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Matthew 9:18-26 by Robert Dean
Can you imagine laughing at the Creator of the universe? Listen to this lesson to learn about a weeping, disorderly crowd who didn't share the faith of a 12-year old girl's father who begged Jesus to heal his daughter. See how Jesus demonstrated His power by restoring life to this girl. Find out about a suffering woman who was commended by Jesus for her faith, even though she was ritually unclean. Understand from these two events that when Jesus came into contact with that which would defile Him, He remained sinless. Appreciate that when we believe in Christ, He gives us new life and eternal security.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 39 secs

The Power of Jesus: Cleansing Sin, Restoring Life
Matthew 9:18-26
Matthew Lesson #054
October 12, 2014

In his Gospel Matthew is making certain points about the power and authority of Jesus and then he takes a break and talks about what is expected of someone who is a disciple. The term disciple is not a synonym for being a believer or being a Christian. Every person who is a disciple, with a couple of exceptions in Scripture, is expected to be a believer. But a believer may or may not take up the challenge to be a disciple. A disciple is someone who is committed to learning the doctrine of Scripture, to learning what the Lord has taught us in the Word of God and implementing it in their lives so that they can grow to spiritual maturity. The call for Christians is to be disciples. The mandate that was put upon the disciples and by implication all pastors is to challenge them to make disciples; not just to evangelize. Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. We are to present the gospel, but ultimately the role and mission of the pastor is to equip the saints (Ephesians 4:10-11) to do the work of the ministry. That is what discipleship is.

We live in a world where the concept of discipleship from the mid point of the 20th century has often been associated with certain kinds of small group dynamics, certain kinds of small group methodology. The interesting thing is that the word disciple and the mandate to makes disciples is hardly seen after the Gospels. We don't see Paul using the term but the concept is there. The concept is to train people to grow and mature in the spiritual life, to be students of the Word of God.

In Matthew's structure he says, this is what Jesus says. He has this power and authority, therefore the implication of that you need to be a more committed disciple. Then he goes through another set of miracles. The implication is that it is incumbent upon each of us as believers not to take His grace and salvation for granted but to rise to the challenge to grow to spiritual maturity.

Then we have a third set that we are going to look at, starting in v. 18. As Matthew finished recording this third set of miracles he comes back to a point where he ties those discipleship points together is a sort of bow, and Jesus says to His disciples in v. 37,  "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few [38] Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Who are those who are to be the workers? Those are the disciples.

So as Matthew presents these three sets of miracles he intersperses application point that should be coming out of this for us, and that drives us to becoming disciples, i.e. workers, laborers in the harvest to challenge to be disciple-makers. When we come to the end of Matthew's Gospel, Matthew succinctly states that His disciples were to go and make disciples of all nations—only Matthew records this statement that way—"baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." The baptizing represents coming to Christ as Savior, assuming that they would be baptized afterwards; baptism simply being a ritual that taught by ritual that we have been placed in Christ, have been identified with His death, burial and resurrection, and that we are now saved in Christ, never to lose that salvation. As a result of that we are to go and carry on that disciple-making ministry.

We come now to this third set of miracles emphasizing again the power and authority of Jesus. Each of these sections of miracles is designed 5to show that Jesus is who He claimed to be, the Messiah that was prophesied and predicted in the Old Testament. It fulfils these various predictions of the Old Testament, that when the Messiah came He would give sight to the blind, heal the lame, and give hearing to the deaf. This is what is presented here.

This third set of miracles were miracles of restoration. The first three represented miracles of healing, the second three were miracles of power; these are miracles of restoration. The first miracle actually contains two miracles. It is that Jesus restored health to the hemorrhaging woman and He restores life to Jairus's daughter. The second miracle is when He heals two blind men (vv. 27-31), and the third miracle is He casts the demon out of the man who, because he was demon possessed, was completely mute and could not speak.

The first miracle takes place in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee. Matthew gives us a very short account. Mark and Luke give us a much more expanded account (Mark 5 and Luke 8) and we learn much more from these other writers. Matthew is giving us bullet points on these nine different miracles and doesn't go into all the details that Mark and Luke go into.   

Matthew 9:18 NASB "While He was saying these things to them, a {synagogue} official came and bowed down before Him, and said, 'My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live'. [19] Jesus got up and {began} to follow him, and {so did} His disciples."

This is a ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum. Capernaum must have been a significant village because there was the centurion there who donated the money for the construction of the synagogue, there was another civil authority there who had a son who was dying and came to Jesus to have him healed, and we have the case of Jairus who was a Jewish leader in the synagogue whose daughter has died, and he comes to Jesus. So there are a lot of things going on in Capernaum.

Mark expands this a little and tells us: Mark 5:21 NASB "When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. [22] One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet [23] and implored Him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is at the point of death; {please} come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.' [24] And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him."

Luke tells us: Luke 8:41 NASB "And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and {began} to implore Him to come to his house; [42] for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him."

Observations:  This is the ruler of the synagogue who Mark and Luke identify as Jairus. For Matthew that is not significant, what is significant is the miracle that Jesus performs. He comes to Jesus and, according to Luke and Mark, falls down at Jesus' feet. Mark and Luke use a term that simply means to fall down, the verb PIPTO. It means to fall down on one's face. It may describe someone who bowing down before someone in authority and in some cases it is synonymous with the word for worship, PROSKUNEO, which is the more specific word that Matthew uses. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he uses that word because it particularly fits the point that he is trying to make in the Gospel: Jesus is the King of the Jews; He is the Messiah. The original meaning of PROSKUNEO in classical Greek was to kiss, but eventually it came to mean to fall down. In the Old Testament it could refer to someone who simply bows down to a king or ruler or someone else, but by the time it was used in the New Testament it was used exclusively of worship. It is a term that indicates submission to someone in authority, and it denotes exclusively worship that is addressed to God or to Jesus Christ. It is never used for anything related to a human being. In fact, angels or human beings are not to be worshiped, according to the Scripture. Not even the apostles, or the apostle Peter were to be worshiped. It indicates obedience to authority and specifically obedience to a king. So just by using the word PROSKUNEO it is putting forth the implication that Jairus recognizes that Jesus is the one who has the right to be obeyed as the messianic King presenting Himself to Israel. That terminology reinforces Matthew's theme for this Gospel.

Jairus is called a ruler of the synagogue or a leader of the synagogue. The term that Matthew uses, ARCHON, suggests that he is the main elder in the local synagogue. There might have been as many as seven or eight elders or rulers in the synagogue. The word that Mark uses is ARCHISUNAGOGOS, which would indicate a specific role within the synagogue, that he was the one who arranged the worship services and gave order to the specific service. He would be the primary leader within the synagogue. So we see that not all the leaders in Israel rejected Jesus to be the Messiah. Jairus recognizes that Jesus is the messianic King prophesied and promised for Israel.

In Matthew 9:18 Matthew tells us the Jairus just says: "my daughter has just died". Remember that Matthew is compressing what he is saying here. He is not telling us everything about this event, he is not telling us everything that is going on; he is simply compressing this so that we get a quick snapshot. Mark uses a different idiom; he says that the girl is at the end, at the point of death. He uses the word ESCHATOS, from which we get eschatology (last things). Luke says she is near death at the very beginning but Matthew has him saying she is already dead. He is just summarizing what has happened. Matthew uses 90 words in the episode related to Jairus' daughter and Mark uses 192 words to describe the same thing. So Mark is going to give blow-by-blow details. In the section related to the woman with the hemorrhage Matthew uses 48 words; Mark uses 154 words. Matthew is not giving all the specific details. There is no contradiction or difficulty there whatsoever in terms of understanding this.

Mark tells us that Jairus wanted Jesus to lay hands on the girl. This is also stated in Matthew: "come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live." There are those who promote these so-called healing ministries today and always make an issue out of this methodology, but both in this instance where Jairus is asking Jesus to come and lay hands on the girl, and the other event with the woman of the woman with the hemorrhage that is sandwiched in between this—she touches Jesus' garment—both involve touch. But in both cases Jesus doesn't say it is the touch that heals, it is the faith, their trust in Jesus as the Messiah. Even though there is this emphasis on touching that is just one of the many ways and it is not necessary. It is not the touch that is relevant, it is the faith that is significant.

Another thing that we observe in reading the different accounts is that Luke is a little more personal. He said this was Jairus' only child. He brings a lot more emotion to bear. And he tells us the girl was only twelve years of age, almost to marriageable age—13, 14, 15. Luke points out these kinds of details at times. He describes the dead son of the widow of Nain as an only child, and he talks about others to bring us emotionally into the situation.

Luke uses a Greek imperfect tense when he describes the event. When he says she is about to die it is just an imperfect tense n the Greek and that is how it should be understood, that she is beginning to die. Jairus has left the house, she is beginning to die; he comes to Jesus, and by the time he gets to Jesus she is dead even though he doesn't know it. It takes a little while for the messengers to reach him. By the time they reach him he has already said to Jesus that she is about to die; the messengers come and correct that and says she has died.

There are a couple of things we should observe to give us some doctrinal significance here. Jesus first of all is going to be touched by this woman who is ritually unclean. This is the second event. As we see the first part of this description of Jairus coming there is an interruption in verse 20.

Matthew 9:20 NASB "And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind." She had some kind of uterine problem where she was perpetually bleeding, and that would mean under the Mosaic Law she has been ritually unclean for twelve years. She would not be permitted in the temple and would not be able to worship, so this was a significant spiritual issue. It is not just an issue related to physical pain or malady. "...Him and touched the fringe of His cloak."

Matthew 9:21 NASB "for she was saying to herself, 'If I only touch His garment, I will get well'." Matthew understands this by virtue of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and can reveal to us exactly what she thinking. She is thinking that if she can touch Him because of who He is and because of His power she could be healed. Jesus immediately knows that He has been touched. He has felt power coming out of Him, in parallel accounts.

Matthew 9:22 NASB "But Jesus turning and seeing her said, 'Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.' At once the woman was made well."

He doesn't reprimand her; He doesn't say, "You should have asked me." He says her faith has made her well, not touching Him. The first point that we should observe is that a woman who is ritually unclean touches Jesus. Normally that would render Him ceremonially unclean, but because He is the God-Man, instead of defiling Him He heals her. Power goes out from Him and she is the one who is healed and cleansed.

Matthew 9:23 NASB "When Jesus came into the official's house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder." Middle Eastern mourners are quite overt in their demonstration of emotion. When there was death they would wail and weep and make all of this emotion, so Jesus observes that and says to them:

Matthew 9:24 NASB "He said, 'Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.' And they {began} laughing at Him." She is dead; He is using sleep as a euphemism for the fact that He is about to resuscitate her, bring her back to life; but He is not denying that fact that she is dead. He is going to display His power by restoring life to her. He is going to do that by touching her.

Matthew 9:25 NASB "But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up."

He says to her, "Talitha kum!" We get that from the Mark account. Talitha is Aramaic for little girl, and kum is the word meaning to rise. It is the word to raise up or rise up.

So first we see Jesus touched by a woman who should render Him ceremonially unclean, but it doesn't; she is healed. Then second, He touches a dead body, which should render Him ritually unclean. But in reality He transforms her and restores life to her. Both events demonstrate that if Jesus comes into contact with that which would defile any of us it doesn't defile Him, but instead He solves their problem. He solves the problem of sin. It is a tremendous depiction and illustration of the principle stated in 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB "He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

God the Father imputed or reckoned our sin to Jesus account, but He doesn't become a sinner. He becomes guilty of our sins by imputation, but He is still perfectly righteous. It doesn't change His righteousness; it doesn't change His deity. But He bears in His own body on the cross (Peter says) our sin. Judicially, not in reality; it doesn't change His nature. What we see in all of these different healings where He heals somebody is He has healed somebody; He has touched their body; He has been touched by someone who is ritually unclean; but it doesn't change Him; what is does is changes, heals, delivers the person who is sick, the person who is ritually unclean.

This woman who has had this hemorrhage problem has had it for twelve years, according to Matthew, which is the same length of time as the age of the young girl who was twelve years of age. The authors don't make a specific point about that but it is an interesting observation that we should make and that this has been provided.

The result again is that the crowd is amazed at what He has done and what has taken place, because it demonstrates who He is, the Messiah. He is the one who has the authority and the power over illness and death. If we go back in the Old Testament to Genesis chapter one we see that God is the one who has the power bring life into inanimate dead objects. And the principle that we can follow all the way through Scripture is that even though we are spiritually dead when we are born it is the power of God that makes us spiritually alive when we put our faith and trust in Him. That is called regeneration; it is called being born-again. So all the way through Scripture God is the one who breathes life into inorganic matter. He is the one who breathes life into Adam, the one who gives life to Eve.

As we go through the Bible we see that there are six different women who are barren. The Bible makes a big point of the fact that they cannot give birth to children; their wombs were dead. But it is a miracle of God that He brings life where there is death. We have the matriarchs of Israel, Sarah and Rebeka and Rachel, who are the wives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they are barren. But it is God who brings life into that dead womb. It is a picture that God is the one who can give life to those who are dead. We move forward into the period of the judges. There were two different women who almost at the same time were barren. One is the mother of Samson; the other is the mother of Samuel. In both of those instances it is God who is going to bring life into that womb. The sixth woman was Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and it is God who miraculously brings life to her womb. All of those are designed to teach that it is God and God alone who brings life where there is death.  

How does He doe that? When we put our faith in Christ as savior, at that instant God creates in us a new spirit. We are born again; we become a new creature in Christ, and that can never be taken away from us. So when we see these miracles, each has been performed not simply because Jesus wants to heal somebody, not because He was there and had compassion on those who were sick. He was teaching specific things and the writers of Scripture are bring that out—that He is the one who can restore health where there is illness (all illness is the result of sin) and He is the one who can restore life where there is death.