Jesus power over death Mathew 9:18 to 26 Parallel passages Mark 5:22 to 43, Luke 8 40 to 53
INTRODUCTION to the topic and contextual background Death, the great equalizer of men and perhaps one of the constant things in life and greatest fear that all men face. Death is a result of sin. Sin was not God’s purpose for man. All things in the world were created for the good and blessing of man, but sin corrupted that blessing and brought a curse instead. In our study today, Mathew gives the first miracle in his third set of three miracles a miracle that was actually a double miracle, a miracle within a miracle. He raised a young girl from the dead, and during the process restored health to a woman who was considered by dead by society. Once again Jesus confirmed his messiah ship by exercising power even over man’s seemingly greatest enemy, death. Within this text we not only see a miracle within a miracle but also a beautiful picture of Jesus’ response to people in need.
I – Jesus was accessible“While He was saying these things to them, behold, there came a synagogue official,and bowed down before Him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Yourhand on her, and she will live.” (9:18)The official referred to here is Jairus, the highest ranking religious official in Capernaum,responsible for the administration of the synagogue. Despite the fact that the religiousleaders of the day were in opposition to Jesus, Jarius risked his reputation and soughtJesus. We are not told what he then thought about Jesus’ messiahship, but the fact thathe bowed (proskune) indicates his reverence for Jesus. Jarius daughter was twelveyears old, in the first year of her womanhood according to Jewish custom.God obviously had already been working Jarius’ heart, because his request evidencesabsolute conviction that Jesus was able to do what was asked: His faith was withoutreservation or a hint of doubt. He swallowed his pride and his fear. He did not care whathis neighbors, his family, or even his fellow religionists thought.The first thing that brought Jairus to Jesus was deep need. Often some great tragedydrives a person to Christ. The verse also shows Jesus accessibility. Even if he is the sonof God, he was readily accessible to the ordinary people.
II – Jesus was available“Jesus rose and began to follow him, and so did His disciples.”Jesus responded to Jairus by being available as well as accessible. Jesus could just aswell have sent the power to raise the girl from where He was, but in a demonstration ofself-giving love and compassion He rose and began to follow the grieving father to wherehis daughter now lay dead. Jesus was willing to be interrupted and to go out of His wayto serve others in His Father’s name. There were doubtlessly many other sick andhurting people where Jesus was, but the need of the moment demanded that He go withJairus.In somewhat similar fashion, in the midst of a highly fruitful ministry in Samaria, the Lordsent an angel to Philip saying, “Arise and go south to the road that descends fromJerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26).God not only is sensitive to the needs of the multitude but to the cry of an individual. Hesometimes leads His servants, as He often led His own Son, to temporarily put aseemingly larger ministry aside in order to concentrate on one person. Joining Jesus inthe short trip to Jairus’ house were his disciples, along with “a great multitude” (Mark5:24).
III– Jesus was touchable“And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years,came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself,“If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said,“Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” And at once the woman wasmade well.” (9:20-22)Like Jairus, this woman knew that only Jesuscould help her. The woman’s hemorrhage, causedher to be ceremonially unclean according to OldTestament law. Jewish men were to “make forthemselves tassels on the corners of theirgarments” and “put on the tassel of each corner acord of blue” It was probably such a tassel thatthe woman with the hemorrhage took hold of.The common Greek word for physical healing was iaomai, the term used by Mark whenhe explains that this woman “was healed of her affliction” Another word for physicalhealing is, therapeu (Luke 8:43), from which we get therapeutic. But the three referencesto being made well in Matthew 9:21-22, as well as those in the parallel passages of Mark5:34 and Luke 8:48, use sozo, the usual New Testament term for being saved from sin.The two things that bring men and women to Jesus Christ are deep-felt personal needand genuine faith, and the woman with the hemorrhage had both.
The fact that Jesus ministered equally to the outcast woman and the leading elder of the synagogue certainly reveals His divine impartiality. He was not offended by the woman’s taking hold of His tassel with her unclean hands. No person in need ever interfered with Jesus’ ministry.In their book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Paul Brand and Phil Yancey quote from the novelist Frederick Buechner, who wrote:“Who could have predicted that God would choose not Esau, the honest and reliable, but Jacob the trickster and heel, that He would put the finger on Noah, who hit the bottle, or on Moses, who was trying to beat the rap in Midian for braining a man in Egypt and if it weren’t for the honor of the thing, he’d just as soon let Aaron go back and face the music, or the prophets, who were a ragged lot, mad as hatters most of them . . . ? “Then Brand and Yancey add: “The exception seems to be the rule. The first humans God created went out and did the only thing God asked them not to do. The man He chose to head a new nation known as “God’s people” tried to pawn off his wife on an unsuspecting Pharaoh. And the wife herself, when told at the ripe old age of ninety-one that God was ready to deliver the son He had promised her, broke into rasping laughter in the face of God. Rahab, a harlot, became revered for her great faith.
And Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, went out of his way to break every proverb he so astutely composed. Even after Jesus came the pattern continued. The two disciples who did most to spread the word after His departure, John and Peter, were the two He had rebuked most often for petty squabbling and muddleheadedness. And the apostle Paul, who wrote more books than any other Bible writer, was selected for the task while kicking up dust whirls from town to town sniffing out Christians to torture. Jesus had nerve, in trusting the high-minded ideals of love and unity and fellowship to this group. No wonder cynics have looked at the church and sighed, “If that group of people is supposed to represent God, I’ll quickly vote against Him.” Or, as Nietzsche expressed it, “His disciples will have to look more saved if I am to believe in their Savior.” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980, pp. 29-30) “How wonderful that God is more gracious than men. God never excuses disobedience, unfaithfulness, or any other sin. But He will forgive every sin that is placed under the atoning death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Position, prestige, or possessions give no advantage with Him, and lack of those things gives no disadvantage.
IV – Jesus was powerful“And when Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players, and thecrowd in noisy disorder, He began to say, “Depart; for the girl has not died, but isasleep.” And they began laughing at Him. But when the crowd had been put out, Heentered and took her by the hand; and the girl arose. And this news went out into all thatland.” (9:23-26)Unlike funerals today, Jewish funerals were accompanied by noise disorders because ofprofessional mourners who constantly wail, mourn and tear their clothes and fluteplayers who played disconcerting music. When Jesus arrived it was this noisy crowdthat he was addressing. What annoyed them more was not only the fact that Jesusasked them to stop the mourning traditions that they revered by that Jesus insisted thatthe girl is not dead but merely asleep hence their mocking laughter at him. When thecrowd of hired mourners had been put out, Jesus resurrected her back to life.In Christ there is no longer reason to fear sickness, disease, demons, deformity, tragedy,or even death. As believers, we can even rejoice in dying, because our Lord hasconquered death. Though we will not be brought back to this life, we will be raised tonew life. In Him is fullness of joy and life everlasting.