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Yellow Balloons Devotional Series: Advent

Matthew 9:18-26

Jesus returns to His people in the Galilee region. As He heals the sick, many sinners and outcasts flock to Him. Jesus calls the tax collector Matthew to be His disciple. He stops a woman’s hemorrhage, he causes two blind men to see, casts out more demons, and raises a dead girl back to life. Throughout this chapter, Matthew introduces the outward opposition of the Pharisees to Jesus and His kingdom. Their bitterness and outrage does not douse Jesus’s compassion or distract Him from His mission. Matthew demonstrates clear evidence that Jesus is the Messiah while explaining the opposition to His claim from the leaders that ought to have welcomed His reign.


Jesus performs two more miracles. A father comes to Jesus and asks Him to raise his dead daughter back to life. While Jesus travels to the dead daughter’s home, another woman who has been hemorrhaging for twelve years reaches out and silently touches Jesus’s garment and is healed. Jesus turns to her and affirms her value and faith. When He arrives at the father’s house, Jesus dismisses the crowd and raises the young girl back to life.

Jesus’s conversation with the disciples of John was interrupted, for while He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came with heartbreaking news. Synagogues were the local meeting places where Jews assembled to commune, worship, and study God’s law. They were the domain of the Pharisees. Local leaders typically appointed an official to take care of the building and preserve the sacred scrolls that belonged to it. The synagogue official was usually a responsible layman, respected in the community. Mark and Luke report that this synagogue official’s name was “Jairus” (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41).

The synagogue official came and bowed down before Jesus, showing Him respect before telling Him the terrible thing that just happened. My daughter has just died, he tells Jesus. She was still a child and according to Mark and Luke was twelve years old, Jairus’s only daughter (Mark 5:42; Luke 8:42).

This man shares this dreadful news with a hope-filled faith. But come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live. The synagogue official had no doubt heard, or perhaps even witnessed, Jesus performing miracles healing lepers, paralytics, fevers, and casting out demons. Now that his daughter had died, he had nowhere else to turn. Based on what he had heard or seen, he believed that Jesus had the power to bring her back to life. Jesus got up and began to follow this father to his home. His disciples did the same.

Along the way, Matthew tells us that a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage follows after Jesus. She might have been suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding. Apart from the physical suffering she would have endured, she would have also been considered ritually unclean according to the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 19:15-30). She had been suffering under these physical and social conditions for twelve years.

As Jesus passed by the woman came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak. Matthew tells us that she did this because she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” She knew Jesus had the power to heal her hemorrhage. But she appeared to be ashamed or afraid to publicly ask Him to make her well. Perhaps because her malady was so personal. So she attempted to seek healing covertly by touching Jesus’s garment.

She touched the fringe of His cloak which meant she touched the tassels of the rabbinical shawl wrapped around Jesus. Rabbinical tassels (and phylacteries) were worn by religious leaders throughout Judea. Some Pharisees and Sadducees would make a show of them as a way of displaying their righteousness before men. The bigger, longer, flashier the tassels were, the more righteous the scribe who wore it supposedly was (Matthew 23:5). Because of this, many people associated a scribe’s tassels with his righteousness. That was likely the reason this woman reached to touch the fringe of Jesus’s cloak. It was where the tassels were.

After she touched Jesus in faith, He turned around, saw her, and said “Daughter, take courage; Jesus showed that He valued her by calling her,Daughter.” He told this fearful daughter to not be afraid or ashamed but to take courage. He then explained, your faith has made you well. Christ’s power had healed her, but she received His healing grace through her faith (timid though it was) in Jesus’s power. Matthew concludes this encounter by explaining that at once the woman was made well.

Mark and Luke both add that when she touched Jesus, that He was surrounded by a crowd of people pressing against Him and He noticed power go out from Him and asked “Who touched me?” His disciples were perplexed by what He meant by this until Jesus explained what had happened, and began talking to this daughter. Mark and Luke add that as this event was occurring that the report came from Jairus’s house that his twelve-year old daughter died (see Mark 5:24-36; Luke 8:43-50).

When Jesus came into the official’s house, He saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder. This word translated crowd is the same as translated “crowds” in 7:28, referring to the disciples who heard the Sermon on the Mount. That infers the group of disciples listening to the Sermon on the Mount could have been a number of people who would fit into the official’s house.

Lamentations and dirges filled the air. Flute-players were sometimes hired to play sad music in houses where someone died. When Jesus saw and heard this commotion, He tried to disperse the crowd, telling them to Leave. There was no cause to mourn, for, Jesus claims, the girl has not died, but is asleep. It is not clear why Jesus said that she had not died, when the girl was reported to be dead. Perhaps He was speaking prospectively. Perhaps He knew something they did not. In any event, it appears He did not wish to have a crowd around Him when He raised her back to life. Perhaps He wanted to downplay what He was about to do.

But when He said this, the crowd began laughing at Him. Their laughter was either a scoffing laugh in offense to what He just said, or it showed the hypocrisy of the professional lamenters when they broke character from their “purchased” sorrow at Jesus’s comment. But when the crowd had been sent out, Jesus entered the room where the dead body lay, and took the girl by the hand, and the girl got up. She was pronounced dead. Now she was alive. Jesus had raised the girl to resume life.

Not surprisingly, this news spread throughout all that land (Galilee and beyond).

9:18-26 While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples. And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well. When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, He said, “Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him. But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. This news spread throughout all that land.