Luke 8 contains the account of the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (vv. 40–42, 49–56). The account relates how Jesus was approached by Jairus, a ruler of the local synagogue, whose daughter was deathly ill. Jesus went to Jairus’ house and sent the crowds out. He raised the girl up, and she returned to life.
At this point, there is a small detail in the text: “And he directed that something should be given her to eat” (v. 55). Part of the concern here is simply proof of life. The girl had recently died, and before that she was mortally ill, likely unable to summon the strength to get up, let alone eat. Her getting up “at once” and then taking food furnishes proof of the miraculous nature of Christ’s work. But there is another dynamic at work here as well.
I recently saw a video of a charismatic preacher causing people to be “slain in the Spirit”; he touched or motioned toward them, and they fell down limp, the idea being that they were overcome by the power of God. One thing that struck me was how impersonal it was. The preacher simply lined people up and knocked ’em down. He didn’t care about them; they were simply props.
Jesus has a much different approach. He dismissed the crowds so that the miracle didn’t become a spectacle. But He also showed a keen concern for the girl herself: He directed that she be given something to eat. The girl’s parents at this point were likely beside themselves in astonishment, unable to think through what to do next. But Jesus showed an understanding of and concern for her needs. Who knew that after being raised from the dead, you are hungry?
As the song goes, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” And while the love of God is woven throughout the Bible, those “three little words” appear only once on God’s lips, in Isaiah 43:4: “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
Passages like Luke 8 flesh out the truth of Isaiah 43. Jesus’ care for Jairus’ daughter is a microcosm of God’s love for His people. He knows what we need, and He is deeply concerned to provide for us. He is no mere drive-by miracle-worker. His love moved Him to leave heaven in order to reconcile us to Himself, at great cost to Himself.
God in Isaiah 43 assured the Israelites in exile that He would provide a ransom to buy them back. He did so in punishing Babylon at the hands of the Persians and bringing the Israelites back to the Promised Land.
Hundreds of years later, God again provided an exchange to deliver His people. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, provided the ransom Himself at the cross. He did so in order to buy us back from the bondage of sin and death. He did so in order that we also might rise to new life. He did so because He loves us.