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Matthew 9:18-26 – What others say about Jesus knowing how to care for people

In the 9th chapter of Matthew we can see how Jesus had a busy time. It shall not stay with this first time that Jesus would be interrupted in his talks. In this story the conversation with John’s disciples about fasting gets interrupted when a powerful man or “synagogue leader” comes to kneel before the Nazarene master.

in his writing of

Notice what an unusual request is being made. Jesus is asked to bring the man’s dead daughter back to life.

Browne remembers

It’s a bold request from a community leader who understands that touching a dead body will make Jesus unclean for a week, but he’s desperate. Jesus agrees to go (8:19).

When Jesus heads for the man’s house, an other desperate person wants to cling to Jesus.

In any communal event, she isn’t given the seat of honour: she’s expected to stand in the corner away from everybody else, for anything she sits on or anyone she touches will become unclean. Lev 15:19-33 spelled this out, and the verbal traditions of the Jewish leaders were so comprehensive that they formed an entire tractate of the Mishna when written down (Zabim). She’s on the lowest rung of communal life.

File:Healing of a bleeding women Marcellinus-Peter-Catacomb.jpg

The healing of a bleeding woman, Rome, Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter.

The woman, who had suffered from chronic bleeding for many years, and who had many treatments which did not help (Mark 5:25-28), wanted just to touch Jesus his cloak with the belief that if she could just touch his garment that she would be healed of her affliction. When she managed to try to do such an unnoticed act, Jesus noticing it, stopped and understood the fears that had made her attempt to take what she feared would have been denied her. He addresses her and

His words affirm the dignity and significance she doesn’t feel she has:

  • Instead of telling her off for touching him, he affirms her: “Be encouraged!”

  • Instead of treating her as a nuisance, he acknowledges her place in the family: “Daughter.”

  • Instead of rebuking her, he commends the confidence she placed in him: “Your faith has rescued you.”

In that action we can see how important faith in Jesus is to salvation. Not only suffering would come to an end, hope is given for a better life, even when there has been death.

Browne questions:

Now, seriously, who had the greater faith here? The woman who pushed in to get her healing? Or the ruler who believed Jesus could raise his daughter back to life? The ruler receives no such commendation for his faith. He didn’t need it. It’s the bleeding woman from the bottom rung of society whom Jesus stops to affirm. In fact, she’s the only person in Matthew’s Gospel to whom Jesus said those amazing words,

“Your faith has saved you.”

After the diversion, Jesus continued to the ruler’s house, where flute players and mourners where already making a commotion to ensure no one in the community was uninformed about their ruler’s loss (9:23). The community protocols requiring a display of grief are rather shallow: they quickly melt into laughter when Jesus suggests the girl is not dead but resting (9:24).

Jesus takes the dead girl by the hand, and raises her up. Touching the bleeding woman had not made Jesus unclean; it made her clean. Touching the corpse didn’t contaminate Jesus; it broke death’s hold on the girl. In Jesus, the defilement of the world is being undone; uncleanness and death are losing their grip.

Matthew doesn’t tell us how the girl’s parents responded. You can guess. What he declares is a kingdom statement, the news of Jesus restoring the land (9:31).

Those of us who are servants of Jesus’ kingdom could do well to meditate on how he cared across all the strata of society, and how he gave his richest encouragement to the people who needed it most.

 Open Matthew 9:18-26.

Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (London: SPCK, 2004), 104–105:

Two of the things that were near the top of the list, things to avoid if you wanted to stay ‘pure’ in that sense, were dead bodies on the one hand, and women with internal bleeding (including menstrual periods) on the other. And in this double story Jesus is touched by a haemorrhaging woman, and then he himself touches a corpse.
No Jew would have missed the point — and Matthew was most likely writing for a largely Jewish audience. In the ordinary course of events, Jesus would have become doubly ‘unclean’ …
But at this point we realize that something is different. Her ‘uncleanness’ doesn’t infect him. Something in him infects her.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 9:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Bridegroom and Fasting

Matthew 9:14-17 – What others are saying about feasting at the sinners’ table instead of fasting for God’s table

Matthew 9:18-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured

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  2. Today’s Scripture – October 31, 2016
  3. On Jairus’ Daughter and the Woman with the Bleeding (Mk. 5:21-43)
  4. Haggai 2:12-13, Mark 5:25-29
  5. A Loving God
  6. Dead men’s bones and uncleanness
  7. Daring to Pray
  8. The 2 Essential Skills of Great Leaders You Can’t Learn from a Book
  9. Don’t try and steal Jesus’ power

Matthew 9:18-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured

Matthew 9:18-26 – On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured

|| Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56

MT9:18 While Jesus was speaking these things, look! one of the rulers[1] approached him and prostrated himself by bowing to the ground,[2] telling Jesus,

“My daughter has just died but come and touch her and she will live[3] [again].”

File:Christ heals bleeding woman.jpg

Christ heals bleeding woman

MT9:19 And so Jesus rose and with his disciples he followed the ruler. MT9:20 And, look! a woman suffering from a twelve-year hemorrhage[4] approached Jesus from behind touching the fringe of his outer-garment.[5] MT9:21 She had told herself,

“If only I might just touch his outer-garment I shall be saved.”[6]

MT9:22 But, turning Jesus saw her and said,

“Courage, daughter, your faith has saved you.”

And in that hour[7] the woman was saved. MT9:23 Finally, Jesus came into the house of the ruler and when he saw the flutists and the crowd making an uproar,[8] MT9:24 he told them,

“Everyone, go outside, for the little girl is not dead[9] but sleeping.”

These people were disgusted[10] and laughed at Jesus. MT9:25 But, when the crowd was pushed outside Jesus took the hand of the little girl and she rose. MT9:26 Thus, Jesus’ fame[11] spread throughout the whole land.[12]

*

[1] Rulers: The Greek is ARCHON and is variously rendered: NASB: synagogue official; TCNT: President of a Synagogue; RIEU: one of the elders; NJB: one of the officials.

[2] Prostrated himself by bowing to the ground: The Greek is PROSEKUNEI which means to bow before and kiss the sandals or fringe of the garment. Though the KJV versions uses “worshipped” (which is much misunderstood) others render: MOF: knelt before; DIA: prostrated; NAS: bowed down; WMS: fell on his knees.

[3] Will live: The Greek is ZESETAI (Compare Revelation 20:4).

[4] Hemorrhage: The Greek is HAIMORROUSA and is variously rendered: KIT: flux of blood; KJV: issue of blood; BECK: flow of blood. Such a thing made anyone who touched her ceremonially unclean. The other accounts relate how she had spent all her money on a cure and was only made worse by the doctors. This poor soul has suffered much for a long time.

[5] Outer-garment: The Greek is HIMATIOU from which English gets “hem.” Her language indicates she must have bowed low to touch the fringe of his garment.

[6] Saved: The Greek is SOTHESOMAI and is also rendered: KJV: whole; RHM: made well; PME: I shall be all right.

[7] That hour: Possibly it would have taken her awhile to note she was no longer bleeding. By then the Nazarene would have been gone into the house of the ruler.

[8] Flutists and the crowd making an uproar: Possibly paid mourners to demonstrate the household’s grief.

[9] Not dead: Perhaps not “clinically” or somatically dead.

[10] People were disgusted: Or, laughing scornfully; BER: laughed derisively; LB: scoffed and sneered.

[11] Fame: The Greek is PHEME from which “fame” is rooted in English. It has been quite a day with more to come.

[12] Land: The Greek is GEN meaning “earth” with a range of understandings revealed by the context.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 9:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Bridegroom and Fasting

Matthew 9:14-17 – What others are saying about feasting at the sinners’ table instead of fasting for God’s table

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Related articles

  1. A Busy Day for Jesus
  2. Matthew 9:18-26
  3. Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity – Matthew 9:18-26
  4. Follow (Part 4) Sermon Questions
  5. Thoughts to Ponder from Matthew 9:18-26
  6. Mourning or Miracle?
  7. Human faith is not the same thing as genuine faith
  8. Daring to Pray

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