08.06.04 Mk. 5:21-24a (See also Mt. 9:18-19; Lk. 8:40-42) Capernaum
JAIRUS BEGS JESUS TO HEAL
21 When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him while He was by the sea. 22 One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet 23 and kept begging Him, “My little daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay Your hands on her so she can get well and live.” 24a So Jesus went with him.
When Jesus arrived, He was met by Jairus, the administrator (Heb. chazzan) of the local synagogue. As the synagogue ruler or president he maintained the facility and controlled the religious services and most likely, he was a low-level Pharisee. Previously, it was his responsibility to represent the Roman centurion to Jesus when the centurion’s slave/servant was sick. They were good friends since the centurion was a Gentile of fine character and personally paid for the construction of the synagogue. Therefore, he was probably well acquainted with the healing ministry of Jesus; and, since he was not under the control of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, he had considerably more freedoms than did some of his southern counterparts. He probably had seen Jesus cast a demon out of someone who had previously visited the synagogue, and he invited Jesus in spite of potential objections from other rabbis. In light of the grave situation of his little daughter (Gk. thugatrion), he would have come to Jesus in spite of any objections. Then a woman who also needed healing interrupted the occasion. For an unknown reason, the gospel writers interrupt the account of the Jairus’ daughter with that of the woman who suffered from the proverbial “issue of blood,” and then return to account of the young girl.
In this passage Matthew coordinates the beauty of the ministry of Jesus with the beauty of his writing. It is no mistake that the daughter of Jairus, who is 12 years old, is contrasted by the woman who was ill for 12 years. The daughter obviously could not function in faith, she was nearly dead, but her father could, and so could the woman who was ill. The synagogue leader wanted Jesus to touch his daughter and the woman wants to touch Jesus. Critics have said that early church fathers created these (false) accounts to illustrate a divine truth. It may not have occurred to them that God orchestrated these events and Matthew placed them together for modern readers to discover. The authority of Jesus goes beyond illness, even to the door of death (and beyond). His authority over illness and death were clearly demonstrated again.
. Barclay, “Mark.” 30-31; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 276, 308-09.
. His responsibilities as president of the synagogue are listed at 02.03.11.
. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 47.