The Resurrection at Capernaum

Title: The Resurrection at Capernaum

Bible Book: Mark 5 : 22-43

Author: David E. Owen

Subject: Resurrection; Power of Jesus; Life in Jesus



At 4 a.m., on August 5th, 2013, Melissa Yahle of West Carrollton, Ohio woke up and realized her husband, Tony’s breathing didn’t sound right. Melissa, who has been a nurse for seven years, said she tried unsuccessfully to wake him up. Melissa and their 17 year old son Lawrence performed CPR until an ambulance could arrive, and first responders found a heartbeat after shocking Yahle several times.

At the hospital, doctors expected Yahle’s arteries to be clogged, but they were clear. Things were looking positive until later that afternoon, when Yahle’s heart stopped. He “coded” for 45 minutes, and his heart stopped for 45 minutes as doctors tried to revive him, but eventually Dr. Raja Nazir, a cardiologist at Kettering Medical Center, realized it was time to call the time of death. Dr. Nazir said, “We’d given him all the medicine we had in our code cart. At some point, you have to call it off.”

Dr. Nazir said he wasn’t sure exactly how long it was after they had pronounced him dead before Tony Yahle’s 17 year old son, Lawrence heard the news and ran down the hall to see nurses around his father’s body. They weren’t trying to revive him anymore. Lawrence and their pastor were standing in the hospital room, and Lawrence started talking to his Dad, and then he pointed and shouted loudly, “Dad, you’re not going to die today.”

Seconds later, Pastor Paul noticed that Tony Yahle’s heart monitor was showing signs of life. Dr. Nazir said it wasn’t a regular heartbeat, but once or twice a minute, the monitor would pick up tiny electrical movements. “When I looked at the electrical activity, I was surprised,” Nazir said. “I thought we’d better make another effort to revive him.” Nazir gave one of Yahle’s hanging medicine bags a squeeze to restore his blood pressure and the team began working on him again. Nazir said, “Very slowly, the heart rate was picking up. We were lucky we saw and reacted to it, and that brought him back.”

Doctors thought Tony Yahle, a 37-year-old diesel mechanic, would need a heart transplant or be in a vegetative state the rest of his life, but he’s home resting and seems fine.

Dr. Nazir said it was “mind boggling.” He said, “I’m calling it a miracle because I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Tony Yahle’s wife Melissa said she, their son Lawrence, and the people from their church who were praying with them witnessed a miracle. She said, “He doesn’t have one broken rib. He’s not sore. These are things that just clinically don’t happen.”

Mr. Yahle returned home to West Carrollton on August 10th with a defibrillator in his chest. He doesn’t remember any of the experience after he went to bed on August 4th.

According to the ABC News story from August 22, 2013, Tony Yahle was scheduled to go back to work on that following Monday, August 26th. And the news report said that doctors might do a heart biopsy to find out more about what happened.

What an amazing story. What an emotional moment when the son was shouting and saying, “Dad, you’re not going to die today.” And then moments later, they detected signs of life, even after the Dad had been pronounced dead. It’s almost as if the child’s love for his father became a lifeline in this “near death” experience.

In our text for this hour, it was a father’s love for his child that became a lifeline in what was, not just a “near death” experience, but a situation in which the child actually died. She had been pronounced dead and all the evidence pointed to the fact that she had died.

I should explain even now that when Jesus came to the girl’s bedside and said in verse 39, “the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth,” it was not to say that she was merely unconscious or comatose. She had not expired and her spirit ceased to be as the Sadducees might have suggested.

As Albert Barnes explained in his commentary…

The expression “she sleepeth” (was) affirming mildly both that the “body” was dead, and “implying” that “her spirit” still lived, and that she would be raised up again. A similar mode of speaking occurs in John 11:11 (when Jesus said,) “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.”

Let me quickly point out as I did in the previous service that there are nine particular situations in the scripture (including the resurrection of Jesus Himself) when someone who had actually died was resurrected from a state of death.

In the time of the prophets, there were at least three individuals who were raised from a state of death.

There was the resurrection of a widow’s son that took place at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17 during the ministry of Elijah.
There was the resurrection of a son that took place at Shunem in 2 Kings 4 during the ministry of Elisha.
There was the resurrection of a soldier that took place at Elisha’s grave in Samaria in 2 Kings 13.

Of course, there was the resurrection of Jesus Himself at Jerusalem.

Then in the time of the apostles, there were at least two individuals who were raised from a state of death.

In Acts 9, in a place called Joppa, a woman named Tabitha was raised from the dead through the ministry of Simon Peter.
There was the resurrection of Eutychus at Troas in Acts 20 during Paul’s visit there.

We also read in Matthew 27:52-53 that after Jesus’ resurrection, “many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves.”

Then during the earthly ministry of Jesus, we have the record of three individuals that were raised by Jesus from a state of death including (1) a widow’s son at Nain, (2) Jairus’ daughter at Capernaum, and (3) Lazarus at Bethany.

And it’s on my heart for the services that I’m with you here today to look at these three specific Resurrection Scenes from the Word of God.

In this service, we’re going to a place called Capernaum where Jesus raised the little 12 year-old daughter of a religious leader named Jairus. This situation is found in three passages in the gospels: Matthew 9:18–26, Mark 5:22–43, and Luke 8:41–56. Our focus today is primarily from Mark’s record of this miracle.

Most resources are agreed that Jairus was a ruler in the synagogue at Capernaum. And the name “Capernaum” means town or village of Nahum (meaning compassion, consolation, or comfort); or the field of repentance; or city of comfort. So “Capernaum” means “city or village of comfort or consolation.” But because of the death of this daughter, Capernaum had lost all of its joy for Jairus. “Jairus” means “enlightener,” but the light was going out in his heart, and he is entering a place of mourning. But Jesus can replace the mourning with the oil of joy so that Capernaum becomes a village of comfort and consolation and compassion again.

Mark records that when Jairus came, he told Jesus in verse 23 that his daughter was lying “at the point of death,” and that a servant later comes in verse 35 saying, “Thy daughter is dead.” Whereas, Matthew records in 9:18 that when Jairus came, he said, “My daughter is even now dead.” The idea in Matthew’s account, According to Albert Barnes is that the father is saying, “My daughter was so sick that she must be by this time dead.”

Certainly, Jairus had sensed in a very real way his desperate need for a miracle.

I remember hearing sermons about a couple of these resurrection scenes in my teenage years. I remember a pastor named Ray Aiken preaching a sermon on “Jesus’ Fame at Nain,” drawing upon the statement in Matthew 9:26 where it says that after He raised this girl, “the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.”

And then I remember a black preacher from Asheville, NC named Wesley Grant, and he used Mark 5:41 where it says that Jesus “took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” And he preached on “The Talitha Cumi Girl.”

Well, in THE RESURRECTION AT CAPERNAUM, Jairus’ daughter certainly was “The Talitha Cumi Girl.” And as we look at this passage in Mark 5, let me first point out…

I. The Crisis of Jairus (Mark 5:22–35)

A. Notice the Intercession In This Account

(Mark 5:22-23) And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw Him, he fell at His feet, {23} And besought Him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

1. Now Jairus Was A Man With A Distinguished Position

there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name

rulers of the synagogue – Greek 752. archisunagogos, ar-khee-soon-ag'-o-gos; from G746 and G4864; director of the synagogue services:--(chief) ruler of the synagogue.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

He was “the ruler of the synagogue”; in other words, he was the president of one of the synagogues in Capernaum. It was his duty to superintend and direct its services, and to preside over its college of elders.

John Phillips said…

The ruler of the synagogue was a man whom the Jews respected. It is not at all unlikely that this man had been a member of the Jewish delegation that had pleaded the cause of the Roman centurion who had built the Capernaum synagogue and whose servant Jesus had miraculously healed (in Luke 7:1-10). So the ruler knew firsthand the Lord’s power to save.

Kenneth Wuest in his Word Studies from the Greek New Testament reminds us that…

Acts 13:14, 15 makes it clear that a single synagogue had a number of rulers. Their duties were to select the readers or teachers in the synagogue, to examine the discourses of the public speakers, and to see that all things were done with decency and in accordance with ancestral usage.

2. But Jairus Was A Man With A Desperate Plea

(Mark 5:22) And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw Him, he fell at His feet,

(Mark 5:23) And [Jairus] besought Him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary said that among this “class (of the rulers of the synagogue), there were but few who believed in Jesus (John 7:48).” The Pharisees asked critically in John 7:48, “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?” Well, here was one synagogue ruler who believed in Jesus enough to go and plead with Him to help his daughter.

In Matthew’s account (9:18), it is said that the ruler came and “worshipped” Jesus. Mark tells us that Jairus “fell at His feet.” As John MacArthur said…

We are not told what he then thought about Jesus’ messiahship, but to have bowed down before Him … was to offer an act of great homage and reverence. … [Such an act as the wording suggests in Matthew’s account] involved prostrating oneself before the honored person and kissing his feet, the hem of his garment, or the ground in front of him.

According to the UBS (United Bible Societies) New Testament Handbook, when the Bible says that Jairus “besought Him greatly,” it means that he was begging the Lord strongly and urgently and insistently.

An Irish preacher, David Legge said, “We see right away that position, power, or privilege do not exempt people from problems. [Any pride in Jairus] seems to have disappeared; he had forgotten about his peers and even what the public would think. The Bible says he fell at Jesus’ feet and begged earnestly.

I notice the Intercession in this account. But then I…

B. Notice The Intermission In This Account

(Mark 5:24-25) And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. {25} And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

As Jesus goes with Jairus, something unexpected happened; at least, unexpected as far as the written narrative of Christ’s ministry is concerned. Before Jairus’ crisis reaches a point of resolution, the focus of the narrative changes from one situation of need to an entirely different situation of need. There is, what I would call, an INTERMISSION in this Account.

The nature of the situation is that as Jesus went with Jairus, “a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years” approaches Jesus and touches His garment. She had come to this conclusion: “If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:28). And she was right! But as much as she wanted to receive miraculous healing in a secretive way, Jesus knew. And the Bible tells us that…

He looked round about to see her that had done this thing. {33} But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. {34} And He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. (Mark 5:32-34)

Why do we have the interruption and intermission here in the midst of Jairus’ crisis? I think there are a couple of lessons that we can learn here. First…

1. Our Problems May Not Be Isolated When Life Is Involved

This interruption reminds us that problems and crises and needs are multi-faceted and widespread. In fact, there may be MANY people in this auditorium today who have their own individual problems that they are dealing with. And maybe you’re like this woman and you don’t want anyone to know about your crisis and your problem. Difficult circumstances is not an isolated thing where people are concerned.

Again, as David Legge writes…

The common denominator that links (Jairus and this woman) together in this story is that both of them were beyond natural help. No one could do anything to help them! That’s why they are tied together here; that’s why one episode is enclosed in the story of the other – and that’s the only time that this ever happens in the Bible.

There is a similar time referenced with these two situations. According to Luke 8:42, Jairus’ daughter seems to have been perfectly healthy for 12 years, and her sickness had developed rather recently and perhaps suddenly. The woman, on the other hand, had been sick for 12 years. Struggles, whether they’ve come into your life recently or whether it’s something that you’ve been dealing with for years, are common to the human condition, and God is neither surprised nor limited in either scenario. (And it could have seemed to Jairus that Jesus’ attention has been diverted away from his problem, but rest assured that Jesus is capable of dealing with both.)

Here’s another lesson…

2. Our Problems May Not Be Improving Until The Lord Is Involved

The past twelve miserable years of this woman’s life is summarized in a very pointed way in verses 25 and 26…

(Mark 5:25-26) And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, {26} And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

Again, David Legge says…

The Talmud, which is a body of Jewish civil and religious laws added to the Old Testament by the Jews, it listed eleven cures for this particular uterine hemorrhage that this lady had. … Is it any wonder this woman was desperate? She probably had gone through all these processes with the hope that she would be cured, to no avail – worse! Worse! She “grew worse. [BUT] When she had heard of Jesus, [she] came” (Mark 5:26-27). Hallelujah!

Medicine could not, but Jesus could! Money could not, but Jesus could! Should prayer be our last resort or our first response?

In this account of THE RESURRECTION AT CAPERNAUM, we’ve noticed The Crisis of Jairus. Now let me further point out…

II. The Control of Jesus (Mark 5:36–40)

We’re told in verse 35 that while Jesus was still speaking with the woman, a servant from Jairus’ house meets the procession with the awful news that the daughter is dead. But Jesus reassures Jairus saying, “Be not afraid, only believe” (vs. 36). They proceeded on to the house, and when they arrived, it seems like it was a situation of pandemonium. The word “tumult” (which means a disturbance or an uproar) is used in verse 38 to describe those that were ‘weeping and wailing greatly.” Jesus asked in verse 39, “Why make ye this ado?” This word “ado” is derived from the same Greek word as the word “tumult.” Here again, the word has the idea of being in tumult; it means a disturbance, a clamor, a noise.

John MacArthur explained that…

In great contrast to those in the western world of our day, funerals in most ancient cultures, including that of Israel in the time of Christ, were not occasions for quiet whispers and soothing music. They were instead characterized by the loud wailing of voices and the harsh dissonance of musical instruments such as those of the hired flute-players on this occasion. The result, not unintended, was great noisy disorder.

This was a scene of great disturbance. But Jesus was not disturbed. In fact, that is the case with every crisis. It may disturb us, but it doesn’t disturb Him. And He didn’t come to observe, but He came to take over.

A. Notice How He Took Control of the Participation

Jesus explained that such weeping and wailing was not necessary. He said, “the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth” (vs. 39). As Albert Barnes explained, this implied “that her spirit still lived, and that she would be raised up again. A similar mode of speaking occurs in John 11:11 [when Jesus said:] ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth’.” As Kenneth Wuest said, “Our Lord meant that the child was not dead to stay dead.” But the crowd thought that His statement was ridiculous and according to verse 40, “they laughed Him to scorn.” So He “put them all out” (vs. 40). In Matthew 9:24, He said, “Give place!” In other words, He was expelling them and sending them out and saying that they needed to make room for Him to work. Jesus decided that this environment was no place for an absence of faith and a ridiculing of God’s power. But…

1. He Let Those Who Were In Fellowship Participate

(Mark 5:37) And He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

These three have been called Jesus’ “inner circle” because they were the only disciples present, both for this situation, and also the Transfiguration and in the garden of Gethsemane prior to Jesus’ arrest. These three were men who were in close fellowship with the Lord were allowed entry into this place where the Lord was going to work in a mighty way. This would ensure that this miracle could be verified and later recorded or related to others who would establish a record of what transpired. But is it not often the case that those who are in closest fellowship with the Lord are shown things that others do not see? I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to stay close to Him.

2. He Let Those Who Were In The Family Participate

(Mark 5:39-40) And when He was come in, He saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. {40} And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with Him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

It is these two individuals who have been most deeply affected by the daughter’s sickness and death. It is their hearts which are most truly broken. But the Bible says that “He taketh” them into “where the damsel was lying.” This word “taketh” in verse 40 means “to receive near” and “to associate with oneself.” He is entering into their grief; He is receiving them in their brokenness and associating with their sorrow. But the fact that He was taking them into the room suggests His absolute control over the situation.

We see how He took control of the Participation. But…

B. Notice How He Took Control of the Problem

1. He Encouraged the Affected

This situation must have been overwhelming for Jairus. It was something that was obviously beyond his control. But it wasn’t beyond Jesus’ control. Throughout this entire account, we see Jesus encouraging Jairus. Jesus’ WILLINGNESS must have been encouraging to Jairus, for “Jesus went with him” (Mark 5:24). Jesus’ WORDS must have been encouraging, for even after the servant reported that the daughter had died, Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). And Jesus’ WISDOM must have been encouraging to Jairus as he heard Jesus say, “the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth” (Mark 5:39). These same things can encourage us when we are affected by difficulties and doubt and grief.

2. He Entered the Area

Jesus was willing to step right into the difficult circumstance of Jairus’ life. He didn’t keep Jairus at arm’s length. Jesus wasn’t satisfied to be a distant observer of this man’s pain. But Jesus was willing to go down the ROAD with Jairus, for the Bible says He “went with him” (Mark 5:24). And then Jesus was willing to go to the RESIDENCE with Jairus, for the Bible says, “He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue” (Mark 5:38). It’s getting real now. But Jesus is not intimidated by the intensity and chaos of this crisis. Jesus was willing to go further still. He was willing to go into the ROOM with Jairus, for the Bible says, “He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying” (Mark 5:40). And may I say to some troubled heart this morning that Jesus is not overwhelmed by your circumstances. He’s able and willing to go the distance with you as you walk through your trial, to come and enter the area of your affliction.

In this account of THE RESURRECTION AT CAPERNAUM, we’ve noticed The Crisis of Jairus. And we’ve noticed The Control of Jesus. Now, finally, let me point out…

III. The Climax of Joy (Mark 5:41–42)

This was a moment of Climactic Joy when Jesus performed a miracle in the home of Jairus at Capernaum. This was a joyful moment; this was an AMAZING moment. In fact, the Bible says that when this little girl was raised from death, the other five people in the room “were astonished with a great astonishment” (Mark 5:42), which means they were astounded, and amazed, and beside themselves. The word “astonishment” comes from the Greek term ekstasis from which we get our word “ecstatic.” They were ecstatic; they were bewildered. It’s a term that suggests ‘a displacement of the mind,’ so the idea is that what happened just blew their minds. What made this situation so amazing?

A. I Would Say First That It Is Amazing When the LORD Is At Work

1. Notice The Lord’s Touch

(Mark 5:41) And He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

The Baker New Testament Commentary reminds us that…

The ruler had asked the Master to place his hands upon the child (verse 23). However, He does even better, for with authority, power, and tenderness He grasps the child by the hand.

Kenneth Wuest wrote that…

He took the damsel by the hand. The verb is ‎krateo (meaning) “to get possession of, to become master of, to take hold of.” The word speaks of the strong grip with which our Lord took hold of the hand of the dead girl and with which He helped her arise after the miracle of giving her back her life had been consummated.

In Numbers 19:11, the law specified that “He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.” But Jesus had no fear of ceremonial uncleanness. The dead one here was not imparting the POLLUTION of her death, but rather the Living One was imparting the POWER of His life!

2. Notice The Lord’s Talking

The Baker New Testament Commentary says that…

He addresses her in her own native tongue, using the very words by means of which her mother had probably often awakened her in the morning, namely, “Talitha koum.” For the sake of his non-Jewish readers Mark freely renders this, “Little girl, I say to you, Get up.”

David Legge wrote…

In Aramaic (the language our Lord Jesus [and Jairus’ family would have spoken], not the language the New Testament is written in), He said: ‘Talitha cumi’. This brought a tear to my eye; that literally means: ‘Little lamb, arise’. Little lamb, arise!’ I think Mark kept it in the Aramaic because there was something incommunicable in that statement - whether it was the tone, I don’t know. But there was something in it that spoke of the tenderness of the Lord Jesus. Can you hear those words fall on the girl’s cold, dull ears? Can you see her eyes flutter and open wide? And the first thing she saw was the face of Jesus. Then she looks around and sees Mum and Dad, and three stunned apostles that Jesus took into the room.

Not only is it amazing when the LORD is at Work. But…

B. I Would Say Finally That It Is Amazing When LIFE Is At Work

1. The Evidence Of Life Is Seen In Her Movement

(Mark 5:42) And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

Several years ago, Dr. David Jeremiah wrote a book entitled Signs of Life: Back to the Basics of Authentic Christianity. And as I read the last two verses of this chapter, I’m reminded that there are certain signs of life. She got up, and she walked. There was movement. There was vitality where there had been death. Does your spiritual experience reveal signs of life? Is there spiritual movement and evidence that you have passed from death unto life?

2. The Evidence Of Life Is Seen In Her Meal

(Mark 5:43) And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

Dead people have no appetite. That’s why a lot of people have no desire to partake of the meat of God’s Word; they have no desire to feast on the bread of life because they’re dead.

The Baker New Testament Commentary says that…

The word of tender concern is [that] He ordered that she be given (something) to eat. … Jesus realizes that the little girl, who because of her fatal illness had probably not been able to eat for some time, was in need of food.


I like Southern Gospel music. And one of the groups that I listen to sometimes is the Talley Trio. Back in 2003, the Talley Trio recorded a song that was written by Chris Binion and Terry Wilkins. As I have been studying this passage of scripture over the past several days, I’ve been thinking about this song.

I don’t know anything about the story behind this song, but the lyrics could easily be applied to Jairus’ situation or the situation of that woman who had an issue of blood all those years. And the lyrics could easily be applied to some our situations here this morning.

One particular verse of the song says…

You may be hurting, desperately searching…

For answers you can’t seem to find.

So many choices, wrestling with voices,

You’re looking for some peace of mind.

Feeling the shame from past mistakes

As the tears fall from your eyes;

Well don’t be discouraged.

My friend, take courage.

Your answer is Jesus Christ!

And then the chorus says…

He is the hope for the hopeless,

The water, the giver of life.

He is strength for the weary,

Love for those cast aside.

He gives rest to the restless,

Freedom from fear;

When things seem impossible,

Know that He’s near.

For all of the problems of life,

The answer is Christ!

Can you relate to that? Are you struggling with a crisis like Jairus or the poor woman in this passage? Do you need to come (as Jairus did) and pray this morning that Jesus would touch someone that you’re concerned about? If so, you come and bring that burden to the Lord this morning.


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