In Mark’s Gospel the Twelve Apostles often appear to lack understanding of what Jesus is doing. At times the Twelve’s lack of faith is often in sharp contrast to the behaviour of the people around them, and it is surely intentional on Mark’s part that the two miracles have something to do with the number 12. In the first a 12 year-old girl is raised from the dead. In the second, a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years is healed. In both cases faith precedes their healing and in neither case does Jesus take the initiative.
So what happens? A leader of the synagogue – who is from the upper crust of society and so important that his name, Jairus , is even mentioned – falls on his knees in front of Jesus..
An anonymous woman with an illness that has probably made her an outcast follows the crowd to Jairus’s house. She is not that brave and when she later shows herself it is “In fear and trembling”. Yet she is full of faith, and it is a faith that is derived simply from what she has heard about Jesus. She pushes herself through the crowd towards Jesus, reaches out, and touches him without apology or permission. At that very moment her bleeding stops and she is healed. She let her faith in Jesus overcome her fear. He immediately feels the power going from him and ask “Who touched me?” She owns up and falls on her knees before him and he calls her daughter and says that her faith had made her clean.
Jairus’s daughter in the meantime is reported as having died. Jesus ignores this and throws out all those in the room who have already begun their mourning. He brings the parents and Peter, James and John with him , takes the girl by the hand and tells her to sit up. She gets up and walks around. Jairus had total faith in Jesus.
In Mark’s gospel, faith in Jesus is not the result of a miracle, it is a prerequisite. You do not start to believe because you are healed, you start to heal because you believe. Jesus himself says “Your faith has healed you.”