Session #071 Scene Stealer
Scripture Matthew 9:18-26
Summary Matthew 9:18-26 records two miracles, demonstrating Jesus’ authority over death and disease. Without a doubt, the raising of the 12 year-old girl was a powerful event! Yet, somehow, it is the woman with the issue of blood that steals the scene. Juxtaposed against Jairus, she enables us to better examine and appreciate the details surrounding both stories in this scene. Through it all, Jesus remains centre stage and receives all the glory!
While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples. And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour. When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went out into all that land. Matthew 9:18–26 (cf Mark 5:22-43; Luke 8:40-56)
Sickness and death, consequences of sin, continue to plague us today, stealing joy and peace from us. In the passage, Jesus demonstrates His power over sickness and death.
Different Yet Similar
In literature, a foil is a character that shows qualities that are in contrast with the qualities of another character. The objective is to highlight the traits of the other character. The term foil, though generally being applied to a contrasting character, may also be used for any comparison that is drawn to portray a difference between two things.
Both Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue (Mark 5:22), and an unnamed woman on the streets have a need and both believe that Jesus has the power to answer their needs.
Jairus was probably a person of means who was respected and reputable in the community. The woman on the other hand was poor and had her ailment for 12 years (Mark 5:26). The woman was probably shunned as well for she was considered unclean in her state (Leviticus 15:25).
Jairus was a family man, concerned for his daughter. The woman’s family might have rejected her, with no one to be concerned for her. She could not marry because of unclean conditions.
The way they approached Jesus was very different. Jairus came before Jesus with respect and believing, made his request (Matthew 9:18). The woman “came from behind” with shame and a sense of unworthiness but believing to make her request. Jairus sought Jesus’ face. She sought Jesus’ back. Regardless of His face or His back, God is still glorious (Exodus 33:18-23). She was worthy only to touch the hem of His garment, Jesus’ prayer shawl, tallit.
The tassels on the prayer shawl are a reminder for us to keep God’s commandments (Numbers 15:38–39; Deuteronomy 22:12).
Seizing the edge of someone’s garment was a gesture of fervent entreaty in biblical and ancient Near East tradition in recognizing the person’s authority. Some examples in the Old Testament are, Saul grabbing Samuel’s garment when Saul was being rejected by God (1 Samuel 15:26-27), David showed respect and reverence in 1 Samuel 24:4-7; and in Matthew 9:21, the woman recognized Jesus’ authority and made a request by faith.
Whichever the case, it is always acceptable to seek Jesus by faith, but not by superstition.
You believe in His authority, and you are willing to appeal and submit to His authority.
They are so different and yet so similar. Both desperately in need of Jesus. Rich or poor, known or unknown, physical and spiritual. Jesus responds to both of them and also to all who seek Him by faith. Jesus welcomes all.
Faith is Risky Business
Jairus risked his reputation by entering a house full of tax collectors and sinners. He could have lost his ‘job’ and ‘position’.
The woman risked even more rejection, ridicule, and her life by approaching Jesus. If one person in the crowd noticed her, it would have been the end of her attempt to get to Jesus. Worse, she could have been stoned.
What is keeping you from Jesus? What would you risk to get to Jesus? Pride? Position? Reputation? Passive faith carries no risk; active faith involves some risk. Faith does not mean doing anything at all and expecting God to come through. Both Jairus and the woman did all they could. They acted on their faith.
Dead or Alive: We Can be Alive and Still Have No Life
The woman with the issue of blood, the issue of life (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23).
The girl’s life was fast draining away, dying, and then dead. Her life was only beginning (Mark 5:42).
Are you alive, but have no life? Physically, emotionally, mentally? What or who is draining life from you? You need to come to Jesus. Jesus came that we might have an abundant life. Eternal life is knowing Him.
Hidden Shame and Open Restoration (Mark 5:30–33; Luke 8:45–47)
For Jairus’ daughter, Jesus put the crowd out of the house. He did not let them witness the miracle He was about to perform and even commanded them that no one should know (Mark 5:43).
For the woman, Jesus handled it differently. The woman experienced immediate healing but no one else knew, but Jesus asked who touched His clothes (Mark 5:30) forcing her to come forward to Jesus. He openly declared her restoration that she might now be accepted back into the community.
Once cleared by the authorities, she could worship freely once more, with everyone else.
Shame and guilt keep people out of the community. Would you embrace those whom Jesus has restored in the community? Or would you still frown, judge, and reject? Would you be willing to share how God has saved and restored you from your shame and guilt?
An Encouragement of Faith
Jesus was stalled on the way to Jarius’ house when He wanted to know who touched His clothes. Because of the delay, Jarius received news that her daughter had died and not to trouble the teacher anymore (Mark 5:35). Jarius’ world must have sunk then but Jesus told him, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” Mark 5:36.
How would you respond if you are in his shoes? With anger at the woman who delayed Jesus? Or would you be encouraged that Jesus commended her faith and she was healed, so Jesus can save my daughter as well?
Have we been encouraged by the faith of others? Have we encouraged others by our faith?
A child is a child of God regardless of age. Jesus called both the woman and Jarius’ child “daughter”.
Jesus is not a God who is far and removed. When we are saved, we are “born again” to become “children of God”. Jesus understands what you go through every day, approach Him with confidence so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need.
Sin. Sickness. Salvation.
All sickness is a result of original sin, but not necessarily a consequence of personal sin.
All have sinned. Not all are physically sick, but all are spiritually sick and dying and in need of salvation (Matthew 9:12–13).
We believe God heals physically and we submit to His sovereign will. Physical healing always points to spiritual healing, salvation. Physical healing from disease or death points to the spiritual healing from sin that everyone can have by faith in Jesus Christ. This is consistent with Matthew’s intent. It is more than just a focus on physical healing or the raising of the dead. Jesus’ authority over death and disease points to deliverance from sin.
Jesus’ words to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you” is similar to what He said to the woman, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 9:2; 9:22) Salvation is entirely by faith.
The woman steals the scene but without her, we would not have learned as much. The two miracles allow us to see different people’s attitudes towards Jesus and His response to them. Through it all, we see the importance of faith in Christ and Jesus’ ultimate power over sickness and death.
What is your need today? Would you recognize His authority, believe, and reach out to Him by faith?