The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter

49While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore” 50Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened (Luke 8:49-56).

Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (v. 50). When they got to his home, the professional mourners were there, crying and wailing at the loss to the family. He said to them, “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead” (v. 52-53). The Greek word translated as laughed in verse 24, is a scornful belly laugh at the words of Jesus. The mourners ridiculed Him knowing what death looked like. They were not beginners at funerals. She was not asleep. This was no coma. They were witnesses to the death of the twelve-year-old. What did Jesus mean by saying that she was asleep? Those who are of the household of faith in Christ never die. Our body may be put in the ground, but we are very much alive at the point of departure of the body.

Some believe that, when a Christian dies, his soul sleeps and that he is unconscious until Christ comes for him or her at the resurrection. The Bible does have a few passages where Jesus talked about death for a Christian as “sleep.” In the case of when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, He deliberately waited another two days before He even left for the tomb (John 11:6). The Lord waited so that He could prove to the skeptics that He had authority over death. Jews believed that the dead person’s spirit could remain around his body for up to two days before going on to the afterlife. Lazarus was not sleeping in the tomb. He was dead.

11After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep (John 11:11-13).

[Jesus said:] “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

The believer in Christ is never dead; he is separated from his body, a state that Jesus calls “sleep.” A person is only dead, according to the Lord Jesus, when he has not entered into a relationship with Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 5). We are told that, at this moment in heaven, there are the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). In another place, when Christ returns for His church at the Rapture, “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Their bodies were in the grave, but they themselves, the unseen part of our nature, i.e. our spirit and soul, are very much alive and with the Lord.

When I get into my car, it is dead until I turn on the ignition. It will do nothing at all without my driving it. In the same way, the real me is composed of a spirit and soul that “drives” my body. The real person lives on beyond death. There is more to life than just this body of flesh.

At a funeral we bury something, not someone; it is the house not the tenant that is lowered into the grave. Verna Wright.

 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Paul the Apostle wrote: “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). He fully expected that, the instant his body released him, he would go immediately to be with the Lord. If you are a Christian, the body is seen by the Lord to be “asleep” until the resurrection of the dead at the coming of the Lord. To be “absent” from one’s body simply means to die because, at death, the spirit is separated from the body and moves into its eternal abode—either heaven with the Lord, or hell, separated from God for eternity.

Back to Luke’s testimony. The Lord took Jairus and his wife, plus His three closest disciples: Peter, James and John. It was an intimate moment with the Savior. Can you imagine the joy of your only child coming back to life from the dead! He cares for us in our pain, He cares for us in our trouble. Jesus cares! 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. (Luke 8:54-55). When Jesus took the daughter’s hand and told her to get up, Luke tells us that her spirit returned (v. 55). What a wonderful sight as her eyes flickered before opening and seeing the face of the Lord Jesus. Many of us reading these words will one day have that experience of shutting the eyes of flesh and seeing the Lord Jesus as we pass into real life—eternal life. Where had the little girl been? Her body was dead and laying on the bed before the Lord and three of His disciples, but the real person, her spirit, had been somewhere else—with the Father in heaven. I hope to see you there. Keith Thomas

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