Jairus is a figure mentioned in the New Testament gospels who came to Jesus asking him to heal his sick daughter. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer about what we know of Jairus from Scripture: He was a synagogue leader who met Jesus as Jesus was traveling to his house.
Jairus pleaded for Jesus to heal his extremely ill, 12-year-old daughter. Jesus went with Jairus but the daughter died before they arrived. Nonetheless, Jesus raised her from the dead when they reached Jairus’ house.
In this article we will explore the biblical accounts of Jairus’ encounter with Jesus and examine what details the gospels provide about this synagogue official.
The Synoptic Gospel Accounts of Jairus
Jairus was a synagogue leader
Jairus is mentioned in three of the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He was an important community leader, serving as a ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 5:22). As a synagogue ruler, Jairus would have been responsible for administrative oversight of the synagogue, managing services, and providing for the building’s maintenance.
His role gave him considerable status within Capernaum.
Capernaum was located on the Sea of Galilee and archaeology shows it was a moderately-sized fishing and agricultural community during the 1st century AD. The synagogue was an important center for religious and social life.
That Jairus held a respected position within this community suggests he was likely a man of means and influence.
Jairus’ daughter was deathly ill
Mark and Luke state that Jairus had an only daughter around 12 years old who was dying (Mark 5:22-23, Luke 8:41-42). For a synagogue ruler, his daughter would have been a precious child despite living in a patriarchal society that generally valued sons over daughters.
Matthew simply describes the girl as having died (Matthew 9:18). Regardless, all three Gospels depict her condition as extremely serious and her death imminent, if not already happened. For a loving father like Jairus, this would have been devastating news.
Jairus pleaded with Jesus to heal his daughter
In fear of losing his beloved child, Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and desperately appealed to Him to come and lay hands on her so she would live (Mark 5:22-23). His public display of humility and faith was likely scandalous and risky given Jesus’ controversial reputation among certain Jewish religious leaders.
But as a loving father, Jairus was willing to put aside his prestige and comfort to save his daughter.
All three Gospels record Jesus heading to Jairus’ house to attend to the daughter. En route there, messengers arrived and confirmed the girl had died (Matthew 9:18-19; Mark 5:35-36; Luke 8:49-50). Despite this, Jesus reassured Jairus to not fear and have faith (Mark 5:36).
Upon arriving at the house, Jesus took the girl by the hand, told her to get up, and she was restored to full health (Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:41-42; Luke 8:54-55).
Key Details about Jairus in Scripture
His name and position
Jairus was a synagogue leader mentioned in three of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke. His name Jairus means “he enlightens/gives light” in Hebrew. He held an important position as a ruler of the synagogue, overseeing administrative tasks and services.
His desperate plea to Jesus
Jairus approached Jesus when his 12-year-old daughter was extremely sick and near death. He fell at Jesus’ feet and earnestly pleaded with Him to come and lay hands on her so she could be healed and live (Mark 5:22-24).
As a loving father, Jairus was desperate and heartbroken over his daughter’s critical condition.
Jesus’ response and miracle
Despite interruptions and delays, Jesus went with Jairus to his home. He took the girl’s parents and three disciples into the room where she lay dead. Holding her hand, Jesus simply said “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” At His word, her spirit returned and she got up, completely healed.
Jairus’ faith in Jesus gave light and new life to his daughter (Luke 8:41-56).
This powerful miracle displayed Jesus’ authority over sickness and death. It is a reminder that when we bring our needs to Christ with persistent faith like Jairus, He can do the impossible. This account gives hope that Jesus cares, listens, and acts mightily on behalf of those who seek Him.
The Significance of the Account of Jairus
Demonstrates Jesus’ power over disease and death
The story of Jairus highlights Jesus’ authority over illness and death. When Jairus’ daughter was sick and on the verge of death, he turned to Jesus for help, believing that Jesus had the power to heal her.
Jesus did not hesitate but went with Jairus to his home, where he took the girl’s hand and commanded her to get up. Amazingly, the girl was restored to life and health. This miracle clearly demonstrates Jesus’ power over disease and his ability to bring people back from the brink of death.
Shows Jesus’ compassion to a desperate father
The account also reveals Jesus’ deep compassion for those suffering. As a father, Jairus must have been distraught when his only daughter fell grievously ill. When she neared death, he went to Jesus in desperation, pleading for his help.
Despite the crowds pressing in on him, Jesus immediately agreed to go with Jairus. He could have easily brushed off this worried father’s request, but instead, Jesus chose to relieve Jairus’ suffering by healing his daughter. This gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ compassionate heart toward the hurting.
Serves as a lesson in faith
Finally, Jairus’ story teaches an important lesson about faith. Jairus exhibited faith in who Jesus was – the Messiah with power over disease and death. His faith was strong enough to make him push through a crowd just to reach Jesus.
Jairus also had faith in Jesus’ ability and willingness to heal his daughter. When others told Jairus it was too late, and he should give up hope, Jairus still believed Jesus could make a difference. For this faith, Jairus saw an incredible miracle.
This account reminds us that if we put our faith in Jesus, we too can experience his healing power.
While the Bible does not provide specifics about Jairus’ family or life apart from this encounter with Jesus, the account nonetheless gives important glimpses into his faith and Jesus’ divine identity and mission.
The desperate plea made on behalf of his beloved, dying daughter clearly moved Jesus to perform one of his greatest miracles. As we examine and reflect on the biblical account of Jairus, key lessons on faith, mercy and Christ’s restored order over death emerge as takeaways for readers today.