He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” ). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.

Mark 5:41-42

I’ve just been to Auschwitz, a former Nazi death camp.  During the Second World War, somewhere between a million and a million and a half people were brutally killed, for no other reason than the leaders of the Nazi regime did not like who they were.  The numbers are so vast that it is almost impossible to grasp the sheer horror of the place.  In display cases in the barracks visitors can see several tons of hair, thousands of shows, and hundreds of pots and pans, all stolen from the victims.  What really made the horror real for me, though, was a mountain of suitcases.  By homing in on one case, with the name and address of the owner written in large letters, the horrors of the holocaust become humanized again; this case belongs to one individual who was killed.  The case I focused on belonged to a man called Klement Hedwig, whose case stated that his date of birth was 8th October 1898, which would have made him in his early forties when he was killed.  Then I drew my eyes away from the one case to the thousands on display, and it became clear that all of these cases belonged to individuals, who, like Klement, had been living ordinary lives when they were rounded up and killed by the Nazis.

In today’s verse, Jesus displays that characteristic so lacking of the Nazis; compassion.  He demonstrated that he had the power to restore life.  People die everyday, and had Jesus brought back all those who died during his earthly ministry, he would not have had time to do anything else.  Instead, like when I was confronted with the thousands of people who had died choosing to single out one individual, Jesus also chose one person at this moment to bring back to life.  That was all he needed to do.  He simply had to demonstrate that he could do it to show that he was by no means an ordinary person.  Just as he had demonstrated that he had the power to control demons, and the power to control nature, here, through this one incident, he demonstrates that he also has power over life itself.

This resuscitation, however, is just the beginning.  If you accept that Jesus is the Son of God, the promise is that you too will be restored to life after death – not in the same way as this little girl, but in a more perfect way.  We can live again, for all eternity, alongside Christ in a new creation.

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