41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!”
One of the synagogue leaders, Jairus, reported that his little daughter was ill. Before Jesus could even arrive she had died. We can’t imagine the grief of this father at the death of his daughter. Jesus comes to the house anyway and goes in to see the little girl. This is when the scene opens and he takes her by the hand and tells her to be raised up. These words appear here in Aramaic which only happens in a few cases in the New Testament. These are the words Jesus would have spoken in the language that would have made sense to the little girl. “Talitha cum” — “Little girl, get up!” These were life-giving words to a child who had died, and immediately she was healed and got up. The daughter of Jairus had been resurrected.
Little girls have not always been that highly respected by society. Often parents have wanted boys who could ultimately provide more security for the parents. Monarchies desperately wanted male heirs to the throne and more than one queen lost her life because she had borne a daughter too many! Under China’s one child policy girls were often selectively aborted in favor of having a male child. In the early years of Christianity during Roman rule they practiced infanticide — leaving unwanted (often female) babies to die from exposure.
The intentionality of Christ ministering to a little girl doesn’t go unnoticed. This is a resurrection story where the little girl, whose life may not have been seen of much value to society, is given great worth by the Messiah. The local language,”Talitha Cum” speaks to the very personal nature of this invitation into a resurrected life. Someone who would not have been held in high esteem by the world is given new life by Christ.
There are many who may be able to identify with the little girl. We may find ourselves feeling unwanted by the world, but that’s the beauty of the kingdom of God. Jesus was revealing the newness of life to be found in the kingdom of God. Every life is of great value to God! Jesus would die to bring life to all people. The words spoken to this little girl are words of hope for us. Jesus meets us, communicating with us on our level and then he reaches out his hand and invites us into life eternal.
When Jesus speaks simple words, the kingdom is revealed and the outcast is transformed into a beautifully resurrected son or daughter. This is the hope in which we journey during this Lenten season.
Lord, thank you for loving all of us and having a welcoming reach to all! Amen.
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