Crossways Concepts

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Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Bible Witness #1: Jairus and His Daughter

The following is the first in a series of fictionalized re-tellings of various stories of the Bible.  God has provided the Bible as a wonderful love letter to us.  Let us always praise His name.

[The following story is based on the events described in Mark 5:21-43]

My dear Demos, I write this letter to tell you the complete story of the amazing events of last week.  Although my telling is factual and true, it would not be welcome among my peers here in Capernaum.  I am astonished at the negative response I have received due of my involvement in the events, even as they are publicly known, but I feel that I shall burst if I am not permitted to share this whole story of what God has done in my life.  Because we have been friends since we were boys, I know that you will not believe that this is some sort of conspiracy to cause problems, but just a simple retelling of the facts.  In addition, I count on our long friendship to know that you will hold the facts in complete confidence, because I have been asked not to let the true events be publicly known.

You were still living in Capernaum when the Lord blessed me with a daughter, my dear Anna.  I must admit that I was disappointed at her birth, because she wasn't a son.  I was also disappointed when my wife was unable to bear any more children, nevertheless Anna has been such an incredible blessing to me.  Not only does she have her mother's face and smile, but she has the ability to bring a smile to my own face on even the most difficult of days.  When I see her running to me and throwing her arms around my neck, I have this acute sense of peace and assurance that all is right with the world.  This child has been such a tremendous source of joy for me. 

She is now 12 years old, and as she has grows, I am continually struck by her charm, wit and cleverness.  She is always surprising me by what she does.  She loves to please me, whether by fixing my favorite foods or sweetly singing to me.

So, you can understand my distress when she became sick a fortnight ago.  She started with a cough that seemed insignificant enough, but it rapidly progressed into a terrible fever.  I found myself trying to encourage even the smallest smile out of the child that always had laughter on her lips.  I prayed and prayed that the God of Heaven would heal her, but my prayers went unanswered.

At one point, I asked her if there was anything I could do to make her feel better, she said, “Jesus can heal me.”  If Anna had any fault, it was that she was gullible.  For the last year or so, she had been ravenously consuming all the rumors and stories about that false-prophet from Nazareth named Jesus.  In spite of my efforts to point out to her how many things he did that were outside the good tradition, she always clung to this crazy idea that he might be the long awaited one.

Because I had confidence that the synagogue leaders, Pharisees and scribes could not all be wrong about this man, I was positive that this Jesus of Nazareth must just be another nut that is portraying himself as a prophet of God.  I heard the stories about his amazing healings, I even hear that he raised a man that had been dead for 3 days!  I thought, “What hogwash! People will believe anything!”

Even though all the stories were so difficult to believe, they just wouldn't go away.  I actually been witness one of his supposed healings.  One Sabbath, he came into our synagogue.  There was another man there that had a crippled hand.  There was a lot of tension that Jesus would attempt to heal this man on the sabbath, right there in the synagogue, since that would clearly be in violation of God's law.  Jesus asked the people whether we would lift out a sheep that falls into a pit on the sabbath, then asked whether it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.  Jesus then told the crippled man to straighten out his hand.  The people were thrilled.  We stood back and fumed that he had violated the sabbath, but the way he had accomplished it, made us powerless to do anything about it.

I was following the example of my peers.  I focused completely on the perceived offense and totally missed that I had seen a real miracle.  If my opinion of Jesus was affected by that day, I was made more skeptical.  He appeared to be totally disregarding the law that Moses gave us.

In spite of my Anna's request, I would have asked a pig for help before I would have asked Jesus.

At least that was my attitude when she was just moderately sick.  Instead of following her suggestion, I began calling in the physicians.  They came through with their herbs and balms.  They performed all manner of esoteric actions over her, but she only continued to get worse.  I began to feel a rising panic about her illness.  I felt so powerless as I watched her decline.

On the morning of the first day of the week, she looked so bad.  She was just laying in her bed.  She had not spoken in a couple of days.  Her mother spoke softly to me, saying, “I fear that she will not live to see nightfall.  Her breathing is so ragged and she did not eliminate any fluids since yesterday noon.”

These words struck me like a red-hot branding iron.  There was no way that my wonderful daughter could die!  The very idea was more than I could accept!  Surely there must be something that I could do!

Right there, I fell to my knees.  I pleaded with the Lord, crying like a child.  As I begged the Almighty to restore my dear daughter, in my mind I kept hearing Anna's voice saying, “Jesus can heal me.”  At the time, I didn't know if this recollection was of God or whether it was simply a symptom of my own desperation.  In any case, I stood up ready to toss aside my stubbornness and see what this Jesus could do.

I headed for the door, saying, “Don't give up hope just yet!”  Setting all propriety aside, I lifted up my robes and ran as fast as I could toward the marketplace.  Just that morning, I had heard some of my servants saying that Jesus had arrived back in Capernaum.  While I didn't really know where to find him, I had some guesses.  My confidence raised that I was running in the right direction as I saw many, many other people headed toward the marketplace.

These people were walking and chatting excitedly.  As I ran through and around those walking, I heard the words, “Jesus”, “miracles”, “healing”, “Elijah” and even “Messiah”.  They were going for a show.  On the other hand, I was desperate.  I had to bring him home before I lost my Anna.  He was my last hope.

Finally, ahead of me, I saw a stationary crowd.  I plunged into the crowd, pushing and shoving my way through.  Then, suddenly, he was in front of me.  I hadn't even thought through what I was  going to do when I found him.  Almost without thinking, I fell to my knees if front of him.  As I looked up at him and began to speak, I felt the tears begin to flow again.  I begged him, “My little daughter is at death's door.  Come and lay your hands on her so she can get well and live.”

I don't even remember his reply, but I was so happy that he agreed to come.  As we began moving toward my house, I urged him to come quickly, but that was almost impossible because of the huge crowd.  I thought about this man following me.  As I had knelt before him, looking up into his face, I saw something there that I didn't expect.  There was something different about Jesus.  Even in the midst of all the chaos of the crowd, he seemed to be totally in control and comfortable.  Then too, even with the hundreds of people all around, when he looked at me, it was as if I was the only person that mattered.  He really cared about my anguish and my Anna.  Although I can't quite identify what made it so, this man was different than any person I had ever met.

We had traveled for only a few hundred steps, when he suddenly stopped, turned and said, “Who touched my robes?”

I was totally shocked that he would stop.  We had to go faster.  We can't stop for anything.  My Anna'a life is slipping away.

One of his disciples said, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and you say, 'Who touched me?'”

Jesus explained that he had felt power go out of him.  He was looking around the sea of faces around him, looking for the person that had drawn power from him.

Suddenly a woman threw herself down into the dirt at his feet, sobbing and begging his forgiveness.  Through her tears, she said, “I am so sorry.  I shouldn't have come.  I have been sick for so long.  I am unclean, I have been unclean for 12 years for my bleeding.  The physicians have all been unable to help me.  I just thought...I was sure that somehow, if I just touched  the hem of your robes, that I would be healed.  I know that I sinned by just coming here in my condition, but please understand, I was desperate.”

I was appalled.  How could this woman come out here, knowing what Moses commanded, and interrupt something really important, like going to heal my Anna.  I was sure that Jesus was going to tear into her and although I wanted to get going, this woman needed to be told off.  I was torn between just turning and resuming our walk, and hearing this crazy woman being given what she was due.

To my shock and consternation he said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace and be free from your affliction.”

In my surprise, I looked from Jesus to the woman.  I'm sure she expected the same as I had expected, because I saw her look of fear and anguish change to an expression of humble appreciation as if she had been given a wonderful gift she didn't deserve.  In that moment, my mind went back to how she described herself as desperate and compared that to my own feelings of desperation.  Was it possible that her actions were as justified as my own crazy behavior?

As I was beginning to open my mouth to encourage him to hurry, I heard a familiar voice behind me speaking my name.  I turned and saw Elias, one of my trusted servants.  He said, “Master Jairus, your daughter is dead.  Why bother the Teacher any more?”

It took a moment before his words and their meaning began to penetrate into my mind.  I don't know if I actually spoke the words or just thought, “Noooo!  Please tell me that it isn't so.”  At that moment, I felt my knees give out and my heart break.

As I lay there in the dust, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  Quietly, Jesus said, “Don't be afraid, only believe.”  There was something so authoritative about his words that they cut through my grief.  I turned to look into his face.  He looked deep into my eyes, nodded his head and gestured that we were to continue toward my house.  I was so confused.  Something in the eyes and the touch of Jesus were so compelling, but I was sure that when Elias said Anna was dead, that she must be dead.

I rose and walked in a daze.  Jesus gave some sort of instructions to one of his disciples and as we approached my house, I realized that the crowds were gone.  Now there was only Jesus, four of his disciples and myself, yet it was what I saw at my house that made me stop in my tracks and my stomach turn.  It must be true.  The mourners had arrived.  All around the house, people were weeping and wailing.  The reality of the situation struck me like an arrow to the neck.  My Anna was truly dead!

Jesus never stopped moving.  As he came up to me, he took my arm and lead me, stumbling along.  My wife saw me and came running up to me as her tears streaked down her face.

To our complete surprise, Jesus spoke to all the people in a loud voice, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead, but asleep.”

None of us really knew what to make of this ludicrous statement.  Some people were openly laughing at him.  I think my wife was on the verge of being angry.  As for me, there were strange echoes of his, “Don't be afraid, only believe” statement in my mind.  Everything felt so odd, like in a dream.

We entered the house.  Each person he encountered, Jesus firmly asked them to wait outside.  We went into the room where Anna was laying.  She seemed so tiny laying there.  It was so very wrong, she should be jumping up with a huge gin on her face, throwing her arms around me, but that didn't happen.  That would never happen again.

Jesus went up to her and took her hand.  Looking at her expectantly, he said, “Little one, get up now.”

Was I dreaming?  Did her eyes flicker for a moment?  Almost as quickly as I could wonder that, her eyes popped fully open and she began to sit up.  She saw me and she grinned and said, “Abba, where have you been?”

We all laughed to complete delight and astonishment.  My Anna was back!  I was overjoyed.  I was so thankful to God that he made this possible.

Much later, after my ecstatic joy had toned down a bit, I wished I had asked Jesus what he had done or how he had done it.  After all, she had been dead.  When we walked into that room, I know for a fact that there was no breath or life in her little body.  I am positive that Jesus raised her from the dead.

I thanked him, but all he really said before he left was that I shouldn't talk about what I had seen.  When he made the request, not saying anything seemed reasonable, but a few minutes later when I stepped out of my house with my very much alive daughter to a crowd of several dozen mourners, it was so very difficult.

When the mourners demanded to know what was going on, I just muttered something about Jesus and praising God.  Instead of satisfying the crowd, my comments caused an eruption of questions.  I just said, “The Teacher says that we should get Anna something to eat, please excuse me.”

I didn't have any answers.  That same morning I had been sure that Jesus was a fake or perhaps even of Satan.  Now, he had brought my Anna back from the dead.  I had no doubt that this was a miracle of the Living God.  Because of that, I know that Jesus is truly of God. 

This knowledge is confusing since Jesus speaks against so many things that I have held tightly as incontrovertible truth.  Then, there is the question of who this man really is.  Nobody has been able to work miracles like this since the days of Elisha, so it seems certain that he is a prophet, but could he be more?  Is it possible that he might be, dare I say it, God's Messiah?

As I was writing this, Anna came into the room.  She is all smiles, hugs and youthful health.  She asked me what I was writing.  After I explained that I was writing the story of her healing, she said, in a quite matter-of-fact way, “Jesus really is the Christ.  You always told me that we were waiting for the Messiah, but now we don't have to wait any longer.  He has come.”

My precious Anna was right about Jesus before, could she be right again?  While I don't really know, I will make every effort to find out.  If he might really be the long awaited one, I, with my Anna at my side, will absolutely not miss it.

My greetings to your family. May the blessings of the Living God multiply in your life.

My novel, Burst Into Flames: A Parable is now available as a free eBook or available in print. Go to for more information.

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