Jairus’ Daughter: A Living Testament

Posted on July 16, 2019


By David Ettinger

Note: This “biblical devotion” tells the story of Jairus’ daughter from her perspective. It is a followup to yesterday’s post “Jairus’ Great Dilemma.”

Special Anniversary
Rivkah[1] never got tired of visiting her old room on the anniversary of that day.

Now 25 years old, the daughter of Jairus the synagogue leader had been married for 10 years to a devoted husband and was the mother of two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. Every year she would visit her parents on this date, separate herself from her family and spend a little time in the room which was hers from birth until the day she married.

There was nothing special about the room. In fact, it was rather small and cramped. It was not decorated in a way which would cause anyone to look twice at it. It was simply a room adequate for the needs of a child, one that allowed enough room for a bed and an area in which to dress and undress. However, there was one thing about this room that – to the best of her knowledge – no one else could claim about their rooms: it was the place in which Jesus of Nazareth raised her from death to life. Yes, at the age of 12, Rivkah died. A short time later, Jesus sat on her bed and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” (Mark 5:41)

Of course it was impossible for Rivkah to have heard Jesus say this, but she is positive she did. But one thing she knew for sure: the moment she opened her eyes – as if awakening from a wonderful sleep – the first thing she saw was the compassionate eyes of the Man who had healed her. The Man she had come to know as the Messiah, the Son of God.

A Dear Recollection
As she ritualistically lay herself down on the bed she had long since outgrown, Rivkah placed both her hands behind her head, closed her eyes and thought back to the day when the adventure began. She remembered helping her mother knead the dough that would become that evening’s serving of bread. Suddenly, she felt woozy, as if she had been hit in the head. When she rose, she stumbled, as if forgetting how to stand, and her mother caught her.

“What is wrong, Rivkah?” she asked, alarmed.

“I don’t know, mother, but I feel strange.”

Without hesitation her mother carried Rivkah to her bed and dispatched a servant to fetch one of the local physicians of Capernaum. By the time he arrived, Rivkah’s fever had risen, and the girl was perspiring profusely. The physician had no answers. Anguished, Rivkah’s mother sent the servant to Jairus, requesting that he come home at once. Rivkah would never forget the first time her two parents stood over her, fear palling their faces like dark rain clouds blackening a deep blue sky. She had never seen them so frightened.

As Rivkah’s condition worsened and the fever climbed, she began to go in and out of consciousness. But during a moment of lucidity, she heard a conversation that would always stay with her.

“Jairus,” her mother pleaded, “what about the rabbi from Nazareth?”

He was silent.

“Jairus,” she implored more fervently, “this is no time to think about your reputation. We know about the miracles this man has done – we know several from our congregation who have been healed. Their healings are no accident.”

“I understand that,” Jairus said quietly. “But you know the issue.”

She grabbed Rivkah’s hand and kissed it.

“At such a time, my dear, there is no issue!”

“But I am the leader of the synagogue,” he argued. “You know how this rabbi has divided our people.”

“Please, Jairus, our daughter …”

“Some say his miracles are from Satan. Others say he is from God.”

“Jairus, your daughter is dying!”

“What if I go to him – and he is not of God?”

Rivkah’s mother jumped up.

“And what if our daughter dies while you are pondering this theological mystery of yours! Please, Jairus,” she softened, “look at our Rivkah and think of her.”

Rivkah watched as Jairus looked into her eyes – and began to softly weep.

“She’s our daughter, Jairus … our beloved daughter.”

Jairus bent over and kissed Rivkah on the forehead, his tears now running down his cheeks.

“Yes, of course, I must see the rabbi,” he surmised.

With that, he looked once more at Rivkah, then rose quickly.

The Blessed Rabbi
“I’m on my way, my dear. Please be praying.”

Rivkah watched as her father ran from the room. Her mother sat on the bed and placed Rivkah’s head upon her lap. Rivkah remembered the comfort her mother’s warmth had brought her. It was the last thing she remembered, because at that moment, everything went black.

The next thing she knew, she was looking into the eyes of the Rabbi of Nazareth – the man who had ordered death to flee from her and life to return. She had no idea who He was or what He was doing in her room, but she had the strongest impulse to embrace Him. Feeling as strong as she ever had in her young life, Rivkah suddenly sprung up from her bed and embraced the kind Man, He receiving her with welcome tenderness.

From that moment on, her household was changed for good. There would be no more disputes regarding the origins or identity of the Rabbi from Nazareth.

“Rivkah,” Jairus told her, “this Man who healed you is Yeshua HaMashiach[2], the Messiah, the Son of God. Oh my dear daughter, you are His now, and always will be.”

Now 13 years later, Rivkah – a walking testament of God’s deity – was almost certain she could see Jesus sitting on the bed, just as He did on that glorious day. She instinctively reached out her arms to hug Him. Jesus wasn’t there, but that didn’t stop Rivkah, who continued to stretch her arms skyward, reaching out for Him.

After a few seconds, she was positive she could feel Him returning her embrace.

How real it all seemed.

How sweet it all felt.

[1] Character not named in the Bible. Name added to enrich story.

[2] Hebrew for Jesus Christ.