Get this girl something to eat!
Mark 5: 22-24, 35-43
22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ 24 So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jesus executes a wonderful miracle - bringing a girl back to life. But he immediately orders that no one should know this and tells her parents to get her something to eat right away.
From this we can deduce many things:
1 - They must have told someone because we’re reading it.
2 - Jesus knows experiencing the miracle means more than hearing about it.
3 - Jesus cares deeply about little girls brought back from death and thinks that them getting fed is a much higher priority than making a big song and dance out of it.
4 - A man that would bring little girls back to life simply to show off his skills wouldn’t be worth writing about - let alone following.
Jesus is an oasis of calm in this encounter - in a storm of grief and hysteria he focuses on what matters, in an unexpected way. He does an absurd and playful thing - calling a girl who is dead ‘sleeping’ and inviting her to ‘get up’… It’s shocking and more than a little weird… and yet she does. There’s no great spectacle for cheering crowds. In fact he turns out the crowd before speaking to the girl with her parents.
This is a crucial reason Jesus is still followed today. He was not only powerful and incredible, he was loving and generous and imaginative, and fun and life affirming. People say bad news travels faster than good but does it travel further? The good news of Jesus has spread so very far, I reckon, because his power was not reliant on violence, it was reliant on love - a much more idiosyncratic and memorable power. A love that was sometimes stubborn and absurd but always heartfelt and very, very generous.
Help us challenge unimaginative, violent and dehumanising power
and help us to celebrate imaginative, giving, and loving power.
We are on the journey back home.