Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman
Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56
DIG: Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman. Why is it surprising that Jairus approached Yeshua and begged Him to heal his daughter? What made it difficult for this woman to approach Christ? How do you think Jairus felt when Yeshua stopped to heal the woman? Why do you suppose Jesus stopped to point her out? What does the story about Jairus and the woman reveal about faith?
REFLECT: In what ways can you identify with the bleeding woman? Think of a time when you found it difficult to step out in faith. Why was it difficult for you? In what areas of your life do you need to experience more of Christ’s power? What does this story teach you about the Lord’s compassion? Jesus comforted Jairus by saying: Don’t be afraid; just believe. How are these words applicable to your life? What are the fears in your life? Who do you fear? What do you fear?
After ministering for a brief time in the region of the Gadarenes where He healed two demon-possessed men, Jesus crossed back over the lake to Galilee by boat (and returned to Jewish territory), a large crowd gathered around Him (Mark 5:21; Luke 8:40a). They irresistibly longed to see Him, and hear Him and be touched by Him. Among them was a desperate father with a very sick daughter. He hoped Messiah might heal her. But also, hidden in the multitude was a woman with a terrible secret. She hoped to be healed anonymously. Each of them took a step of faith.
While the Lord was talking to John’s disciples about fasting (Matthew 9:14-17), the synagogue leader in Capernaum named Jairus, meaning God enlightens, came and bowed down at Christ’s feet (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41a). This was one of the most important and the most respected men in the community. But, something happened to him when his daughter fell ill and when he heard that Jesus was near.
His prejudices, his dignity and his pride were all forgotten. As the synagogue leader, Jairus may have been a Pharisee, yet, when he faced Yeshua he did not protect himself by going at night like Nicodemus did, or by disguising his true motive and need with an involved and veiled religious question. No, he came and bowed down at the feet of the miracle-working Rabbi. This was an act of great homage and reverence – and the Greek term interpreted bowed down (prokuneo meaning kiss the face) is most often rendered worshiped (Matthew 4:10; John 4:21-24; First Corinthians 14:25; Revelation 4:10). There can be no doubt that he must have regarded Jesus as an outsider, as a dangerous heretic, and as one whom the synagogue doors were closed. After all, hadn’t the Great Sanhedrin already declared the Nazarene to be possessed by Beelzebub? But, Jairus was a big enough man to abandon his prejudices in his hour of need. Like Naaman, the Syrian prime minister who had to swallow his pride to lose his leprosy (Second Kings 5), it must have taken a conscious effort of humiliation for Jairus to come and beg the Galilean Rabbi for help.744
Jairus pleaded earnestly with Jesus to come to his house. Although he didn’t know that his daughter had just died, he expressed amazing faith that she could be resurrected if Yeshua intervened. He begged: My only daughter is dying. Please come and put Your hands on her so that she will be healed and live. She is my only daughter. Having compassion on him, the Messiah got up and went with him, and so did His apostles (Matthew 9:18-19; Mark 5:23-24a; Luke 8:41b-42a).
If you’ll celebrate a marriage anniversary alone this year, God speaks to you. If your child made it to heaven before making it to kindergarten, He speaks to you . . . If your dreams were buried as they lowered the casket, God speaks to you. He speaks to all of us who have stood or will stand in the soft dirt near an open grave. And to us He gives this confident word, “I want you to know what happens to a believer who dies, so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow, as those who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Yeshua returns, God will bring back with Him all the believers who have died (First Thessalonians 4:13-14 TLB).745
As Jesus was on His way, He was interrupted by yet another compelling need. A large crowd followed the Lord and almost crushed Him. Just then a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her (Matthew 9:20a; Mark 5:24b-25; Luke 8:42b-43). She had been afflicted with a blood disease for as long as Jairus’ daughter had been alive. Because she had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, she had been ceremonially unclean for twelve years (Leviticus 15:19-30). In other words, she was untouchable! No part of her life was unaffected.
Sexually . . . she could not touch her husband.
Maternally . . . she could not bear children.
Domestically . . . anything she touched was considered unclean. No washing dishes, no sweeping floors, no cooking for others.
Spiritually . . . she was not allowed to enter the Temple.
She was physically exhausted and socially ostracized.
She was a bruised reed. She awoke daily in a body that no one wanted. She was down to her last prayer. And on the day we encounter her . . . she’s about to pray it.746
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse (Mark 5:26). There is a statement in the Talmud about the healing of someone who was subject to bleeding. This will give you an idea of what it means when the Bible says that she suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors. Rabbi Yochanan said: Take the gum of Alexandria, the weight of zuzie, and an olive, the weight of a zuzie, of krokas hortensis, the weight of a zuzie, let these be bruised together and be given in wine to the woman that is subject to bleeding. But if this does not benefit her, take Persian onions three times locks, boil them in wine, give it to her to drink and say, arise from your flocks. But if this does not work, sit her at the crossroads. Give her a cup of wine to hold in her hand. Let someone come behind her and scare her, and say arise from your flocks. And if that does no good, take a hand full of kewmen and a hand full of krokas, let these be boiled in wine and give them to her to drink, and also say arise from your flocks. If this does not help, let her dig seven ditches and burn some cuttings of such that is not yet three years old. Then let her take in her hand a cup of wine and let them lead her away from that ditch. Have her sit down over it and say to her, arise from your flocks. Then move her from this ditch to that ditch, one after another, never again say to her, arise from your flocks.747
So after twelve years of going through all of these procedures she had given up on doctors. By the time she gets to Jesus, people surround Him. He’s on His way to help the daughter of Jairus, the most important man in the community. What are the odds that He will interrupt an urgent mission with the synagogue leader to help the likes of her? Very few. But, what are the odds that she will survive if she doesn’t take a chance? Fewer still. So she takes a chance.
Risky decision. Because people surround Jesus, to touch Him she will have to defile others. But, what choice does she have? She has no money, no influence, no friends, and no solutions. She hoped He’d respond, but she didn’t know if He would. All she knew was that He was good. That’s faith.
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right. Her part in the healing was very small. All she did was extend her arm through the crowd.748 She thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” The verb thought is imperfect. She kept on thinking to herself. So, before Jesus had a chance to react, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched the tassels, or tzitzit, on the edge of His robe (Matthew 9:21; Mark 5:27-28). She was in a state of ritual impurity because of her bleeding. The fact that she approached Him from behind tells us that she was sensitive to the awkward situation this might be for Yeshua as a rabbi. It was commonly understood in that day that any woman should keep her distance from a rabbi. This was undoubtedly magnified by her ritual uncleanness due to her bleeding (Leviticus 15:25-27).
The detail that she touched the holiest part of His garment, the tzitzit on the edge of His robe, is very important for several reasons. First, it tells us that although Jesus spoke about some of the dangers of the Oral Law (to see link click Ei – The Oral Law), He Himself followed the Torah and wore tzitzit on the edge of His robe. The LORD said to Moses His servant: Speak to the Israelites and say to them, “Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will remember all the commands of ADONAI, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourself by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all My commands and will be consecrated to your God. I AM the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I AM ADONAI your God” (Numbers 15:37-39). There can be no doubt that He looked like the traditional Jew of His day. Second, the fact that this woman reached out to touch the Messiah’s outer garment shows her own faith. But, more than that, by specifically touching His tzitzit, she was basically saying that it would be the Word of God (that the tassels represent) that she would have received healing.749 Third, she touched the tassels and not Jesus Himself because under the Torah she was unclean. Had she touched Him, she would have defiled Him.
Healing begins when we do something. Healing begins when we reach out. Healing begins when we take a step toward God in faith. Immediately after touching His tassels, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering (Matthew 9:20b; Mark 5:29; Luke 8:44). Normally the impure defiles the pure (see Haggai 2:11-13, also see Talmund, Taharot). But, in this case the opposite happened; the purity of Yeshua ha-Meshiach and of His tziziyot remained uncompromised, while the woman’s impurity was instantly removed.750
Let me be very clear about something. ADONAI still heals today. But, there are no guarantees. God’s thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. Sometimes you can have all the faith in the world, but are not healed. It’s not that you lack faith, it’s merely that God, for His perfect reasons, has not chosen to heal you. And you won’t be able to figure it out. It’s not a logical thing. Rabbi Sha’ul prayed three times that his thorn in the flesh would be removed and ADONAI chose to leave it with him (Second Corinthians 12:7-9). You would think if God were going to heal anybody it would be him. But, no. All of us must bow our will to the Son of Righteousness.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked: Who touched My clothes? Jesus knew that He had been touched in that way, and He knew who had touched Him. The purpose of the question was to get the attention of His apostles to build their faith in Him. His apostles were surprised to His sensitivity to the crowd, “What do you mean: Who touched My clothes? A large crowd is almost crushing You (Mark 5:24b, 30-31; Luke 8:42b and 45)!
He said: Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me. Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it but they all denied it, then He saw her. Then the Jewish woman responded to His searching eyes. Seeing that she could not go unnoticed, she came trembling with fear and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed, literally, what was done. Once again the verb is in the perfect tense, indicating that it was a complete and a permanent cure (Mark 5:32-33; Luke 8:45a-47). All that was in preparation for what was to follow.
Then Jesus corrected her theology. He turned and said to her: Daughter. For the first time she got a glimpse of His breathtaking sympathy, delicately expressed in the very first word. He said: Thugater, meaning daughter, to a mature woman, probably not much, if at all younger than Himself. Our Lord spoke to her not as a man to a woman, but, as a father to his child. Take heart, your faith has healed you. The verb translated healed is actually sozo, meaning to save, and is used at times for the healing of the body as well as the soul. It is in the perfect tense, assuring her of a permanent cure.751
Go in peace and be freed from your suffering. And the woman was healed at the moment she touched Him (Mattityahu 9:22; Mark 5:34; Luke 8:48). But it was not works, or touching Him, that healed her. It was her faith. Without faith she could have done all the touching she wanted to and nothing would have happened. The power came from the Master, not His clothing. The means was her faith, not her touch.
Maybe all you have is a crazy hunch and high hope. You have nothing to give. But, you are hurting. And all you have to offer God is your hurt. Maybe that has kept you from coming to Him. Oh, you’ve taken a step or two in His direction but then you saw the other people around Him. They seemed so clean, so neat, so trim and fit in their faith. And when you saw them, they blocked your view of Him. So you stepped back.
If that describes you, look carefully at the one whom Jesus commended for having faith. It wasn’t the wealthy giver. It wasn’t the loyal follower. It wasn’t the acclaimed teacher. It was the shame-struck, penniless outcast – a defiled woman who had been bleeding for twelve years – who clutched onto her hunch that He could heal her and her hope that He would. Which, by the way, isn’t a bad definition of faith. A conviction that He can and a hope that He will.752
Within the providence of God, the delay was long enough for Jairus’ little girl to die. In addition, some messengers came at the most opportune moment, attracting attention away from the Jewish woman. While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader, and said to him,“Your daughter died. You don’t need to bother the rabbi anymore.” Jairus probably kept close to the Lord Jesus during the healing of the woman, and while his heart went out to her in her distress, and rejoiced in her healing, yet his heart was crushed when he found out that his little girl was dead. Overhearing what they said, Jesus told Jairus: Don’t be afraid; just believe and she will be healed (Mark 5:35-36; Luke 8:49-50). After Christ’s official rejection by the Sanhedrin (see Eh – Jesus Officially Rejected by the Sanhedrin), Jesus no longer performed miracles for the sake of the masses.
His miracles were for the training of His apostles. Therefore, when He arrived at the house of Jairus, He did not let anyone go in with Him except Peter, John and James (Mattityahu 9:23a; Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51).
Jesus saw the flute (or reed pipe) players and the noisy crowd. Meanwhile, all the people were crying and mourning for her (Matthew 9:23b; Mark 5:38; Luke 8:52a). The Oral Laws of Jewish mourning include the need for mourners to assist the grieving family. Specifically, it states that “even the poorest in Israel should hire no less than two flutes and one wailing woman” in such cases (Tractate Ketuvot 4:4).753 The intense mourning period of Shiva (Hebrew for “seven”) marks the days immediately after the burial, which had not started because the funeral had not even taken place yet.
At that emotionally charged moment, Yeshua made a shocking announcement. He went in and said to them: Why all this commotion? Stop wailing. The child is not dead but asleep. The Bible does not teach soul sleep. Only believers fall “asleep” because they will wake up in heaven. Here, the Lord meant that the little girl was not dead to stay dead; therefore, He spoke of death as sleeping. But the crowd laughed at Him because they thought that she would stay dead (Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:39-40a; Luke 8;52). The verb laughed is imperfect, they continued to laugh and mock Him over and over again.
After the incredulous crowd had been thrown outside, He took the child’s father, mother and the disciples who were with Him, and went in where the child was. For the apostles, the purpose was to learn the lesson of faith in the Messiah, and the parents learned that He would perform miracles in response to personal need on the basis of faith. But He took her by the hand (obviously not concerned about any possible defilement) and the Great Physician said to her: Talitha koum! Which means: My child, I say to you, get up (Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:40b-41; Luke 8:54)! Once again, Jesus exerted His power in such a way as to confirm His divine nature.
Immediately her spirit returned, and she stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). When you hear of someone raising the dead today, why does it always seem to be in some remote country? Why not in a morgue near you? If the local church is to be equipped with all the spiritual gifts to function properly, and if the gift of healing is still a viable gift today why aren’t people raising the dead in your church? Aren’t all the gifts needed for the congregations of God to function? Of course they are! Could you imagine someone saying that they didn’t need all the gifts to function properly? Could you envision anyone saying that their messianic synagogue didn’t need, say, the gift of teaching or leadership? Raising the dead is the litmus test for those who claim the gift of healing today. Healing lower back pain is one thing, raising the dead is quite another.
Then the Great Physician told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were completely astonished, but Jesus gave them strict orders not to let anyone know about it (Mark 5:42-43; Luke 8:55-56). That was never true prior to His official rejection by the Sanhedrin (see En – Four Drastic Changes in Christ’s Ministry). Nevertheless, unable to control their enthusiasm for Christ’s healing ministry, news of this spread through all that region of Galilee (Matthew 9:26). Jesus also raised the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17), and Lazarus (John 11:1-44) to life. He is the only One who can create life.
Lord, I see that Jairus and this woman had one priceless thing in common – they both came to You in trust. I realize this is one of the basic lessons of faith. If I want to believe in You, I must come to You. I must bring my problems, my needs, and my life to You. I realize I may sometimes feel unworthy as that woman did, but help me to come anyway.754