Luke continues to accumulate stories of the authority of Jesus over the issues of disease and death – today with the account of a woman with a problem of bleeding being healed by simply touching Christ, along with the account of the raising of the young daughter of Jairus.
All of this happens around crowds of people who welcomed Christ’s return to their region, for they were all expecting him. The woman had to press through crowds that were said to be almost crushing Jesus. Along with the grievous nature of her illness, it also made her ceremonially unclean and essentially an outcast. But her faith was strong, and she gains immediate healing. By asking who touched him, Jesus is not seeking information; rather, it is about desiring the woman to state her faith publicly.
As a ruler of the local synagogue, it adds to the remarkable nature of the faith of Jairus. And even when he receives word that the daughter has indeed died, he continues to believe that Jesus can change the situation. The scene is rather ridiculous. At one moment the people are mourning the death, to the extent that Jesus tells them to stop wailing – that the girl is merely asleep. Yet at the next moment, they are laughing at him for saying such a thing. The crowds are fickle – and that is our point today.
Jesus, upon the raising of the daughter in the presence of just the parents and the inner core of the disciples, tells them to not tell anyone what had happened. Why? This is because he did not want the news of his deeds and the following of disciples to escalate at a rate too quickly before the appointed time of his final work in Jerusalem.
But in this passage, as in so many others, we see crowds of people who are in awe of Jesus, many of them believing (rightly) that he was the Messiah. They loved the miracles and all the good things that Jesus could do for them. But where were these masses of people at the very end? Yes, there were adoring crowds to some extent at the triumphal entry. But ultimately the masses were shouting for his crucifixion.
It was one thing to follow Jesus on the small stage and in the remote comforts of one’s own town, but it was another thing altogether to be associated with him on the big stage in Jerusalem, as Jesus was in the angry hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans.
There is some timeless truth in this, isn’t there? It is one thing to be excited about Jesus in the relative comfort of the church community, but quite another thing to be associated with him in the hostile environment of our godless, secular culture. We desire that God does great things for us and we pray for his blessings in our lives, yet there is an inevitable cost to pay for discipleship in a world that is controlled (for now) by the king of darkness. But the cost is worth it, with rewards that are literally out of this world.
Luke 8:40 – Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”
50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.