Resources » Matthew Henry's Commentary » Mark » Chapter 5 » Verses 35–43

Verses 35–43

Diseases and deaths came into the world by the sin and disobedience of the first Adam; but by the grace of the second Adam both are conquered. Christ, having healed an incurable disease, here goes on to triumph over death, as in the beginning of the chapter he had triumphed over an outrageous devil.

I. The melancholy news is brought to Jairus, that his daughter is dead, and therefore, if Christ be as other physicians, he comes too late. While there is life, there is hope, and room for the use of means; but when life is gone, it is past recall; Why troublest thou the Master any further? Mark 5:35. Ordinarily, the proper thought in this case, is, “The matter is determined, the will of God is done, and I submit, I acquiesce; The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell but God will yet be gracious to me, and the child shall live? But now that it is dead, wherefore should I weep? I shall go to it, but it shall not return to me.” With such words we should quiet ourselves at such a time, that our souls may be as a child that is weaned from his mother: but there the case was extraordinary; the death of the child doth not, as usually, put an end to the narrative.

II. Christ encourageth the afflicted father yet to hope that his application to Christ on the behalf of his child should not be in vain. Christ had staid to work a cure by the way, but he shall be no sufferer by that, nor loser by the gain of others; Be not afraid, only believe. We may suppose Jairus at a pause, whether he should ask Christ to go on or no; but have we not as much occasion for the grace of God, and his consolations, and consequently of the prayers of our ministers and Christian friends, when death is in the house, as when sickness is? Christ therefore soon determines this matter; “Be not afraid that my coming will be to no purpose, only believe that I will make it turn to a good account.” Note, 1. We must not despair concerning our relations that are dead, nor sorrow for them as those that have no hope. See what is said to Rachel, who refused to be comforted concerning her children, upon the presumption that they were not; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for there is hope in thine end, that thy children shall come again, Jer. 31:16, 17. Therefore fear not, faint not. 2. Faith is the only remedy against disquieting grief and fear at such a time: let that silence them, Only believe. Keep up a confidence in Christ, and a dependence upon him, and he will do what is for the best. Believe the resurrection, and then be not afraid.

III. He went with a select company to the house where the dead child was. He had, by the crowd that attended him, given advantage to the poor woman he last healed, and, having done that, now he shook off the crowd, and suffered no man to follow him (to follow with him, so the word is), but his three bosom-disciples, Peter, and James, and John; a competent number to be witnesses of the miracle, but not such a number as that his taking them with him might look like vainglory.

IV. He raised the dead child to life; the circumstances of the narrative here are much the same as we had them in Matthew; only here we may observe,

1. That the child was extremely well beloved, for the relations and neighbours wept and wailed greatly. It is very afflictive when that which is come forth like a flower is so soon cut down, and withereth before it is grown up; when that grieves us, of which we said, This same shall comfort us.

2. That it was evident beyond dispute, that the child was really and truly dead. Their laughing Christ to scorn, for saying, She is not dead, but sleepeth, though highly reprehensible, serves for the proof of this.

3. That Christ put those out as unworthy to be witnesses of the miracle, who were noisy in their sorrow, and were so ignorant in the things of God, as not to understand him when he spoke of death as a sleep, or so scornful, as to ridicule him for it.

4. That he took the parents of the child to be witnesses of the miracle, because in it he had an eye to their faith, and designed it for their comfort, who were the true, for they were the silent mourners.

5. That Christ raised the child to life by a word of power, which is recorded here, and recorded in Syriac, the language in which Christ spoke, for the greater certainty of the thing; Talitha, cumi; Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. Dr. Lightfoot saith, It was customary with the Jews, when they gave physic to one that was sick, to say, Arise from thy disease; meaning, We wish thou mayest arise: but to one that was dead, Christ said, Arise from the dead; meaning, I command that thou arise; nay, there is more in it—the dead have not power to arise, therefore power goes along with this word, to make it effectual. Dan. quod jubes, et jube quod vis—Give what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt. Christ works while he commands, and works by the command, and therefore may command what he pleaseth, even the dead to arise. Such is the gospel call to those that are by nature dead in trespasses and sins, and can no more rise from that death by their own power, than this child could; and yet that word, Awake, and arise from the dead, is neither vain, nor in vain, when it follows immediately, Christ shall give thee light, Eph. 5:14. It is by the word of Christ that spiritual life is given, I said unto thee, Live, Ezek. 16:6.

6. That the damsel, as soon as life returned, arose, and walked, Mark 5:42. Spiritual life will appear by our rising from the bed of sloth and carelessness, and our walking in a religious conversation, our walking up and down in Christ’s name and strength; even from those that are of the age of twelve years, it may be expected that they should walk as those whom Christ has raised to life, otherwise than in the native vanity of their minds.

7. That all who saw it, and heard of it, admired the miracle, and him that wrought it; They were astonished with a great astonishment. They could not but acknowledge that there was something in it extraordinary and very great, and yet they knew not what to make of it, or to infer from it. Their wonder should have worked forward to a lively faith, but it rested in a stupor or astonishment.

8. That Christ endeavoured to conceal it; He charged them straitly, that no man should know it. It was sufficiently known to a competent number, but he would not have it as yet proclaimed any further; because his own resurrection was to be the great instance of his power over death, and therefore the divulging of other instances must be reserved till that great proof was given: let one part of the evidence be kept private, till the other part, on which the main stress lies, be made ready.

9. That Christ took care something should be given her to eat. By this it appeared that she was raised not only to life, but to a good state of health, that she had an appetite to her meat; even the new-born babes in Christ’s house desire the sincere milk, 1 Pet. 2:1, 2. And it is observable, that, as Christ, when at first he had made man, presently provided food for him, and food out of the earth of which he was made (Gen. 1:29), so now when he had given a new life, he took care that something should be given to eat; for is he has given life, he may be trusted to give livelihood, because the life is more than meat, Matt. 6:25. Where Christ hath given spiritual life, he will provide food for the support and nourishment of it unto life eternal, for he will never forsake, or be wanting to, the work of his own hands.