Luke 8:41-42 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
Most religious leaders were not favorable toward Jesus, but the urgency of his need compelled Jairus to seek the Lord’s help, regardless what others might think. By throwing himself at Jesus’ feet, he honored him as a king.
Desperation can awaken us to our need for Jesus Christ. We might do as we please when life is going well. But when a crisis comes, we turn to Christ instinctively, and begin to reform our lives. Some go back to their old ways, after the crisis has passed, but this is never wise. Our need for Christ is always the same; desperation only makes it clear to us.
Luke 8:42-43 As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.
As Jesus went to Jairus’ house, he encountered a woman with an ailment. We do not know her exact condition, but it appears to be menstrual. It kept her from a normal lifestyle, and may have kept her from marriage. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse (Mark 5:26), wrote Mark.
This dear lady was so miserable that she was willing to spend her last penny trying to get well. She probably traveled from town to town, seeking the best physicians, and taking their medications. But all the doctors, and all their advice, only made her worse. And now she was broke.
Luke 8:44 She came up behind [Jesus] and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
Instead of approaching Jesus directly, she snuck up from behind. The explanation for this is found in an Old Testament passage she probably knew well. When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean (Leviticus 15:25), wrote Moses. And anyone who touched her would also be unclean (Leviticus 15:27). Since Jesus was a holy man, he might want to avoid her. So she decided to get her healing secretly. If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed (Matthew 9:21), she said to herself.
Luke 8:45 Who touched me? Jesus asked.
After she was healed, the woman wanted to slip away unnoticed, but Jesus called her out. Since her condition was known publicly, her healing should also be known publicly, so she would no longer be an outcast. 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. Then he said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace (Luke 8:47-48).
The woman’s physical, emotional and spiritual suffering came to an end because of Jesus Christ. This reminds us of what Christ will do for everyone in the age to come. Sin brought misery into the world (Genesis 3:16-19), but Christ is reversing the curse. We may have to wait for a while, but we will not be disappointed.
Luke 8:49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. Your daughter is dead, he said. Do not bother the teacher anymore.
The delay caused by the ailing woman made Jairus nervous. Time was of the essence, and they had to move quickly. But they did not move quickly enough, and his dread fear was confirmed. Your daughter is dead . . . . Do not bother the teacher anymore. Jairus was devastated. The hope went out of his eyes, the blood drained from his face, and he went weak in the knees. What could be worse than the death of his little girl.
Luke 8:50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, Do not be afraid; just believe.
This would not be easy, of course, since faith and fear compete. We can allow fear to overcome faith, or we can allow faith to overcome fear. Whenever fear threatens our faith, we should banish fear by trusting Christ.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10), wrote Isaiah.
Luke 8:51 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.
Peter, John and James were Jesus’ closest disciples. They were given the honor of being with him, not only here, but also at his transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13), and while he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-34). The closer we are to Jesus Christ, the more we will see, and the more we will be amazed.
Luke 8:52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for [Jairus’ daughter].
Funerals were often held the same day someone died, and professional mourners might be used to help with the grieving process. If you go to a funeral where everyone is weeping, something inside you will want to weep. The ministry of mourners was to help people weep, so they could heal emotionally. But Jesus thought this was premature.
Luke 8:52 Stop wailing, [he] said. She is not dead but asleep.
The death of God’s people can be described as sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51) because we wake up in a better place. But in this case, Jesus would turn her death into a nap. So, he took her by the hand and said, My child, get up! Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up (Luke 8:54-55).
We should imagine her parent’s delight as they received their little girl back to life. What a party must have followed! You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy (Psalm 30:11), wrote the Psalmist. Jesus Christ has power over death.
A young man developed cancer and was afraid to die. He desperately wanted to be healed, but then he understood that healing would only delay the inevitable. So he put his faith in Jesus Christ and said, I finally found the answer to the six foot hole (Paul Azinger). Life’s greatest concern is not how to live a little longer, but how to live forever. The answer is found in Jesus Christ, and nowhere else.
Reflection and Review
Why does desperation awaken us to God?
How can faith overcome fear?
Why are some people afraid of dying?