“While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”” (Mark 5:35–36, ESV)
Jesus is still speaking with the woman who that day has become his daughter when bad news arrives in the form of people who come from Jairus’ house to tell him that his daughter has died. Tragic news, Jesus was distracted too long with the sick woman, now there is no more hope left for Jairus…or is there.
The messengers tell Jairus, “Why trouble the Teacher any further?” It is an all too poignant statement and one all of us would have made in the situation. While she lived, there was hope for Jairus’ daughter, but she has died, there is no longer any need to bring Jesus to heal her. They thought that death was more powerful than Jesus. They were mistaken.
“Do not fear,” Jesus tells Jairus, who no doubt at that moment was smothered with fear and grief, “only believe.” Donald English comments here: ” If Jesus remains with you, there is no ground for fear. Trust the person, not the circumstances.” Jesus asks of Jairus at that supreme moment of shock, only that Jairus believe in him. Notice that he does not tell Jairus what Jesus surely knows that he is going to do [raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead], he tells Jairus to believe, to trust, to put his confidence in him. The Message paraphrases Jesus’ response here as “Don’t listen to them, just trust me.”
And so Jairus does trust, what else can he do?
Donald English comments here:
It becomes increasingly clear that the central theme emerging from our examination so far is the nature of true faith. Parables, miracles and exorcisms do not ensure it. Religious education and background does not automatically discover it. Family ties are not enough to create it. Demons, in a curious way, know its basis and oppose it. People in deepest need and desperation seem to find it, by a variety of routes.
Jairus has to go through the ultimate terror and grief–the loss of a daughter–to find belief in Jesus, and he will not be disappointed. Jairus’ trust will result in the unimaginable happening.