A Tale of Two Healings: Part II - Life for Leaders

By Inés Velásquez-McBryde

September 29, 2019

“He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”

Mark 5:41

Let’s return to Jairus, whose story got interrupted yesterday. As I mentioned yesterday, Jairus had a position of privilege in the synagogue. However, that privilege could not protect his daughter from disease. Suffering levels the playing field. He knows about Jesus and is more than eager to mobilize him to his home.

I wonder what went through Jairus’ mind as he had to wait for the healing of the unnamed woman? Was he distressed? Frustrated? Angry? What about the moment when, after he has to listen to the unnamed woman’s story and witness her healing, he learns that his daughter is dead? This interruption is not a simple interruption. Later he is no longer named as Jairus, but referred to as “the child’s father.” His child is twelve years old.

In this scenario, Jesus does not perform a public healing. Instead, it says that he takes Peter, James, and John, those closest to him, into the home of Jairus. They are the leaders that are pulled closest into this miracle. I wonder why Jesus does not take the other disciples? What are Peter, James and John to learn as leaders that the others will not get to learn? Jesus, again, touches the little girl by taking her by the hand and instructing her to get up.

Again, the ethics of Jesus give us a platform of leadership knowledge. The ethics of Jesus are comforting to me. How do the work ethics of Jesus inform Jairus, a synagogue leader and man in power? How do they inform his closest disciples as leaders? I wonder what this does to Jairus?

Jairus has witnessed a fuller story. He has witnessed that the work of Jesus involves mercy to the powerful and mercy to the less-powerful. How does this change Jairus’ view of women in society? Women in the synagogue? After Jairus’ daughter is healed, how does this affect his view of her?

I wonder if the disciples were also frustrated at the interruption and those that Jesus chose to let approach him. Would they have said, “Listen, Jesus, Jairus is our ticket into the synagogue, he has power and privilege and platform… Why stop for this woman?” I wonder.

Are there more places of healing beyond the two women? I believe that Jairus and the disciples, too, have potential to be healed and encounter a social and religious transformation. The work ethics of their master and boss are disruptive to their paradigms and lived theology. Perhaps we are Jairus. Perhaps we are Peter, James, and John. I wonder if there is more healing to be had.

Something to Think About: 

What kind of work ethic drives the actions and practices in your workplace?

How does being a follower of Jesus and the witness of his mercy inform your own current modern context?

How do the ethics of Jesus inform power dynamics in your community, home, or workplace? Is there tension and challenge?

Something to Do:

Be creatively disruptive with mercy. Check your work habits, policies and business practices. What could be shifted in order to encompass the mercy of God?


God of mercy and grace, you bless the merciful and you make us instruments of mercy. In our workplaces, our homes and communities, may they be a means of grace through which your gospel and life-giving kingdom flow through into all realms of life. Help us to do business with an inner ethic of mercy and compassion. Help us not see people as means of production but people as means of grace. Help us see your face in the face of the other. Help us lead as leaders with mercy and grace, even in moments when others have failed us. Help us extend mercy even as we have received mercy. Grant us peace. Amen.

Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
The Myth of Work-Life Balance

Inés Velásquez-McBryde

Chaplain at Fuller Theological Seminary & Pastor, Preacher, Speaker

Inés is an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, writer, and speaker. We are pleased to feature Inés as a regular Life for Leaders writer. On June 15, 2019, Inés received her Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary where she now serves as...

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