While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
36 But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”
40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat. – Mark 5:35-43
I have a soft spot for the way Jesus treats this little girl. It is remarkable to me for more than one reason. First Jesus takes her by the hand. It’s obvious that Peter was in the room with Jesus and the others. He sees Jesus’ gesture, and hears his words, “Talitha koum,” and then dictates this to Mark (this is the traditional understanding of how we got Mark’s gospel). Mark is also touched so that he adds the translates the Aramaic for his Greek speaking audience: “Little girl, get up.”
Once the girl is healed she is up walking around. Jesus tells them to give her something to eat. This signals both a complete healing and Jesus’ care for her ongoing wellbeing. It may also indicate how sick she really was. Recovered, but in need of sustenance. And life must go on. She has a life ahead of her.
It has been pointed out to me by some colleagues that this is one of my most favorite Bible stories. Apparently I reference it often enough that people have drawn that conclusion. Perhaps I’m touched so much by this because of my younger sister who died at the age of eight. Maybe I unconsciously think of Jesus taking her by the hand and saying, “Talitha koum.”
It certainly shows Jesus’ care for little ones. It is a visible expression of the reality that they are weak but he is strong. It shows how intimately he is willing to be in our lives. It shows how he will come into the inner rooms of people’s lives. It shows his tenderness toward people in need. It shows how he is willing to keep things quiet and private.
There will come a time when Jesus’ soft spots will be full-on on display. Hands will be riven. Feet will be impaled. His side will be pierced. He will pour forth blood from his heart, hands and feet. And by his stripe we will be healed. The Lord will lay on him the iniquity of us all. For he has a very big soft spot for sinners like you and me.