While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
I love this miracle of Jesus. Not only because it shows the compassion He has for the family that had lost their little girl, and not only because His miracle put the mockers in their place, but also because of the way He described the dead girl. He said she was “asleep,” a statement that stirred up ridicule among those present. But of course, the girl was dead, so why did Jesus say she was only sleeping? The answer is because He has the power to raise the dead as easily as ordinary people can raise others from slumber.
From this miracle, Christians took to referring to dead brethren as “sleeping” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We see our loved ones go into the grave but we know that one day they will arise. Because of that–because of the power of Jesus–we don’t think of them as totally gone. We know all dead will rise and will meet their Maker, and for God’s children that’s a source of great encouragement indeed!