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The Interrupted Miracle or Two Touching Miracles (Luke 8:40-56)

Introduction

Our first child, a boy, had died unexpectedly (crib death) in the middle of the night. You can imagine our uneasiness when our next child, Beth, became ill during the night. When her eyes began to roll back in her head we set out for the hospital. I had little interest in what the speed limit was that night, nor did I stop for traffic lights. In my mind, time was of the essence. The sooner we could get Beth to the hospital, the better. Any delay, at that moment, seemed to endanger her life.

The ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, must have felt very much the same as he left his home and his critically ill daughter to seek Jesus and to beseech Him to come and place His healing hands on her. Once Jairus found Jesus, it would seem to be an easy matter for Him to come and to heal the girl, but there were several hindrances to His speedy arrival. First, there was a large and seemingly unruly crowd, who pressed upon Jesus, making His travel very slow. Second, there was a woman who slipped in behind the Lord Jesus, secretly stealing a touch of His garment, which instantly healed her of a 12-year ailment. This healing was instant, but what followed was distressingly time-consuming. Jesus, knowing that power had left Him, stopped, not willing to go on until the person who touched Him was known. All of this took time, time which seemed to endanger the daughter of Jairus. We are not told of Jairus’ response, but Luke informs us that the disciples (Peter in particular) were perturbed by Jesus’ actions.

There are actually two miracles described in our text, which are carefully intertwined. In reality, the miracle of the healing of Jairus’ daughter is interrupted by the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage. For a short time, it appears that this healing of the woman has cost the life of Jairus’ daughter.

The “tension of this text” is this: why would Jesus take the time to attempt to identify the person who touched Him, when this appeared to be nearly impossible to do, and when it threatened to cost the life of the girl who was mortally ill? A study of this text will supply us with an answer to this question. We will discover that this divine delay was for the benefit of all involved, including Jairus and his daughter.

The Background of Our Story

Jesus had crossed the lake, the Sea of Galilee, with His disciples. In the midst of this crossing, there was the great storm, which our Lord stilled with a mere word. When they landed on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, they were met by the raving demoniac, from whom Jesus cast out the host of demons. When Jesus and His disciples landed, once again, at Capernaum (Matthew 9:1), on the home side of the Sea of Galilee, they were met by a large crowd (Luke 8:40; Mark 5:21), which had gathered to wait for Jesus and to greet Him. It is very likely that some of the other little boats, which had been on the lake (Mark 4:36), and which had witnessed the stilling of the storm, had gone back to port, and had reported how Jesus had dealt with the storm. Some may even have had reports of the deliverance of the demoniac. The crowds were no doubt expectant and exuberant as Jesus returned. Apparently Jesus taught by the seashore (cf. Matthew 9:1-17), and it was during His teaching that Jairus arrived, begging Him to come to his house, so that his daughter could be healed.

Stealing a Healing

Mark and Luke depict Jairus as describing his daughter’s condition as critical—she was dying. Matthew’s much more terse account suggests that she had already died. As precious time lapsed, it is not difficult to imagine that Jairus may have suspected that the worst had already happened. Nevertheless, even if she had died, Jairus believed that Jesus’ touch could heal her (Matthew 9:18-19). Jesus consented, and they were on their way to his house as a woman made her way to Jesus, unseen, or at least unnoticed by the crowd. She stole a healing by touching His garment, which necessitated a time-consuming delay, preventing Jesus from arriving at the house of Jairus before the death of his daughter.

The woman, whose name is never given, had suffered from a hemorrhage for 12 years. I think that it is safe to say that her ailment was “female” in nature. It is not difficult to understand why she approached Jesus, unseen, from behind, while Jairus faced our Lord, falling at His feet. Jairus beseeched the Lord to bring healing to his daughter; the woman did not even ask.

A casual reading of the account of Luke may result in a kind of ho-hum response on the part of the reader, but this fails to give this remarkable woman the credit she deserves for what she accomplished. It may seem like a very little thing for a person to reach out and touch Jesus, but this was an accomplishment worthy of our admiration. Let me point out some of the obstacles which were in this woman’s way.

(1) There is the obstacle of her ceremonial uncleanness, as defined by the Old Testament law. The book of Leviticus clearly identifies this woman’s condition as one which made her unclean, and which therefore should have restricted her to her own home.

When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening … When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. Whoever touches them will be unclean, he must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening (Leviticus 15:19, 25-27).

(2) There is the obstacle of a large crowd, which is pressing forcefully upon the Lord Jesus. Luke tells us that there was a large crowd and that they were pressing hard upon our Lord:

“As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him” (Luke 8:42).

We must say, then, that getting to Jesus would have been no easy task for anyone. I take it that the crowd parted, allowing Jairus, the synagogue ruler, access to the Savior. But they would not have done so for anyone of a lessor status. I was tempted to say that it would have been easier for the ailing woman to get to Danny White, past the offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys, than to get to Jesus. I say, I was tempted, because it seems quite an easy thing to do this early in the season. Nevertheless, it was a most incredible thing to make it to Jesus through the crowd, especially for a woman. I was reminded of the fact that earlier in the book, Jesus’ mother and brothers were kept from Jesus by the crowds:

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd (Luke 8:19).

(3) The woman had to work her way through an uncooperative crowd in a weakened condition. It might have been one thing for a woman to get through the crowd to Jesus who was in top physical condition, a woman who had been “working out” every day. But this woman suffered from a prolonged illness, one which had gotten progressively worse (Mark 5:26), and thus her condition was very poor. It may have been a major undertaking for her to get up out of bed, let alone fight her way through a crowd.

(4) Finally, the woman had to reach Jesus by forcing her way through an aggressive and crushing mob, and yet in a way that did not draw attention to herself. It is especially clear in Luke’s account that the woman desired anonymity:

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet (Luke 8:47, emphasis mine).

It is not hard to see why the woman would have wanted it this way. She was a woman, she was a woman with a condition that made her unclean. She was a woman with a “female problem,” one which she would not care to proclaim before a large crowd. She had to reach Jesus forcefully, and yet unnoticed. And the amazing thing is that she did so. It was only Jesus who kept her from pulling off the perfect crime—stealing a healing, unnoticed in the midst of a large crowd.

A Divine Delay

Upon touching the Lord’s garment, the woman was instantly healed. No doubt she intended to remain as inconspicuous as possible, and just let Jesus and the crowd pass on, leaving her alone, unnoticed, and able to return to her home and a normal life. Jesus would not have it this way, however. Astounding the disciples and the rest, Jesus stopped and inquired as to who touched Him.

To the disciples, and especially to Peter, their spokesman (Luke 8:45; cp. Mark 5:41), this was incredible, perhaps even naive. Peter spoke for the others when he said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you” (Luke 8:45).

I can see Peter’s eyes roll at our Lord’s words. I wonder whose glance he caught, whose eyes met his, as his bewilderment is expressed here. We must remember that Jesus’ identity is not fully known here, as can be seen from the disciples’ question after the stilling of the storm (Luke 8:25). At this point, Peter and the disciples frequently listened to some of Jesus’ words with a kind of condescending tolerance, rather than with faith and understanding. For example, when Jesus (later) spoke of His death, Peter felt it was his responsibility to rebuke Jesus, to straighten Him out. That is the same basic attitude which I sense here. It is as though the disciples’ eyes have met as though as to say, “Somebody has got to take Jesus aside and have a little talk with Him. He expects to do the impossible. He wants to know who touched Him when hundreds have done so.”

It was incredible. Asking who touched Him was like standing in the shower and pondering the origin of but one single drop of water. Seeking the identity of one person who touched Him in a crowd of touchers and shovers was seemingly an impossible task. More than this, it seemed to be a fruitless task. What difference did it make anyway? And even more distressing, it caused what seemed to be an unnecessary delay, so that the daughter of Jairus, who was virtually at death’s door, was “needlessly endangered.”

Jesus would not be deterred, however. He obviously had a good reason for pressing this matter, but what was that reason? Why would Jesus delay that urgent journey to the house of Jairus, only to learn who had touched Him, even if it had produced a healing? There are at least two answers, I believe. The first answer is that His delay was for the good of the woman who had been healed. The second answer is that His delay was also for the good of Jairus and his daughter.

Let us first consider how this delay was for the good of the woman. Initially, no one admitted that they had touched Jesus. All, Luke informs us, denied touching Jesus (8:45). There seemed to be a stalemate. But Jesus would not let the matter drop, even though the disciples protested. Finally, the woman recognized that she must confess. Fearfully, she came to Jesus, where she fell at His feet. Before the crowd, she bore witness as to why she had touched Jesus, and how He had healed her (8:47).

Jesus had very few words to say to the woman, but they are very important ones. Let us look at them carefully:

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48).

So few words. For this Jesus had stopped, refusing to go on to the house of Jairus, until He could say them to this woman. Why are the words of the woman and the words of Jesus so important? Let me suggest several reasons.

(1) Jesus would not allow the woman to have a second-class healing. Note the position of the woman, now that she has identified herself. Before, she was behind Jesus, out of His sight (or so she thought). Now she is at Jesus’ feet, just as Jairus had been.

I may be in error here, but it would seem to me that the woman came to Jesus secretly, from behind, because she felt that she was unworthy to approach Him directly, as Jairus had done. If so, Jesus would not allow her thinking to stand. He would not be content until she, just like Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, was before Him, looking into His face. Here is where people of faith belong, at Jesus’ feet, before Him. Only those who are unbelievers will have God’s back turned to them.

(2) Second, Jesus would have no misunderstanding as to the real cause of the woman’s healing. It would be possible, had Jesus not identified faith as the real source of the woman’s healing, to attribute it to other causes, more akin to magic than to faith. Jesus identified faith as the real cause of the miracle. She believed, as the other gospels record, that if she were to touch Jesus159 she would be healed. She not only believed this intellectually, she acted on it. As we have seen, touching Jesus was not an easy thing to do, but she did it nonetheless. From one point of view, it was Jesus’ power that healed her; but from another (the point of view Jesus does not wish to be overlooked), it was the woman’s faith which brought her healing, while the rest of crowd was not blessed as she was.

(3) Third, Jesus did not want the woman to experience guilt for stealing a healing. As it was, the woman would have gone home healed but guilty. She had stolen this healing from Jesus. She had taken it without permission, and, she may have thought, without His knowledge. Jesus’ words, “Go in peace,” suggest that she could go home without any misgivings, without any guilt. She had not “taken” a healing from Jesus, He had given it to her, as a gift of grace. Grace has no guilt, and thus Jesus will have her know she has been endued not only with divine power, but also with divine grace.

(4) Finally, Jesus would not allow the woman’s faith to be anonymous. I initially wondered why Jesus would insist that the raising of Jairus’ daughter be kept silent, while here Jesus forced the woman to make her healing public. I think I understand why, now. It as not the miracle which Jesus wanted to make public, but rather the woman’s faith. Jairus’ faith was very evident, as he fell before the Lord Jesus and pled for Him to come to his house. But while the woman reached out to Jesus in faith, she had done so anonymously. Jesus does not allow her faith to remain anonymous. Faith in Christ must be publicly professed.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Everyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:9-11).

Faith is not intended to be a “private” matter, as so many seem to think. How often have I heard people decline to discuss their own spiritual condition, justifying themselves with the statement, “Well, my faith is a very personal thing … ” Faith in Christ is not personal. Jesus acknowledged that it was the woman’s faith which healed her, but she must also confess her faith before men. This was so important that our Lord refused to go on without her confession of faith.

Death’s Defeat

As the woman went her way, a messenger came from the house of Jairus. The girl had died. All hope, he suggested, was lost. There was not longer any need to trouble “the teacher” further (8:49). From these words we can see that the prevailing opinion among this delegation was, WHERE THERE’S LIFE, THERE’S HOPE.

Jesus might have been able to heal a sick child, but they did not view Him as having power over death. Thus, the death of the child was the death of hope for her healing.

The advice of the messenger160 was wrong, and Jesus quickly countered it with these words to Jairus: “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (Luke 8:50).161

As Jesus drew near to the house of Jairus, He left all but three of His closest disciples and all of that large crowd behind. Among other reasons, only a limited number would have been able to enter the house, not to mention the fact that a crowd had already gathered there who had begun mourning for the child.

Inside the house, the commotion had already commenced. There was a group of people gathered, all of whom were mourning the death of the daughter of Jairus. Jesus insisted that the commotion (Mark 5:39) cease. He further told them that the girl was not dead, but asleep. Mourning turned to scornful laugher. They knew that she was dead! Both Matthew and Mark tell us that these scorners and mourners were put outside before Jesus dealt with the death of the daughter (Matthew 9:23-25; Mark 5:40). Luke does not bother with this detail. He simply tells us that Jesus took the child be the hand and command her to arise (8:54). Immediately her spirit returned and she arose. She stood up and walked around. Her parents were both surprised and delighted.

Jesus then gave two perplexing commands. The first was that they give the girl something to eat. One would think that if Jesus could raise this girl from the dead He could also have done so with a full stomach. And so He could have. I believe that there is a very important principle suggested here: GOD DOES NOT DO FOR PEOPLE WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR THEMSELVES

I am aware of the expression, often attributed to the Bible, that “God helps those who help themselves.” In truth, though, God has come in the person of Christ to help those who cannot help themselves. Jairus could not heal his sick daughter, nor raise her when she died. Jesus could, and did. But Jairus and his wife could feed the child, and so Jesus did not do so, miraculously. Miracles are not performed where normal human effort is sufficient.

Our Lord’s second command is also of interest, but for a different reason. He commanded the parents not to tell anyone what had happened (Luke 8:56). Was Jesus trying to keep this miracle a secret? How could this possibly be? There were many waiting outside, to see what would happen. The girl would sooner or later appear alive. In fact, everyone did learn that she had been raised. Matthew reports, “News of this spread through all that region.” (Matthew 9:26).

Jesus was not trying to prevent the impossible here. Instead, He was sternly insisting that those who had scoffed would be deprived not only of witnessing this miracle, but also of hearing a first-hand testimony of what had happened. Think of the frustration and irritation of those who had laughed at Jesus, who upon seeing the girl alive, could not hear from the parents what had happened inside. “Tell us what happened,” they must have inquired. Only to be told, “I’m sorry, Jesus told us very emphatically not to tell you.” Those who disbelieve not only fail to receive God’s blessings, they are not even able to witness them.

Conclusion

The two miracles which we have witnessed through the words of Luke had a great impact of those who experienced them, even if their meaning and message was not perceived by the crowds. But these miracles were also meant for the benefit of others. Allow me to suggest some of the ways in which these events could have been meaningful to Israelites and which can be meaningful to us.

(1) This interrupted miracle is an illustration of the way God is dealing with Israel and the Gentiles. Perhaps I am allegorizing the text, but consider with me how the experience of Jairus and the woman parallels that of the Jews and the Gentiles.

Jairus had the implied promise of the Lord Jesus to come to his house and to heal (or raise) his daughter. Along comes a woman, when Jesus is in the process of dealing with Jairus, and “steals” a blessing from God. In the process of her doing so, there is an agonizing delay, one which appears to be at the expense of Jairus. For at least a short time it would seem (or so it did to those who reported the girl’s death to Jairus) that the woman’s blessing cost the daughter of Jairus her life. God seems to have been unnecessarily delayed, so that the woman is blessed at the expense of the ruler of the synagogue. And, worse yet, the woman was declared unclean by the law, so that she would have been thought to have had no right to approach or touch Him. Here is Jairus, an apparently righteous, devout, and influential Jewish leader, whose “blessing” is interrupted by an unclean woman,162 whose healing was undeserved, on several counts.

It sounds a great deal like what is going to take place with the Gentiles. God made of covenant with Abraham, and with his (Jewish) descendants, to bless them. The Israelites had sinned, and their condition was critical. Apart from divine intervention, the nation would have been destroyed. The prophets spoke of the “healing” of the nation through the coming of Messiah (Isaiah 53:5). The Old Testament prophets even described the “healing” of Israel as a resurrection (cf. Ezekiel 37).

When Jesus, Israel’s Messiah came, the Jews naturally thought that it was for their blessing, although Jesus made it clear that Gentile blessings were included as well, something not welcomed by the Jews (cf. Luke 4:16-30). We now can see that God’s program for His people, the Jews, has been delayed, and that in the interim, the Gentiles are receiving God’s blessings. From this moment in time (since Israel has not yet been restored), it looks as though the delay in the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel is the fault of the Gentiles, who appear to some Jews at least, to be stealing God’s blessings, and unworthily, too!

In Romans, chapters 9-11, Paul addresses this painful point. He outlines that the purposes of God have always been to bless the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The blessing of each is not independent of the blessing of the other, for both blessings are inter-related. Such was the case with the woman and Jairus (and his daughter). Paul tells us that the salvation of the Gentiles does not hinder or defeat the salvation of the Jews, but is a part of God’s program and process for blessing both Jews and Gentiles:

What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened … I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow-countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:7, 11-15).

The rejection of Christ and the gospel by the Jews made possible the salvation of the Gentiles, and the salvation of the Gentiles has caused a delay in the fulfillment of God’s promises of salvation to the Jews. But it is the salvation of the Gentiles which will play a key role in bringing the Jews to repentance and to salvation.

When the process of God’s dealings with the unclean woman and Jairus was complete, both were blessed, and neither at the expense of the other. When God’s process of dealing with both the Jews and the Gentiles is complete, both will be blessed, and neither at the expense of the other. This miracle plays out, in a small way, what God is currently doing in a much bigger way. The end of the story in Luke assures us about the end of the story in Scripture and in our experience (cf. the Book of Revelation).

There are two principles which become evident in the events of our text which not only explain God’s dealings with Israel and the Gentiles (as outlined above), but which also shed light on the “delays” which we perceive in God’s dealings with us. Let me spell these out, along with some of their implications.

(1) God does not bless one at the expense of another. There is somehow the misconception that God has limited resources, so that in order for Him to bless one, He must utilize the blessings He would have given to another. It is as though God has only $1,000 in the bank, and if he gives $1,000 to one person, He has nothing left to give another. This may help to explain some of Jonah’s resistance to taking the gospel to the Ninevites. If God chooses to bless the Gentiles (something Jonah was pretty certain God would do), then won’t this be to the detriment of the Jews?

Fortunately, God’s resources and His power are not limited. In fact, Paul’s teaching in Romans 9-11 is that God blesses the Jews by blessing the Gentiles. Blessing the Jews is not limited by God’s blessing of Gentiles. God’s blessing of Jairus and his daughter is not curtailed by His blessing of the woman who touched Him.

For the Christian, this means that we do not need to fear that God’s blessing of others will in any way limit our blessings. Indeed, if our hearts are in tune with God’s, the blessing of others is a blessing to us. We delight in God’s goodness to others. It also means that jealousy and covetousness are especially inappropriate and evil for the Christian. We do not need to desire that which belongs to our brother or sister. God’s resources are such that He has more than enough to bestow on all of His children. We can be content with what we have, knowing that it is not a shortage (cause by His blessing others) which keeps God from bestowing more upon us. God is blessing us by the withholding of things, just as He does by the bestowing of them. As Job put it, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” (Job 1:21).

(2) Divine delays are a blessing because God wishes to bless us in a greater way than that for which we have asked. The delay which we find in our text is a divine delay, it is one which resulted from our Lord’s decision and actions. Apart from our Lord’s stopping and insisting to know who touched Him, the Lord’s arrival to the home of Jairus would not have been delayed at all. It was not the woman’s actions which slowed Jesus down, but our Lord’s actions. Thus, she did not create the delay, Jesus did. It was a divine delay.

If the cause of the delay was divine, the effect of the delay was blessing. The delay was a blessing for the woman. It focused attention to her faith, and on her healing. It showed she had equal access to the Savior, and that Jesus delighted in her healing. But the delay was also a blessing to Jairus. Just as our Lord’s delay in going to Lazarus resulted in a raising from the dead, rather than a (mere) healing, so our Lord’s delay in arriving at the home of Jairus resulted in a greater miracle—a raising from the dead, rather than a healing.

This “greater healing” required greater faith from Jairus, and it brought greater glory to our Lord. It also revealed the lack of faith on the part of those who came to report the girl’s death, and on the part of the mourners who had begun to weep and wail over her death. Jesus could easily have prevented the girl from dying, whether present or absent (cp. Luke 7:2-10), but He chose to overcome death instead. The divine delay was, then, for the good of all involved.

You and I have experienced God’s “delays” too. He has, for example, delayed in coming. He could have come sooner, but out of His longsuffering, He has delayed, for His coming will bring judgment on all unbelievers. We may very well have prayed for a Christian who was terminally ill, to find that God has delayed in answering our petition. Rather than to prevent that one from dying, He has chosen to wait, and thus to raise that saint from the grave—a greater miracle, which requires greater faith. But when the “dead in Christ” have been raised, we will then be able to give Him greater glory and praise for what He has done.

Whatever it is that we have asked God to do now, whatever it is that has been delayed in our lives, if God has promised to do it, it will be done. The greater the delay, the greater our delight when God proves Himself faithful.

(3) Divine delays demonstrate that hope is the product of faith, and that faith is not the product of hope. The divine delay which Luke reports illustrates the fact that biblical faith is what God requires when all human hope is gone. The woman had faith that Jesus could heal her, when all human hope was gone. She had seen all the doctors, and they had only made her condition worse. She had spent all of her money, so that she had no remaining options. It took 12 years, but all human hope was now gone. Faith was not the result of hope (human hope) but the response to the absence of it.

The same can be said for Jairus. The messengers who came to report the girl’s death seemed to believe that there was hope of the girl’s healing so long as she was alive. Once she died, they saw no hope, and thus they counseled Jairus not to “bother the teacher” any longer. The mourners, gathered inside Jairus’ house felt the same way. When Jesus spoke of the girl’s condition as “sleep” rather than as “death” they laughed in unbelief. They saw no hope. The funeral might just as well go on. But Jairus’ words, as recorded in Matthew, reinforced by our Lord’s encouragement, indicate that faith has hope when all human hope is gone. “Faith” which still has human options is a meager faith. Biblical faith has God as its object when all other options are gone.

This principle has great relevance to Christians today. There is much being said and being written about PMA, Positive Mental Attitude, or Positive Thinking, but by whatever label it is known, most of what is advocated falls far short of biblical faith. PMA is really human optimism, based upon possibilities, but not upon God’s person, His power, and His promises. Faith is what one demonstrates when there is nothing to be positive about except God and His Word. PMA is hype, more than it is hope. Biblical faith produces hope, it does not depend on it for its existence. PMA seeks to reverse the order, and in so doing it is wrong.

For many, a great barrier to faith is that things are too good, hope is too high, there are too many other options. I believe that when our Lord said, “Blessed are you who are poor … ” (Luke 6:20), He was referring to their helpless, hopeless, condition, which encourages them to turn to God and His resources, rather than to human means. One reason why Jesus spent so much time among the helpless and the hopeless was because they were ripe for faith. They knew better than to put their trust in mere mortals, or in human wisdom, strength, or people. Many are those who reject God because they have too many other things in which to trust. When God pulls the rug out from under us, when He removes all other options, then we must trust in Him alone. May we find our trust and our hope only in Jesus Christ.

Someone might be tempted to think that these two people were forced into faith, and in one sense this is true—neither had anything or anyone else to trust in. Neither the woman nor Jairus had much choice. They were, as we say here, “between a rock and a hard place.” Those of us who have found themselves in desperate places probably have experienced greater faith than we, and they can and will praise God for this. But all of us who choose to live in accordance with God’s Word, with His commands and teaching, will discover that faith is required not only for the emergencies of life, but for the routines of life as well. Try to live by the Sermon on the Mount without faith, for example. Faith is essential for all men, at all times. Emergencies only underscore this reality from time to time.

May each of us be men and women of faith, trusting in God, in His power, and in His promises, knowing that trusting in anything or in anyone else is folly.


159 Touching Jesus for healing is found elsewhere in the gospels, sometimes after the healing of the woman (Mark 6:56; cf. also Acts 19:12), and sometimes before (Mark 3:10; Luke 6:19).

160 Luke tells of one who told Jairus about the death of his daughter, while Mark speaks of more than one (Mark 5:35). There is no contradiction, for it is likely that one person (the one mentioned by Luke) was the spokesman for the group.

161 From Matthew’s brief account, we learn that even before these words from our Lord Jairus did not view the death of his daughter as the end of hope for her healing, for Jairus believed that even if she had died Jesus could raise her with His touch: “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live” (Matthew 9:18).

Jesus’ words thus serve to confirm and encourage the faith which Jairus already had shown.

162 One of the men in our church has suggested the possibility that this woman might even have been a Gentile, which is possible. Regardless, her “unclean” condition would have placed her on a par with a Gentile in the minds of the Jews, for Gentiles were regarded as unclean.

Related Topics: Miracles