The Dead Girl and the Sick Woman
[Luke chapter 8, verses 40-56 (part 3 of 3)]
For this week’s Bible study we will be finishing the remainder of chapter 8 of Luke’s gospel, consisting of the final 16 verses of that chapter. These verses contain yet another one of the great stories of miracles performed by our Lord and Savior. As you will recall from last week, Jesus had just told the formerly demon-possessed man who he had healed to go and tell everyone he knew about what God had done for him. I wonder how many of you became motivated enough by what I wrote to go and tell someone what Jesus has done for you? I can only hope my words have sufficient impact to do so. Those of you who have yet to do anything in this regard have your work cut out for you, and that’s all I’m going to say about that for now. So without further delay, let’s begin this week’s study at verse 40:
“Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who was subject to bleeding for 12 years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched me?’, Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.’ Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 8, verses 40-48)
The crowd was waiting for Christ when he arrived, and they welcomed him enthusiastically! How did they know he was returning? All they knew was that, after healing the demon-possessed man, Jesus had left for the temple leader’s house to heal his daughter. There were no phones or internet. Word of mouth was the only form of communication for the masses since the overwhelming majority were illiterate. So how could they possibly have known Jesus was returning? I seriously doubt that there was anyone living back then with sufficient athletic prowess to outrun a sailboat, so the Holy Spirit is the only remaining possibility. Jesus must have had so commanding a presence that the most spiritual people could literally sense his impending arrival, although there is no way to tell with any certainty what the time interval was. But this one single sentence speaks volumes about the sheer power of the presence of the Son of God. I am pointing this out because the awesome power of Christ is something too many people underestimate, even some of the serious believers.
So the next thing we know, Jesus and Jairus are walking together back to his house to heal his sick daughter. Evidently from the apostle Luke’s narrative, the crowd was dangerously close to becoming a mob, and Jesus’ personal safety would have been in peril. But God has a way of showing his mercy to any person who is in dire need, as Luke tells us: “As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who was subject to bleeding for 12 years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched me?’, Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me’”. Peter was telling Jesus, “Lord, that could have been anybody who touched you, there’s no way to tell, sir!” Jesus responds, “I know that power has gone out from me! I need to know who that was!” The crowd must have been quite loud, too, so they had to practically yell at each other to be heard above the cacophony.
“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace’.” Notice how the woman came to Jesus? She came to him “trembling”, being keenly aware that she was in a Divine presence. It’s the exact same word the apostle Paul used in his letter to the Philippian church when he wrote, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” in God’s presence. The woman who Jesus healed was in the process of exactly that when she responded to Christ and came to him. You can be very sure about that! She wasn’t the least bit shy about sharing her newly found faith, either. She shared her healing experience “in the presence of all the people”. Since there were no microphones or bullhorns available, you can be sure she hollered loud enough about it so that everyone standing there could hear her! And Jesus, instead of taking credit for her healing even though he would have been truthful in doing so, tells the lady it was her faith that healed her. Jesus pointed out that her healing had originated from the faith that welled up inside her, and her motivation to be healed was driven by that same faith. Jesus graciously gave her all the credit for her own success because that’s how Christ builds us up. He encourages us like a parent does their child.
While all this is going on, Luke teaches the reader a lesson in patience. All the while the man with the sick daughter had waited patiently for Jesus to heal this woman, and for the ensuing commotion to die down to the point where he and Jesus could go ahead and move on from there. As Jesus was about to do so, Luke wrote: “While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead’, he said. ‘Don’t bother the teacher any more’. Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’ When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go with him except for Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing’, Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep’. They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what happened.” (Luke 8, verses 49-56)
You can imagine what Jairus the synagogue ruler must have thought when he heard this! If only Jesus hadn’t been delayed by this sick woman, he must have thought, maybe we would have made it home in time to save my little girl. He was evidently fairly distraught, and I surmise that’s why Jesus told him not to be afraid. “Just believe”, he said, “and she will be healed”. This was apparently reassuring enough that the ruler of the synagogue was able to compose himself as they continued on. The Bible doesn’t tell us how long it took for Jairus and Jesus to go to his residence, only that it was the same day on foot, as we can see from the text. Notice that Jesus gets laughed at upon his arrival when he tries to reassure the crowd of mourners. Obviously they didn’t have the faith that Jairus had, and he was the temple leader, or the equivalent of a pastor (or priest, with due respect to my Catholic readers).
Notice too, the laughter doesn’t deter Jesus in the slightest way. “‘Stop wailing’, Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep’. They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up….Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what happened.” This is one of several examples of Jesus raising people from the dead that can be found in the 4 gospels. The symbolism here is obvious. But what is also present is the same thing that can be found in countless examples within the Bible, that of someone being rewarded for their faith and unwavering belief. Judging from the look of things here, I would say Jairus the temple ruler was richly rewarded for his faith! Now if Jesus will do this for someone who is a part of the religious establishment of Jesus’ time, the very institution Christ preached against, how much more will he do for us in our own time of need! Jesus will indeed raise everyone from the dead who lived their lives believing in him and obeying his commandments upon his impending 2nd return. Those who are still alive will be witnesses to all this. So keep Jesus in your minds and hearts at all times, because nobody knows when he is returning! And next week we’ll begin our in depth analysis of chapter 9. Stay saved, my friends….