Mark 5:40-43

THE DIFFERENCE FAITH MAKES

Mk. 5:40-43

But he put them all out, and he took with him the father of the little girl, and the mother and his own friends, and went into the room where the little girl was. He took the little girl by the hand, and he said to her, “Maid! I say to you, Arise!” Immediately the maid arose and walked around, for she was about twelve years of age. And immediately they were amazed with a great astonishment. He gave them strong injunctions that no one should know about this. And he ordered that something to eat should be given to her.

There is a very lovely thing here. In the gospel itself, “Maid! Arise” is “Talitha (GSN5008) Cumi (GSN2891)”, which is Aramaic. How did this little bit of Aramaic get itself embedded in the Greek of the gospels? There can be only one reason. Mark got his information from Peter. For the most part, outside of Palestine at least, Peter, too, would have to speak in Greek. But Peter had been there; he was one of the chosen three, the inner circle, who had seen this happen. And he could never forget Jesus’ voice. In his mind and memory he could hear that “Talitha (GSN5008) Cumi (GSN2891)” all his life. The love, the gentleness, the caress of it lingered with him forever, so much so that he was unable to think of it in Greek at all, because his memory could hear it only in the voice of Jesus and in the very words that Jesus spoke.

This passage is a story of contrasts.

(i) There is the contrast between the despair of the mourners and the hope of Jesus. “Don’t bother the Teacher,” they said. “There’s nothing anyone can do now.” “Don’t be afraid,” said Jesus, “only believe.” In the one place it is the voice of despair that speaks; in the other the voice of hope.

(ii) There is the contrast between the unrestrained distress of the mourners and the calm serenity of Jesus. They were wailing and weeping and tearing their hair and rending their garments in a paroxysm of distress; he was calm and quiet and serene and in control.

Why this difference? It was due to Jesus’ perfect confidence and trust in God. The worst human disaster can be met with courage and gallantry when we meet it with God. They laughed him to scorn because they thought his hope was groundless and his calm mistaken. But the great fact of the Christian life is that what looks completely impossible with men is possible with God. What on merely human grounds is far too good to be true, becomes blessedly true when God is there. They laughed him to scorn, but their laughter must have turned to amazed wonder when they realized what God can do. There is nothing beyond facing, and there is nothing beyond conquest–not even death–when it is faced and conquered in the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Back to: THE GOSPEL OF MARK

Back to: Barclay’s Commentary

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