Jump Start # 2874
Mark 5:41 “And taking the child by the hand, He said to her, ‘Talitha kum!” (which translated means, ‘Little girl, I say to you arise!”).
I was at a funeral the other day. The dear soul that passed away was in his high 80’s. He had a long legacy of faithfulness and goodness in the Lord. It was a treasure to see a spiritual family honor one of God’s children. The casket was open. The preacher was doing a fine job highlighting the steps of faithfulness that this grand soldier of the cross had taken. As I listened and as I watched the thought came to be about resurrections. Our verse today is one of the N.T. resurrections.
I had never thought about this before, but have you ever considered the ages of the people raised from the dead. Here in our verse, the girl was twelve years old. In Luke, Jesus interrupted a funeral procession. A widow was burying her only son. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you arise.” There we have it again, “young man.” Then there was Lazarus. We are not told how old he was. Somehow I just assumed and imagined that he was likely around the age of Jesus, probably in his 30’s. The person who fell out of the window and was raised to life by Paul was a young man. Elisha raised a boy from the dead. The one exception may be Dorcas, raised by Peter. There is no indication of how old she was.
Why mostly if not completely young people? Why were there no 80 year-olds raised? Now I can build some reasons why I think only young people, but the Bible doesn’t say. Even though my arguments might make sense, especially to me, they stand upon my suppositions and not the word of God.
So, here are some thoughts running through all of this:
First, it is imperative that one allows the Bible to speak for itself. Don’t be reading between the lines. Don’t be making things up based upon how you feel or see things. Don’t be speaking for God. Deuteronomy tells us that the secret things belong to God. Whole systems of ideas and faiths can be built upon our imaginations and not the word of God. When I was in college I had some studies with the cultic group Moonies. In their writings, they concluded that the “forbidden fruit” that Adam and Eve ate was sexual sin. Their basis was because God covered them with animal skins, covering up the areas of sin. I remember asking one of the Moonies, “Weren’t they married? How could they commit sexual sin when there was no one else around?” He didn’t know.
Second, it is also easy to connect dots that were never intended to be connected. Jesus raising young people wasn’t a detailed plan discussed and implemented ahead of time. I see this as being more coincidence that designed. Few things disturb us more than a hurting child. A parent would rather take a bullet than let their child suffer. Raising these young dead would fill the hearts of many with faith. The purpose of miracles wasn’t to eliminate death. If it was, then Jesus failed. The purpose was to point to the absolute authority of Christ. The devil’s greatest power is death. Jesus destroyed that. Jesus could talk to the dead and they heard and came forth.
Not every N.T. thought is connected to an O.T. image. Some are. Many are. But not all of them. We must remember that the Gentiles would not have known the O.T. Building powerful bridges from the O.T. to the N.T. is great, if the bridges are supposed to be there. Sometimes, on this side of the cross, we understand things that others on that side would not have seen.
Third, false conclusions can be manufactured from assumptions we make. If we see that only young people were raised from the dead, then one can wrongly assume, “God doesn’t care about the life of an old person.” Live or die, God won’t help an old person. As silly and off as that sounds, one ought to read what is found in many religious books these days. Wild ideas about people dying and coming back, Jesus talking directly to people, and signs, just as visible as Gideon’s being used today. How can people believe this stuff? They have just enough Bible to make them dangerous but not enough to make a difference. Our conclusions must be consistent with the rest of what the Bible teaches.
Finally, the Bible teaches and reads the same for all of us. You don’t have your view and I have my view and we both are right. That doesn’t happen in school, sports or life and especially with the Lord. The truths taught in the first century remain the same truths today. Culture and customs have changed, but truth doesn’t. What God expects remains the same today.
Resurrections—someday we’ll be raised. What a grand day that will be. Build your faith and wrap your trust around what you know from God’s word. It is that word that will change your life and make all the difference in the world.