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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Luke 8:40–56]

WHEN Jesus reached the opposite shore, a great multitude came to receive Him. Among the people there was one of the rulers of the synagogue, named Jairus. This man threw himself at the feet of Jesus and besought Him: “Lord, my daughter is at the point of death; but come, lay Thy Hand upon her, and she shall live.” Now this maiden was twelve years old, and the only child of her parents. Jesus went with Jairus, being followed by His disciples and a great number of people.

Among those who followed Jesus and thronged around Him, there was a woman who had been suffering from an issue of blood for twelve years, and had spent all her fortune in paying doctors; but she could not be healed. She now made her way through the crowd, and came close to Jesus; for she thought within herself: If I shall but touch His garments, I shall be whole. So she walked behind the Saviour, and, stretching out her hand, she touched the hem of His garment, and immediately the issue of her blood stopped.

Then Jesus, turning round, asked: “Who hath touched My garment?” The woman, seeing that she could not hide herself, and trembling with fear, threw herself at His feet, and confessed for what cause she had touched Him. Jesus mildly said to her: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. Go in peace!”

While He yet spoke, a messenger came from the house of Jairus, saying: “Thy daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Master any further.” The father groaned in anguish, but Jesus said to him: “Fear not! Believe only, and she shall be safe.” On reaching the house, they saw the mourners weeping and lamenting over the dead girl. But Jesus said: “Why make you this ado and wailing? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” And they laughed Him to scorn. Then, going in with the afflicted father and some of the disciples to where the dead girl lay, and taking her by the hand, He said: “Talitha cumi”; that is, “Maid, arise!” Immediately her spirit returned, she rose and walked, and they gave her to eat. The fame of this miracle went abroad through the whole country.

Proofs of our Lord’s Divinity: 1. The wonderful cure of the sick woman showed our Lord’s Omnipotence; for it could only be a divine power which commanded sickness so imperatively, and restored health to men: “Virtue went out of Him and healed all” (Luke 6:19).—“In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally” (Col. 2:9). 2. This cure also showed forth our Lord’s Omniscience. Unobserved, as she supposed, in the midst of the crowd, the poor woman crept up to Him, and touched the hem of His garment. Jesus, however, knew that she had touched Him, and knew, moreover, that the touch had made her whole; but in order that she might not fall into the error of thinking she had been cured by some strange, mechanical, involuntary force, He said aloud: “I know that virtue is gone out from Me.” 3. The raising to life of the dead maiden showed that Jesus had dominion over life and death, being the Author of life, or, in other words, being God. Truly, indeed, did He say of Himself (chapter XXVI): “As the Father raiseth up the dead, and giveth life; so the Son also giveth life to whom He will.” Of the real death of the maiden there can be no doubt, because 1. all who were in the house knew that she was dead. 2. Our Lord knew that she was dead, when He said: “Believe only, and she shall be safe.” 3. The Gospel (Luke 8:55) says explicitly: “her spirit returned”. It is, therefore, an undoubted fact that the maiden had already departed this life.

The humility of Jairus and the infirm woman. Jairus, the rich and distinguished ruler of the synagogue, threw himself humbly on the ground at the feet of the poor Jesus of Nazareth, and begged for help. As for the woman, she felt herself to be so mean and wretched that she had not the courage to offer her petition to our Lord; and after she was healed, she fell trembling at His Feet, and related before the whole crowd from what misery she had been delivered. The very first maxim of the kingdom of God is this: “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Without faith, neither one nor the other would have obtained help. Our Lord said to Jairus: “Believe only, and she shall be safe”, and to the woman He said: “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” “If thou hadst not had faith, the touch of My garment would have availed thee nothing.” Without faith there is no cure for the body, no salvation for the soul.

The prayer of Jairus was heard, because he prayed with confidence and humility.

The hour of death is uncertain. Some die when they are young, as did the daughter of Jairus and the young man of Naim; others reach middle age, and some reach old age. We must, therefore, be always prepared for death and eternity.

Death is a sleep: 1. because the dead “rest from their labours” (Apoc. 14:13); 2. because they can work no longer; 3. because the bodies of the dead shall one day wake up again to life. The church-yard is “God’s acre”, where the bodies of the dead are sown like seeds of corn, ready to spring up at the Last Day (1 Cor. 15:42, 43).

APPLICATION. The sick woman had spent all her fortune, and submitted to painful remedies in order to recover her health. She was not to blame, for health is a great treasure. But the health of the soul is of far more importance than the health of the body. Why do you take so little care of your immortal soul? If ever your soul is sick, i. e. in a state of sin, spare no effort, no labour, by doing penance and making a good confession, to obtain its cure.








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