The healing of Jairus’ daughter is an astounding miracle which allows us to understand that our Lord holds the keys of hell and of death in the power of his hand (Rev 1:18).

Mark records how Jesus took the young girl by the hand and began to speak to her lifeless form! “Damsel, I say unto thee, arise”, he said, “and straightway the damsel arose, and walked…and they were astonished with a great astonishment” (Mark 5:41-42).

Words could not aptly describe the fear and wonder they all felt. The Greek word, ekstatis (from which we get our word ecstasy) suggests that their rational thoughts were suspended as they tried to process what had just happened. But in the midst of all this the Lord brought them back to reality and “charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat” (Mark 5:43).

He gave two commands. The first was related to his own work and the second was for benefit of the young girl. The Lord did not seek popularity like the rulers of the day. His demeanour among them was as a quiet, gentle and humble servant, working his Father’s will to “send forth judgment unto victory”. He sought no notoriety for himself. His focus, instead, was on the welfare of the girl who had just been healed.

He understands all the needs of humanity, but here is something powerful in the words he spoke. When Jesus raised Lazarus in John 11:1-44 and the widow’s son in Luke 7:11-17 no such command was given. So why did Jesus command that something should be given her to eat?

The first point to consider is that although he saved her from her death, the parents still had to provide for her in life. He understood this. Sustenance was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind; after all, they had just observed their lifeless daughter sit up! But her future welfare was at the forefront of our Lord’s mind. His consideration and kindness for her illustrates his practical desire to see her continue and prosper in the life he had so graciously granted.

Secondly, he expected the parents to know what was needed to sustain their daughter. He put the care and responsibility back to them. The living need to eat, but what will they be consuming? Few things are as everyday as preparing and serving food, and Christ’s command put the family back together in the ordinary and the routine.

But the Lord had a greater purpose in mind. He issued the same command to the disciples in Mark 6:37—“give ye them to eat”—and in so doing, he was preparing the disciples for their future work of feeding the ecclesia of God (Acts 20:28). Families would need spiritual sustenance; parents would need to feed their children with the bread of life and ecclesias would need to receive strong meat (Heb 5:12). The Master foresaw all these needs and by directing the parents’ attention to their daughter’s needs he was foreshadowing the great work of spiritual education that families would need to undertake to keep the faith alive.

We have to appreciate, too, that the Lord’s simple command to provide food for the young girl is an expression of the ordinary that is before us moment by moment. The raising of the girl was spectacular, but this is not what the Prince of life was focusing on. He was directing their attention to the ongoing, everyday need for food that would sustain their daughter. This was not to be considered insignificant or secondary.

Our lives consist of very ordinary things. Our primary calling as the children of God is to be faithful in the ordinary and the routine. The godly can discern God’s hand at work amidst the everyday events of life and so we shouldn’t need the spectacular to convince us that God is working on our behalf.

The Scriptures underscore the significance of faithfulness in ordinary things. Take, for example, Gaius. The Apostle John wrote him a letter of gratitude for showing hospitality to a number of brethren passing through. He wasn’t part of the travelling missionary teams, nor was he up to debating Diotrephes. He was involved, instead, in the very ordinary tasks that make up hospitality – changing beds, washing linens, cooking meals, going to the market, perhaps being the first to rise and the last to bed. And here now was a brief letter of thanks from the apostle, now part of the inspired Scripture, warmly expressing gratitude for Gaius’ faithfulness in the ordinary routine of his first-century life.

Not everyone can be a Gideon; some of us have to be willing to stand off in the darkness holding a trumpet and a torch. The names of the three hundred have been lost to history, but not to God. Faithful believers are content because they realise that they live, moment by moment, in the presence of God. It’s easy to be faithful when there’s an adoring crowd cheering us on as we perform one heroic deed after another. The real test is whether we will be faithful in the unexciting details of everyday life, when our only audience is God Himself. Dismissing faithfulness because it is not spectacular enough to suit us is a danger we all face in an age when bigger and brighter are assumed to be better.