Mark 5:22
And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
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(22-43) And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers.—See Notes on Matthew 9:18-25, where the narrative is found in a different connection as coming immediately after the feast in St. Matthew’s house, which St. Mark has given in Mark 2:14-18.

Jairus.—The name is given by St. Mark and St. Luke only. It was a Græcised form of the Jair of Judges 10:3, Numbers 32:41. It meets us in the Apocryphal portion of Esther (xi. 2) as the name of the father of Mardocheus, or Mordecai.



Mark 5:22 - Mark 5:24
, Mark 5:35 - Mark 5:43.

The scene of this miracle was probably Capernaum; its time, according to Matthew, was the feast at his house after his call. Mark’s date appears to be later, but he may have anticipated the feast in his narrative, in order to keep the whole of the incidents relating to Matthew’s apostleship together. Jairus’s knowledge of Jesus is implied in the story, and perhaps Jesus’ acquaintance with him.

I. We note, first, the agonised appeal and the immediate answer.

Desperation makes men bold. Conventionalities are burned up by the fire of agonised petitioning for help in extremity. Without apology or preliminary, Jairus bursts in, and his urgent need is sufficient excuse. Jesus never complains of scant respect when wrung hearts cry to Him. But this man was not only driven by despair, but drawn by trust. He was sure that, even though his little darling had been all but dead when he ran from his house, and was dead by this time, for all he knew, Jesus could give her life. Perhaps he had not faced the stern possibility that she might already be gone, nor defined precisely what he hoped for in that case. But he was sure of Jesus’ power, and he says nothing to show that he doubted His willingness. A beautiful trust shines through his words, based, no doubt, on what he had known and seen of Jesus’ miracles. We have more pressing and deeper needs, and we have fuller and deeper knowledge of Jesus, wherefore our approach to Him should be at least as earnest and confidential as Jairus’s was. If our Lord was at the feast when this interruption took place, His gracious, immediate answer becomes more lovely, as a sign of His willingness to bring the swiftest help. ‘While they are yet speaking, I will hear.’ Jairus had not finished asking before Jesus was on His feet to go.

The father’s impatience would be satisfied when they were on their way, but how he would chafe, and think every moment an age, while Jesus stayed, as if at entire leisure, to deal with another silent petitioner! But His help to one never interferes with His help to another, and no case is so pressing as that He cannot spare time to stay to bless some one else. The poor, sickly, shamefaced woman shall be healed, and the little girl shall not suffer.

II. We have next the extinction and rekindling of Jairus’s glimmer of hope.

Distances in Capernaum were short, and the messenger would soon find Jesus. There was little sympathy in the harsh, bald announcement of the death, or in the appended suggestion that the Rabbi need not be further troubled. The speaker evidently was thinking more of being polite to Jesus than of the poor father’s stricken heart, Jairus would feel then what most of us have felt in like circumstances,-that he had been more hopeful than he knew. Only when the last glimmer is quenched do we feel, by the blackness, how much light had lingered in our sky, But Jesus knew Jairus’s need before Jairus himself knew it, and His strong word of cheer relit the torch ere the poor father had time to speak. That loving eye reads our hearts and anticipates our dreary hopelessness by His sweet comfortings. Faith is the only victorious antagonist of fear. Jairus had every reason for abandoning hope, and his only reason for clinging to it was faith. So it is with us all. It is vain to bid us not be afraid when real dangers and miseries stare us in the face; but it is not vain to bid us ‘believe,’ and if we do that, faith, cast into the one scale, will outweigh a hundred good reasons for dread and despair cast into the other.

III. We have next the tumult of grief and the word that calms.

The hired mourners had lost no time, and in Eastern fashion were disturbing the solemnity of death with their professional shrieks and wailings. True grief is silent. Woe that weeps aloud is soon consoled.

What a contrast between the noise outside and the still death-chamber and its occupant, and what a contrast between the agitation of the sham comforters and the calmness of the true Helper! Christ’s great word was spoken for us all when our hearts are sore and our dear ones go. It dissolves the dim shape into nothing ness, or, rather, it transfigures it into a gracious, soothing form. Sleep is rest, and bears in itself the pledge of waking. So Christ has changed the ‘shadow feared of man’ into beauty, and in the strength of His great word we can meet the last enemy with ‘Welcome! friend.’ It is strange that any one reading this narrative should have been so blind to its deepest beauty as to suppose that Jesus was here saying that the child had only swooned, and was really alive. He was not denying that she was what men call ‘dead,’ but He was, in the triumphant consciousness of His own power, and in the clear vision of the realities of spiritual being, of which bodily states are but shadows, denying that what men call death deserves the name. ‘Death’ is the state of the soul separated from God, whether united to the body or no,-not the separation of body and soul, which is only a visible symbol of the more dread reality.

IV. We have finally the life-giving word and the life-preserving care.

Probably Jesus first freed His progress from the jostling crowd, and then, when arrived, made the further selection of the three apostles,-the first three of the mighty ones-and, as was becoming, of the father and mother.

With what hushed, tense expectation they would enter the chamber! Think of the mother’s eyes watching Him. The very words that He spoke were like a caress. There was infinite tenderness in that ‘Damsel!’ from His lips, and so deep an impression did it make on Peter that he repeated the very words to Mark, and used them, with the change of one letter {‘Tabitha’ for ‘Talitha’}, in raising Dorcas. The same tenderness is expressed by His taking her by the hand, as, no doubt, her mother had done, many a morning, on waking her. The father had asked Him to lay His hand on her, that she might be made whole and live. He did as He was asked,-He always does-and His doing according to our desire brings larger blessings than we had thought of. Neither the touch of His hand nor the words He spoke were the real agents of the child’s returning to life. It was His will which brought her back from whatever vasty dimness she had entered. The forth-putting of Christ’s will is sovereign, and His word runs with power through all regions of the universe. ‘The dull, cold ear of death’ hears, and ‘they that hear shall live,’ whether they are, as men say, dead, or whether they are ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ The resurrection of a soul is a mightier act-if we can speak of degrees of might in His acts-than that of a body.

It would be calming for the child of such strange experiences to see, for the first thing that met her eyes opening again on the old familiar home as on a strange land, the bending face of Jesus, and His touch would steady her spirit and assure of His love and help. The quiet command to give her food knits the wonder with common life, and teaches precious lessons as to His economy of miraculous power, like His bidding others loosen Lazarus’s wrappings, and as to His devolution on us of duties towards those whom He raises from the death of sin. But it was given, not didactically, but lovingly. The girl was exhausted, and sustenance was necessary, and would be sweet. So He thought upon a small bodily need, and the love that gave life took care to provide what was required to support it. He gives the greatest; He will take care that we shall not lack the least.

Mark 5:22-28. There cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue — Probably that at Capernaum. The rulers of the synagogue were three persons chosen out of ten, who were obliged constantly to attend the public worship over which they presided, and determined such disputes as happened in the synagogue. For an explanation of this whole paragraph, see notes on Matthew 9:18-26.

5:21-34 A despised gospel will go where it will be better received. One of the rulers of a synagogue earnestly besought Christ for a little daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying. Another cure was wrought by the way. We should do good, not only when in the house, but when we walk by the way, De 6:7. It is common with people not to apply to Christ till they have tried in vain all other helpers, and find them, as certainly they will, physicians of no value. Some run to diversions and gay company; others plunge into business, or even into intemperance; others go about to establish their own righteousness, or torment themselves by vain superstitions. Many perish in these ways; but none will ever find rest to the soul by such devices; while those whom Christ heals of the disease of sin, find in themselves an entire change for the better. As secret acts of sin, so secret acts of faith, are known to the Lord Jesus. The woman told all the truth. It is the will of Christ that his people should be comforted, and he has power to command comfort to troubled spirits. The more simply we depend on Him, and expect great things from him, the more we shall find in ourselves that he is become our salvation. Those who, by faith, are healed of their spiritual diseases, have reason to go in peace.See the account of the raising of Jairus' daughter, and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood, fully explained in the notes at Matthew 9:18-26.22. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue—of which class there were but few who believed in Jesus (Joh 7:48). One would suppose from this that the ruler had been with the multitude on the shore, anxiously awaiting the return of Jesus, and immediately on His arrival had accosted Him as here related. But Matthew (Mt 9:18) tells us that the ruler came to Him while He was in the act of speaking at His own table on the subject of fasting; and as we must suppose that this converted publican ought to know what took place on that memorable occasion when he made a feast to his Lord, we conclude that here the right order is indicated by the First Evangelist alone.

Jairus by name—or "Jaeirus." It is the same name as Jair, in the Old Testament (Nu 32:41; Jud 10:3; Es 2:5).

and when he saw him, he fell at his feet—in Matthew (Mt 9:18), "worshipped Him." The meaning is the same in both.

See Poole on "Mark 5:21"

And behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue,.... Having heard of his return, and where he was; See Gill on Matthew 9:18.

Jairus by name; in Hebrew "Jair": and Jerom says (n), it signifies "enlightening", or "enlightened": deriving it from "to be light": and it is no doubt a Jewish name, since he was a ruler of the synagogue; and besides, it is often mentioned in the Old Testament, and particularly in Esther 2:5, where, in the Septuagint, it is read, Jairus. Matthew makes no mention of his name; but both Mark and Luke do, Mark 5:22.

And when he saw him, he fell at his feet: as soon as he came into his presence; though he was a person of such authority; yet having heard much of the doctrine and miracles of Christ, and believing him to be a great prophet, and man of God; though he might not know that he was the Messiah, and truly God, threw himself at his feet; and, as Matthew says, "worshipped him", Matthew 9:18; showed great reverence and respect unto him, gave him homage, at least in a civil way, though he might not adore him as God.

(n) De Hebr. Nominibus in Luc.

And, {g} behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

(g) The whole company did not assemble without any structure, but in every synagogue there were certain men who governed the people.

Mark 5:22. εἷς τ. .: might imply a plurality of synagogues, each having its chief ruler. But in Acts 13:14-15, one syn. has its ἀρχισωνάγωζοι.

22. the rulers of the synagogue] Each synagogue had a kind of Chapter or College of Elders, presided over by a ruler, who superintended the services, and possessed the power of excommunication. From this place, e.g., compared with Acts 13:15, it would appear that some synagogues had several rulers.

Jairus by name] It is but rarely we know the names of those who were the objects of the Saviour’s mercy. He afterwards probably was one of those who came to the Lord pleading for the centurion at Capernaum (Luke 7:3). The aid he then asked for another, he now craves for himself, but under the pressure of a still greater calamity.

Mark 5:22.[43] Ἰάειρος, Jairus) At the time that Mark wrote this, Jairus and his daughter might still have been found in Palestine. It is a strong proof of the truth of the Gospel, that the very proper names are given in the Evangelist’s narrative.[44]—ἸΔῺΝ, when he saw) having beheld the majesty of Christ.

[43] τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων, the rulers of the Synagogue) Who were overseers of the doctors and teachers.—V. g.

[44] And, in the case of Jairus and others, in the vicinity of the very localities where the name was a prevalent one. Comp. Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14; Jdg 10:3; Jdg 10:5; 1 Chronicles 2:22.—ED.

Verses 22, 23. - One of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name. He appears to have been one of the "college of elders," who administered the affairs of the synagogue. The name Jairus, or "Ya eiros," is probably the Greek form of the Hebrew Jair, "he will illuminate." He fell at his feet, and besought him greatly; it is literally (πίπτει καὶ παρεκάλει), he falleth at his feet, and beseecheth him. We picture him to ourselves, making his way through the crowd, and as he approached Jesus, kneeling down, and then bending his head towards him, until his forehead touched the ground. My little daughter is at the point of death. St. Matthew says, "is even now dead;" St. Luke says, "she Jay a dying." The broken sentences of the father are very true to nature. All the expressions point to the same conclusion, that she was in articulo mortis. In each narrative the ruler is represented as asking that Christ would hasten to his house. He had not reached the higher faith of the Gentile centurion, "Speak the word only." Mark 5:22
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