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
The everyday rhythms of rest, work, eat, sleep are clearly recorded in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. Whether it is the picture we get of Jesus asleep in the boat during a storm (certainly clear evidence of Jesus physical exhaustion), his feeding of the 5000, or his travels from place to place preaching the Kingdom of God and manifesting its presence in signs and wonders: Jesus was a real person, living a real life.
That’s just one reason I appreciate the touch Mark includes here of Jesus telling the girl’s parents to give her something to eat.
Some people accuse Christians to be so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good. If that is the case, we must repent. For Jesus’ ministry shows that God cares about all of life. He sends the mourners away. He clears the room of all but a few. He heals the girl. Then he tells them to give her something to eat.
Practically speaking, if she was quite ill, she may not have had food for a time. And if she is up and walking around, her energy might soon be utterly depleted. This is a practical way of caring for her. It’s real. It’s here and now. It’s what was needed. It was a blessing.
Having said all that, Jesus put the people out and sent away the mourners for a reason. I believe it was because his work was not to be confined to this one girl and her relief. He cared for her and her parents, and his care would not stop with them. She would be well. He would continue on.
Not too many months later he would express his physical need by crying out, “I thirst!” As his life drained from his body, the fullness of this healing and all the others were taken into his. Demons were sent into the pigs. Our sicknesses were laid on Jesus. He would be denied drink. He would die. But days later he would enjoy a breakfast on the beach with his disciples.
He continues to feed the souls of his people on the manna of his grace. He nourishes us with his body and blood under the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. That’s a meal he offers all who come to him in faith.