Mark 5:35-43 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘‘Your daughter is dead,’’ they said. ‘‘Why bother the teacher any more?’’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’’ He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, ‘‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’’ But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 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. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Jesus was not leading a traveling miracle-working sideshow. Showing consideration for the parents of the dead girl, he did not allow anyone but his closest disciples to accompany him. The bereaved parents didn’t need any hang-arounders or faithless, spectacle-seeking observers. It is somewhat surprising that Jesus also turned back nine of the twelve. Maybe he just didn’t want to burst into Jairus’ home and surround the little girl with the faces of thirteen men that she didn’t know. Whatever the case, he took charge of the situation. He told the mocking mourners to take a hike. He ‘‘put them out,’’ perhaps in the way that we would put out the dog. Jesus was an assertive man who took charge of his surroundings.

Assertive people are exciting to be around. They tailor their world in order to achieve their purposes. They might not always be right, but they do get things done. And there is absolutely no reason why anyone reading this book could not become more assertive. What hinders us is fear in all its various forms: fear of doing the wrong thing; fear of hurting someone’s feelings; fear of being opposed; fear of what people might think of us; fear of rejection. If you are not convinced of this, think about what it is that would have stopped you from handling this situation as Jesus did.