Mark 5:21

Seldom do we find Christ going straight through with a course of teaching or work. Interruptions constantly occurring; many ministries making up the one great ministry. The more intimate connection of Ver. 21 is given in Matthew 9:18 ("while he yet spake these things"). Not that Matthew means that Christ was still at table, nor that Mark's order is wrong. The feast of Matthew (Mark 2:15) is not stated by Mark to have taken place in immediate succession to the conversion, but is narrated in the second instead of the fifth chapter, because of the obvious connection of the two events. Accepting, therefore, the order of the first Gospel, we see -


1. In his teaching. (Ver. 21; Matthew 9:18.) Yet how full of interest the subjects - eating with publicans, and fasting! How significant these breaks! How natural, in a world so full of disturbing and changing influences as this!

2. In his intended mercy. As he goes to the ruler's house the incident of the woman in the crowd takes place (vers. 25 - 34), and he is delayed. Yet the prayer of Jairus was urgent, and broken with apprehensive emotion. Only this was still more pressing, for it was

(1) actual, present, long-endured suffering and shame;

(2) a demand of faith on behalf of its own possessor (not, as in Jairus's case, for another).

II. FRAGMENTS THAT MAKE A GRANDER WHOLE. We have no time to lament the breaking off - the seeming incompleteness - ere we are astonished at the commentary which is furnished in the incidents that follow. He is the great Physician - to the ruler's daughter, the woman with the issue, and the two blind men alike; the Bringer of joy, too, to many by his healing mercies and gracious words. All need him, if they only knew it; and, participating in the blessings of his presence, they cannot mourn or fast, but must needs rejoice. And so in the case of the ruler; the delay really rewarded his faith by an actual illustration of Christ's power, and so sustained him in the higher exercise of faith. "My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live" (Matthew 9:18). This is a picture of many lives. We cannot escape interruptions. Yet are we not therefore to abandon unity of purpose. We may fail to finish all we seek to do, or to do it as we would; but God holds the connecting harmony, and will reveal it at last - or even sooner. The sermon broken off, the merciful intention delayed or frustrated, may prove greater blessings in the event than if suffered uninterruptedly to proceed to a visible or immediate completeness within themselves. The life or work divinely interrupted, but pursued with unity of faith and purpose to the end, will be a grander, more Divine thing than otherwise it could possibly have been.


1. How infinite the resources of the Saviour!

2. His teaching is inseparable from action and life. - M.

Jairus by name.
Better prayers, perhaps, had been offered. He would have shown more faith if he had prayed like the centurion (Luke 7:7). But, though he does not show such strong faith, yet it is a good prayer. For it is(1) humble: he falls at Christ's feet;(2) believing: he feels Christ is omnipotent to heal;(3) bold: he offers it in face of all the people, many of whom would be shocked that a ruler of the synagogue should acknowledge Jesus;(4) loving, springing from a pure affection. Distress is a great schoolmaster. It teaches men many things; among the rest the greatest of all attainments — the power to pray.

(R. Glover.)

And that bright flower bloomed in the vase of that happy home, more beautiful because the look of Jesus had given it new tints and the breath of Jesus had given it new fragrance.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Jairus was a good man. His light was small, but real. It was feeble, but from heaven.

I. HE HAD MUCH TO TRY HIS FAITH. One seems to see all the father in the tenderness of his words. Hope was over, — his daughter was dead. Thus is it with the believer. Instead of the relief he hoped for, all seems as death. Thus does the Lord try the faith He gives. Thus by causing us to wait for the blessing does He endear it.

II. THE EFFECT OF THIS TRIAL OF FAITH. He did not distrust the power or willingness of the compassionate Saviour. His faith takes no denial, he still continues with Jesus. Faith hopes against hope. True faith partakes of his nature who exercises it, therefore in all, it is weak at times. But it partakes also of His nature who gives it, and therefore evinces its strength in the very midst of that weakness.

III. BUT WHEREVER FOUND, IT IS GRACIOUSLY REWARDED. The scorners are without; but believing Jairus and the believing mother (ver. 40) are admitted. They see the mighty power of God put forth on behalf of their daughter. What an encouragement here to some anxious parent to put the case of their dear child in the hands of that same Jesus. How often has domestic affliction been the means of bringing the soul to the feet of Jesus. Mark the extreme tenderness of Jesus, "Fear not, only believe." Be not afraid convicted sinner. My blood is sufficient, My grace and love are sufficient.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)


1. Restoration from a special form of death.

2. Here was the recognition of the value of life — "She shall live." It is not mere life on which Christianity has shed a richer value. It is by ennobling the purpose to which life is to be dedicated that it has made life more precious.

3. We consider the Saviour's direction respecting the means of effecting a complete recovery. He "commanded that something should be given her to eat." His reverential submission to the laws of nature.


1. It was love. He did good because it was good.

2. It was a spirit of retiring modesty. He did not wish it to be known.

3. It was a spirit of perseverance. Calm perseverance amidst ridicule.

(F. W. Robertson.)

Nature puts on a shroud at seasons, and seems to glide into the grave of winter. Autumnal blasts come sobbing through the trees, and leaf after leaf, shrivelling its fibres at the killing contact, comes drifting to the ground. The hedgerows where the May flowers and the dog rose mixed their scents are stripped and bare, and lift their thorny fingers up to heaven. The field where fat and wealthy-looking crops a while ago promised their golden sheaves, is now spread over with a coarse fringe of stubble, and seems a sort of hospital of vegetation. The garden shows no more its beauties, nor sheds forth its scent, but where the coloured petal and the painted cup of the gay flower were seen, there stands a blighted stem, or a drooping tuft of refuse herbs. The birds which carolled to the summer sky have fled away, and their note no longer greets the ear. The very daisies on the meadow are buried in the snow wreath, and the raw blast howls a sad requiem at the funeral of nature. But those trees, whose leafless branches seem to wrestle with the rough winds that toss them, are not dead. Anon, and they shall again be wreathed in verdure and bedecked with blossom. The softened breath of spring shall whisper to the snowdrop to dart forth its modest head, and shall broider the garden path again with flowers; the fragrance of the hawthorn bloom ere long shall gush from those naked hedge rows, and the returning lark shall wake the morning with a new and willing song. No, nature is not dead! There is a resurrection coming on. Spring with its touch of wizardry shall wake her from her slumbers, and sound again the keynote of the suspended music of the spheres. So also shall there arise out of the raging conflagration, in whose fevered heat the elements shall melt and shrivel like a scroll — even out of the very ashes which betoken its consumption — a new heaven and a new earth — an earth as ethereal and pure as heaven itself — and a heaven as substantial and as living as the earth. And consentaneously with the arising of these new worlds; the tombs shall open, and send forth the shrouded tenants, to enter on the inheritance which, in that new economy, shall be theirs. Can you believe that faded flowers shall revive at the blithe beckoning of the spring, that little leaves will quietly unfold at the mandate of the morning, and yet there shall be no spring to beckon the mortal back to life, and no morning to command the clay to clothe itself with the garments of a quickening spirit? Can you believe that the great temple shall arise with all its shrines rebuilded, and its altars purified after the final burning, but that there shall be neither voice nor trumpet to call forth the high priest from his slumber to worship at those shrines, and to lay a more enduring offering upon those waiting altars? Is the fuel to be ever laid, and none to kindle the burnt offering? Is the sanctuary to be prepared, and none to pay the service? Is the bridegroom to stand alone before the altar, and no bride to meet him at the nuptials? God forbid! The high priest is not dead — the bride has not perished — they are not dead, but sleep. Sound forth the trumpet, and say that all is ready, and then the corruptible will put on incorruption, and the mortal will put on immortality. Thus, when we lay our kindred in the earth, and follow to their final resting place the last remains of those who occupied a cherished chamber in our hearts — while nature finds it hard to dry the tear and quench the sigh — faith ever lifts the spirit from its sad despondency, by assuring us of a reunion beyond the grave — and robs the monster of one half his terrors — weakening his stroke and taking away his sting, by changing the mystic trance into which he throws his victims into a transient sleep, and speaking of a waking time of happiness and icy. Nature will look on death as an assassin who murders those we love; but Faith regards him as a nurse who hushes them to sleep, and sings a lullaby and not a requiem beside their bed. To faith it is a sleeping draught and not a poison which the visitor holds to the drinker's lips; for it hails the time when the lethargy of the sepulchre shall be cast off, and the spirit shall arise like a tired slumberer refreshed by sleep, to spend an endless morning in the energy of an endless youth.

(A. Mursell.)

It brings the unseen Hand to bear very directly and potently on the soul's deepest and most hidden springs. Let us suppose for a moment that there was a revealed ordinance of heaven that every, human being born into this world should live to three-score years and ten, and then quietly lie down to rest, and awake in eternity. Would it enrich or impoverish the life of the human world? I venture to think that it would impoverish it unspeakably. The passage of these little ones through the veil, of infants and children, of young men and maidens, of men and women in their prime, brings God's hand very near, and keeps its pressure on the most powerful springs of our nature, our warmest affection, and our most constant and active care. It is not the uncertainty which is the strongest element of the influence, though no doubt that keeps us vigilant and anxious, and helps to maintain the full strain of our power. It is rather the constant contact with a Higher Will, which keeps us in humble, hopeful dependence, which gives and withholds, lends and recalls, by a wisdom which we cannot fathom, but which demands our trust on the basis of a transcendent manifestation of all-suffering and all-sacrificing love.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

It brings heaven all round us when we know that at any moment the veil may be lifted, and a dear life may vanish from our sight, not, blessed be Christ, into the shades, but into the brightness which is beyond. And when the life has vanished it leaves a holy and consecrating memory in the home. Something is in the home on earth which also belongs to the home on high. Never does the home life and all its relations seem so beautiful, so profound, so sacred, as when Death has laid his touch on "a little one," and gathered it as a starry flower for the fields of light on high. It makes the life of the home more anxious, more burdened by care and pain, but more blessed. The nearness at any moment of resistless Death makes us find a dearer meaning in the word, "the whole family in heaven and on earth" — a thought which saturates the whole New Testament, and is not dependent on one text for its revelation. We know then how precious is its meaning, and earth gains by its loss as well as heaven.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

The home, remember, is where the children are. There are those of us who never found the deeper meaning of the Father's love and the everlasting home till a dear child had gone on before. The death of the little ones, while it ought to make the earthly life heaven-like on the one hand, is meant to make heaven home-like on the other. The Lord dethroned and discrowned Death by bearing the human form, living, through His realm of terror. The living Lord abolished death by living on through death, and flashing the splendours of heaven through the shades. The children, as they follow Christ through the gloom, make Death seem beautiful as an angel. Thenceforth we, too, have, not our citizenship only, but our home life in the two worlds.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

And just remember, that when Jesus allows death to knock at your door, and to come in, it is not because death is stronger than He. It is because He has a good reason for permitting it. He is so completely the Master of death that He makes it His messenger to do His bidding; and when death comes to our dwelling and takes away one we love, let us bear in mind that death is not Jesus' enemy but His messenger. He is like an angel; he takes away our friend in his bosom. He has no power at all over us without Jesus.


I. The ease brought before Jesus. A bodily disease as usual. No spiritual cases, though more important.

II. The persons who brought it. A ruler, etc. He had heard Christ's teaching. He had seen His miracles. No mention made, etc., till distress.

III. The character in which he came — a parent.

IV. The manner in which he came. Reverently. Earnestly. Believingly.

V. At the request of Jairus, Christ arose and accompanied him. Christ encouraged such applications — He does so still

(Expository Discourses.)



1. Earnest entreaty.

2. A reverential spirit.


IV. CHRIST'S RESTORATIVE POWER CONFOUNDS THE SCOFFING SCEPTIC WITH ITS RESULT. Scoffing infidelity is destined to be confounded. There were scoffers in the days of Noah and they were confounded when the deluge came. There were scoffers in the days of Lot, and they were confounded when the showers of fire fell. There are scoffers now, and when they shall see Him "coming in His glory with all His holy angels," these atheists, deists, and materialists, will be utterly confounded.

(David Thomas, D. D.)

Homer fittingly calls sleep "the brother of death"; they are so much alike. On the lips of Jesus, however, the word sleep acquires a richer and mightier import than it ever possessed before. Amply has His use of the term been justified in the last hour of tens of thousands of his devout followers. They laid themselves down to die, not as those who dread the night because of the remembrance of hours when, like Job, they were "scared with dreams" and "terrified through visions," but like tired labourers, to whom night is indeed a season of peaceful refreshment. And how imperceptibly they sank into their last slumber! Their transition was so mild and gradual, that it was impossible for those who stood round their dying pillow to say exactly when it took place. There was no struggle, no convulsion. The angel of death spread his wide, white wings meekly over them, and then, with a smile upon their pallid countenance, serene and lovely as heaven itself, they closed their eyes on all terrestrial objects, and fell asleep in Jesus. And that sleep is as profound throughout as it was tranquil at the beginning. The happy fireside and the busy exchange — the halls of science and the houses of legislation — the oft-frequented walk and the holy temple — are nothing to them now. Suns rise and set, stars travel and glisten; but they see them not; tempests howl, thunders roll and crash; but they hear them not. Nothing can disturb those slumbers, "till the day dawn and the shadows flee away." Then will the voice of the archangel sweep over God's acre, and awake them all. Oh, wondrous awaking! what momentous consequences hang on thee!

(Edwin Davies.)

I. SLEEP IS REST, or gives rest to the body: so death.

1. Rest from labour and travail.

2. Rest from trouble and opposition.

3. Rest from passion and grief.

4. Rest from sin, temptation, Satan, and the law.

II. SLEEP IS NOT PERPETUAL; we sleep and wake again; so, though the body lie in the grave, yet death is but a sleep; we shall wake again.

III. THE SLEEP OF SOME MEN DIFFERS VERY MUCH FROM THAT OF OTHERS: So the death of saints differs from that of the wicked.

1. Some men sleep before their work is done; so some die before their salvation is secured.

2. Some fall asleep in business and great distraction, others in peace.

3. Some dread the thought of dying, because of the dangers that lie beyond. But saints have no fear.

4. Some fall asleep in dangerous places, and in the midst of their enemies — on the brink of hell, surrounded by the spirits of perdition. But saints die in the view of Jesus; in the love and covenant of Jesus.

IV. A MAN THAT SLEEPS IS GENERALLY EASILY AWAKENED: So the body in death shall be much more easily awakened at the last day than the soul can now be aroused from its sleep of sin.

(B. Keach.)

The reason why the death of the godly is called a sleep in Scripture is this: because there is a fit resemblance between it and natural sleep; which resemblance consists chiefly in these things.

1. In bodily sleep men rest from the labours of mind and body. So the faithful, dying in the Lord, are said to rest from their labours (Revelation 14:13).

2. After natural sleep men are accustomed to awake again; so, after death, the bodies of the saints shall be awaked, i.e., raised up again to life out of their graves at the last flay. And as it is easy to awake one out of a natural sleep, so is it much more easy with God, by His almighty power, to raise the dead at the last day.

3. As after natural sleep the body and outward senses are more fresh and lively than before; so likewise after that the bodies of the saints, being dead, have for a time slept in their graves as in beds, they shall awake and rise again at the last day in a far more excellent state than they died in, being changed from corruption to in. corruption, from dishonour to glory, from weakness to power, from natural to spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42).

4. As in natural sleep the body only is said properly to sleep, not the soul (the powers whereof work even in sleep in some sort, though not so perfectly as when we are waking): so in death, only the bodies of the saints do die and lie down in the graves, but their souls return to God who gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7), and they live with God even in death and alter death.

5. As sleep is sweet to those who are wearied with labour and travail (Ecclesiastes 5:12), so also death is sweet and comfortable to the faithful, being wearied and turmoiled with sin, and with the manifold miseries of this life.

(G. Petter.)

God cultivates many flowers, seemingly only for their exquisite beauty and fragrance. For when, bathed in soft sunshine, they have burst into blossom, then the Divine hand gathers them from the earthly fields to be kept in crystal vases in the deathless mansions above. Thus little children die — some in the sweet bud, some in the fallen blossom; but never too early to make heaven fairer and sweeter with their immortal bloom.


I. A good child is at home in either world, not sorry to go to the other world to get joy, and not sorry to come back to this world to give it.

II. We know not where the other world is, but it is evidently within range of the Saviour's voice. Our dear dead are therefore safe. and all their conditions ordered by the Saviour's mercy.

III. Life is indestructible by death.

IV. On a universal scale Christ will be found to be the Resurrection and the Life to all who love Him.

V. He inflicts bereavement, but sympathises with its sorrow. He relieves these mourners here, to show that He pities all mourners.

(R. Glover.)

He uses what were, perhaps, the words used every morning by her mother on waking her — "Little one, get up."

(R. Glover.)

Expository Outlines.

1. By whom it was made.

2. The favour he implied.

3. The feeling which this ruler displayed.

(1)His reverence.

(2)His importunity.

(3)His faith.


1. To witness a strange interruption.

2. To listen to what seemed very discouraging information — "Thy daughter is dead."


1. What our Lord saw.

2. What He said.

3. What He did.

(Expository Outlines.)

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