Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 9: 18-26

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Jesus Restores Life

Jesus Restores Life

General Idea: We continue, in this passage, the narrative of Matthew's feast. It is a testimony to the work of our Lord, and the role of faith in the Kingdom. We will see this theme of faith, and Jesus' intervention in the next several passages. It is not that faith causes healing; rather, it is faith that gets our Lord's attention. The faith is in Christ and what He can do, not in what we do.  
The Pharisees were still busy criticizing Jesus when a local ruler came, seeking Jesus' help. He was a prosperous and prominent man, and risked ridicule for himself to seek a miracle-that Jesus would raise to life his daughter who had just died. Jesus got up and went to his house. On His way, a woman who needed healing interrupted Jesus. She thought, all I have to do is touch His clothes, and I can be healed. And so, she was healed. Then, Jesus continued on to the ruler's house where the people there also ridiculed Him for even considering healing the girl, as she was already dead. Jesus took no provocation from them, but walked through the mockers, straight to the dead girl, and raised her to life.  
1.   A ruler came: This refers to one of the leaders, a chief official of the local Synagogue. This man would have been a prominent member of his community, and a person of major influence. He was a layman, who was responsible for the administration of the building and grounds, as well as for supervising the worship. Most synagogues had only one ruler.
a.   Consider the commotion he must have caused as he came, seeking Jesus where the Pharisees were criticizing Jesus.
                                                  i.   Some scholars have noted that this ruler may have been one of Jesus' followers, thereby showing a broad distinction, socially, between Matthew and himself (9:9).
                                                ii.    Thus, we see that Jesus attracted all kinds and levels of people, regardless of race, social status, or wealth; from the important leaders to the social outcasts, the man living in the street, the rich ruler, as well as the poor widow.
b.   Came and worshiped: He fell at Jesus' feet, as one would to a king. This action was reserved, on very rare occasions, for great men or before God in private prayer and mediation. Both testify to our Lord's Kingship and Lordship.
                                                  i.   For this ruler to do so, he would have had to recognize who Jesus was, and His ability to heal. He would also have had to humble himself a great deal, especially considering that the Pharisees, as well as his associates, were there, watching.
                                                ii.   Also, notice that this effort was for his daughter. Normally, such passion was reserved for a firstborn son. The mother would usually have been the one to intervene. He must have been a man of great integrity, passion, and love to have such warmth for a daughter in those times, and to cast aside his social status for her.
2.   A woman, who was sick from constant bleeding. Perhaps she had menstrual periods that lasted too long, causing anything from excess bleeding and discomfort, to extreme pain and constant bleeding. In any case, she was miserable, and needed help. She was a person who most people would not consider important enough to be helped.
a.   This sickness would also have made her unclean, and a social outcast, as others could not go near her. If someone did come near her, they would be unclean, too (Lev. 15:19-33).
                                                  i.   Jesus was not made unclean, because He healed her. So, she was not unclean when He touched her.
                                                ii.    Most teachers/rabbis in that time would not go near women for this reason; they did not know when their time of the month was, and did not want to take the chance of becoming accidentally unclean. This practice is still seen today in many Middle Eastern cultures.
b.   Because of her condition, she was unimportant in Jewish society. She may never have been married, or perhaps she was divorced. Either situation added to her misery and increased her desperation to touch Jesus. She was willing to go into a crowd where she did not belong, to take the chance of being thrown out of the community altogether, or even to be stoned.
c.   Mark 5:26 adds, "She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors."
                                                  i.   Modern medicine did not recognize such problems as hers until recently. Some still do not. Being treated for this today can still be a hectic ordeal.
                                                ii.    The Jewish Talmud (Ancient commentary still in use) gives us a record of medicines and treatments prescribed for illnesses of this sort.
d.   He saw her. The Jews and Greeks believed that only teachers who were the closest to God had supernatural knowledge.
3.  Your faith has made you well (healed). Blessings from God come to those who look to Him first. This is a testimony for us to look to our Lord for the solutions to our problems! Yes, we still should seek medical and other forms of help too, but our Lord is the ultimate help. Faith itself does not have power in and of itself; rather, it is the means of receiving God's power and intervention!
a.   The Greek word for healed actually means, "saved." Here, it is used both for physical healing ("be freed from our suffering"), and for spiritual salvation ("to go in peace"). The two themes of faith and healed are often seen together in Mark (Mark 2:1-12; 3:1-6).
b.   Touched the hem of His garment/edge of his cloak. These were the tassels made of blue, with cords braided together, that hung from the bottom of the garment. The Law required that all Jewish men wear these. (Num. 15:38-41; Duet. 22:12). Although she was determined to touch Jesus, it was not the touch that healed her; rather it was her faith that was rewarded.
c.   Mark 5:30 records that, "power had gone out from him." This does not mean Jesus was a power machine that healed. Rather, God graciously determined to heal her through the power that was active and granted in Jesus.
d.   Mark 5:32 adds, "kept looking around to see who had done it." Jesus was fully aware and omniscient, but this phrase is there to tell us He would not allow the woman to withdraw into the crowd without publicly acclaiming her faith, and reassuring her that she was permanently healed.
4.   Flute players. Professional musicians were often hired to play, and mourners to mourn, wail, and lament. They helped the grieving to vent their frustrations and grief. Even the poorest of the poor had to pay for mourners; it was required culturally, but not by the O.T.
a.   Fallen asleep. This is a euphemism for death, used by the unbelieving world, as well as by Jews. However, this does not mean your soul goes "asleep" when you die, and does not wake up until Christ's return. This was also a prophecy by Jesus that He would raise her from the dead (John 11:11-14).
b.   The most defying thing a Jew could do to be unclean was to touch a dead body (Num. 11-22). Once again, this Law did not affect Jesus, since the girl was healed and alive.
The crowds seeking favors, attention, and entertainment inundated Jesus. The woman had to get away from the crowd in order to seek Jesus and His healing. This required great faith and the determination--to go against the flow of her friends and culture, and to humble herself in order to receive His gift. If she had stayed in the crowd, she could not have grabbed His attention and received His healing. Likewise, the ruler could not have grabbed Jesus' attention unless he cut across his culture and pride to seek Him. We have to get away from the crowds that sometimes distract us from what Christ has for us. We need times to reflect, meditate, and seek His fellowship so we can be further instructed and empowered to serve and glorify Him more. We need to seek the most important healing of all, that of our soul. We need to allow Jesus to touch us, so our faith comes alive, and our virtue becomes evident to those around us. Does God have to get you away from the crowd so He can meet your needs?
1.   How do you react when you are suddenly caught up in a crowd? Are you excited to see what is going on, do you become claustrophobic, or what?
2.    How does the work of our Lord work together with the role of faith?
3.   Why do you think the ruler was so passionate for his daughter that he would risk embarrassment and possibly his position as a ruler, considering the culture at that time?
4.   Why do you think that this woman thought, all I have to do is touch His clothes and I can be healed?
5.   How would a modern male, a prominent member of his community, a person of major influence, react in a similar situation? How would you?
6.   How would you describe the commotion he must have caused as the Pharisees were criticizing Jesus, and he, a ruler, came in to seek His help?
7.   Jesus attracted all kinds and levels of people, regardless of race, social status, or wealth. How is this reflected in your church and friendships?
8.   What are some other areas a person can show great integrity, passion, and love? How have you done so?
9.   The woman was a person for whom most people would not see as important enough to be helped. Why was it so then, and why is it still so in many areas today?
10. How are women's needs and issues treated in your church? How should they be?
11. How would you have treated the woman, since anyone coming near her would also be considered unclean?
12. How do you think she responded to the miracle of her healing? What about the response of her family and community?
13. Why do blessings from God come to those who look to Him first? Do you think this is fair?
14. Do you think we still should seek medical and other forms of help, even though our Lord is the ultimate help? Would this express a lack of trust and faith? Consider that this is how some cult groups are, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Science.
15. Why do you suppose many teach that faith is like a magic wand and has power in and of itself? Is this from Scripture? (For Scriptural references, see our theological note on Faith in our Doctrine Channel.)
16. Some preachers see Jesus as a power machine for healing, and such. Is this the intention of Scripture? Many refer to this passage as their marching orders. Why is that?
17. Do you think that professional musicians and mourners really helped the grieving family and friends? Would they do so today?
18. The woman had to get away from the crowd in order to seek Jesus. What is your crowd that moves and blocks you? What is in the way from your drawing closer to Him?
19. Does God have to get you away from the crowd so He can meet your needs?
20.  How can Jesus' work, power, and purpose help you through desperate times of waiting, confusion, and hurt?
© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries

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