Matthew 9:18-26

While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples.

Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district. Matthew 9:18-26

They laughed at him. What were they laughing at?

A crowd has gathered outside of the home of a local religious leader. His daughter has just died. We can well imagine the speed at which that story churned through the neighborhood. Everyone slows down when driving by a deadly accident on the highway. The local news usually opens with the latest body count. We love football even if it means ignoring the potential long term consequences of young men banging their heads into each other. Then Jesus showed up – and the gathering crowd laughed at him.

Jesus had said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” That’s why they laughed. Was he making a joke? What he just cold stone stupid?

On the way to the house Jesus was touched by a woman who had been suffering for twelve long, lonely, painful, and tragic years. Her bleeding, absolutely no fault of her own, rendered her ritually unclean and socially unacceptable. Her natural suffering was intensified by the unnatural reaction of her community. They didn’t understand her bleeding. Maybe they thought it was contagious? Far better to ostracize her than to accommodate her – after all, that is what the ritual purity laws demanded. Jesus was her last chance. She pushed to the front of the crowd and grabbed him by the fringes of his robe.

Notice how Jesus addresses this woman. He calls her “daughter.” Not stranger, not outcast, not unclean. He chooses one of the most wonderful words in the world. Daughter. I am blessed with both a beautiful daughter and step-daughter. I would do anything I could for Kate and Ron would do the same for Emma. I know both are strong and gifted young women, fully capable of carrying their own weight, but they are daughters and I am a father and I know there will ever and always be a vulnerability about them that needs their father’s love and support. Which we gladly give.

Can you imagine how wonderful it felt to that woman to be addressed as daughter?

Then, having touched her emotional pain with his term of endearment, Jesus healed her physical pain. Instantly. His holiness made her whole.

And the crowd laughed at Jesus? Yes, they did. How could he be so stupid?

Jesus walked through their laughter to the bedside of the other daughter in this story. He took her by the hand and she got up. Who got the last laugh?

I read these twin stories still pondering the headlines about the vicious decision to kick the fates of 800,000 young people down the road because they are being punished for the crime of being born to parents who sought a better life for them. I presume half of them are daughters. And this coming on the heels of another cruel and misguided policy that further seeks to shame people born with gender identity issues who seek to serve their country.

Jesus tells me to love, to welcome, to serve, to heal, to defend, to feed – and this always on behalf of the most vulnerable ones. Is he stupid? Or are we?

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, please protect the children caught in the midst of disasters and diseases and tragedies not of their own making. Create safe places and welcoming, softened hearts, for those who are misunderstood and ostracized. Use us to amplify the voices of the few who cry out for protection and justice. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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6 Responses to “Matthew 9:18-26”

  1. Dave Armstrong Says:

    Sage advice! There is always too sides to an issue.

  2. Georgene Says:

    Thank you for your kind and generous heart. Your devotions mean so much to me.

  3. Ivy Gauvin Says:

    You’re right on the money. How are you these days, Pastor Kerry?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks. I wish every Christian could read this.

  5. Carolee Groux Says:

    God’s love is unconditional. God is love. Every single moment, awake or asleep, we live under the Lord’s wondrous, absolute love for us. To fully experience God’s love we must be willing to receive it. We must be like the woman who grabbed for the hem of Jesus’ robe, believing he can heal and save her. And he does. Accept this amazing gift that God wants to pour out on you. Bask in it, and let it overflow to those around you. Let us pray that we too can help the suffering and those most vulnerable among us.

  6. Matthew 9:18-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: On the Way to Raise a Ruler’s Daughter a Woman is Cured | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten Says:

    […] Matthew 9:18-26 […]

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