Jesus brings restoration
The authority of Jesus
While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. And the report of this went through all that district. — Matthew 9:18–26 ESVUK
Extra details: Luke and Mark, in their telling of this story, say that Jairus was the leader of a synagogue and his daughter was 12 years old and that after the haemorrhaging woman had been healed, messengers came from Jairus’s home to say his daughter had died, to which Jesus replied, “Do not be afraid, only believe.”
Matthew is good with numbers. This is the first miracle in the third set of three that appears in Matthew 8 and 9. As I said before, Matthew uses numbers in an apocalyptic way, like the three sets of 14 ancestors in chapter 1. Apocalyptic literature used numbers as code, they had a meaning. Whatever that meaning is we cannot be sure, the code has been lost.
Some people have drawn a significance between the age of the child and the number of years the woman was ill, yet Matthew makes nothing of that, I conclude that the numbers are purely co-incidental here if there had been any significance Matthew would have made something out of it.
To Jesus, these people were both people in need and met their needs. Matthew’s Gospel has been concentrating thus far on the outcasts of society. But here was a person with high standing in society, Jesus went with him. But the woman, whose medical condition would have kept her of the fringes of society and out of the synagogue that Jairus led, was also important, so he stopped on the way to talk to her.
To Jairus, Jesus was his last hope. Jairus had heard about Jesus and he had faith that he could heal his daughter, faith enough to go and find Jesus and ask him to come. If he has said that he believed but stayed at home with his daughter or went to the synagogue to do his work it would have done neither his daughter of himself any good. Faith must show itself in action. Not that the decision to leave his daughter alone was easy, parenting has never been about making easy decisions.
To the sick woman, Jesus was her last hope. She no money left to afford a doctor and was still getting worse. but she crept into the crowd to touch Jesus. It worked, but not until Jesus had spoken to her.
To the woman, this was good news. After a time of Jewish ritual which incudes washing she could be accepted back into society and into the synagogue. To Jairus, this was very bad news. Ritually Jesus was now unclean and could not be accepted into the synagogue, and probably into Jairus’s house, until he had ritually washed and put on a clean set of clothes. Even then he would have to wait till sundown. The woman had faith in Jesus but was afraid of the crowd, everyone she touched would be unclean. To Jairus, Jesus had declared himself to be unclean by talking to the woman. Imagine how he felt when he heard that while Jesus had stopped on the way, the daughter had died. He could have at least been at her bedside as she passed away.
But Jesus carries on, Raises the daughter from the dead. Jesus shows he has power over death. People being raised from death was not new, but it was very rare. Both Elijah and Elisha had raised people by God’s power, Jesus had done the same. God’s power was in him but what occurred here was of a different magnitude to Elijah and Elishah. Jesus raised the girl when he was ritually unclean. The Law, God’s Holy Law, did not restrict him.
We cannot make Jesus unclean. Jesus was not made unclean by the touch of a haemorrhaging woman, nor by eating with tax-collectors in the previous section of Matthew’s Gospel. With the law, uncleanness flows out from the unclean. With Jesus cleansing, forgiveness and healing flow out from him into others. The power of Jesus is still available today for those who come to him.