The previous post mentioned 4 exceptions to the public healings of Jesus and the proceeded to list only 3. This was by design. As the prior post mentioned: “to understand what Jesus did, follow the crowds.” That statement is on only a partial thought. It’s compliment is: “to understand who Jesus is, follow the three.”
The three: Peter, James, and John. They were three of Jesus’ first followers. They were fishermen by trade and pastors in training. They would someday be authors and speakers, but for the time being, they were working through some issues. James and John had anger and pride. Peter was foolish and loose with his tongue. They failed at discipleship a lot. So much in fact, that it is a dominant theme in the book of Mark. Still, Jesus saved his most revelatory moments for the Three.
Instead of a public healing, the Three were pulled aside by Jesus for a revelation. A girls father had caught up with Jesus as had many others. Jesus is met after his return from the Decapolis by a crowd of people. A synagogue ruler gets his ear and tells him of his daughters illness. He knew that if he could get Jesus to her, he could heal her. Jesus grants his request and goes along with crowd in tow.
One in the crowd, a woman, was sick herself. The similarities between the two sick ones are inescapable:
- both female
- One was sick 12 years and the other is 12 years old
- Faith/belief led to healing
- It was Jesus touch that instituted healing
- The thoughts that led to their healing were similar. The bleeding woman thought: “If I can just get to him…”. Jairus’ thought: “If I can just get him to her…”
The main difference between the two was where it happened and who it was in front of. The bleeding woman was healed right in front of the parade. Jesus even brought attention to it. “Who touched me?”, he asked as he felt the power leave him. He made sure the crowd knew what was happening and how the healing happened.
When he arrived at the scene of the dead girl, he was not only a leading a procession, he interrupted a procession. The corresponding verses in Matthew, those recounting the same story, tells us that the funeral has began: “When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes…” (Matthew 5.23) Mark adds that there was crying and wailing. It was a fiasco. The first thing Jesus did was send everyone out. Taking the Three Musketeers with him, he visits the girls bedside, where she lies dead.
Jesus touched her. This time, unlike the bleeding woman, the power left him by his own ambition. He told her to get up and, again just like the bleeding woman, “immediately” she was healed. “Immediately” is one of Mark’s favorite words. Mark is a fast paced narrative, that scurries the reader along. When two or more gospel writers tell the same story, as is the case here with Mark 5 and Matthew 9, Mark is usually the longer more in depth version, but still his gospel is quite shorter than the others. He doesn’t tell as many stories, but when he does, he does it thoroughly.
This story, told by all three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, put the identity of Jesus on display. John, tells the very public resurrection of Lazarus and the public response. Luke precedes this account with the raising of the widows son at Nain (Luke 7) and the crowds awe and wonder concerning the event. But only the Three Musketeers are privy to this event. They are even given orders “not to tell anyone” (Mark 5.43) a cry that would be echoed throughout the book.
But lets end with this question. Why the three? Was the room too small for everyone else? Was Jesus just wanting some more quite and three people are always quieter than 40 or 100? Perhaps there is according to some more liberal interpreters a “messianic secret” contained in Mark, where Jesus is desperately trying to keep his identity unkown? These can all be answered in the negative!
The reason for the Three is simple, this is the only resurrection in Mark outside of Jesus’. This is a key event revealing the identity of Jesus to his closest followers. Two more times these three men would be specifically chosen to witness a deep truth of the identity of Jesus. Jesus has the power to raise the dead; he has power to give life. This lesson was on display before their very eyes.