The King Meets the Need of a Ruler
“While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.” “And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.” Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26 (KJV).
This man of the synagogue could very well represent anyone who is in a place of authority. This man’s name is Jairus. We know His name from reading the gospel according to Mark and Luke (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41). Why Matthew does not name Jairus is not known, at least by me. Jairus being a religious ruler, when his daughter became very ill, suddenly did not care what his friends and associates thought about what he did.
This religious authority recognized a superior authority and worshipped Him. It is amazing what real needs do to people. A sense of desperate helplessness drove this man to a man his peers hated, despised, and counted as a blasphemer. Certainly this ruler recognized the truth of Jesus’s statement in verses twelve and thirteen. Now he needed a physician, at least for someone he loved and cherished, and that was his need too.
Jesus and His disciples followed Jairus home. They found the girl to be dead. Death offers no hope in the scene. The mourners are already mourning her death. Jesus, however, came into the world to deliver those who are “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1), and giving physical life to this girl is evidence and proof positive that He had power over life and death; both physical and eternal. The dead cannot have faith until there is regeneration. Jesus says, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth”.
At the statement of Jesus’s words of assurance the people present at the home of Jairus’s family laugh at Jesus. We are told,
“And they laughed Him to scorn” – “Scorners who laugh at what they do not understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ.” From Matthew Henry Concise.
In the eyes of Jesus the young girl was only sleeping. Her body was dead, or sleeping as Jesus said it, but her soul and spirit were very much alive and alert. Death is but a sleep from which we can only be awakened by the power of Jesus. Those who make a mockery of Jesus are put out — run off. The girl arose from her “Sleep” at the touch of the voice of the Master – King Jesus.
At the voice of the King, our Master, we receive new life through Him. He is the resurrection and the life. That is our greatest need.