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Miracles: Raising the Dead
What did Jesus do in the face of death?
The gospels include stories of Jesus bringing people back to life. Two of these are the raising of Jairus’ daughter and of his friend Lazarus. The story of Jairus’ daughter begins when Jesus is met by a large crowd on the side of Lake Galilee. The ruler of the local synagogue (the Jewish religious building), called Jairus, came to see Jesus and fell at his feet. He pleaded, "My little girl is dying so please come and put your hands on her so that she might be healed and live." Jesus went with him, but the crowd was pressing around him.
Jesus was followed by a woman who had had severe bleeding for twelve years, despite many doctors trying and failing to help her. People had told her about Jesus and she thought that this might be the one to heal her. She reached out and touched Jesus’ robe and was made well. Jesus stopped and asked who had touched and shyly the woman said it had been her. Jesus looked at her and said, “Daughter , your faith has made you well.”
Just at that moment, people arrived from Jairus’s house, telling their master that his daughter was dead and that he should not bother the teacher Jesus more. Jesus turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t be afraid but believe” and they continued to the man’s house. Jesus took Peter, James and John inside the house. Everyone around Jesus in the house was crying.
Jesus looked at them and said, “This child is not dead: she is just asleep.” The people there just laughed – could he be serious? Jesus went with the girl’s mother and father and went to where the child lay. He took her by the hand and told her to get up. The girl immediately stood up and walked. The family and disciples were amazed at what had happened in front of them.
These stories about Jesus' power over death were important in themselves, but they were also seen by the early Christians as clues to the fact that one day Jesus would defeat death when he came back to life on Easter Sunday – the miracle of the resurrection.