Summary: Examing four healings that take place in Matthew 9:18-34
You think you have problems Rick Cato tells the story of Mathieu Boya: “Boya was practicing his golf swing in a pasture adjacent to Africa’s Benin Air Base. With one swing of the golf club, Boya set off an unbelievable series of events. The shot, described as ‘a glorious slice,’ hit a bird, which in turn dropped onto the windshield of a trainer jet whose pilot was taxiing into position for takeoff. The pilot lost control of his plane and plowed into four shiny Mirage jets, totally demolishing the entire air force of Benin. Boya was jailed immediately for ‘hooliganism,’ and his attorney said he had no chance of winning a trial. The country wanted Boya to pay $40 million to replace the jets. Since Boya made only $275 per year, he figured it would take 145,000 years to pay off his debt to society.” Now there’s a man with a problem.
Our problems are usually much smaller. I read this week that Neil Armstrong has a problem. The Apollo 11 astronaut, who was the first man to walk on the moon, is suing to get his hair back. He used to go to Marx’s Barber Shop in Lebanon, Ohio, about once a month, but that stopped when he learned that the owner, Marx Sizemore, had swept up his hair clippings and sold them to a collector for $3,000. The collector claims to also have clippings from the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein, as well as other celebrities. One paper quipped: “One small trim for Neil Armstrong, one giant profit for Barber.”
In contrast, the people we read about in the scripture reading today were people with real problems. A father has a little girl who is dying. A woman has been hemorrhaging for 12 years. Two men are blind. Another man is inhabited by a demonic spirit and was unable to talk. These were all very serious problems, but in the space of 17 verses, Jesus healed them all. Let’s take a look at their stories one at a time.
The first story is that of a desperate father. His daughter lay dying and he runs to Jesus and falls at his feet begging him to come to his home and heal his daughter. He is the leader of the local synagogue, and we learn elsewhere that his name is Jairus. Jesus agrees to go, but it is not a smooth transition to the house where the little girl is on her death bed. The trip is interrupted by another person in desperate need. It must have been enormously frustrating to the father to have this delay. I can see him wishing Jesus would focus on the task before him and not get distracted. They did not have much time, in fact, unknown to the father at that moment, time had run out. The Gospel of Mark tells us that people came from Jairus’ house saying, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher any more?” (Mark 5:35). You can almost hear the father’s scream of grief. But Jesus simply says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
When Jesus arrives at the home, the mourners are wailing and playing low mournful tunes on the flute in a minor key. Jesus said, “Stop wailing. She is not dead but asleep.” Then the Bible says they laughed at him, because they knew she was dead. But Jesus took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up ” (Luke 8:52-54). It is interesting that we are not told what the reaction was of those who were laughing at him just a few minutes before. The assumption is that they were so amazed and ashamed that they were at a total loss for words. What could they say? Words of doubt and sarcasm could never be more out of place.