HG067-68 Matthew 9:18-34, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40-56
18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. 20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. 23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region. 27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; 30 and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region. 32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”
In today’s passage we come across a number of remarkable healings which reveal that nothing is impossible for Jesus no matter what the ailment, so much so that death itself is no obstacle. All that is required is faith.
The ruler of the synagogue is named as Jairus in Mark and Luke’s gospel. It is then that we come across what would seem to be a contradiction in the Word of God. If you know me you would know that I believe that every Word of Scripture is God-breathed and therefore since God cannot lie or make a mistake nor can the Bible. But how do we reconcile what Mark and Luke say with what Matthew says? What is this seeming contradiction?
Here, in Matthew Jairus says: “My daughter has died.”
In Mark: “My little daughter lies at the point of death.”
And Luke says: he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying.
You can see the problem here. Is she dead or is she dying?
There are two answers to this, one of which lies in how we translate from the Greek and the other we will shortly come to:
First, the Greek saying: “My daughter has died” does not necessarily mean a present reality but an inevitability of her condition. In other words it is quite feasible to translate this as:
“My daughter was so sick that she must be by this time dead.”
The second solution is similar; all three Gospels give us snippets of all that is said and done but there are things that we are not told in each of them. Surely Jairus said both these things to Jesus: She is dying. She is even now dead. Jairus does not know for sure one way or the other. She was on her last breath when he left so, in all likelihood, she had died by the time he got to Jesus. And as we go through the story it is clear that she had, in fact, died.
Both solutions are similar but as we can see there is no contradiction. Whenever there seems to be, be assured there is no such thing in Scripture but an explanation can be given which, more often than not, is quite simple. I hope that we are all keeping up with the weekly readings for this is how God speaks to us in the main.
In this story Jairus had come to Jesus, a ruler of the synagogue so, in all likelihood, not a fan of Jesus but desperation had caused him to fall at His feet for help.
Jairus was like so many who have come to Christ. It was not his love for Christ that brought him—it was not what he hoped to do for Christ—it was his desperation, and a glimmer of hope.
And immediately they were off to his house for Jesus always responds to a sincere call for help. But then they were interrupted by someone in the crowd to the chagrin of Jairus, no doubt. Come on! Come touch my 12 year old daughter so she may live!
There was a woman saying to herself; “just touch His clothes and be healed, just touch His clothes and be healed and as soon as I’ve touched His clothes I’ll disappear.” She wanted to get away as soon as it had done even though she had faith that Jesus could heal her. No sooner had she touched his clothes she immediately knew that she had been healed. Perhaps she would have remained superstitious about the whole affair and would not have made known to anyone what Jesus had done for her. For fear she would not for it was not acceptable for her to touch anyone let alone a Rabbi. She was an untouchable. You could not touch her and she was not allowed to touch you. What a state of affairs it was for this poor woman.
But it could not be kept secret and Jesus outed her for her own sake and for Jairus’. She wanted healing not the healer so He wanted to put His face to the miracle, a face that accepted her as she was and enter into a personal relationship with Him, that in Him could be found more than the healing of her body but also healing for her soul.
The crowd then heard a wonderful testimony glorifying the Lord and some no doubt realised that Jesus was really the Messiah. For them some things were starting to add up. If He can do this for that woman perhaps he is able to work for me too. Note that it was not the touching of Jesus that healed her but her faith.
People need peace and acceptance in this world. We can tell people that Jesus is the answer and that is exactly right to do but it is rarely enough. Surely we must show people the answer in the way we are with them. We must show and tell people the good news. It is good news for the poor, for the oppressed, for the prisoner, for the outcast; it is good news because it is not just pie in the sky when we die but the Kingdom of God comes now into people’s lives. The King Himself comes now to meet people’s needs. The King can be known now and gives us hope for the future where there is no more crying, sickness or pain.
Jesus was interested in people’s lives, was interested in meeting their immediate need as well as calling people to repentance for reconciliation with God and others. Society dictated that the daughter of Jairus had no status until she was married and the woman who was unwell was rejected by society as unclean. This woman should not have been in the crowd as she would have made other people unclean by touching them. She was afraid when she was found out because she had deliberately touched Jesus and therefore thought she made him unclean.
Could we be afraid to taint ourselves by being among people not like us rather than being salt and light? Who are the people with no status in our society? Who are the people who we would not touch with a barge pole? Even in a Country like ours which is anti-discriminatory discrimination is still rife. The black woman on the receiving end of racial taunts at Nottingham Trent University is an example of racial hatred still existing today. I hope we do not reject people because of the colour of their skin. Jesus, however, was a man ahead of his time, He was willing to spend time with those that society did not. How does this work here in Manselton and Swansea? Who are those that are rejected even here?
We can take comfort that we have been forgiven, we have been accepted. Is that all that is required of us to take comfort in our own situation? Are justice and mercy and humility foundation stones in our lives? Do we remember that by God’s grace we are where we are today? The man whose daughter was sick to death needed to know that Jesus cared enough to do something about it. The woman who was sick needed to know acceptance for she had been rejected by everyone else, was probably unmarried, probably alone in the world but she saw in Jesus a way out. The problem is that Jesus is normally the last one anyone comes to but will we be ready to introduce Him when they are ready?
Jesus is often a last resort because the church (that’s us) shows itself unwilling to get its hands dirty with the messy people of this world, with our neighbours because they smell, they have had 4 children all by different fathers, because they are Muslim, have mental problems, or are politically different to us, or because they are criminals or even worse, a paedophile, or they are drunks, or they are poor, have no teeth, talk too much, uncouth, they swear a lot, or they don’t say anything at all, not our class, they are rich, they are Roman Catholics. So many excuses to not associate with so many people. So many people that Jesus died to save. So what is our excuse? Jesus wants to work in the lives of people like those in today’s reading.
God has a purpose for this fellowship. Our vision is to see that every household in Manselton is reached with the Gospel, to see this church filled with people who acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus where there is work going on among the children, the young adults, the adults, the unemployed, the single families, the poor, the outcasts, all those types of people I have already mentioned, and yes, also people like us – where each member of the fellowship does its part as they grow in maturity in faith ministering to others as Jesus would have ministered; to serve as Jesus would have served.
Each person here is special, each person is accepted, each person is valuable – everyone here has a part to play in this fellowship – I say it again – each person who has been here years or weeks or days has a valuable part participating in this church. We want a fellowship here where the members are completely capable of doing all the works of ministry that this area needs.
The woman in our story had found healing and peace. Jesus called her ‘daughter’ and adopted her into His family.
And Jairus was just standing there, no doubt feeling frustrated by the delay, or maybe I am projecting too much of how I would feel in such a situation - every second counted – come on Jesus, come on! I’m sure he was happy for the woman – I’m sure he was encouraged to see Jesus at work. Jairus had no doubt heard that Jesus healed people by putting his hands on them and so that was why he had asked Jesus to do exactly that. Now Jairus had seen and heard what had happened and was no doubt amazed that Jesus somehow knew that in the crowd someone had deliberately touched him for healing. But his own need was pressing. Come on Jesus, stop talking with her – my daughter is dying – come on, come on!
But then, calamity, they had stopped far too long because of the woman who was sick. It was whilst Jesus was still speaking to the woman he got the news. His beloved 12 year old daughter had died. My daughter! If only we could have got there in time…Barely had the words been spoken that Jesus ignored what was said and said to Jairus;
“Don’t be afraid, keep on believing. Look Jairus, you’ve seen what can be done and I am able to do much more – I have proven I know what is going on and can do something about someone else’s situation and I can do the same in your situation – this sick woman has helped your faith to grow – keep trusting.”
Friends, the timing of God is all-important and sometimes it seems too late but, actually, it is spot on time.
Jesus arrives at Jairus house, puts outside the wailers and unbelievers and goes to the room with three of his disciples, Peter, James and John for they were the inner circle; they were there to learn from the Master. “Talitha koum”, “little girl arise”. No magic formula or waving of hands just two words and pow! leading to a WOW! Before their very eyes she awoke and the first face she saw was Jesus, then her parents, she then got up, and walked about. Then she had something to eat. She was raised from the dead not as a ghost but physically. The lives Jesus touches brings enormous joy.
We are then old the stories of the blind men, of the mute man who had a demon were healed also by touching and by a word.
When people come to us in hopelessness for help we are to stop what we are doing and help. This what Jesus did. Jairus interrupted Jesus’ preaching and Jesus arose without so much of a word. Then the woman interrupted and Jesus stopped. Then they were interrupted by a message. Do we hate being interrupted? There may be an opportunity in them. Every time Jesus was interrupted here He served. We are here to serve. It is then that we see God at work as we step out in faith.
What joy was brought into their lives and their families. Of course, you always get the naysayers who either misunderstand or deliberately misconstrue what you do as the Pharisees did here but let these things never stop us of reaching out to those who are in need. And God will bring great joy into the lives of those we touch.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: that you may know the truth. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Hurtado, L. W. (2011). Mark. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (2004). The Gospel according to Matthew: Chapters 1:1–16:12 (Vol. 1). Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
Barnes, A. (1884–1885). Notes on the New Testament: Matthew & Mark. (R. Frew, Ed.). London: Blackie & Son.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 08:37 11 March 2018.