Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him… (Then the woman with discharge of blood was healed)… While he was still speaking [to the woman who had been healed], someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56)
Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue and was no doubt well aware of what his peers thought of Jesus. Yet when his only daughter was dying, he sought after Jesus and fell at His feet, imploring Him to come to his house. He had faith that Jesus, of whom he had heard of the miracles already performed, could heal his dying daughter and no amount of social shame was going to deter him from seeking Jesus out.
An Interrupted Journey
As they make their way with crowds of people pressed in around Jesus, I can only imagine what might have been going through Jairus’ mind. I’m sure he was wanting to get to his house with Jesus as quickly as possible and yet having a crowd pressing in around the very man he’s trying to lead to his house may have been a bit nerve wracking. But then to have Jesus stop and ask about someone who touched Him. I don’t know about Jairus, but I think I would have been about ready to burst into tears at the delay.
Right as Jesus was telling the woman who had just been healed that her faith had made her well, was when someone from Jairus’ house came to deliver the bad news that his daughter was dead. I can’t even imagine the heart sink feeling he had in that moment and the possible flood of emotions from sadness to possible anger that someone else got healed and yet his daughter died in the process.
Even though the messenger from Jairus’ house said, “do not trouble the Teacher any more”, Jesus without skipping a beat answered, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” Jesus encouraged Jairus' faith in a time when it would be understandable for his faith to falter.
Do Not Fear; Only Believe
This statement, “Do not fear” and “Do not be afraid” occurs 68 times in the bible. When an angel would come to people with a message from God, this was often the first thing out of their mouths. And we see it’s also the first thing Jesus said to Jairus after he received news of his only daughter’s death.
That word “believe” means to put confidence in and show an absolute trust in. Jesus was telling him to that instead of fearing, to only put his confidence in trust in Him and that she would be made well.
Fear and faith don’t mix together well and Jesus specifically focused Jairus to not fear and only believe. The order of this is important though because in order to fully believe, fear needs to be dealt with. Fear induces doubt, but faith has no room for doubt.
When Jesus said Jairus’ daughter would be well, that word He used in the Greek, sōzō, was literally saying He was going to deliver her from destruction and restore her to health – which since she was already dead, this meant He would raise her from the dead.
Jairus showed a tremendous amount of faith here and listened and obeyed Jesus when he continued to allow Him to come into his house where his now dead daughter lay. He had faith and was doing what Jesus said – only believe - even despite the mourners, who had already been summoned and were crying aloud, who then mockingly laughed at Jesus saying, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” Jairus did what Jesus told him to and was blessed in his doing as Jesus delivered his daughter from death and restored her to health.
Even if others seem to imply “Do not trouble the Teacher”, when you go through trials, make your requests made known to God. And even if God seems to not be answering right away or allowing the situation to get worse, you can have faith that He is indeed at work.
You can and should put your confidence and absolute trust in Him who tells you, “Do not fear, only believe”.