There are 37 recorded miracles of Jesus in the Bible; 37 times that Jesus did something inexplicable in any other way than that God had powerfully acted. And of course, the writer of one of the Gospels, the Apostle John, tells us that “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)
But of all the miracles that we know about, those that were written down, surely the most extraordinary, the most astonishing, the most amazing, were the three times that Jesus gave life back to someone who was dead. Three times when Jesus refused to accept that death was irreversible, final, and gave someone another chance at life.
And in looking at those three occasions, three very different people, three very different sets of circumstances, we can see that once again, as in so many of his miracles, Jesus is teaching us something each time too.
So in this three-part series, let’s have a look at them, in the order that they appear, and think a little about what these most astounding of all Jesus’ miracles show us about him, about the person he raised from the dead and their circumstances, and maybe even about us.
2. Jairus’ daughter
Jesus and his disciples are in an area of Israel called ‘the Gerasenes’, which is to the south east of the Sea of Galilee. Luke records what happens in ch 8 v40-42 and 49-56, below, but it is also recorded by Matthew and Mark.
Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter
40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him.41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.
49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”
50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56, NIV)
Again, our passage starts with a link back to the previous part of the chapter, an account of Jesus driving out evil spirits from a man. The man had told everyone what had happened, so it was unsurprising that a crowd was waiting for Jesus when he returned. Among them was Jairus, a synagogue leader, whose daughter was very ill and dying. It shows something of the gravity of the situation that Jairus was willing to risk his reputation and position to approach Jesus, who was someone the Jewish authorities were already becoming increasingly wary and suspicious of.
A parent’s only daughter, reminding us of the only son of the widow of Nain. Jesus agrees to come, and sets off, but is interrupted on his journey by a woman who had a condition that made her bleed and who had reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak to be healed. The delay that resulted meant that the girl had died before Jesus arrived. This doesn’t stop Jesus though; he had set out to heal the girl and he means to still do so. His actions are now more urgent, he is giving out instructions, “Don’t be afraid; just believe…” he says to Jairus, “Stop wailing” he says to the people. But the most powerful instruction is given to the girl herself “My child, get up!”; and she did!
What does this teach us?
So much that we can learn from this passage that it could become a book! Let’s limit ourselves in this blog post though to these key learnings:
- It can be worth taking a risk! Jairus took a risk and he got his daughter back. A little faith can go a long way.
- When we say we’re going to do something, follow through. Jesus got interrupted, but he re-engaged and completed what he said he would do.
- Sometimes interruptions are good. The woman who interrupted Jesus was healed, restored back into society, her life was transformed. It was a good interruption!
In this series we see three very different stories, three very different people and situations, but what links them all is that Jesus chose them to be the three people whom he raised from the dead, gave new life to, transforming theirs and their families’ situations. And in each case Jesus taught us something wonderful, including about compassion, faith and hope.
Whatever our situation, however hard things are for us, they are unlikely to be as bad as the situation of the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, or Lazarus. That isn’t to diminish our own struggles and challenges in any way, far from it, it is to remind us that the Jesus who can raise from the dead, the Jesus who can bring transformation to the bereaved, the Jesus who defines compassion, faith and hope, can and does bring those things, and more, to us too. Why not ask him?
Raised From The Dead – The Son Of the Widow Of Nain
Raised From The Dead: Lazarus
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Image used with permission © 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.