Jesus Triumphs Over Sickness and Death
“And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”—Luke 8:41-56
There are two incidents in this passage of Scripture which are closely connected. Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue, that synagogue which had been built for the Jews by a Roman centurion and which has recently been discovered, of which the ruins are still to be seen. The ruler, with a sad heart, came and fell down at Jesus’ feet. He had only one daughter, about twelve years of age. I imagine every parent of a sick daughter can share his feeling. This daughter was the light of her father’s eyes and the joy of his soul. It seemed as though no power on Earth could save her. But Jarius believed that Jesus had power and could heal his daughter, therefore he sought Him out, and in an attitude of supplication, pleaded with Him to come to his house and heal his child. The Saviour immediately started to go with him. On the way, as the crowd thronged Him, a woman who was suffering from a constitutional illness, having heard that Jesus was in the way, said in her heart, “Perhaps He could do something for me.” So she endeavored to reach Him.
It is a remarkable fact that Luke the physician should write that this woman had spent all her living on many physicians. Many of the physicians were of an honorable character, but they could not heal her. She had suffered from the use of all kinds of medicines and drugs of those days which were used in her type of disease; but she became steadily worse.
When she learned that Jesus was in the city, she recalled the many instances in which He was reported to have healed sick people. Faith sprang up in her soul, and she determined to contact Him. He is the great physician. No one came to Him for healing on Earth to be rejected. His power is just the same now: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever. He who of old could speak the word and even death would flee before Him, is still Lord over sickness and death. On the other hand, it is well to remember that there is no promise in Scripture that He will always deliver those today who come to Him suffering from physical ailments. If this were true, no Christian need ever be sick. Sometimes instead of healing He does something better, as in the case of Paul, who sought deliverance from the thorn in the flesh which was causing him so much physical anguish. The Lord said, as it were, I will not free you from suffering, Paul, but I will give you grace to bear it. Some day He will come in glory and we will be delivered from all the effects of sin, sickness, and suffering of every description. That will be the day of the redemption of the body, when these bodies of our humiliation will be made like unto the body of His glory. But even now we are at liberty to come to Him and ask Him to heal us, and to pray one for another that we may be healed; but, always in subjection to His holy will. It was in this spirit that Jairus came to Him, and in the same way this poor woman sought to get in touch with Him.
Evidently she shrank from coming out in the open and telling her story, knowing that all those people were looking on; but she said within herself, “If I can only touch the hem of His garment I will be healed.” Every orthodox Jew wore a blue border on his garment in accordance with the instructions given in the law of Moses, which indicated that he belonged to the God of heaven. This blue border, undoubtedly, was seen upon the garment of our blessed Lord, who was subject to the law of God in all things. And so, this poor, sick woman, pressing her way through the crowd and reaching out her trembling hand, touched that blue border; and in a moment she felt in her body that she was free of her disease. Filled with thankfulness to God, she would doubtless have returned to her own home to fall down before Him in prayer and give Him glory for what He had done for her through the Lord Jesus Christ, but our Saviour did not permit her to go away privately. Jesus turned and asked, “Who touched me?” All denied, and we are told “Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?” It was as though they would reprove Him because of His apparently unreasonable question. With so many people crowding about Him, He must have been touched by numbers of them; but He drew a very definite distinction between the thronging, and touching Him in faith. He replied, “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” Notice that whenever the blessed Lord healed anyone, He entered with them into their troubles and pains. That is what Isaiah meant when he said, “Himself took our infirmities and bear our sicknesses.” It was not on the cross that He did this but in His life here on Earth as He went about doing good and healing all who came to Him. It cost Him something to deliver people from their sicknesses; He took the burdens, as it were, the suffering, and the grief upon Himself; and so, literally, He gave of Himself in order that they might be healed.
We are told that when the woman saw she was not hid, “she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.” It was a wonderful testimony to His power and compassion, and no doubt, brought a great blessing to this woman’s own soul when she made her open confession. It always brings blessing when one confesses the goodness of the Lord, that is why were are told in Romans: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
In this instance the Lord Jesus, having heard the healed woman’s grateful acknowledgment, said to her tenderly, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” What blessed assurance these words must have given her, added to the thrill that had gone through her body when she had touched the garment of Jesus. She knew her healing was complete and she was never again to suffer what she had in the past, for she had contacted the great Healer Himself.
Her case is a beautiful illustration of how men and women today afflicted with the incurable disease of sin, may find deliverance when they reach out their hands in faith and touch the blessed Lord Himself. Reformation will not give this deliverance, neither will joining the church, nor participation in sacramental observances; but Jesus Himself received in faith gives immediate salvation. We cannot see Him now with the visible eye, but He is close beside us nevertheless, near enough for us to reach Him in faith. For that which is seen is not faith: faith consists in taking Him at His word, even though our mortal eyes do not behold Him. He stands beside every sickbed; He is present in every prison cell; He walks through the mart of commerce; He passes up and down the aisles of every school room; He is close at hand in every home; and, He says, as it were, to every troubled soul: “Just reach out the hand of faith and trust Me; I will make you whole.” Think of His words uttered so long ago to a weary, restless world, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
If these words come to any who have not yet contacted Him, I plead with you, even now, look up in faith into His blessed face and trust Him for yourself, and hear Him say, “Be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
But now we turn to consider the second incident in the passage we have before us. We read that while the Lord was on His way to the house of Jairus, one came from that home, saying, “Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.” It was a sad message. It seemed to be too late for Jesus to do anything—if He had gotten there before He might have helped, but now the little one is dead and nothing more can be done. But they were to learn that it is never too late for Jesus: it is never too late for Him to hear the prayer of faith. Jairus had come to Him with earnest purpose of heart, counting on Him to heal his little girl. It looked as though all hope was gone, but He was soon to realize that not only has Jesus power to deliver from sickness, but He is Himself the resurrection and the life. He spoke words of quiet assurance to give rest to that anxious father, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.” I wish I could stress those four words “Fear not: believe only” with such power that any beholding them might feel their force and look up in faith to Jesus. It is so easy to become concerned about the perplexing things of life and the sorrows that we have, that we lose sight of the blessed Saviour and forget that we have to do with One who is omnipotent. If Jesus cannot help in every time of trouble, He is not the Saviour whose coming the prophets of old had predicted; but He has demonstrated over and over again His power to give deliverance to all who believe His Word.
If these words come to anyone who is suffering because of bereavement, or of a broken home, or on account of wayward children, or severe sickness, or great sorrow; let me plead with you to look up to Him who says, “Fear not: believe only,” and be assured that He will undertake for you. You wrong your own soul if you do not bring your griefs to Him.
It is well to remember that nothing takes our blessed Lord by surprise. When He started for the house of Jairus, He knew exactly all that was going to take place. He knew the little girl would die before He reached the home, but He was going there to restore that child to her parents. So when He came to the place of mourning, death fled away as it will when Jesus comes again to call His own to be with Himself, when death will be swallowed up in victory.
Entering the house, the Lord Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John into the room where the body of the little girl lay. Hired mourners had already been brought in, and in their oriental fashion, they were wailing and weeping and making a great deal of noise and confusion; but the Lord Jesus bade them leave, saying, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.” Unwillingly they left the room, laughing Him to scorn, we are told, knowing in their hearts that she was dead. They did not understand that all live unto Him; that even though the body may be dead He recognizes the spirit as alive, and He saw in the cold form of that little girl just a sleeping child soon to be awakened. To Him death was only that. When Lazarus died, you remember, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” The disciples did not understand and they said, “Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.” Then Jesus said plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” And so He said of the little girl, “she is not dead, but sleepeth.” When all had left the room save the parents, and the three chosen disciples, the Saviour took the little girl’s hand in His and said, “Maid, arise.” Or it might be “Little girl, wake up.” Instantly, the flush of life came back into those hitherto pale, cold cheeks: the warmth of blood circulating anew went through the entire body, for “her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.” What a moment of joy it must have been to the parents as they clasped their darling in their arms again alive and fully recovered from her disease.
While all this took place literally just as it is written here, it is also a wonderful picture of the way in which those who are dead in trespasses and sins are brought into life through Christ. When a boy or girl puts his trust in the Lord Jesus, immediately he receives divine life; or, whether it be an adult, after years in which it has been demonstrated that the person is dead in trespasses and sins, when Jesus speaks and he hears the Saviour’s Word, he is quickened into newness of life.
But the young convert needs food in order to be strengthened and built up; and so, just as the Lord Jesus commanded that something to eat be given the little one, young Christians need the sincere milk of the Word that they may grow thereby.
As we think of the joy of Jairus and his wife when their little one was restored to them, we may well look forward with eager expectation to the wondrous moment when millions of parents are going to rejoice when the tombs give up their dead and their dear ones, who have been taken from them here on Earth, shall be given back to them in that glorious day of Christ’s triumph. All who have died in Christ will be in that resurrected company, and we may be assured that loved ones will seek each other out and will know even as they have been known.
“When I shall meet with those that I have loved,
Clasp in my eager arms the long removed
And know how faithful Thou to me has proved
I shall be satisfied.”
How sweet the words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
Just one added thought and it is this: There are experiences so sacred between the soul and the Lord that others could not understand and might thoroughly misunderstand if we said much about them. The Lord Jesus charged these astonished parents that they should tell no man what was done. It was to be something between Him and themselves; it was altogether too sacred to be talked about, unless, indeed, as commanded of the Lord. And so, there are precious things revealed to the soul in communion with Christ that are not meant for the outside world. His Gospel we are to give to everyone, but there are some things too precious to pass on to those who have no knowledge of Christ.