Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 9:22e “. . .hath made thee whole.”
It is important to note Christ did not say, “Be healed.” Jesus, being God, knew she was already cured. He had felt healing go forth from His inner essence.
Jesus did not let the lady’s healing remain a secret. He revealed her because He wanted to love her, celebrate with her, and bring honor to God. Fourth, Jesus revealed her in order to confirm her faith. Faith, not the finger, made her whole.
Her faith was barely higher than belief in magic. She deemed His garment a sacred charm. Her faith was impure, a hybrid blend of superstition and cunning.
Her faith brought her as far as it could, but she needed better understanding. Jesus, not His garment, heals. She and we needed to know it was her faith though tainted, and not the magic of a touch, that healed her. The physical touch helped only to the extent it was an outward act prompted by an inward spiritual desire.
By highlighting her faith, a spiritual concept, Jesus was assuring her all was well in the relationship between her and Him. Her faith was not perfect, but contained at least a spark of desire to draw close to His heart as well as to His clothes.
Faith always carries within itself an aspect of oneness and communion with God. In our praying, we need to ask ourselves often, “Are we focusing on Him or on His benefits? Are we seeking His face or His hands?” Whatever we may be praying for, make sure we are striving to keep our emphasis on the relationship.
Fortunately, faith does not have to be perfect to be accepted. “A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out” (MT 12:20 NAS). When struggling to gain our footing, and able to offer at best only a broken faith, He seeks in us merely a flicker of yearning for Him, and not only for things.
All praying must focus on personal relationship, on intimate interaction with Jesus. When this intermingling of life takes place, the transfer of power can begin.
This trait is what let the lady in our text succeed, and is what Jesus wants us to imitate about her. Faith always touches Jesus. Many in this crowd were having physical contact with Jesus, but she alone received benefit from the nearness.
We all draw near in corporate worship, but not all are blessed. Judas Iscariot knew where Gethsemane, the place of prayer, was, but knew not the prayer of the place. Bodily presence is never enough. Something deeper is always needed.
Matt. 9:22f “And the woman was made whole from that hour.”
In an instant, a thrill shot through her veins as His power was infused into her essence. Feeling vigor she had not felt in twelve years, she immediately knew everything was okay. This was not an emotional burst, a psychological fix, or a temporary cure, but rather a clean bill of health. She was made well, a fact we need to know. Fifth, Jesus revealed her in order to make her a blessing to others.
The fact she went home a changed woman is related for our knowledge and benefit. Knowing her story, we are blessed. Her testimony about Jesus helps us. Every believer has a unique, personal story about Jesus. Have we told ours lately?
It would have been wrong for her to keep this a secret when so many others need what she found. God’s blessings are always sent to us on their way to someone else. I think this is one reason we are commanded to give ten percent of our income to God. The regular practice of this spiritual discipline is meant to drive into us a mindset, a habit of remembering a portion of everything that comes to us needs to be passed on. Have you recently received a windfall of some type, an unexpected boon? Enjoy it and celebrate. There’s nothing wrong with partaking of a Godsend yourself. However, do make sure you only part-take. Remember to pass part of it on. Someone could greatly profit from the reverb of your blessing.
This is especially true of our salvation. None of us was saved to go to Heaven alone. Surely we all yearn for others to be saved with us. Our church’s big country group has prayed and labored over three years for our adopted unreached people group, the bells. Progress has been minuscule. I’m grateful for the sadness I feel in that group over the lost plight of the bells. What is true of this small missions group I trust is indicative of our attitude as a church at large. I cannot imagine any of us wanting to go to heaven alone, but good intentions must give birth to good deeds. It will be hard for others to see the light of Christ in us if we shut it up in a dark lantern. No matter how fine a life we live, prechristians cannot hear the Gospel if we stay silent. No one can read a closed book, even if it’s a Bible.
Matt. 9:23a “And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house,. . .”
The delightful interruption of the healed woman almost made us forget the Chief Elder’s plight, but Jesus never forgets. Notice His total impartiality. He loved a woman who had been unable to attend synagogue for 12 years, and loved the main member of the synagogue. One severe test facing the North American Church is, are we going to love our enemies, or are we going to be as bitter toward them as they are toward us? Jesus our Master has taught us to love everyone.
Matt. 9:23b-24a “. . .and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
He said unto them, Give place:. . .”
When death strikes a family, there suddenly seems to be a hundred details to handle. This busy-ness actually helps, giving “some useful diversion to that grief which is apt to prevail and play the tyrant” (Henry). A funeral detail needed in Jesus’ day was to hire professional mourners. Family members could not physically and emotionally maintain the unending loud wailing and shrill shrieks which still often typify Eastern funerals. To show respect for their dead, the family hired people to keep the wailing at a loud pitch, and minstrels, flute-players, to play dirges.
By the time Jesus arrived, the house was packed with mourners. He told them to leave. The instant He arrived, mourning was totally out of place. Sounds of hopeless grief no longer fit here. The family wouldn’t be needing their services any longer. This gig was over. They needed to get their paychecks and go home.
Jesus ruined all three funerals He attended. At each, Jesus raised the dead and ended the ceremony. Death could not stay dead in Jesus’ presence. John, when an old man, remembered of Jesus, “In Him was life” (JN 1:4). Having authority over the dark dominion, Christ controlled the realm humans find irresistible.
Elijah (1 K 17:22), Elisha (2 K 4:33), Peter (AC 9:40), and Paul (AC 20:9) raised people from death, but did so as prayerful servants who looked to Heaven for help. Jesus acted as a Master who with authority spoke into the realm of death.
Jesus always talked directly to the dead person He raised. To Jairus’ daughter, “Child, arise!” (LK 8:54 NAS). To the widow’s son at Nain, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (LK 7:14 NAS). At Bethany, “Lazarus, come forth” (JN 11:43). Someone said it’s good Jesus called Lazarus by name; otherwise all the dead would have come forth. This is probably not true, but sure is good preaching.
Jesus gave three foretastes of what He’ll do on a grander scale on that great future day. “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice” (JN 5:28b). If you are standing on a believer’s grave when the trumpet sounds, you will fly off to Heaven arm in arm with a partner. The dead are living somewhere, in Heaven or Hell, and the elements which comprised their bodies are scattered everywhere, but on that day people and elements shall hear His voice and be reunited. Then this fleshly husk which fell away at death, this bodily seed in which physical and spiritual life first germinated, shall be swallowed up in our glorified bodies (1 C 15:38ff). Hallelujah! I’m ready. Are you? “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus” (RV 22:20b).