While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. –Mark 5:35-43
One of the things that I love most about Jesus’ miracles is how much doesn’t show off when he does them. Jesus doesn’t wave his hands around and shout “Abracadabra,” or make long speeches or pompous prayers. He’s not trying to impress the crowds. Over and over again, he does these miracles simply because he loves people. And when you love people, you don’t have to show off or make a big deal about it. You just have to help them.
This is one of those stories. A little girl was dying, and her daddy was desperate to help her. Doctors couldn’t do anything and it was almost too late, when he heard that Jesus was in town. Maybe, just maybe, if Jesus could get there in time, he would be able to help. So the daddy ran to Jesus and fell down at his feet, begging him to come and help his little girl. He didn’t need to beg, though, because of course Jesus would help.
But by the time Jesus got there, it was too late. The little girl had died. Everyone was crying, and the daddy was heartbroken. He told Jesus that he appreciated him coming, but that he could leave now. After all, Jesus could do amazing things, but death wasn’t something you could just “fix.” But Jesus didn’t seem concerned. “Don’t worry,” he told the grieving parents. “I’ll go wake her up.”
Jesus took them into the girl’s bedroom. The little girl lay there, very still and cold. Jesus took her hand and, said, in a gentle voice, “Talitha cum,” which, in Aramaic (the language they spoke at the time), means, “Honey, wake up.” It’s the same thing that a mommy or daddy would say to their little child after a nap.
That’s all Jesus said. No incantations or prayers or magic words. Just, “Honey, it’s time to get up.” And with incredible power and tenderness, Jesus reached down into death and gently, effortlessly brought the little girl back to life. She yawned, sat up, and rubbed her eyes, as if she had just woken up from a good night’s sleep. “Give this girl some lunch,” Jesus said with a smile to her amazed parents.
Who else but Jesus could do something like this? Only Jesus is powerful enough to raise the dead, and only Jesus is tender enough to do it with a gentle pat on the hand. That’s what makes Jesus so amazing: he is Lord over life and death, and yet we see him down on his knees next to a child’s bed, holding a little girl’s hand. Jesus raises the dead the same way a mommy wakes their child from a nap. That’s how gentle he is. And that’s how strong he is. No one else is like him.