Mark 5:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 5:36, NIV: "Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, 'Don't be afraid; just believe.'"

Mark 5:36, ESV: "But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”"

Mark 5:36, KJV: "As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe."

Mark 5:36, NASB: "But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, *said to the synagogue official, 'Do not be afraid, onlybelieve.'"

Mark 5:36, NLT: "But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, 'Don't be afraid. Just have faith.'"

Mark 5:36, CSB: "When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, "Don't be afraid. Only believe.""

What does Mark 5:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The wording indicates that Jesus overhears the person from Jairus' house while He is speaking to the woman healed from an issue of blood. There is a similarity here between the girl and Lazarus—both times, Jesus waits until the person is identified as dead before He comes to them. In the case of Lazarus, however, Jesus waits a full four days from the moment of death, which is the time the Jews believe it takes for the soul to leave the body, making full restoration is impossible (John 11:6). The scope of Jesus' miracles builds gradually, and here He merely delays until immediately after the girl has passed.

"Believe" is from the Greek root word pisteuo and basically means "to be persuaded as true." This is a tall order. People have been raised from the dead before, but the accounts were recorded in the Old Testament, written hundreds of years ago. Even if he is a leader of the Synagogue, Jairus has no particular reason to believe his twelve-year-old daughter is significant enough to be brought back to life by God's messenger.

In Jesus' ministry, faith is a conduit that allows the power of God to act. The faith of the woman with an issue of blood is so great she is healed without Jesus taking an active part. Conversely, when Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth, their unbelief will keep Jesus from doing the miracles that come so easily in Capernaum (Mark 6:1–6).

Miracles, impelled by faith in Jesus' ministry, are meant to identify Him as a representative of God. They alert the people to the fact that His teachings are from God and to be heeded. Now that those teachings are gathered in the Bible, God works in a slightly different way.

Our faith is still required for God to work in us. It doesn't have to be big (Luke 17:6), just pointed in the right direction (Hebrews 11:6) and persistent (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It also needs to have the right intent. It is not biblical to have "faith" that God will give us riches or health (James 4:2–3). Instead, God promises to give us what we need to do His will. If our hearts are aligned with His and we value what He prioritizes, we will be satisfied with what He gives us (John 15:7). It is okay to be disappointed when we don't receive the blessings we hope for if we also acknowledge that our hope, ultimately, rests in Him (1 Peter 1:3).