Hemorrhaging Woman, Jairus’s Daughter, Two Blind Men, and a Mute Man (Matthew 9:18-34; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56)

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After Jesus and his disciples arrived on the western shore of the Seal of Galilee, probably in the vicinity of Capernaum, a large crowd gathered around him. His still being by the lake when people came to him suggests that, while the boat was yet a distance away from the shore, he had been recognized and the word had spread that he was coming. (Mark 5:21) According to Luke 8:40, the crowd was waiting for Jesus and welcomed him.

The Plea of Jairus

One of the men who came to Jesus was Jairus, a leader of a synagogue. In his official capacity, he would have been primarily responsible for the maintenance and the physical arrangements associated with the meeting place for worship. Jairus dropped to his knees before Jesus and prostrated himself. He repeatedly begged him to come to his home and then to lay his hands on his seriously ill daughter to restore her to health, for she was about to die. The twelve-year-old girl was his only child. Accompanied by his disciples, Jesus departed with Jairus, and the crowd followed and pressed in on him. (Matthew 9:18, 19; Mark 5:22-24; Luke 8:41, 42)

A Woman With Hemorrhage

Among the people was an afflicted woman. During the course of the twelve years she had suffered from hemorrhages, she had gone to many physicians and eventually had exhausted all her resources. Their would-be cures proved to be very painful and did not benefit her. The condition worsened progressively, and no one was able to help her. Having heard about Jesus’ activity, the woman concluded that, if she could only touch his garment, she would be restored to health. (Matthew 9:20, 21; Mark 5:25-28; Luke 8:43)

Though greatly weakened from her loss of blood, she summoned all the strength she could to get near enough to Jesus to touch the fringe of his garment. Upon having done so from behind him, the woman immediately sensed that she had been healed. (Matthew 9:20; Mark 5:27-29; Luke 8:43, 44)

Aware that power had gone out of him, Jesus turned around and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30) All those around him denied having done so, and Peter was quick to point out that Jesus was being crowded and the people were pressing in on him. (Luke 8:45) According to Mark 5:31, Peter was not the only disciple who expressed himself to this effect. Other disciples were also puzzled by Jesus’ question about having been touched.

Knowing full well that power had gone out of him, Jesus insisted that he had been touched in a manner that differed from inadvertent contact. He then looked around to see who had done so. (Mark 5:32; Luke 8:46)

Fearful and trembling, the woman, realizing that she had been cured and could not remain unnoticed, fell down before Jesus. In the hearing of all present, she explained why she had touched him and how she had immediately thereupon been healed. (Mark 5:33; Luke 8:47)

Jesus allayed her apprehension, initially assuring her, “Take courage” (a form of the Greek word tharséo) or do not be afraid. (See the Notes section for additional comments.) Lovingly, he addressed her as “daughter,” an expression of endearment, and identified the reason for the cure as having been her faith in him and not the mere touching of his garment. “Your faith has saved you [made you well],” said Jesus. “Go in peace, and be healthy, [free] from your affliction.” From that very “hour” or time, the woman was well. (Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; Luke 8:48)

The Son of God showed great love and compassion for the woman when causing her to reveal what had happened to her. For twelve years she had been ceremonially unclean. This was a condition that could bring defilement to anyone who might inadvertently touch her or any object that she had touched. (Leviticus 15:25-27) Her state of uncleanness doubtless was public knowledge, and everyone who knew about it would have avoided getting close to her. They would not have wanted to be inconvenienced by having to wash their clothes, bathe, and personally remain ceremonially unclean until the evening. This meant that she had to deal with her affliction in isolation, without experiencing any comforting touch or embrace. The news about her cure would have spread quickly among all those who knew her, making it possible for her once again to enjoy normal contact with everyone. Furthermore, Jesus used the opportunity to help her spiritually, making it clear to her that her faith or her trust in him had led to her being cured.

Resurrection of Jairus’s Daughter

At the time Jesus was still speaking to the woman, Jairus received the sad news that his daughter had died. His worst fear had become reality. Those who brought the message advised that he no longer trouble Jesus (the “teacher”). Overhearing the conversation with Jairus, Jesus spoke reassuringly to him, “Fear not; only believe, and she will be saved.” (Mark 5:35, 36; Luke 8:49, 50) These comforting words must have had a calming effect on Jairus, especially since he had just witnessed the cure of the afflicted woman.

Jesus then appears to have dismissed the crowd and permitted only Peter, James, and his brother John to accompany him. (Mark 5:37) At the home of Jairus, many people, doubtless including professional mourners, created much commotion, with weeping and loud wailing being intermingled with flute playing. Jesus asked all of them to leave, telling them to stop their weeping and that the girl had not died but was sleeping. At that, likely primarily the professional mourners gave way to scornful laughter, for they knew that the girl had died. The only ones Jesus permitted to be in the home with him were the girl’s parents and Peter, James, and John. (Matthew 9:23, 24; Mark 5:38-40; Luke 8:51-53; see the Notes section for additional comments.)

With everyone else outside, Jesus entered where the girl was lying. He took hold of her hand, saying Talitha koum (“Maiden, I say to you, Rise!”) With her “spirit” or life force having returned, she began to breathe, got up, and then began to walk. Her parents were overcome with joy and amazement. Repeatedly, Jesus ordered them not to let anyone know what had happened and instructed them to give their daughter something to eat. (Matthew 9:25; Mark 5:40-42; Luke 8:54-56)

To the extent possible, Jesus wanted to prevent needless publicity and the spread of sensational reports that attracted crowds for reasons other than faith in him as the promised Messiah. Relatives, friends, acquaintances, and others would learn soon enough that the twelve-year-old girl was alive and well. For Jairus and his wife, the appropriate action was to attend to their daughter’s needs and to reflect appreciatively on what God had done for them by means of his Son. Understandably, though, as it became known that the daughter was alive, the news did spread extensively. (Matthew 9:26)

Two Blind Men

When Jesus left the home of Jairus, two blind men began to follow him. They cried out, “Pity us, Son of David.” Their words acknowledged Jesus as the promised Messiah, the descendant of King David. (See the Notes section for additional comments about the designation “Son of David.”) The biblical record does not reveal why he did not immediately respond to their cry to be shown mercy by curing their blindness. Undeterred, the blind men continued to follow him, entering the house where he was staying. (Matthew 9:27, 28) If the home of Jairus was in Capernaum, the most likely place for Jesus to stay would have been the home of Peter and Andrew. (Compare Mark 1:21, 29; 2:1.)

In the privacy of the home, Jesus asked the men whether they believed that he could cure their blindness. They answered, “Yes, Lord.” Touching their eyes, he said, “Let it happen to you according to your faith.” They were then able to see. Though Jesus ordered them not to let others know about this, they, like others whom he had healed, failed to heed their benefactor’s charge to them and spread the news everywhere. (Matthew 9:28-31)

A Mute Man

After the two men had left, people arrived with a man whose inability to speak they attributed to demon possession. Upon hearing the mute man speak in response to Jesus’ exercise of divine power, those who witnessed this exclaimed, “Never has the like been seen in Israel!” Certain Pharisees, however, blasphemously spoke of the good work that had benefited the afflicted man as having been accomplished by the power of the ruler of the demons. While they could not deny the miracle, they found justification for their hatred of God’s Son and their persistence in unbelief by slandering the source of the powerful work they had witnessed. (Matthew 9:32-34)


The Scriptures do not explain the metaphysical factors involved in effecting the cures. Jesus’ being able to sense a change in his body suggests that the healings drew on his physical strength.

The Greek word tharséo, found in Matthew 9:22, means “be courageous” and conveys the thought of being resolute or unafraid.

The words of Jesus regarding the girl’s sleeping (Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52) are evidently to be viewed from the standpoint of the final outcome. Though she had indeed died, her death was but a temporary sleep.

The collection of psalms known as the “Psalms of Solomon” and believed to date from the first century BCE refer to the messianic king as the “Son of David.” In that collection, Psalm 17:21 reads, “See, O Lord, and raise up for them their king, [the] Son of David, in the time that you chose, O God, to reign over Israel your servant.” The chief priests and scribes objected when Jesus was called the “Son of David,” indicating that the expression was commonly understood to designate the Messiah. (Matthew 21:15, 16)