was given but open confession must accompany any salvation. Her testimony was also necessary to furnish the detail of the story and for the witnesses to appreciate what had been done.

His comfort, v. 34

Was she to be admonished in the way she had received her cure? Was what had been wrought to be undone? The words of the Lord are important and necessary for the woman, to bring comfort and assurance to her heart, and to the crowd, to testify of the way to spiritual blessing. They are words of:

  • Affection - ‘Daughter’. The only recorded mention of this term indicated to the woman a new relationship into which she had been brought.
  • Affirmation - ‘thy faith hath made thee whole’. It was not the physical touch. It was the belief in the healing and saving power of Christ that brought the cure.
  • Assurance - ‘go in peace, and be whole of thy plague’. There was assurance of the future, one of peace. What a contrast with the distress and decline during the period of her illness. There was assurance as to the permanence of her cure. She was now whole and would continue to be so.

Against the pressing crowd and the pressing need of Jairus and his daughter, the Lord finds time for this woman, this social and religious outcast. What a testimony to the Saviour! What a challenge to us!



W. W. Wiersbe, op. cit .


K. S. Wuest, op. cit . pg. 109.


K. S. WUEST, op. cit. pg. 117.


HIEBERT comments, ‘Twelve years speaks of the long duration of her agony and distress’. D. E. HIEBERT, op. cit., pg. 141.


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