By Scott Armstrong
“While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.”But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region” Matthew 9:18-26.
Where do you see yourself in this story? Each character has a different past, a different need, and different reactions to the circumstances around them. Maybe you identify with the hurting woman who desperately longs to touch Jesus. Perhaps you see yourself in the ruler who is not worried about himself as much as the ones around him. What great faith he had in order to believe Jesus could bring his daughter back!
Personally, I identify most with the mourners (vv. 23-24). Not because I am regularly sad or anything. Just because I am very realistic and usually want to help people out. You see, in Jesus’ day, the mourners served a very important purpose. When there was a death in the family, the relatives would gather together and call professional mourners to help with the grieving process. In fact, it was required to have several professional women mourners at even the death of a poor family. These musicians and mourners would weep and wail and sing dirges and, although it seems weird to us today, they would help the family and community release the feelings of despair and hopelessness they were experiencing.
So if I am a professional mourner, I am doing what I am supposed to do here in verse 23. It’s my job to help these people in the most difficult time of their life. Then, just when I have really gotten into character, this guy named Jesus comes in and says the girl is merely asleep. Sorry, but I have to laugh. Is He crazy? I know what I see. The girl’s dead. There’s no hope. Let’s help the family through the grieving process.
But Jesus’ vision is different. Miracles happen when He’s around. Sick women are healed. Dead people are raised to life. When He comes on the scene, transformation and healing take place.
The world is full of death, hopelessness, and sickness. So, what will your reaction be to the despair around you? Will you go around life like it is business as usual? Or will you pray, plan, and expect that God will do a miracle in the toughest of situations?