Death and Sleep

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 9:23-26

When I read the three accounts of the healing of Jairus’ daughter I must remind myself to take it slow and draw out a timeline of events based on the writings of all three gospel writers. Quick looks at these passages might confuse us into thinking that the accounts contradict one another. Is the girl dead or just in a very deep sleep? Today, I would like to just layout a timeline and reconcile the accounts so that we can see exactly what occurred and when. We will also find in this the power of Jesus Christ proves that He is the Creator God!

  • Jairus comes to Jesus asking Him to come heal his daughter who is dying.
  • Jesus agrees to go heal hear.
  • Jesus, Jairus, the disciples, and a large crowd travel toward Jairus’ house.
  • A woman who has been sick for twelve years touches His garment and is healed.
  • Jesus has a discussion with the healed woman.
  • Jairus’ servants come and tell him that his daughter is dead.
  • Jesus tells Jairus to not fear but believe.
  • The group continues to Jairus’ house.
  • Jesus sees everyone weeping and mourning so He tells them that she is not dead but asleep.
  • The people know that she is dead so they mock Jesus.
  • Jesus sends everyone away except the girl’s parents, Peter, James, and John.
  • Jesus raises the girl from the dead.
  • Jesus commands the parents to give the girl something to eat.

This timeline easily reconciles the details given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, there is one detail that still causes questions. The servants said the girl was dead and Jesus says she is not. Which is it?

Given the fact that everyone mocked Jesus when He said she was not dead, it seems that she truly was dead, and the people knew it. So, what did Jesus mean by saying she is just sleeping?

The answer is simple.

It is no more difficult for Jesus to raise someone from the dead than for you or I to wake someone from sleeping! Jesus is telling the family to not be afraid because He will soon restore the girl to them like waking her from sleep.

According to John 1, Jesus is the source of natural life to all things:

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:4

If Jesus gave life to man by His words in creation, it should be no surprise that He can but speak and the dead are brought back to life!

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