You remember that before the Lord and the disciples went across the sea the Lord had been teaching the multitude, and that He sat in a boat a little way from the shore because the crowd was so great. When He came back from the country of the Gadarenes the multitude was waiting to receive Him. And Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, one of those who had charge of the services of the synagogue, came to Him in great trouble. His little daughter was dying, but if the Lord would only come and lay His hands on her she would surely live.
I should like to tell you the whole story, but it is better still to read it. It is really two stories: one of what happened on the way to the house of Jairus, and the other of what happened at his home.
At the house they found it all sadness; besides the sorrowing family there were women who were hired to weep and lament, and there was sad music and a great noise of grief. "He saith unto them, why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn," for what they all knew as death had certainly come to the little girl. But the Lord who knew all about it, knew that death itself is but a sleep. Usually He awakens one from this sleep in the heavenly world, but this time He would show His power by awakening the child in this world. "Talitha cumi," He said; "Little maid, arise." And as they watched, the child arose and walked, for she was twelve years old. "And they were astonished with a great astonishment."
It was the Lord's own beautiful way of showing all His children that every one in death is but asleep. The little girl had not gone far away; she was still herself and would have been just the same little girl if the Lord had seen best to awaken her in heaven.
"Talitha cumi." Do you seem to see any place when you hear these words? And any people? Do you see the One who spoke them, and what He is doing? I wonder if you see the same things that I do. The Lord is speaking. He is standing by a low bed or couch where a little girl is lying, and He is holding her hand in His. She was very still, but as the Lord took her hand and spoke these words, "Talitha cumi," she sat up and began to speak and got up from the bed.
There were other people in the room with the Lord and the little girl. There were three men who were known as fishermen from the lake. But they had left their nets and boats to follow the Lord and were His faithful disciples. This older man is Peter, and it was probably he who told what the Lord did and said, to Mark who wrote the story that we shall read together. This young man is John, and the other is his brother James. They had been with the Lord some time, and seen Him do other wonderful things, but they wondered very much when they saw the little girl get up, for she was dead.
And there were two others in the room, a woman, and a man whose robes showed that he was a chief man among the Jews, and one of those who had charge of the synagogue and the services that were held there on Sabbath days. They were the mother and father of the little girl. We can think how glad they were when they saw their child alive and well. All this comes to mind as we hear the words, "Talitha cumi," "Little maid, arise." They do not sound strange, but very sweet, and they mean so much.
Can you go on and tell me other thoughts that these words bring to mind? Look a little further away. Who else were in the house? and what were they doing? Many mourners were there, some of them women, who were hired to come and make sad wailing sounds. And look outside the door. The blue sky was overhead, and trees and flowers and other houses were around, for the house was in Capernaum. And over yonder was the blue water of the Sea of Galilee with the sails of fishing-boats. One of these boats had just brought the Lord from the other side of the sea. The father of the little girl had met Him on the shore and had brought Him up this path to the house. Many people followed the Lord as they came, and do you remember something that happened, on the way? Something that was done for a poor woman who came in the crowd behind and touched the Lord's clothes? All these things make a part of the picture which the two words bring to mind.
And my thoughts reach out in another way from the house of Jairus and the bedside of the little girl. The Lord meant that the words He spoke there should be remembered and should be a comfort to people always, the world over, when any little maid or little boy, or when anyone has died. "She is not dead, but sleepeth. Little maid, arise." When a person dies, the Lord tells us that he goes to sleep, and He will awaken him again into the heavenly world. It is a very peaceful sleep, for good angels are near; and it does not last long, for usually on the third day, and sometimes sooner, the Lord awakens us into the other world. Then we open our eyes and see the good angel friends and the beautiful homes that they are ready to share with us - if we are willing; for no one can enjoy those homes unless he is good and kind and useful and ready to do his part to make home pleasant. This is the change that came to my dear little friend who died a few weeks ago, and some day it will come to me. Now let us keep very quiet and think that we are going to the house of Jairus with the Lord, as we read the story.
1. What do the words Talitha cumi mean? Where were they spoken? Who spoke them? To whom? Who heard them?
2. Who touched the Lord's clothes as He was going to the house? Why did she do it? Did the Lord know it?
3. A little friend of mine has died. What does it mean? What is the change that has come to the child? Is she still alive? Where is she? Who are with her there? Can I ever see her again?
I want the older children to learn definitely about the going to the other world; the peaceful sleep, the protecting angels, the very gentle awakening, the homes in heaven to which little children go. (R. 153; T. 281; H. 329-345)
If all this is true about the going to the other world, why is death often spoken of in the Bible, as something to be feared? In some places it is plain that it is speaking of another kind of death. (Psalm 115:17, 18; Revelation 2:11; 20:14; 21:8) The death of the natural body is one death; that is not to be feared; what other death can there be? What else is there in us that can die? The heavenly life of good feelings and thoughts. Ought we to fear the death of these? (Luke 12:4, 5)
When the Lord blessed the little children, He showed His love also for what is gentle and innocent and childlike in us all. In the same way, what did it mean when He raised this child to life? It showed how He always uses His power to protect the beginnings of heaven in us, and when they grow weak and discouraged, to give them new life, if we will ask His help and try again. A little girl represents especially the beginning of heavenly affection, and a little boy the beginning of heavenly understanding. How can we obey the Lord's charge to give the little girl something to eat, when He raised her to life? (E. 863; A. 2348)
Do you remember other times when the Lord told those whom He healed to arise? (Mark 10:49; Luke 5:18-24; 7:14; John 5:8) In what way must we arise if we wish the Lord to heal and strengthen our souls? We must lift our thoughts to better things, and set our hearts on what is pure and good and heavenly, and begin with the Lord's help to live in higher ways. See Luke 15:18. (A. 2401, 4881)
The story tells of what happened as they were going to the house of Jairus - the healing of the woman by the way, who touched the Lord's clothes. This pictures some more outside work that helps to prepare the way for the Lord to do the deeper work in the inner chamber of our souls.. We can ask the Lord's help to make our life right as far as we can. We can read the Bible and learn the Commandments and keep them in ways that are plain to us. This is like touching the Lord's clothes, for His Word clothes Him to us, and its literal meaning and the plain commandments are the garment's hem. We touch them in the crowd when we remember them in the midst of our everyday work and pleasure; and we may feel the Lord's power helping us as the woman did. And He feels it too, as He felt that His power went out to help the poor woman. If in this way we touch the Lord's garments by the wayside, then He can go further with us, into the inner chamber and make our heavenly affection strong. (E. 195; A. 10023)