Body and Blood of Christ

The Daughter of Jairus

Luke 8: 40-56


Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus' feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying. As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her haemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, "Who touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you." But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me." When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader's house to say, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer." When Jesus heard this, he replied, "Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved." When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child's father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, "Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, "Child, get up!" Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.



The Daughter of Jairus

What is all the hurrying about? Jesus is hurrying to save the life of a little girl, and he heals a sick woman on the way. Jesus is doing God's work; he heals and he restores to life.

Watch how he does it. There is great gentleness and warmth in these two stories. The speed and the pressure of expectations didn't make him impersonal or mechanical, as it does many busy people. His affectionate expression to the little girl, ‘Talitha kum!’, is retained in his own language, Aramaic. The New Testament is written in Greek, but the writers kept just a few phrases in the Lord’s own language: maranatha, and Abba and Talitha kum. Terms of affection translate poorly, because they are more than their dictionary meaning: they are warm words. (I remember an ancient woman in my village who used to address everyone as a leanbh, 'child'.)

Likewise, when the lady wanted a cure and touched his cloak rather than face him, he said, ‘Who touched me?’ He didn't want her cure to be anonymous; he wanted to speak to her and heal her, not just relieve her symptoms.

‘Who touched me?’ These are words to break through the strongest walls of anonymity. There is a kind of frigid atmosphere when people don't know one another. If they have to exchange words they use the minimum number usually: ‘Excuse me!’ ‘Thank you!’ ‘Goodbye!’ And there is seldom any real warmth in them, and the smile (if any) that goes with them looks a bit stiff. But ‘who touched me?’ breaks through all that. We can be spontaneous with our friends because we know how they will react; but we don't know how strangers might react, so we play safe; in a sense we hide ourselves. The woman in the story wanted contact with Jesus, and at the same time she wanted the security of anonymity. So in the press of the crowd she touched the hem of his cloak; she wanted an anonymous cure. It is still very much with us today. We are drawn to anything that promises us a cure. You could make a list of them, from the more sensible to the less! What is missing in many of them is a Who to touch you: what we really need is a Son of God with the fire of compassion in his eyes, who looks for you saying, ‘Who touched me?’ Or ‘talitha kumi!’ Or even ‘a leanhb!’


Donagh O’Shea.



Quill Pen


This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists



Unfolding the Story of jesus

Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries

Unfolding the story of jesus