Eternal One, forbid it that my words of praise be in words alone. May I always keep the road to my heart open to you.
Read MATTHEW 9:18–26
Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.’1
If you were about to raise the dead, would you first banish your audience? Today’s passage contains two acts of tremendous power, yet both are very intimate moments. Jesus doesn’t seek to play the role of wonder-worker, flashing his might for the crowds. Instead, he offers these two vulnerable daughters his complete attention and love.
So silent, so unseen, is Jesus’ healing of the bleeding woman that no one can be quite sure exactly when it happened. Was it when she touched the hem of his cloak, as Mark and Luke retell the encounter, or when Jesus speaks, as Matthew might seem to imply (v 22)?2 We simply don’t know. Like so many works of God, this healing is quiet and deep, resisting explanation. Somehow, as the woman reaches out to touch Jesus, her hope of healing touches the glorious power of God on earth, bringing her salvation into being. Jesus, full of grace, makes no effort to claim the miracle. Instead, he recognizes that this woman is in deep need of affirmation after twelve degrading years with a menstrual disorder that left her ritually unclean and probably husbandless.3 He speaks words of encouragement, attributing her healing to her faith, not his power. No doubt she was healed in spirit as well as body that day.
At the synagogue leader’s house, Jesus tells the clamorous hired mourners to leave because they are no longer needed: he knows the girl will live (v 24). Perhaps also Jesus wanted some peace so that he could properly attend to her as an individual, without distraction. Even in restoring the dead to life, Jesus is gentle and considerate. Can we say the same of our encounters with others?
Give each person you meet or communicate with today your undivided attention, as an act of love.
Mighty God. I long to serve you in quiet and unassuming ways as Jesus served the woman and the child. Use me for your glory.
1 Ps 103:11 2 Mark 5:25–34; Luke 8:43–48 3 Nolland, Matthew, p395; Keener, Matthew, p303–304
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