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Basic Bible: Jairus’s Daughter and the Bleeding Woman

Luke 8:40-56

The text before us records two miracles — one of healing and one of bringing the dead back to life. The two miracles are linked together. Both took place in the same village and on the same day. Faith is central to both miracles.

Verse 40 states that Jesus was gladly received by people who were waiting for Him. Jesus had just returned from the southwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee, the land of the Gadarenes (v. 26). Before leaving for Gadara, Jesus had previously gone through every city and village in Galilee, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God (v. 1). These who received Him had heard His words and wanted to hear more. They had witnessed His healing the infirmed and them with evil spirits (v. 2).

One individual who was very glad that Jesus had returned was Jairus. Jairus had a pressing need. His daughter had fallen ill and was near death. Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and beseeched Him to come to his house. This incident is reported in the gospel of Mark (Mk. 5:23) with a bit more detail. Jairus implored Jesus to come and to lay His hands upon his daughter that she might be healed and live.

Jairus came to Jesus because he knew that Jesus had healed others who were ill. He came to Jesus believing that Jesus could do the same for his daughter. Jairus believed that Jesus could make his daughter well in spite of the fact that she was near death. Jairus had faith in what Jesus could do based upon that of which he had heard.

Jesus responded to Jairus’s request and immediately started to make His way to Jairus’s home. The throng of people that were gathered about Jesus impeded Him from responding in a speedy manner and allowed a woman to come from behind Him and to reach out and touch the border of His garment (v. 44). The woman, like Jairus, knew that Jesus had healed individuals of many different maladies. She believed that her issue of blood which had persisted and had worsened over a twelve-year period would be healed if she could just touch His garment. Reaching out, she touched Jesus’ garment and was instantly healed. A miracle occurred.

The second miracle happened after the death of Jairus’s daughter and after Jesus’ arrival at the home of Jairus. Jesus took her hand and said, “Maid, arise” (v. 54), and her spirit returned and she arose.

Jesus’ response in this, and in every instance throughout His earthly ministry, was in complete accordance to the will of God the Father. The two miracles were separate from each other and quite different. The Lord could have healed the woman with the issue of blood at a different time and a different place. God the Father chose to heal the woman with the issue of blood before Jairus’s daughter.

God reveals Himself to us through His actions. All New Testament believers know His love because the Father gave His only begotten Son such that all who would believe on Him should not perish but have eternal life. The scripture before us does not explicitly state the reason why the Father placed the woman with the issue of blood before Jairus. Little is stated of either Jairus or the woman. That which is stated, however, is significant. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue. One does not assume a position of leadership unless one first demonstrates qualities of worthiness. It is reasonable to assume that Jairus demonstrated his worthiness by following the precepts of the law given to Moses. He may or may not have been a Pharisee but he would have been accorded the respect given to the most religious adherents of Judaism. He would have observed every feast day and would have regularly worshipped in the temple in Jerusalem.

God placed the healing of the woman first. She had no religious qualifications. Because she suffered with an issue of blood, she was unclean. She was ever ceremonially unclean. She, under the law, was forbidden to as much as to touch that which was clean. She was excluded from temple worship. She had no measure of worthiness. God, in choosing to heal the woman first, chose to place the unworthy before those who might see themselves as deserving.

Has God not chosen to bless all nations through the seed of Abraham, the promised Son of David? In the scripture before us, He chose to bless the undeserving first. God chose one who was without hope of justification by works of the law.

God chose to heal the woman because she had faith. She was healed the very instant that she touched the border of Jesus’ garment (v. 44). She was healed before Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” She was healed the moment Jesus sensed that virtue had gone from Him. Both she and Jesus knew the very second. It was personal for her and for the Lord who said, “Who touched me?”

The healing of Jairus’s daughter is described far differently. The messenger delivering the news that the daughter had died, said, “Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.” Jesus said, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole” (v. 50). Faith accomplishes the impossible.

Faith, in this instance, was in short supply (see v. 53). Only Peter, James, John, and the maiden’s mother and father saw her lifeless body respond to Jesus’ command: “Maid, arise.” Her parents saw and were astonished. Jesus commanded them to tell no one of that which they had witnessed. How different this command is from that given to the woman who was healed. The woman with the issue of blood was called to declare her faith (the cause for which she touched Jesus, v. 47).

All New Testament believers are called, likewise, to declare the faith by which we were made free from the law. Let us be obedient to our calling.

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