“Emmanuel’s Restoration Part 3” – Matthew 9:18-26

July 19th, 2015

Matthew 9:18-26

“Emmanuel’s Restoration Pt. 3”

 

Service Orientation: Jesus has authority over all.  Even death.  If we find ourselves IN CHRIST there is no reason to fear.  There is hope even when it seems hopeless.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:   Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies . . . —  John 11:25

Background Information:

  • The first came to Jesus for his child’s life; the second came to Jesus to make her whole. The ruler couldn’t bear to lose his twelve-year-old child, while the woman couldn’t wait to lose her twelve-year-old problem.  They were two of many people driven to Jesus by their needs.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 187)
  • (v. 18) The person elected as one of the leaders (a synagogue could have more than one leader or ruler, see Acts 13:15). The synagogue leaders were responsible for supervising worship services, caring for the scrolls, running the daily school, keeping the congregation faithful to the Law, distributing alms, administering the care of the building, and finding rabbis to teach on the Sabbath.  The leader of the local synagogue exerted great influence in his community, yet he knelt before Jesus, indicating homage and courtesy as he came with his urgent request.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 186-7)
  • (v. 18) The day after his thirteenth birthday a Jewish boy was recognized as a man, and a day after her twelfth birthday a Jewish girl was recognized as a woman. Jairus’ daughter had just come into the flower of womanhood, but to her father she was still his little girl, whose life was dearer to him than his own.  The sunshine of her childhood had turned into the shadow of death.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 77)
  • (v. 18) By kneeling before Jesus he indicates the extreme honor he gives to him, because kneeling is the appropriate position one takes before God (e.g., Gn 22:5; Ex 4:31; Dt 26:10; Ps 5:7) or a king or superior (e.g., 1 Sm 24:9; 1 Kgs 1:16, 23). (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 370)
  • (v. 20) Again and again during his earthly ministry Jesus was interrupted; namely, in his speaking to a crowd (Mk 2:1 ff.), conversing with his disciples (Mt 16:21 ff.; 26:31 ff.; Lk 12:12 ff.), traveling (Mt 20:29 ff.), sleeping (Mt 8:24, 25), and praying (Mk 1:35 ff.). The fact that none of these intrusions floor him, so that for the moment he would be at a loss what to do or what to say, shows that we are dealing here with the Son of man who is also the Son of God!  What we would call an “interruption” is for him a springboard to take-off point for the utterance of a great saying or, as here, for the performance of a marvelous deed, revealing his power, wisdom, and love.  What for us would have been a painful exigency is to him a golden opportunity.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 431)
  • (v. 20) We are given to understand that this woman was in great distress. No wonder, for she had suffered from hemorrhages for a period of twelve years.  There are those who believe that the phrasing of verse 20, especially in light of Mk 5:29 and Lk 8:44, makes it certain that the drain of blood was constant, that is, without ever any intermission.  Another view would be that throughout the twelve years an excessive loss of blood, occurring periodically, made it impossible for her ever to feel strong and healthy, and that at this particular moment she was again being afflicted by one of these hemorrhages.  Mark reports that this woman had “suffered much from many physicians, had spent all she had, and had not improved but rather grown worse.”  Without in any way contradicting Mark, it is certain she “could not be healed” by any physician.  The doctors did not cure her, for, humanly speaking, her sickness was incurable!  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 431)
  • (v. 20) Due to her persistent discharge of blood she has been “discharged” of her health and of her wealth, and likely this poor woman has also been discharged from any marital relationship she may have enjoyed. Furthermore, she was discharged from normal interaction within her culture, especially from the Jewish religion.  According to Lv 15:19-33, a woman was “unclean” for seven days after her monthly period.  Therefore, this woman has been “unclean” not for seven days but for twelve years.  Due to her bleeding she had been unable to participate in any of the public rituals of worship for over a decade.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 258)
  • (v. 20) Naturally the quickest and easiest way to bring oneself into physical contact with a garment without being noticed was to come from behind and touch the tuft swinging freely from the back of the robe. The wearer, so this woman thought, would never even notice what was happening.  So, she came from behind and touched the tassel.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 431-2)
  • (v. 20) The fringes were originally blue, the color of heaven, to remind Israel of their high and heavenly calling among the nations. It was one of those fringes that the woman touched.  (John Phillips, Exploring the Gospels: Matthew, 168)
  • (v. 20) These fringes were four tassels of hyacinth blue worn by a Jew on the corners of his outer garment. They were worn in obedience to the injunction of the Law in Nm 15:37-41 and Dt 22:12.  Matthew again refers to them in 14:36 and 23:5.  They consisted of four threads passing through the four corners of the garment and meeting in eight.  One of the threads was longer than the others.  It was twisted seven times round the others, and a double knot formed; then eight times, then eleven times, then thirteen times.  The thread and the knots stood for the five books of the Law.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 347)
  • (v. 20) The threads of the tassels and cords were woven in a pattern that represented faithfulness and loyalty to the Word of God and holiness to the Lord. Wherever a Jew went, those tassels reminded him and testified before the world that he belonged to the people of God.  Consistent with their typical hypocrisy and pretension, the Pharisees lengthened “the tassels of their garments” in order to call attention to their religious devotion (Mt 23:5).  In much later times, persecuted Jews in Europe wore the tassels on their undergarments for the very opposite reason–to avoid identification and possible arrest.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 80)
  • (v. 20) The bleeding caused the woman to be in a constant condition of ceremonial uncleanness (see Lv 15:25-33). She could not worship in the synagogue (perhaps even Jairus had been the one to exclude her from worship), and she could not have normal social relationships, for under Jewish law, anyone who touched her also would become unclean.  Thus, the woman had been treated almost as severely as a leper.  That she was in the crowd at all was a courageous move on her part.  If all those people bumping against her in the crowd had known her condition, she would have been in for some rough treatment.  (Bruce B. Barton, D.Min., Life Application Bible Commentary: Luke, 221-2)
  • (v. 20) Most likely this woman’s condition is menorrhagia, a disease in which the menstrual flow is abnormally prolonged, which usually produces anemia as well. (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 371)
  • (v. 20) People could not come into contact with a menstruating woman without being made unclean by that contact. In fact, they could not even lie on a bed where she had lain or sit on a chair where she had sat.  No one could touch her, and she was not allowed to touch other people.  Sadly, her bleeding would have destroyed her chances for marriage, or, if she were married, it would have precluded all sexual relations with her husband.  She must have been very, very lonely.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 156)
  • (v. 20) The Talmud sets out no fewer than eleven different cures for it. Some of them were tonics and astringents which may well have been effective; others were merely superstitious remedies.  One was to carry the ashes of an ostrich-egg in a linen bag in summer, and in a cotton bag in winter; another was to carry about a barleycorn which had been found in the dung of a white she-ass.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 346)
  • (v. 20) Mark, not seeking to protect the medical profession, tells us that she “had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse” (Mk 5:26). The physician Luke, perhaps concerned about the reputation of his profession, says that this particular case was humanly incurable, that she “could not be healed by anyone” (Lk 8:43).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 80)
  • (v. 21) The phrase she was saying to herself is more precisely rendered, “She kept saying to herself,” which conveys the idea of repetition. (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 81)
  • (v. 22) The common Greek word for physical healing was iaomai, the term used by Mark when he explains that this woman “was healed of her affliction” (Mk 5:29, cf. 34). In saying that she “could not be healed by anyone,” Luke used another word for physical healing, therapeuō (Lk 8:43), from which we get therapeutic.  But the three references to being made well in Mt 9:21-22, as well as those in the parallel passages of Mk 5:34 and Lk 8:48, use sōzō, the usual NT term for being saved from sin.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 81)
  • (v. 22) Daughter: “An affectionate term is used to reassure her that she is now to be recognized as part of Israel.” (Fitzmyer, 747; Tiede, 176).  Her “uncleanness” has been removed; she is no longer an outcast.  See also Jesus’ statement to Zacchaeus in 19:9.  (Craig A. Evans, New International Biblical Commentary: Luke, 138)
  • (v. 22) The commendation of her faith (in the sense of recognizing Jesus’ power to save; see on 8:10) follows appropriately on the confidence expressed in v. 21, but it is notable that this is the only occurrence in Matthew of the alliterative formula, hēpistis sou sesōken se, “Your faith has saved you,” which appears in the other Synoptic gospels not only in the parallels to this passage but also in relation to Bartimaeus (Mk 10:52; Lk 18:42), the sinful woman (Lk 7:50), and the Samaritan leper (Lk 17:19). (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 363)
  • (v. 22) The woman’s cure needed to be known publicly in order for her to be taken back into normal social life. Jesus was careful to arrange this.  (Luder Whitlock, Jr., New Geneva Study Bible, 1620)
  • (v. 23) There were no fewer than 39 different rules and regulations which laid down how garments should be rent. The rent was to be made standing.  Clothes were to be rent to the heart so that the skin was exposed.  For a father or mother the rent was exactly over the heart; for others it was on the right side.  The rent must be big enough for a fist to be inserted into it.  For seven days the rent must be left gaping open; for the next 30 days it must be loosely stitched so that it could still be seen; only then could it be permanently repaired.  It would obviously have been improper for women to rend their garments in such a way that the breast was exposed.  So it was laid down that a woman must rend her inner garment in private; she must then reverse the garment so that she wore it back to front; and then in public she must rend her outer garment.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 343)
  • (v. 23) The music of the flute was especially associated with death. . . . Even in Rome the flute-players were a feature of days of grief. There were flute-players at the funeral of the Roman Emperor Claudius, and Seneca tells us that they made such a shrilling that even Claudius himself, dead though he was, might have heard them.  So insistent and so emotionally exciting was the wailing of the flute that Roman law limited the number of flute-players at any funeral to ten.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 344)
  • (v. 23) In the Mishnah it is said that for burial “even the poorest in Israel should hire not less than two flutes and one wailing woman.” Since this ruler was likely a rich man, the combination of the mournful music, the wailing of the many women, the hand-clapping, the beating of the breast, the tearing of hair, and the rending of garments ripped to the heart must have created quite a “commotion,” awakening everybody in town but the one body that mattered most.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 260)
  • (v. 23) The customary mourning rites are already well under way. For professional mourners see Jer 9:17-20; Amos 5:16.  Even the poorest Jewish families were expected to hire “not less than two pipers and one wailing woman” (m. Ketub. 4:4).  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 364)
  • (v. 24) Literally the Greek says, “They were laughing him down.” The reference is probably to repeated bursts of derisive laughter aimed at humiliating him.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 433)
  • (v. 24) The crowd mocked Jesus, not just because he had said, “The girl is not dead but asleep,” but even more because they thought that this great healer had arrived too late. Now he was going too far; carried away by his own success, he would try his skill on a corpse and make a fool of himself.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 231)
  • (v. 24) Now could it be thought that such a comfortable word as this, from the mouth of our Lord Jesus, should be ridiculed as it was? They laughed him to scorn.  These people lived in Capernaum, knew Christ’s character, that he never spake a rash or foolish word; they knew how many mighty works he had done; so that if they did not understand what he meant by this, they might at least have been silent in expectation of the issue.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 124)
  • (v. 24) In Greek as in English a dead person was often said to be asleep. In fact the word cemetery comes from the Greek word koimētērion, and means a place where people sleep.  In Greek there are two words for to sleep; the one is kiomasthai, which is very commonly used both of natural sleep and of the sleep of death; the other is katheudein, which is not used nearly so frequently of the sleep of death, but which much more usually means natural sleep.  It is katheudein which is used in this passage.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 345)
  • (v. 24) The dismissal of the crowd may be explained as much by their derisive laughter as by a desire for secrecy, but the latter element will be explicit in the next pericope (vv. 27-30) and may be intended here too. This is a private act of deliverance, not a public spectacle.  Even the presence of the girl’s parents and of three disciples (Mk 5:40) is not mentioned in Matthew’s concise account, resulting in a closer parallel to the private miracles of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kgs 17:19-23; 2 Kgs 4:33).  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 365)
  • (v. 25) With the exception of the resurrection of Jesus himself (28:6) and of those who were raised in connection with his death and resurrection (27:52, 53), this is the only bringing back to life from the dead that is recorded by Matthew. (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 434)
  • With this clean, stripped-down account of the miracle, then, there is not much left except the miracle itself–which of course is one way of focusing attention on that miracle. Jesus as the Messiah is doing what some OT prophets said the Messiah would do.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 225)
  • This section thus provides the factual basis for including the blind, the deaf/dumb, and the dead among those Jesus claims to have delivered in 11:5; and since 11:5 is partly based on Isa 35:5-6, these pericopes serve to demonstrate the fulfillment in Jesus’ ministry of that prophecy of eschatological deliverance for the blind, the deaf, and the dumb. (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 359)

 

The question to be answered is . . . What is Matthew’s agenda in communicating these two miracle stories in 9:18-26?

 

Answer: That Jesus has authority over that which seems hopeless . . . even death!

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Authority

 

 

I-  Everyone who is humble, broken, or contrite is heard by Jesus:  Friend or foe, accepted or rejected, clean or unclean, man or woman, Jew or Gentile; Jesus hears them all.  (Mt 9:18, 20; see also: Ps 18:27; 51:17; 147:6; 149:4; Prv 3:34; 22:4; Isa 57:15; 66:2; Mk 5:23, 28-33; Lk 1:52; 8:41, 43-47Jam 4:6, 10)

 

“When things are going well with you, you wanted to kill me; now that things are going ill, you are appealing for my help.”  And Jesus might well have refused help to a man who came like that.  But he bore no grudge; here was a man who needed him, and Jesus’ one desire was to help.  Injured pride and the unforgiving spirit had no part in the mind of Jesus.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 343)

 

The fact that Jesus ministered equally to the outcast woman and the leading elder of the synagogue certainly reveals His divine impartiality.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 82)

 

I discovered an astonishing truth:  God is attracted to weakness.  He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him. ( Jim Cymbala; Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, 19)

 

Obviously the doctrine of justification by faith only is absolutely essential.  There has never been a revival but that this has always come back into prominence.  This doctrine means the end of all thinking about ourselves and our goodness, and our good deeds, and our morality, and all our works.  Look at the histories of revivals, and you will find men and women feeling desperate.  They know that all their goodness is but filthy rags, and that all their righteousness is of no value at all.  And there they are, feeling that they can no nothing, and crying out to God for mercy and for compassion. Justification by faith.  God’s act.  ‘If God does not do it to us,’ they say, ‘then we are lost.’ (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; Revival, 55)

 

Believers who are the most desperate about themselves are the ones who express most forcefully their confidence in grace….Those who are the most pessimistic about man are the most optimistic about God; those who are the most severe with themselves are the ones who have the most serene confidence in divine forgiveness….By degrees the awareness of our guilt and of God’s love increase side by side.  (Paul Tournier, quoted in Don Matzat, Christ Esteem, 42)

 

To God one man is never like another; each is His individual child, and each has all God’s love and all God’s power at his disposal.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 348)

 

If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless.  But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again.

…Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness.  It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know that they need any forgiveness.  It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power–it is after all this and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.  When you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, bk. I, 38-9)

 

Jairus made up his mind to approach Jesus.  We wonder why it took him so long, why he waited until the last minute when death was already coming in at the door.  We wonder why so many wait so long to come to Jesus, why so many never come at all.  Perhaps the ruler of the synagogue was afraid of being criticized by his colleagues.  Perhaps he was intimidated by the fact that the tide of official opinion was beginning to turn against Jesus.  But at last he swallowed his pride, banished his fears, summoned his faith, and went to Jesus.  Perhaps his wife had said something to urge him on.  (John Phillips, Exploring the Gospels: Matthew, 166)

 

The dead were as unclean as menstruating women and lepers.  They could not be touched.  That is why Matthew points out that Jesus overthrew the taboo by taking the dead girl by the hand (v. 25).  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 156)

 

Many people surrounded Jesus as he made his way toward Jairus’ house.  It was virtually impossible to get through the multitude, but one woman fought her way desperately through the crowd in order to touch Jesus.  As soon as she did so, she was healed.  What a difference there is between the crowds that are curious about Jesus and the few who reach out and touch him!  Today, many people are vaguely familiar with Jesus, but nothing in their lives is changed or bettered by this passing acquaintance.  It is only faith that releases God’s healing power.  Are you just curious about God, or do you reach out to him in faith, knowing that his mercy will bring healing to your body, soul, and spirit?  (Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House, Wheaton, IL, 1991, 1815)

 

Even though Jesus was on His way to Jairus’ home to raise his daughter from death, He was not so preoccupied with that mission that He did not have time for this poor woman.  We can learn something from this incident:  Jesus is never too busy for us.  He does not have managers and assistants to keep people from contacting Him.  He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Mt 10:30), which means He has a complete and comprehensive knowledge of every creature in this world.  He knows all the worries that weigh us down.  He knows every pain we experience before we tell Him about them.  Yes, He is governing, upholding and sustaining the vast universe in all its complexity from moment to moment, but He still knows us, cares about us, and listens to our prayers.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 283)

 

The mourners exhibited neither the spiritual discernment nor the emotional sympathy that might have pierced through to Jesus’ meaning.  What it earned him at the time was scorn.  Yet this does not deter him from his course.  Another might have withdrawn in a huff, offended by the coarse rejection, and unwilling to serve in a context of such skepticism; but not Jesus.  Indeed, part of his mission was to be rejected!  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 227) (bold red emphasis Pastor Keith)

 

Scorners that laugh at what they see and hear that is above their capacity, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ, the glory of which lies not in pomp, but in power.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 125)

 

Jesus is all you need.  But you will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got and then you will discover that Jesus is all you need. — Steve Brown

 

As the ranking member of the Jewish religious establishment in Capernaum, which would have included scribes and Pharisees, Jairus may well have been a Pharisee himself.  As is clear from the earlier sections of Matthew and of the other gospels, the religious establishment in general was already developing strong opposition to Jesus even in this relatively early stage of His ministry.  Jairus could not have escaped being aware of this opposition, and when he came to Jesus for help he knew he would face criticism and pressure from his peers.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 76)

 

II-  With Jesus’ authority . . . nothing is beyond hope.  Not even death.  (Mt 9:22-26; see also: Mk 5:23, 28; Lk 8:41-48, Jn 11:1-45; 1 Cor chp 15; 2 Cor 4:7-5:10; Phil 1:21; 1 Thes 4:13-18; Rv 1:18; 21:3-5)

 

A hopeless Christian is an oxymoron.

 

To Jesus, death was only sleep.  This image is often used in the NT to describe the death of believers (Jn 11:11-14; Acts 7:59-60; 1 Cor 15:51; 1 Thes 4:13-18).  Sleep is a normal experience that we do not fear, and we should not fear death.  It is the body that sleeps, not the spirit, for the spirit of the believer goes to be with Christ (Phil 1:20-24; 2 Cor 5:6-8).  At the resurrection, the body will be “awakened” and glorified, and God’s people will share the image of Christ (1 Jn 3:1-2).  (Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Compassionate: A New Testament Study–Luke 1-13, 94)

 

Man’s way leads to a hopeless end!  God’s way leads to an endless hope! 

 

Death is the godly man’s wish, the wicked man’s fear.  (Samuel Bolton; The True Bounds of Christian Freedom,  46)

 

Hope is the banner of the faithful.  — H. C. Leupold

 

(Phil 1:21).  Dying is gain when you’re with the One who has authority over death.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 125)

 

Jesus is not denying her death; he is redefining it.  Her death is not the end.  It is not the grim reality it seems.  It is nothing worse than deep sleep.  In due course she will be getting up again.  In due course Jesus will be dying and getting up again, and because of this you and I will likewise be dying and getting up again.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 261)

 

The author of Hebrews describes Jesus as the one who has “set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death” (Heb 2:15).  The gospel of freedom proclaims that death is an illusion, a phantom, the bogeyman of little children:  death is simply a transition into the one experience worthy of the name life. (Brennan Manning; The Ragamuffin Gospel, 143)

 

Sleep is a short death, and death a long sleep.  But the death of the righteous is in a special manner to be sleep in Jesus (1 Thes 4:14); they not only rest from the toils and labors of the day, but rest in hope of a joyful waking again in the morning of the resurrection, when they shall wake refreshed, wake to a new life, wake to be richly dressed and crowned, and wake to sleep no more.  (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Vol. V, 124)

 

With God, indeed, death is sleep, for God can bring a dead person back to life sooner than a sleeping person can be wakened from sleep by humans; and God can sooner restore life-giving warmth to limbs frozen in death than humans can infuse vigor in bodies immersed in sleep.  Hear the words of the apostle:  “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye the dead shall rise.”  (Peter Chrysologus, Sermons 34.5)

 

“Sleep” is not infrequently a euphemism for death (Dn 12:2; Jn 11:11; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor 15:6, 18; 1 Thes 4:13-15; see also 2 Pt 3:4); but since sleep is here contrasted with death, something more must be meant.  If “sleep” in this context is precisely the equivalent of death, then Jesus’ statement reduces to something like, “Go away.  The girl is not dead but dead.”  Nor will it do to suppose that Jesus was referring merely to the physical reality:  everyone else had thought she was dead, but they were wrong, for in reality she was, quite literally, only asleep.  If that were all that was meant, this miracle would hardly have been special, and Jesus would have been ill placed to list, among his credentials, that “the dead are raised” (11:5).

The least that Jesus meant by this contrast between sleep and death was that in this instance the real death of the girl was not as final as the mourners thought.  In his presence, before his authority, death itself must flee.  Death is reduced to not much more than sleep.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 227)

 

We must learn to live in the expectation of death.  We must learn that we are finite.  We must fulfill our vocation.  Death reminds us that there is a cut-off point.  Without this sense of termination, we’d become lazy and aimless.  Death provides urgency.  (Michael Bauman, Roundtable: conversations with European Theologians, 147)

The most dangerous man on earth is the man who has reckoned with his own death.  All men die, few men ever really live.  Sure, you can create a safe life for yourself…and end your days in a rest home babbling on about some forgotten misfortune.  I’d rather go down swinging.  Besides, the less we are trying to “save ourselves,” the more effective a warrior we will be.  (John Eldredge; Wild at Heart, 169)

 

No one knows but that death is the greatest of all good to men; yet men fear it, as if they well knew that it is the greatest of evils.  Is not this the more reprehensible ignorance, to think that one knows what one does not know? — Socrates

 

The mourners were so luxuriating in their grief that they even resented hope.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 345)

 

All of us know that death still threatens us.  Luther prayed, “And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us.”  But it is death that is our moral enemy.  Its sting hurts; its victory wrests life from loved ones.

When we are trapped by this fear of death we cannot live abundant lives.  We cling to those things that appear to give life some semblance of permanence.  We do not feel free to take risks, and we find it hard to give generously without counting the cost.

Yet, Jesus taught that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24 RSV).  Dying, we live.  Jesus didn’t want death, but when it came he accepted it as part of the givenness of his life.  By dying, Christ robbed death of its power and delivered us from its terror.  So, fears may be liars.  Even that final fear!  (Richard L. Morgan; No Wrinkles On the Soul)

 

The knowledge of one’s own death is the essential fact that distinguishes us from animals.  — Soren Kierkegaard

 

Last words:

“Our God is the God from whom cometh salvation:  God is the Lord by whom we escape death.”  —Martin Luther

“Live in Christ, live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.”  —John Knox

“Thou, Lord, bruisest me; but I am abundantly satisfied, since it is from Thy hand.”  —John Calvin

“The best of all is, God is with us. Farewell! Farewell!”  —John Wesley

“I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness—satisfied, satisfied!”  —Charles Wesley

 

“For death of itself will never be desired, because such a desire is at variance with natural feeling, but is desired for some particular reason, or with a view to some other end.  Persons in despair have recourse to it from having become weary of life; believers, on the other hand, willingly hasten forward to it, because it is a deliverance from the bondage to sin, and an introduction into the Kingdom of heaven.”  (John Calvin; Commentary on Philippians 1:23)

 

Don’t fear tomorrow – God is already there.

 

In a sense, each of these women is restored to life, the one literally, the other metaphorically in that she is freed from twelve years of social restriction, and the use here of the language of “salvation” perhaps draws attention to this aspect of her deliverance.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 361)

 

III-  It is the object of our faith rather than the quality or quantity that matters to Jesus. (Mt 9:18b, 22; see also: Prv 3:5-6; Isa 26:3-4; Mt 11:1-6; Mk 5:34; 11:22; Lk 7:50; 8:48; Jn 1:12; 3:15-16, 18, 36; 6:29, 35, 40; 7:38-39; 11:25-26; 12:44, 46; 14:1-6; Acts 3:16; 10:43; 16:31; 26:18; Rom 3:22-26; 4:24; 10:9; Gal 2:16; 3:22-26; Phil 3:9; Col 2:12; 2 Tm 3:15; 1 Jn 5:13)

 

To become a Christian does not mean that you muster up or increase the level of your faith, but it means changing the OBJECT of your faith.  It means to change the object of your faith from yourself to Christ.

 

Jesus explained that it was not his clothing that had healed her; rather, her faith in reaching out to the one person who could heal her had allowed that healing to take place.  Not only did she have faith, but she had also placed her faith in the right person.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 189)

 

He was one of the men who despised and hated Jesus, and who would have been glad to see him eliminated.  No doubt he tried every kind of doctor, and every kind of cure; and only in sheer desperation, and as a last resort, did he come to Jesus at all.

That is to say, the ruler came to Jesus from a very inadequate motive.  He did not come to Jesus as a result of an outflow of the love of his heart; he came to Jesus because he had tried everything and everyone else, and because there was nowhere else to go.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 340-1)

 

Here is an astonishing thing.  The ruler came to Jesus with an inadequate motive; the woman came to Jesus with an inadequate faith; the blind men came to Jesus with an inadequate conception of who he was, or, if we like to put it so, with an inadequate theology; and yet they found his love and power waiting for their needs.  Here we see a tremendous thing.  It does not matter how we come to Christ, if only we come.  No matter how inadequately and how imperfectly we come, his love and his arms are open to receive us.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 341-2)

 

It means that we do not wait to ask Christ’s help until our motives, our faith, our theology are perfect; we may come to him exactly as we are.  And it means that we have no right to criticize others whose motives we suspect, whose faith we question, and whose theology we believe to be mistaken.  It is not how we come to Christ that matters; it is that we should come at all, for he is willing to accept us as we are, and able to make us what we ought to be.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 342)

 

Faith itself does not heal; God does.  The woman has faith in Jesus’ ability to heal her, which has brought her into this precarious public arena to seek out his healing.  The centurion believed that Jesus could heal his servant without being present, and this woman believes that any kind of contact with Jesus, even without him knowing it, will bring healing.  So her faith brings her to the place where God can heal her.  (Michael J. Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, 371)

 

This woman had heard about Jesus’ miracle-working power (apparently for the first time) and had come to Capernaum to find him (tradition says she was from Caesarea Philippi).  She worked her way through the crowd and came up behind Jesus.  She believed that she only had to touch the edge of his cloak (the tassels) and she would be healed.  Tassels were attached to the outer garment to remind Jews to follow God (Nm 15:37-38; Dt 22:12).  The effort to touch Jesus’ garment was due to the popular belief that the clothes of a holy man imparted spiritual and healing power (see Mk 6:56; Acts 19:11-12).  She may have feared that Jesus would not touch her if he knew her condition, that Jesus would not risk becoming unclean in order to heal her.  Or she may have feared that if her disease became known to the crowd, the people who had touched her would be angry at having become unclean unknowingly.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 188)

 

Need and desperation, like poverty of spirit (Mt 5:3), are often the first steps in the pathway of faith.  (D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 226)

 

Jesus wanted to teach her that his cloak did not contain magical properties but that her faith in him had healed her.  (Bruce B. Barton, D.Min., Life Application Bible Commentary: Luke, 222)

 

The lesson for us here, it seems to me, is that imperfect faith is far better than an enlightened cynicism.  Sometimes those of us who think we’re sophisticated tend to judge the simple and devout who are lighting candles, kneeling before statues, reciting set prayers, going through all sorts of little mechanical rituals as if those were the things that pleased God.  But we had better be careful about feeling superior to all this.  It’s better to have a superstitious type of faith that works than to be theologically sophisticated and ineffectual.  (Lloyd J. Ogilvie, The Communicator’s Commentary: Luke, 157-8)

 

Worry is faith in reverse.  When we trust, we don’t worry–when we worry, we don’t trust.   If you want to be miserable, worry.  If you want to be happy, trust.

 

It was the hard, haughty laughter of those who gloat over a foolish act or statement by someone to whom they feel superior.  That their weeping could so quickly turn to laughter, even mocking laughter, betrayed the fact that their mourning was a paid act and did not reflect genuine sorrow.  It also betrayed their complete lack of faith in Jesus’ power to raise the girl form the dead.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 85)

 

Hope sprang up in the ruler’s heart, only to be dashed.  There was an interruption and how the distracted father must have fretted at the delay!  Anyone with an ounce of imagination can picture the despair on this father’s face and read the new fears and frustrations that besieged his heart. . . . It was the Lord who caused the delay.  Perhaps He wanted to rebuke Jairus for his delay in coming.  Doubtless He wanted to address the poor woman.  Perhaps, as in the case of Lazarus (Jn 11:6, 15), He delayed going so there would be no doubt that He had actually raised the dead.  (John Phillips, Exploring the Gospels: Matthew, 167)

 

Often some great tragedy drives a person to Christ.  The person who feels no needs in his life has no hunger for God.  That is why the first step in witnessing is to convince people of their need of salvation and therefore of Christ as the only means for obtaining it.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 77)

 

He believed Jesus had the power to do what he asked of Him.  Such great faith is especially amazing in light of the fact that Jesus had not yet performed a resurrection miracle.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 78)

 

Jesus explicitly commended her, not saying, “I have made you well,” but “[Y]our faith has made you well” (v. 22).  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 259)

 

Worship Point:  If you fully believe the comprehensive authority and love of Jesus, worship must naturally occur.

 

The OT prophets predicted that the Messiah would have power to bring back wholeness to life (Isa 30:26; 35:5-6; 53:5; Mal 4:2; etc.), and when Jesus came into the world He demonstrated that power.  Though the final fulfillment of the prophecies regarding His power would be in the future, Jesus fully proved His ability to fulfill them during His ministry in Palestine–where He virtually banished disease, changed water into wine, multiplied food, calmed storms, cast out demons, forgave sins, and raised the dead.  He gave a sampling of the great and glorious future kingdom in which there would no longer be need for healing or food or calming of storms or raising from the dead.  When John the Baptist was facing imminent death in Herod’s prison and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He were truly the Messiah, Jesus told them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:  the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up” (Mt 11:4-5).

Jesus’ miracles were the verification of His divine might which He would reveal some day to reverse the curse and to restore righteousness, harmony, and peace in all of His creation.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 75)

 

Worship = a recognition of your desperate need for God.

 

Gospel Application:  Do you fully understand what Matthew has taught us up to this point?  The Jesus Who has authority over everything wants to heal and restore everyone who is able to humble themselves and seek His restoration.

 

“If you don’t see the absolute holiness of God, the magnitude of your debt, the categorical necessity of God’s just punishment of your sin, and therefore the utter hopelessness of your condition, then the knowledge of your pardon and deliverance will not be amazing and electrifying! “ — Tim Keller

 

What then is his intention in bringing her forward?  First, Jesus puts an end to her fear.  He does not want her to remain trapped in dread.  He gives no cause for her conscience to be harmed, as if she had stolen the gift.  Second, he corrects her assumption that she has no right to be seen.  Third, he makes her faith an exhibit to all.  He encourages the others to emulate her faith.  Fourth, his subduing the fountains of her hemorrhage was another sign of his knowledge of all things.  And finally, do you remember the ruler of the synagogue?  He was at the point of despair, of utter ruin.  Jesus is indirectly admonishing him by what he says to the woman.  (Chrysostom, The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 31.2)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Realize the extent of your fallenness and plead with Jesus to give you His heart and His mind so you might be restored and free.  If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.

 

Hope is one of the Theological virtues.  This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.  It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.  If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.  The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.  Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.  It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters.  Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you.  You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more–food, games, work, fun, open air.  In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object.  We must learn to want something else even more.  (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 118-9)

 

Yet you say you have never seen him and never known him.  I can tell you why.  You have always sought him by the lamp of your intelligence; you have always invited him into the cunningly arranged chambers of your fancy and imagination; you have always endeavored to tempt him by your intellectual curiosity.  To all these Herods and Pilates he answers nothing. To this man will I look, the man whose eyes are upon the dust, whose accusing hand is upon his heart, and who sobs rather than says his eager prayer.  You will send for him someday and he will come.  (Joseph Parker, Servant of All, Studies in Matthew 8-16, 70-1)

 

It was a saying of Bishop Latimer to Ridley, “When I live in a settled and steadfast assurance about the state of my soul, methinks then I am as bold as a lion.  I can laugh at all trouble:  no affliction daunts me.  But when I am eclipsed in my comforts, I am of so fearful a spirit that I could run into a very mouse-hole.”  (J. C. Ryle; Holiness, 121)

 

 

When as a young man D. L. Moody was called upon to preach a funeral sermon, he began to search the gospels to find one of Jesus’ funeral messages–only to discover that He never preached one.  He found instead that Jesus broke up every funeral He attended by raising the dead person back to life.  When the dead heard His voice, they immediately came to life.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 86)

 

Quotes to Note:

Even today there are interpreters who make allowance for the possibility that the ruler’s daughter was merely in a coma.  But Jn 11:11-14 presents a striking parallel.  When Jesus told the disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,” the disciples interpreted this saying literally.  They should have paid more attention to what the Lord had told them a few moments earlier, “This illness is not unto death…,” that is, “Death will not be the final outcome of this illness.”  Again and again the NT exposes as error the tendency to interpret every word of Christ literally (Jn 2:20, 21; 3:3, 4; 4:14, 15, 32, 33; 6:51, 52; 7:34, 35; 8:51, 52; 11:11, 12, 23, 24; 14:4, 5).  So also here in Mt 9:24 what Jesus says must not be interpreted literally but means that death would not have the final say.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 433)

 

 

 

Christ:

Hope for the

Hopeless

 

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