Matthew 9:20-22 Jesus Heals a Desperate Woman

woman reaches out to touch Jesus clothes

The hem of His garment

(Sorry in advance. This is a bit longer than usual)

Yesterday we took a look at the story of Jairus that sandwiched the story of today; the woman with the issue of blood. Today we are going to take the time to meet her personally. As a woman I hate nearly everything about my monthly cycle and am reluctant to even talk about it, but for this woman’s sake I am going to step into her shoes and walk a few miles in them today with you beside me.

We don’t have a lot of information to go on when constructing a story about this woman. I believe she was between the ages of 24 and 50. I get this because of the usual age of onset of menses is about 12 and she has suffered with her issue for 12 years, making her at least 24 years old. She is probably not over 50 because that is roughly the age when menopause begins. So we are somewhere in between.

She is destitute because she has spent all her money on doctors. So we know she had to have some kind of money or income before this all began. I don’t know how she could have survived starvation if she didn’t have some kind of regular income, unless she became a beggar. I don’t know of any other story in the bible about a female beggar though. She couldn’t be a prostitute with her condition, so that income is out. She could have been married and had a husband that, though he couldn’t touch her, still cared enough about her to give her enough money or food to simply stay her alive. Did she receive support from the church like the widows were supposed to? Her original money could have been her dowry. Read more »

Matthew 9:18-19 & 23-26 Jesus Heals Jairus’ Daughter

mother feeling head of sick child

The start of a very long day for Jairus

Matthew is an abbreviated story teller. Mark and Luke go into more detail in their accounts of this story. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell this story with the story of the woman with the issue of blood sandwiched in the middle of the story of Jairus’ encounter with Jesus. Those two stories are linked forever chronologically, in our minds, and spiritually to some extent. I would like to separate them for our study though. I want to put us in the picture again, like we did with Matthew’s first meeting with Jesus. Also, since Matthew was a “get to the heart of the matter” story teller, I will be bringing in details from Mark and Luke’s recollections. I’m going to take the liberty of naming Jairus’ wife Anna and his daughter Rebecca. This will make telling the story, and reading it, much easier.

Early in the morning Anna hears a sound coming from Rebecca’s room. Anna goes in to find Rebecca moving about in her bed. Anna believes Rebecca is having a bad dream. Anna sits down on the side of the bed and puts a hand on Rebecca’s arm to calm her and gently wake her from her sleep. Anna notices that Rebecca’s arm is very warm. Anna speaks softly to Rebecca to try and wake her. Rebecca responds with a moan and attempts to open her eyes. Anna is now a bit anxious as she reaches for Rebecca’s forehead. Rebecca is burning up with fever! As a mother, Anna has dealt with fevers before but this one is very high. She calls out quickly for the servant to bring her cool water and some cloths. Moments later the servant girl appears carrying the requested items. Anna begins attempting to bring Rebecca’s fever down. Read more »

Matthew 9:14-17 Jesus Approached About Fasting

Cross v Moses

Old v New Covenant

We discussed the issue of fasting while Jesus was teaching on the mountain top, but we are brought back to it again by John’s disciples’ questions. John was in prison when his disciples approached Jesus. They had been watching Jesus and His disciples. I’m not certain where Jesus was when He was approached at this point. Could we still be at Matthew’s house? It would make sense because Jesus and His disciples were eating and that may have triggered the question.

John’s disciples were comparing the differences in behaviors and practices between themselves, the Pharisees and Jesus’ disciples. There were probably a lot more differences than just fasting, but this was their focus for this interaction. Fortunately Jesus wouldn’t leave it there.

John’s life demonstrated a long term partial fast. He ate only locust and wild honey. I’m going to assume his prolonged fast was to help him stay in tune with God and God’s plans for his life. When men decided to follow John and become his disciple, did they adopt his fasting life style? I’m further going to assume that when John was placed in prison his disciples stepped up their fasting in order to make their petitions weightier before God. Read more »

Matthew 9:9-13 Jesus Calls Matthew

Jesus at tax booth

Matthew, Follow Me

We finally get to meet our author in today’s passage. Jesus meets him as He is walking along the road. Matthew is sitting in his tax boot collecting taxes. Was that anything like a toll booth where you have to pay to pass on the specific road? I wonder where Jesus was going on this trip.

I want to take a little bit of time and see if I can imagine what this meeting looked like. Ok. Matthew is dressed in his business suit. He wasn’t wearing fine clothes because that would tempt robbers to attack him. He wasn’t dressed is scruffy clothes either because he had to command respect from those he was collecting taxes from. He may have been wearing some kind of official uniform or an official seal on his clothing that made him recognizable as a duly sworn tax collector for the Roman government.

Tax collectors were notorious for squeezing every last penny out of those they collected from, authorized or not. I’m thinking Matthew probably collected more than he was required to but didn’t resort to extortion like others did. My reason for this is that I don’t think Jesus would have called him as a disciple if he was overly abusive. But then again, Paul was used mightily by Jesus and was said to have been a disciple untimely chosen. Read more »

Matthew 9:1-8 Jesus Heals the Paralytic

bedroll

Rise, take up your bed, & go home

We are back in Capernaum with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus heals a paralyzed man during this visit. In Mark 2:3-12 and Luke 5:18-26 we are told a bit more about this story. Through these accounts we see that Jesus had entered into a house and was teaching at the time. It may have been Peter’s house that He came back to, or another citizen of this town who wanted to open their home for Jesus that day. Whom ever owned the home, they were about to have some renovations done.

Matthew doesn’t share with us about the man being let down through the roof, but we get that detail from Mark and Luke. In all three accounts we see that Jesus is able to see their faith in action. These men were determined to get their ailing friend to Jesus. They were deeply committed to seeing their friend made well and they knew Jesus could heal him if they could just get him to Him. Read more »