The synagogue leader was not a Pharisee, but still a man of authority. Mark and Luke identify this man as Jairus (Mark 5:22, Luke 8:41). His attitude contrasted that of the Pharisees. He approached Christ in humility, kneeling before him. He either heard of Jesus or witnessed his works before, because he believed that the touch of Jesus would resurrect his daughter. Jesus was immediately responsive and went with him. This is an act of compassion by Jesus–it is appropriate to think on how Christ spoke regarding the preciousness of children.
While they were on their way to the house, no doubt hurrying, a woman suffering from discharge of blood followed in the crowd. It is not clear whether the woman was actively seeking Jesus or if she happened to see him in passing. She made the decision to reach out and touch his cloak, believing it would heal her from her ailment. She did not engage Jesus directly as the synagogue leader did. She came up behind Jesus in an effort to sneak a miracle out of him. It is important to realize that this woman’s condition made her ceremonially unclean. She may have felt unworthy to approach Christ, and she may have felt embarrassed of her condition, that she would not want to announce it in front of others. The woman’s approach was still one of humility. Jesus, compassionate to her case, does not announce it either. He turned to her, and gently called her “daughter”. Daughter in this case is different from the use of “daughter” in the way that the synagogue leader used it. Daughter in this context identified the woman as a daughter of Israel, but also as a daughter of God after she had displayed her faith. A relationship was established. As Jesus did not rebuke the woman for how she came to him, we cannot think that her way was less than that of Jairus.
The noise and pipe playing of the mourners in the house was customary. Some “mourners” in those times were actually paid to do so. Whereas the display of the mourners may have been disingenuous, true compassion came from Jesus. He told them to leave, because there was no need for mourning, as the girl was only asleep. Only Jesus would be able to make that statement. The girl was dead, but to Christ, who is life, she was merely sleeping. To the mourners, he was being ridiculous, and they mocked him, implying the insincerity of their tears. The crowd was removed as Jesus said. By taking the girl’s hand, Jesus illustrated that he was the source of the miracle when she got up.
The synagogue official approached while Christ was explaining that a new covenant had come to the disciples of John the Baptist. His request initiated events that would illustrate this new covenant:
The new covenant was faith in Jesus. (9:18, 9:22 )
The new covenant gave victory over death. (9:23-25 )
The new covenant gave victory over illness. (9:20-22)
The new covenant was compassion and love. (9:22)
The new covenant makes all believers children of God. (9:22)
In our most grievous moments, we can humbly approach Jesus and he will give us comfort and healing of our physical and spiritual ailments. We should be drawn to where Christ is active, so we can reach out in faith and receive what is good from him. Jesus gives freely to those who seek him in faith, whether we approach him publicly or quietly. Jesus will turn to those who believe and call them children of God, and give them the gift of life. The certainty of death grieves us, but Jesus is our answer for death. In the midst of our grief Christ walks in and says there will be no mourning today, because those who believe in me shall never perish, but have eternal life! (John 3:16) Let the unbelievers mock us. We can endure this as Christ did, and not let it hinder us from faith.