The Double Miracle: Matthew 9:18-26

Read the Transcript

A short while after Jesus called Matthew to be a disciple, we discover a set of two miracles that display some unusual characteristics. Neither miracle is really like the other, but without both of these miracles put together, neither one would be as significant.

Let’s read what happened and then look for some things we can learn from this event. Our passage is found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 9, and we will read from the New Century Version. Starting in verse 18, Matthew tells us that:

18 While Jesus was saying these things, a leader of the synagogue came to him. He bowed down before Jesus and said, “My daughter has just died. But if you come and lay your hand on her, she will live again.” 19 So Jesus and his followers stood up and went with the leader.

20 Then a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came behind Jesus and touched the edge of his coat. 21 She was thinking, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned and saw the woman and said, “Be encouraged, dear woman. You are made well because you believed.” And the woman was healed from that moment on.

23 Jesus continued along with the leader and went into his house. There he saw the funeral musicians and many people crying. 24 Jesus said, “Go away. The girl is not dead, only asleep.” But the people laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been thrown out of the house, Jesus went into the girl’s room and took hold of her hand, and she stood up. 26 The news about this spread all around the area.

In this event and this set of two miracles, we discover among other things, that Jesus was focused on helping each individual exactly how they needed help. It is also interesting in my mind that Matthew really summarizes this event and these two miracles.

In the other gospels that include this event, the synagogue leader who asks for help asks Jesus while His daughter is still sick and not dead yet. The other gospels also draw out the woman’s healing and her desire to remain hidden. In the other gospels, it seems that Jesus stops everything to discover the woman who touched His garment, and it delayed His progress to the synagogue leader’s home to the point that messengers were able to arrive and tell the synagogue leader that his daughter had died.

While Matthew summarizes many things about both these miracles, one thing Matthew does not skip over is Jesus’ reaction to the funeral musicians and those crying. Matthew also does not skip over sharing the woman’s thoughts and her belief that simply touching the edge of Jesus’ clothing would heal her.

Matthew includes the detail of the woman having faith in perhaps the least significant action she could think of. Touching the edge of Jesus’ clothing is pretty insignificant, but she believes that is all she needs to be healed. She may have been embarrassed about her condition, and would rather not have to explain it to a bunch of men why she was needing to be healed.

However, Jesus doesn’t want her faith or her miracle to be lost in the commotion of Him going to help someone else. Jesus stops just long enough to make sure she was healed and to draw attention onto her faith and her story so that we would be able to read and know it from what was recorded. If Jesus had not stopped, this woman’s miracle would have never been known outside of a handful of people.

Matthew also does not summarize or minimize Jesus’ reaction to those who were preparing for a funeral at the synagogue leader’s home. Jesus tells them all in verse 24, “Go away. The girl is not dead, only asleep.” However, those present laughed at Jesus. They knew the girl had died. A doctor had probably already called the time of her death a short while earlier.

However, I wonder if Jesus intentionally set the stage for this event by making sure that He hadn’t arrived before the girl had died. I wonder if Jesus wanted to challenge the faith of everyone present and if He wanted to teach us that death is nothing to be feared. When we read the Bible, we cannot get around the metaphor, both in the gospels and in the other parts of the Bible, that death is compared with a sleep.

In the context of Jesus’ statement here, those who viewed death viewed death as the end of life, with no immediate hope of a resurrection. If those present had believed in an upcoming resurrection, it is likely there wouldn’t be any tears present. It is clear in this event, that the crowd of mourners and funeral musicians did not have faith that Jesus could reverse death. Because they didn’t have faith, I believe this is why Jesus kicked them out of the house.

It is also interesting that if those present believed the girl to be in a much better place now that she had died, then they may have been sad at her death, but they wouldn’t have wished for her to be brought back to life. In this frame of view, Jesus resurrecting anyone, including Himself, would be one of the cruelest things for Him to do.

I don’t believe it is a coincidence that death is referred to as sleep in the Bible. The Bible contains many metaphors that God has written into the details of our physical world to teach us about spiritual truths. I believe sleep teaching us about death is one such truth.

While there are many physical and biological reasons for sleep and how our brains need sleep to function well, the spiritual component of sleep is simply rest from our daily work. If the day represents our life and sleep represents our death, then there is nothing to be afraid of when we ultimately lay down to rest at our life’s end because we know morning is coming. Following our rest in death, morning brings us a resurrection into a new life with God.

Whether we are close to death in this life or whether we have a lot of life left, we can know and trust that with whatever happens, God has placed us alive on this earth for a reason. We can know and trust that when we have accomplished what He has placed us here to accomplish, He will let us rest in peace until morning comes and the trumpet of resurrection sounds.

While we don’t know the rest of this girls story, what we do know is that from that moment forward, her life was a clear gift from God. This girl’s story would be significant and important in God’s eyes, because He had given her a new life, and her new life foreshadows our new lives when we are resurrected at Jesus’ return!

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life and choose to place your faith, hope, trust, and belief in Jesus and in His promise of a new life with God. While our new life with God begins at the moment we choose God, our ultimate new life with God begins at the moment He returns to take us home!

Also, be sure to pray and study the Bible for yourself. Don’t take my word, or any pastor, author, speaker, or podcaster’s word for any spiritual truth. Instead, test everything through what the Bible teaches to discover God’s truth for your life with Him.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in Matthew – Episode 17: While on the way to help a synagogue leader, Jesus gets to shed light on an almost missed miracle while also setting the stage for an even more amazing miracle still to come. Discover how neither of these two miracles would be the same without each other and without Jesus drawing our attention onto God’s truth and love.

Join the discussion. Share your thoughts on this passage.

Share Your Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.