To Be Like Yeshua Means – To Serve Others
In my last post, we learned what Yeshua had to say about fasting and new wine. In this post, we continue in the Christian Torah by looking at two more miracles of Yeshua. Mathew continues his account of Yeshua, in spite of the P’rushim, reaching out to two more unclean people—a woman with a bleeding disorder and a dead child—healing one and raising the other to life. Again, His compassion outweighs legalism.
Yeshua Goes to Restore Life
“While he was talking, an official came in, kneeled down in front of him and said, “My daughter has just died. But if you come and lay your hand on her, she will live.” Yeshua, with his talmidim, got up and followed him” ~ Mathew 9:18-19.
Yeshua was interrupted by a man who came with a need. To get the full story of this event, I will be pulling information from both Mark and Luke’s Gospel account to fill-in some of the blanks. Mark and Luke say this man’s name was Ya’ir (Jarius) (see Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41). He was a leader of the synagogue. 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 Ya’ir knelt before Yeshua, indicating homage and courtesy as he came with his urgent request. Neither position nor pressure could stop Ya’ir from coming to the one man who could help his daughter. (Mark and Luke add that she was twelve years old – see Mark 5:42 and Luke 8:42; Luke also adds that this was his only daughter.)
Mathew abbreviated this story by quoting the father as saying, “My daughter has just died.” In Mark’s account, we read that the daughter was dying, but while Yeshua was on the way, news came that the little girl had died. Mathew obviously intended to stress Yeshua’s authority over death, so he shortened the story, retaining Yeshua’s words and focusing on his power. While Yeshua could have healed (or raised) this young girl by speaking the word (as he had done with the centurion’s servant, Matthew 8:5-13), that was not Ya’ir’s request. Still, Yeshua responded to his faith. Yeshua apparently heard the urgency in the father’s voice and saw the strain of worry on his face, so he got up and followed him, with his talmidim. Mark adds that there was also a large crowd who went along. Thus, so many people filled the streets that they pressed around Yeshua (Mark 5:24).
Yeshua Heals a Woman with an Issue of Blood
On the way to Ya’ir’s home, Yeshua is delayed by a woman with an issue of blood.
“A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years approached him from behind and touched the tzitzit on his robe. For she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his robe, I will be healed’” ~ Mathew 9:20-21.
The woman had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. The bleeding was painful and may have been either a menstrual or uterine disorder. She had been to many doctors, had spent all her money, but had received no cure (see Mark 5:26). The bleeding caused the woman to be in a constant condition of ceremonial uncleanness (see Leviticus 15:25-33). She could not worship in the synagogue, and she could not have normal social or marital relationships, for under Jewish law, anyone who touched her also became unclean. Thus, the woman had been treated almost as severely as a leper.
In these two stories we find two people who sought Yeshua out – Ya’ir on behalf of his daughter, and this woman for her incurable disease. Both came in faith, knowing that Yeshua could take care of their particular problem. Ya’ir had already petitioned Yeshua, and Yeshua was on his way. This woman had heard about Yeshua’s miracle-working power and had come to K’far-Nachum to find him. The effort to touch Yeshua’s garment was due to the popular belief that the clothes of a holy man imparted spiritual and healing power (see Mark 6:56; Acts 19:11-12). She may have feared that Yeshua would not touch her if he knew her condition, that Yeshua 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. The woman knew she could receive healing, but she tried to do it as unobtrusively as possible. She thought that she would just be healed and go away.
Touching Him: Again, let’s ‘picture’ the story here. Lots of people were touching Yeshua that day, bumping against him, reaching out to shake his hand (or the equivalent), moving alongside the crowd. But one person touched Him in faith; that one person discovered Yeshua’s healing power. Mere curiosity, merely following the crowd, or casually brushing up against Yeshua does not represent the faith Yeshua looks for, the faith He responds to. The woman was desperate; she believed Yeshua could help; and she was determined, even if a bit bashful. We can follow her example when we truly lay our needs before Yeshua in prayer, believing he can help us.
“Yeshua turned, saw her and said, “Courage, daughter! Your trust has healed you.” And she was instantly healed” ~ Mathew 9:22. Oh, that requires a Hallelujah! Mark describes in detail the process of this healing (Mark 5:25-34) and places the healing before Yeshua’s words to the woman. Characteristically, Mathew was focusing instead on Yeshua’s authoritative words.
Someone had touched him in order to be healed. Clearly Yeshua healed the woman; her faith appropriated the healing, and Yeshua perceived what had happened. He turned, saw the woman who had been healed (in Mark he asked who had touched him, but He already knew). Then He spoke words of comfort to the woman, “Courage, daughter! Your trust has healed you.” Yeshua spoke to the woman in gentle words, calling her daughter, revealing a father-child relationship. She came for healing and received it, but she also received peace and a relationship with God himself because of her faith. Yeshua 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 which allowed that healing to take place. Not only did she have faith, but she had also placed her faith in the right person. She was instantly delivered from her bleeding and her pain.
Yeshua Restores the Physically Dead to Life
“When Yeshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar, he said, “Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!” And they jeered at him” ~ Mathew 9:23-24. As I said earlier, Mark explains that messengers then arrived to tell Ya’ir that his daughter had died. But this did not stop Yeshua. He took Kefa, Ya’akov, and Yochanan and continued on to the leader’s house.
The flute players and the uproar (loud crying and wailing) were all part of the customary ritual of mourning. Lack of weeping and wailing was the ultimate disgrace and disrespect. Some people, usually women, made mourning a profession and were paid by the dead person’s family to weep over the body. Ya’ir, the leader of the synagogue, was an important person in the town. Thus, at the death of his only daughter, the townspeople demonstrated their great love and respect for Ya’ir and his family by weeping and wailing.
Yeshua spoke words of encouragement, only to be jeered at. His words, the girl is not dead but sleeping, probably made Yeshua appear rather stupid – certainly anyone could tell death from sleep. Neither was she just in a coma from which Yeshua would awaken her as some have proposed. The girl was indeed dead, and everyone from the family to the mourners knew it. Yeshua knew it too, but his words tested the faith of the crowd and revealed to Ya’ir the hope beyond all hope of what Yeshua was about to do. She was dead, but Yeshua would bring her back to life, as if awakening her from sleep. Yeshua used the image of sleep to indicate that the girl’s condition was temporary and that she would be restored. Luke explained that when Yeshua lifted her up, her spirit returned to her (Luke 8:54-55).
“But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region” ~ Mathew 9:25-26:
Yeshua’s words sounded ridiculous to the faithless crowd. Their jeering became their judgment, they would not witness the miracle, for Yeshua put them all outside of the room. Then Yeshua took the child’s father and mother and the three talmidim who had come and entered where the child was, in an inner part of the house.
Yeshua had come to earth to conquer sin and death, and in this dramatic but quiet miracle, He would show His talmidim that power; and two bereaved parents would receive back their beloved daughter. Yeshua did no incantations and spoke no magic words, as other healers of the day normally did. He simply went to the girl’s bedside and took her by the hand. Again, the fact that Yeshua touched the girl’s hand would have amazed the proper synagogue leader and the talmidim. Touching a dead body meant you became unclean. But Yeshua had already dealt with a demon-possessed man and a woman with an incurable issue of blood and had touched and healed them. Touching the dead girl confirmed once again that to Yeshua, compassion was more important than the letter of the law.
Yeshua took the girl’s hand in his, He issued a command (Mark 5:41 ~ “Taking her by the hand, he said to her, “Talita, kumi!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”), and the dead child arose. Just as the healings Yeshua performed were always complete, so the rising of this young girl from the dead was complete. This was not the first time the talmidim had witnessed the raising of a dead person. Luke 7:11-15 records Yeshua raising a boy near the village of Nain. Yet, even in this instance, the talmidim were amazed. When the girl came back to life, perhaps the talmidim may have wondered (as they did after Yeshua calmed the storm), “Who then is this, that the dead can be brought back to life?” Yeshua would raise yet another person ~ His friend Lazarus (dead and buried for four days—recorded in Yochanan 11). Then finally and most dramatic of all, Yeshua himself would rise from the grave and spend time with the talmidim before returning to His Father. Yeshua had authority and power over humanity’s greatest enemy – death.
Lessons learned from vv. 18-26:
- We need to come to Yeshua in the hour of our bitterest sorrow, our deepest need; He will come to those who come to Him.
- He already knows all our troubles, all our hidden grief’s. “Be not afraid, only believe.”
- Be not content with outward forms; put forth the hand of faith and touch the Lord.
- “Arise!” he says. May he give us grace to listen now, to hear and live, that we may share the final resurrection of the righteous!
In my next post, we will conclude our exploration of Matthew 9.
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