Mark 5 is this wonderful chapter in Mark’s gospel – possibly one of my favorites in his gospel where he tells about the miraculous story of Jairus and his daughter. Now, there is a lot going on in this passage, but I want to focus on the implications this passage may or may not have towards one of the arguments against infant baptism. Let me know if I’m reading too much into the text.

First, let me explain what happens. Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, comes to Jesus and tells him that his (Jairus) daughter is on the verge of death and asked Jesus to come quickly. Jesus however was being mobbed by the crowd and stops to get personal with a woman who has just snuck a healing touch from the train of his robe. In the meantime, Jairus’ daughter dies and a servant came to tell Jesus not to bother. Jesus does bother – he goes and resurrects the girl.

This story is nestled neatly in the context of many other miracles that Jesus did with the response “your faith has made you well.” Shortly after this incident Jesus did very few miracles because he was astounded by the lack of faith of the people.

One of the main arguments against the baptism of infants is that they are too young to exhibit faith and baptism is meant to symbolize the washing away of sin. Those of us who advocate for infant baptism argue that baptism is not based on the faith of the child, but on the faith of the parent rooted in the promise of God. Baptism, then, is the New Covenant counterpart of Old Covenant circumcision.

Here’s my point. In this situation with Jairus, we see his dead daughter who is completely unable to exhibit any kind of faith on her own (she’s dead), but her dad believes. Jesus provides a benefit to her based on the faith of her father. Why can’t there be other benefits for children simply because their parent(s) are united to the Living Christ?

I realize that this doesn’t prove the matter, but it does provide an example of someone who is unable to exhibit faith on their own receiving a benefit of another’s faith. Isn’t that the gospel? That we were all dead in our trespasses and sins – deserving the punishment of the cross? Not deserving to be included in the family? But Christ takes our punishment and gives us his life! If you ask me, infant baptism is one of the most beautiful pictures of the gospel – including someone who cannot be included on their own – just like the rest of us!