Daily Bread

103. Compassion

Luke 8:51-56

When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.


Jesus had journeyed to the house of a guy called Jairus to heal Jairus’ daughter. However, on the way, they were told that Jairus’ daughter had died. But Jesus had told Jairus to trust in him, and so they carried on. When they got to the house, Jesus took the parents and the disciples, Peter, John and James inside. Despite being mocked, Jesus touched the girl, spoke to her, and she came back to life.

Jairus’ wife and relatives would’ve been beside themselves, distraught with the pain of losing this girl of such a young age. And yet, in the midst of it, Jairus must’ve been playing over the words of Jesus in his mind, “Don’t fear. Trust in me.”

In this part of the story, like the earlier part about the woman bleeding, Jesus touched the dead girl. Again, given the strict rules about Rabbis touching dead bodies, Luke wanted us to know that Jesus touched her. Jesus held her hand, not just as a symbol of crossing social religious boundaries, but as a compassionate gesture. Jesus wasn’t just a healing ‘machine’ but a human being reaching out in love to another. He then addressed her as ‘child’ – an affectionate title for her. And finally, one of my favourite lines in this miracle story is at the end when Jesus asked the family to get the girl something to eat. Amongst this highly emotional, highly-charged situation, Jesus’ attention was still on the girl and her immediate practical needs. I love that.

When we’re ill or feeling low, of course we want to be made well, but we also want that healing to come with compassion. We want to know that people care for us, will listen to us, will empathise with us, and stand with us in our suffering. It’s what makes us human isn’t it?


Today, think of someone you know who’s suffering. Reach out to them. Give them a simple message of encouragement, or perform an act of kindness to show them that you love them, and are standing with them in their pain.


Holy God

Help me to be compassionate as you are compassionate.

Give me ears to listen and a heart that empathises.

Give me strength to stand with those

who are going through tough times.

And may I see the world through your eyes,

touch with your healing hands,

and speak your words of comfort.

This day and forever.



Which is more important – the healing or the compassion?