40. So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him.
Apparently these people knew that the Lord Jesus would be coming back, and were eagerly awaiting Him. Again we see a sign of Christ’s popularity with the common people of Galilee. There is no sign here that they were rejecting Him as their leaders were. They continued to hear Him gladly, as they generally always did. The charge that the people of Israel as a whole rejected the Lord Jesus Christ is simply not borne out by an examination of Scripture.
41. And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house,
The Lord is met now on the other side of the Sea of Galilee by a man named Jairus (the name “Jair” in the Hebrew Old Testament) who needs His help. This man was a synagogue ruler, and therefore we know he was a member of the rich, ruling class in Israel. Many of his fellows may have been less than accepting of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet in his time of need, he turns to the Lord for help. Necessity sometimes drives people to do the right thing before God that they might not have done otherwise. This is a good thing. Yet we need to remember the Lord when times are good as well, not just when they are bad. Hopefully, this man Jairus continued to follow the Lord even when this crisis was over.
42. For he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him.
Now we learn why this man Jairus was so upset. He had a young daughter, only twelve years of age, who appeared to be dying. None could help her, it seemed, but the Lord. The Lord responds to his request and accompanies him back to help his daughter. Yet as they go, we read that the multitude thronged Him. He had no siren, like the ambulances of today, to tell people that He was heading towards an emergency situation and they needed to stand back! Yet the Lord is able to handle the situation regardless, as we will see.
They begin their journey to help this man’s daughter, but the crowds will not leave the Lord to make His way there in peace. They throng around Him. The word in Greek here indicates that they were stifling Him, and is the same word used for the seed choked by thorns in verse 14.
The healing of this man Jairus’ daughter is recorded for us both here in Luke 8 and in Mark 5:22-43. There is a similar account in Matthew 9:18-26, but it appears to contradict this account in several points. The accounts of the miracles differ in the following details:
1.) In Matthew 9:18, the man is merely called a “ruler” (in Greek indicating a civil ruler,) whereas in Mark 5:22 and Luke 8:41 he is named as Jairus and called a synagogue ruler.
2.) In Matthew 9:18, the ruler tells the Lord that his daughter is dead, but he hopes that the He will come and make her live again, whereas in Mark 5:23 and Luke 8:42 we learn that Jairus’ daughter was merely on the point of death but not yet dead when Jairus came to Him, and they did not learn that she appeared to have died until after the healing of the woman with the blood flow.
3.) In Matthew 9:22, Christ merely turned around and saw the woman who touched His garment, whereas in Mark 5:30-33 and Luke 8:45-47 He had to call to her and look around for her in the crowd before she came forward to tell what she had done. Moreover only in Mark and Luke do we have the exasperated comment of His disciples that He was thronged about by the crowd and yet He asked who touched Him.
4.) In Matthew 9:22 we learn that the Lord merely spoke to the woman and told her that her faith had made her whole, whereas in Mark 5:33 and Luke 8:47 we read that the woman told everyone her story before the Lord spoke to encourage her.
5.) In Matthew 9:25 we do not read of Him leaving anyone behind when He went to the house, but in Mark 5:37 and Luke 8:51, we read that He only allowed Peter, James, John, and the girl’s mother and father to come with Him into the house.
6.) In Matthew 9:25 we read only of Christ taking her hand and her being healed, whereas in Mark 5:41 and Luke 8:54, we read that He said, “Little girl, arise,” as well as taking her hand.
7.) In Matthew 9:26 we read of no commands of the Lord Jesus and only that the fame of what He had done spread throughout the land, whereas in Mark 5:43 and Luke 8:55-56 we read of His commanding that no one be told what had happened and calling for something to eat for her.
Thus, even though these events are very similar, we would conclude that the event listed in Matthew is different from that listed in Mark and Luke. If there are this many contradictions, we can be assured that these two events cannot be the same. If someone would argue that it is too much of a coincidence that this event would have happened twice with two different twelve-year-old girls and two different women who had had blood flows for twelve years, we would say that God is certainly able to work out any coincidence that He wants. Moreover, we can say that, for a believer, it is far less of a stretch to believe that such a coincidence could occur than to believe that God said something that was not true. For more on the comparison between these two recorded series of miracles, see my article on “Contradictions in Scripture: Two Miracles.”
43. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,
Such flows of blood would not have been uncommon in post-menopausal women of the time, though this condition is easily repairable today. It seems that physicians at that time did have one similarity to physicians today, and that is that even if they could not fix a problem, they were willing to sell a patient medicine anyway. There are many likewise today who seem to spend all their money on physicians to no noticeable effect. This woman had lost all her livelihood on the search for health. Alas, this is not too uncommon today either!
44. Came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
This border would have been the tassels with the blue border that all Israelites wore in obedience to Numbers 15:38, which commanded, “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners.” Touching the border of His garment was a sign of utmost respect. We learn in Mark that she did this because she believed that if she touched His garment she would be made well. That this woman could have such faith in God when she had gone through so many years of failed “cures” and disappointments is indeed a noteworthy thing.
45. And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
It would seem likely that quite a few might have touched Him as He made His way through the crowd. His sudden stop and pointed question probably made them think that He was angry at someone, and so all denied having done this. No one wants to be the guilty one thus singled out! Peter gets rather frustrated at this point, it seems, and points out to Him the obvious fact that the throng was pressing Him, and so of course many were touching Him. It seems that those with Peter agree with his sentiments, for they are included with him in saying this. Yet Peter and his fellows should have known that the Lord would not ask a question that was not important. His attitude was not a good one. Yet many times we tend to act the same way. We forget that God is much wiser than we are, and when His actions seem inexplicable to us, we almost like to think we know better. We need to be careful of such an attitude, for the Lord always knows what He is doing, and oftentimes we do not.
46. But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”
The Lord explains to Peter what He meant. He was not speaking of the jostling of the crowd. Instead, what He meant was that someone had touched Him who needed healing, and that power had gone out of Him to accomplish it. He wanted the story of this woman to be known, and thus would not go on until she came forward. Notice that He could have easily picked her out from the crowd, but instead He waited for her to come forward of her own accord. So the Lord often waits for us to confess what He has done for us, rather than forcing a confession out of us. It is far better if we gladly proclaim what He has done for us Who has healed us and set us free!
47. Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.
The woman now knows that there is no doubt but that the one He is looking for is her. Perhaps she had previously hoped He meant someone else. For one who is shy or feeling guilty, being singled out can be a terrifying thing. At any rate, knowing that her actions were not hidden from the Lord, she comes forward, trembling, for she is not sure if He might not be angry with her, and falls down in fright before Him. She obviously feels that she may have done something very wrong in treating Him like this, and fears what He will say to her or do to her for it. Then she declares, so that all in the crowd could hear it, why she had touched Him, and how she had immediately been healed when she did it.
48. And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
The woman had feared the Lord’s reaction to her touching Him. She might have been afraid He would see this as some sort of disrespect, and perhaps would take back the healing. Yet the Lord was very gracious. He did not want to condemn the woman, but only wished her story to be known. He did not tell her this in advance, however. He probably wanted her to learn boldness in speaking of Him. Thus, when she is finished, instead of condemning, He commends her for her faith, and sends her off in union with God.
This woman had faith because she had the Old Testament to tell her that when the Messiah came He would bring healing with Him. She believed this of Jesus Christ, and thus it was faith. It was not merely her believing that He could heal her, for she had perhaps believed that of many of her doctors who had attempted cures before this time. Yet now she believed in the One God had spoken of, and thus her faith made her well.
Instead of “made well,” the Greek here would read, “the faith of you has saved you.” We have a tendency to think of faith only in the sense of saving from sin and death. In this case, the woman was saved from one of death’s effects, which was a disease in her body. This was a salvation, a deliverance, as well, though not as we would commonly think of it.
49. While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.”
While He was still speaking, one arrived from Jairus’ house, informing him that his daughter is dead, and advising him not to trouble the Lord any further. It is clear that whoever sent this message had no confidence whatsoever that the Lord could do anything at this point.
Those who saw the girl thought she was dead. This diagnosis was incorrect, as we will learn later, but it must have greatly discouraged Jairus, who did not seem to have the faith in the Lord’s resurrection power that the ruler in Matthew had. How his heart must have sunk as he heard these words He surely must not have been very happy that the Lord hard stopped to talk to the woman. Yet the Lord would not be hurried, for His power was able to handle this situation as well.
There is no sign that Jairus believed that the Lord could do anything at this point. Yet remember in Matthew that the ruler who came to the Lord there actually thought his daughter was already dead, but he believed the Lord could heal her! Thus a civil ruler had more faith in God than a religious ruler. Alas, but this can often be the case, that those who it would seem to the world should most have faith are found lacking. Praise God that He still took mercy upon this ruler!
50. But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”
The Lord immediately offers Jairus encouragement. His daughter can yet be made well. Again, in Greek He says that she will be saved, or delivered. He does not speak of resurrection in this case, for He is about to reveal that she was not actually dead at all.
51. When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl.
The Lord apparently did not want this miracle to be common knowledge. Thus, He only brings His three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, and the girl’s father and mother into the house with Him.
52. Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.”
He enters the house to find a great mourning already in progress. Their traditions at that time called for professional mourners to come to the sight of anyone’s death and to put on a great show of weeping and wailing for that person. It was not genuine, of course, but they seemed to think it honored the dead. Yet the Lord breaks into their ritual with the stunning proclamation at the girl is not dead at all, but merely sleeping.
It is amazing to me that so many supposed believers of today in spite of the Lord’s plain and indisputable words here still insist on believing the mourners rather than the Lord Jesus. Some claim that He is just using sleep as a metaphor for death, but this cannot be as He also says that she is “not dead.” Not only so, but the word He uses for sleep, katheudei, is the word for going to sleep on purpose, and is not the word for sleep used as a figure for death. That word is kekoimetai, and is used in John 11:11, where the Lord was speaking figuratively of Lazarus being dead as sleeping. The figure Pleonasm or Redundancy, whereby, according to Appendix 6 of the Companion Bible, “What is said is, immediately after, put in another or opposite way to make it impossible for the sense to be missed,” makes this clear. What did He mean by “not dead”? He meant “sleeping.” I sleep every night, and I am not dead, but sleeping. Yet I do know some people, like my four grandparents, who are not sleeping, but are dead. I could not say, nor could God Himself truly say, that they are not dead, but sleeping. The Lord’s words are plain here. He did not believe that this girl was dead.
The fact is that she must have had what is sometimes called the sleeping sickness, that terrible disease that can simulate the appearance of death, and that in countries such as Israel where the dead were always buried very quickly could cause one to be buried alive. Tales of live burial are often greatly exaggerated, but this can happen, and it was about to happen with this girl. For the Lord Jesus to heal her of this was indeed a miracle, but not as great a one, perhaps, as if she had really been dead. By saying this, we do not doubt the Lord’s power to raise people from the dead, for we can clearly see Him doing that elsewhere, such as in the case of Lazarus, or of the widow’s son of Nain in this very book. Yet we cannot doubt the Lord’s diagnosis and instead accept that of men just so we can proclaim another resurrection for the Lord, as if this is another feather in His cap. If the Lord said she was not dead, we must believe Him, as we are people of faith. Yet many do not believe this. Perhaps this is why He put everyone but the three disciples and the girl’s parents out of the house…He did not want rumors of a resurrection that He didn’t actually do to spread.
53. And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.
The word for “know” here is eidotes, and means that they understood that she was dead. Yet their understanding was wrong, and they set their human knowledge of life and death against that of the Author of life. Thus they ridiculed Him. They were the ones who would soon appear ridiculous, however.
54. But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.”
The Lord puts this scoffing crowd outside. They, in their unbelief, were not to see this great miracle. Then, He took her by the hand and called to her. When God Himself thus calls, none can help but hear!
The Lord calls her “little girl.” In Greek this is pais, a feminine form of the word that means a child or one who renders service. The King James made it “maid.” Yet remember that this is a translation into Greek. In Mark we have what He said given in the original Aramaic that He spoke it in, whereas here we have only the translation.
His words to her were a banishment of her sickness that was making her appear to be dead to the knowledge of men of the day, not a command to rise from the dead, as we have already discussed.
55. Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat.
Her spirit returned with her breath, which apparently had all but stopped. A body in extreme cases can go into a state where the breathing stops and the pulse slows down to almost undetectable. The heart slows down to several beats per minute, and the body temperature drops to slightly above room temperature. This is most common in our day when one is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, but it appears that it could also be caused by some kind of sickness or psychological condition, as appears to be the case here. To the primitive medicine of the day such a thing would be indistinguishable from death, but not to the Author of Life Himself!
Not only does her spirit return, but she is immediately totally well. She arises in obedience to His command. Then, He commands those there to give her something to eat. He was concerned for her welfare, and knew that her body had just been through a great ordeal. Though she now was totally well, she needed the refreshing that food would bring.
56. And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.
Her parents were astonished by this. We can well imagine that they would be, for this was a powerful thing indeed that the Lord had done, whether the girl was dead or not! Yet He charges them to tell no one what had happened. This must have been a hard command for them to keep, for people are always eager to tell a sensational story. Moreover, it must have seemed to them not very sensible not to tell a story that certainly would have added to the Lord’s honor and glory in the sight of the people of Israel. Either He did not want a story spreading that was not entirely true, or else He sought to escape the notoriety that such a report would have brought Him. Yet He was also testing their obedience and faith. Would they keep a command the Lord gave them, even if it was difficult? We can pray that they did. All true believers need to thus obey Him, even when what He commands does not seem to make sense.