<< Mark V: The Ruler’s Daughter >>
THERE was a synagogue in Capernaum, like the one that we learned about in Nazareth, where the people met for worship on Sabbath days. They sat on the floor of the large plain building listening to one on the platform who read from the roll of the Scriptures and afterwards sat down and taught them. Some of the chief men sat in the best places on mats or cushions. Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, was one of these. His house was in the town, no doubt a low, flat-roofed, comfortable house, built about an open court. He lived with his wife and their only daughter, a little girl twelve years of age. But the little girl was sick. The poor father in his trouble went to find the Lord, and found Him, it would seem, teaching the people by the shore. If he had before been proud, like many who loved the chief seats in the synagogue, he was not so now, but came kneeling and worshipping and asking help for his little daughter. At first the father said that the child was at the point of death; then others came from the house saying that she was dead. The Lord went with Jairus to his home.
As they went the people pressed around the Lord. What did it mean when He turned about and asked, “Who touched me!” “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” A poor woman had come timidly behind the Lord and touched the hem of His garment. She had been sick twelve years. The doctors had tried and could not help her, but she knew that the Lord could make her well, and so He did. What life and power went out from the Lord! A touch upon the hem of His robe healed the woman! He knew it, for where the Lord’s power goes His love and thought go too.
So they came to the house of Jairus. The friends were weeping and hired mourners were making their sad wailings. We know that one who dies goes to sleep. It is a peaceful sleep, for good angels are very near. After a little time the one who sleeps awakens gently and sees the sunshine of the other world, and things there that are beautiful and homelike, and the faces of the angels so kind that they seem like old and dear friends. A little girl when she awakens goes with the good angels to their home and grows up in heaven. Everything is lovely there and she becomes herself a beautiful, strong, useful, happy angel. Knowing all this and infinitely more about the heavenly world and the going to it, how sad it must have been to the Lord to see the people weeping and to hear them wailing! They did not know about heaven; they thought the little girl’s happy life was ended. What could He say! What could He do to teach them? Let us read the story and see what He said and did.
And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.—Mark V. 21-43.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
Healing of the woman who touched the Lord’s clothes >> Outside work that helps to prepare the way for the Lord to do the deeper work in the inner chamber of our souls
The garment’s hem >> The plain commandments
Touching the Lord’s clothes >> Understanding and obeying the commandments
Touch them in the crowd >> Remember them in the midst of our everyday work and pleasure
A little boy >> The beginning of heavenly understanding
A little girl >> The beginning of heavenly affection
She is not dead, she is asleep >> Death is a transition into the spiritual world
Arise >> Lift our thoughts to better things, and set our hearts on what is pure and good and heavenly, and begin with the Lord’s help to live in higher ways
Give the little girl something to eat >> Spiritual Life is sustained by Love and Wisdom
Then came the ruler of the synagogue, whose little daughter, representing a spiritual affection for truth, was “even now dead;.” but who said, ” Come, and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live.” Jesus arose and followed him. But before He could revive the little daughter, He must heal the woman with the issue of blood who represents the vain longing and effort to do good, without knowing how.
His garments are His presentation of good life. The hem or fringe of them is the formulation of it in precepts of what is to be done or not to be done. To touch this is to have the efforts wisely directed, with no more waste. When this is accomplished, the spiritual affection for truth may be revived; for the essence of the spiritual as distinguished from the merely natural, is to love truth for the sake of use, and not for the mere knowing.
The blind men, who, bound by the old formal teaching, could see neither good nor truth, now, under the influence of His genuine teaching and life, see both plainly. And he who, possessed by the old self-life, had no belief in God to confess, now, from the joy of the new life, can both confess and praise Him.
It was a new life, never before so received in the church. To those who were so full of self that they could conceive of no other motive, it was the pretence of a supreme selfishness. But the good tidings of the kingdom of heaven went forth, and the Spirit of the Lord brought health and happy life wherever He was received.
These are briefly the vivifying effects of the Lord’s love for the Divine commandments, when received in the plane of conduct. It brings a living connection between the Divine and what are otherwise dead forms. It kindles a new joy in obedience to law as a duty to God. It changes a merely formal service to a service of usefulness. It removes infestations and discouragements, that the life may be free. It subdues and controls the appetites of the body. It substitutes for motives of self-indulgence, an enjoyment in usefulness from the Spirit of the Lord. And for many disorderly motives it brings the love of orderly life according to the truth. It is not merely repressive ; it brings new and purer joys in the place of the old. It furnishes a Divine guidance to all efforts to do good ; and kindles a spiritual affection for the truth for the sake of use. It opens the eyes to see things as they really are ; and the lips to praise the God of life.
This completes the series of the effects of the Lord’s preaching in the natural life. (Author: John Worchester, 1898. Matthew’s Gospel.)
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum