Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman (Luke 8:40-42, 49-51)

Opening Prayer

O God, open our hearts and minds to receive your wisdom. Amen.

Exegesis (Poem)

Jairus would have done/ Anything/ to get her back

His Hepzibah,

His joy, his delight.

It hurt my heart to see him/ Wasting away with her.

It hurt me too to see him/ Turn away/ From our other children

Simon, Samuel, little Rebecca/ And at last/ Even from me. 

Understand, I loved my daughter/ Flesh of my flesh.

Her wasting away/ Melted the flesh from/ My bones as well.

I was so tired/ With nursing her.

When she gasped her last/ I wept

But a stone fell from/ My heart

And I could see again/ The hope/ Of us healing

Death eased her pain/

Gave us the chance to mourn/ and then become a family again.

And then you came.

‘Little girl, get up!’

I had forgotten/ Through the long months

Her loud and shrieking laughter.

She fights with her brothers/ Argues with her father

And teaches her little sister

To flout my authority.

Forgive me if my rejoicing/ Is less than whole-hearted.

This resurrection brings/ Pain as well as/ Healing.


We often think of healing as something that should without question bring joy. The poem above looks at the feelings of Jairus' wife, who does not appear in the story at all. It explores the toll that the illness of one member can take on the whole family. Meribah dares to express the bitter-sweet feelings that many carers feel towards those they love.

Discussion Questions

  • How often do we allow ourselves and others to express the complicated beliefs we have?
  • Do we sometimes suppress our honest feelings and bury them under a mountain of platitudes? 
  • Can we really have a full relationship with Jesus if we are less than honest about who we are and what we believe?

Closing Prayer

Forgive us, Lord, when we are less than honest with you, when we pretend to be better than we are, when we are proud. Forgive us too for our humanness, for feeling our own pain more keenly than the pain of the person we are caring for. Thank you for loving us and teaching us and using us despite all of this. Amen.

Further Reading

Written by Dr Evie Vernon, Programme Adviser for Theological Education/Leadership Development at USPG, formerly Director Selly Oak Centre for Mission Studies.

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Resource type: 
Bible Study
Resource theme: 
The Bible
Women in the Bible
God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit