Let us follow this incredible event by first reading Mark 5:22-24, “And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.” 

The ‘leader of the synagogue’ was an official appointed by the elders to look after the building, its contents, and its arrangements for worship.  While most of the Pharisees rejected the Lord Jesus as the promised Messiah, obviously Jairus believed on Him.  (It is also nice to see that the “chief ruler of the synagogue”, Crispus, was also a believer on the Lord Jesus in Acts 18:8).  Jairus’ daughter was deathly ill, so he came to the Lord to ask Him to heal her. 

Now let’s read Mark 5:35-40, “While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.”  Before arriving at Jairus’ house, the news came that his daughter had died.  Immediately the Lord offered words of comfort by saying, “Be not afraid, only believe.”  I am sure no one had any idea of what they were about to witness.  The Lord Jesus would raise this young girl back to life!

“The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”  Indeed, these are strange words for the girl was obviously dead.  How did the Lord mean these words?  The Lord is not saying that the pronouncement of her death was a misdiagnosis.  Rather, He was speaking in a prophetic sense.  He is saying that the girl will live again. 

The Lord spoke in similar words concerning Lazarus in John 11:11-14, “These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend LAZARUS SLEEPETH; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, LAZARUS IS DEAD.”  There are other places in the scriptures where the word ‘sleep’ is given to indicate death (1 Corinthians 11:30, 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 5:10).  Let us consider 1 Thessalonians 4:13 which says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning THEM WHICH ARE ASLEEP, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”  Again, sleep here is obviously referring to physical death.

Let’s continue to read about this young girl in Mark 5:41-42, “And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”  Surely the Lord’s words reflected the truth that this girl, even though dead, would not stay dead.  His intention from the beginning was to restore her life to her.  The Lord manifested His power over all…the dead and the living.  Surely her parents, seeing her flesh and color and strength and appetite returned so suddenly, were greatly astonished.  (467.4)