Newtown Bible Church

Powerful Mercy to the Believing (Matthew 9:18-22)

  •  Sin, sickness, disease, and death are abnormal - they are intruders upon God’s creation. They are the result of sin. They are normal to us only because we have only ever known a sin cursed world. 
    •  One day they will be no more; they will be forever removed; because sin will be forever removed. There will be a new heavens and a new earth where God will dwell with His people - physically, visibly, fully - sin’s presence forever gone. 
    •  But this is yet future, however, in the ministry of Jesus, for a short while, God was among His creation bodily; walking, talking, teaching and healing. For a moment their was a taste of the age to come. 
    •  But in order to purchase that age He had to die; so it was only for a moment, one day it will be forever. But what a beautiful portrait we have in the meantime. 
  • Jesus is a merciful Savior to all who believe. 2 examples of faith and the mercy of Jesus, so that sinners would be encouraged to come to Him: (1) Humble Faith & The Mercy of the Savior; (2) Humble Faith & The Grace of Forgiveness


  1. Humble Mercy of the Savior
    1. Humble Faith (of the ruler)
      1. Acknowledges Jesus’ Superior Greatness
  •  “While He was speaking these things to them” - that is to the crowds and John’s disciples about the issue of fasting. “Behold, one of the rulers came to Him and bowed down before Him” - the “ruler” would be one of the officials of the local synagogue.  Luke 8:41 specifically calls him “a ruler of the synagogue.” Mark & Luke give his name, “Jarius.”
    •  As a ruler of the synagogue he would have been in charge of its operation, caring for the building and assigning such tasks as reading and expounding the Scriptures. He would likely have been wealthy to some degree; certainly well known and respected among the community.
  •  “bowed down” - term generally translated “worship.” Luke notes he “fell at His feet.” Not exactly sure of what He believed about Jesus, how much he grasped regarding Him as Messiah, but it certainly appears to be sincere faith and clearly recognizing the superior greatness of Jesus. 
    • This fact is even more striking when contrasted with the disdain and unbelief of the Pharisees (9:11). These were the teachers and leaders of Israel. (cf. John 3:2 “Are you the teacher of Israel”; Matt. 23 “Love to be called Rabbi”). In the normal course of the synagogue, this ruler of the synagogue would have most naturally submitted to the Scribes & Pharisees.  
    • Yet, this official is essentially ignoring them, as well as his own privileged position and publicly recognizing the superior greatness of Jesus. No doubt this very fact greatly angered these Pharisees who were just humbled by Jesus’ rebuke regarding their ignorance of the Law. Because of their hypocrisy they lived and functioned on the praise of others, now they are being ignored in the superior light of the glory of Jesus. First, he recognizes His superiority … 


      1.   Acknowledges Jesus’ Supernatural Ability 
  •   “My daughter is even now dead, but come place Your hand on her and she will live” - Lk. 8:42 informs us that this is his “only daughter, about 12 years of age.” 
    •  “only daughter” brings out his desperation - clearly she was dearly loved; and even more, in their culture, this was precisely the age that a girl was marked as leaving childhood and entering into womanhood. So, what would have been the time of this man seeing his daughter begin life as a woman, was now him watching it end in sickness and death. 
  •  “is even now dead” - The man understands his daughter to be dead, or as good as dead.  In Mark & Luke the man speaks of her as near death. 
    • Most likely she was near death when he left and in his passion assumes that she has probably already died; which is a reality that would later be confirmed by messengers: “While He was still speaking [that is to the woman later in the account] someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’” (Mk. 5:35; Lk. 8:49)
    • Remember, also, these were not controlled, or scripted events; the man is desperate, He is watching his only daughter die right before his very eyes. He is coming in desperation, ignoring the leaders of Israel, His disciples, the crowds, and is focused only on seeking help for his ill daughter. 
      • Possibly he said both; possible that Matthew is simply picking it up late in the story after the messengers came. In either case the man comes acknowledging the superior greatness and supernatural ability of Jesus. 
  •  “but come and place You hand on her and she will live” - incredible faith; not quite like the faith of the centurion (8:8), who just wanted Jesus to speak the word, but incredible faith nonetheless; he is asking Jesus to raise the dead. He would have been familiar with 1 K 17:17-24 [Elijah / widow’s son]; 2 K 4:32-37 [Elisha’s / Shunammite’s son]).
    • This was not simply a great rabbi, but One who spoke and acted with all the authority and power of God; only God can give life to the dead. Need to capture the magnitude of what he is asking. 


    1. Humble Mercy (of Jesus)
  •   “And Jesus rose and followed Him” - This is an wonderfuul display of humility on the part of Jesus. The phrase “followed Him” is the same as that used to describe the disciples response to His call (4:20, 22; 9:9 [exact form]; also the crowds 4:25). 
    • This is the glory of the incarnation; of the eternal Son of God clothing Himself with flesh and in humility. This is the Son of God who did not “come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” Phil 2:7-8 He took on “the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men. Begin found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, and humbled Himself in obedience even to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 
      • How different that the attitude of the Pharisees, who thought themselves to be so near to God, yet they displayed exactly the opposite heart (this is the blindness of self-righteousness); but a shining display of the humility of Christ and the mercy of God. Should have put this first. 
      • Note how quickly & graciously He responds to His request. 
  • Beloved, you should find great encouragement in this; it is the same Lord who is in heaven right now interceding for His people, whom Heb. 4:16, says He is a merciful Savior who sympathizes with His people; who is full of mercy and compassion and ready to come to the aide of those who humbly come to Him in faith; a heart that in humbled before His greatness, yielded to His Lordship, and trusting that He is both able and willing to come to the aide of His children (Heb. 11:6). Is this how you approach Him in prayer? 


  1. Humble Grace of Forgiveness
  • “Behold” - a favorite marker of Matthew to note a significant event, or statement. Here, an unexpected encounter while traveling to the home of Jarius. 

    1. Humble Courage of Faith
  • “A woman hemorrhaging twelve years came up behind Him and touched the edge of His garment” - an incredible display of courageous faith. Let’s notice a few things about this woman: 
      1. Great Suffering
  • (a) Suffering of the disease. “Hemorrhaging twelve years” - none of the writers are very specific, but the term refers to some reoccurrence of significant loss of blood; possibly cancerous, or severe bleeding associated with her menstrual cycle. Luke 8:43 notes “she could not be healed by anyone,” which indicates that it had been attempted many times (Roman law required “every town have a physician”) - no doubt she had been to many towns. Mark 5:26 add that she “had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse.”  In addition to the suffering of the disease, now she is broke. This is a bad condition at anytime, but particularly here with such primitive medical knowledge and practice.
  • (b) Suffering of the treatment. The medical field was not a popular vocation within Judaism. The Jewish mind often viewed disease in theological terms and its connection with sin (John 9:1-2). Also, because contact with a corpse made one ceremonial unclean (Num. 5:2-3; 6:7), the advantage of autopsies as a means of gaining scientific knowledge of the human body was eradicated. Therefore there was little scientific, or medical advancements.

“On one leaf of the Talmud … not less than eleven different remedies are proposed, of which at most only six can possibly be regarded as astringents or tonics, while the rest are merely the outcome of superstition, to which resort is had in the absence of knowledge.” (Edersheim). 

  • However, the case was different in the Greek and Roman societies, where there had been great advancements in medicine. Luke was the “beloved physician,” (a Greek). 
    • The influence of Hip-poc-ra-tes (5th BC) was well in place, which encouraged the priority of the patient, the sanctity of life, and honesty in their dealings with people. It appears, however, not all of the doctors this woman came in contact with were as faithful to their oath as they should have been. Not unlike today, the heart of man has not changed.
    • In either case the medical world at that time was very primitive; its remedies often included risky, or painful procedures. It is understandable why His ability to heal made Him so popular; But even more than the suffering of disease & treatments
  • (c) Suffering of religious, cultural, and social exclusion. According to Lev 15:25; she would have been ceremonially unclean. Like the leper (8:1f), she would have been ostracized from the community and cut off from participation in temple worship. Likely she had no husband, or possibly one that divorced her due to the condition ([cf. 19:1f]). There are a whole host of consequences that would have come from her condition, all adding to her misery. 
  • In the midst of all this suffering she displays …  
      1. Great Courage
  • “She came up behind Him and touched the edge (lit. ‘hem’) of His garment” - Mark & Luke both it was a large crowd and many people were pressing against Him. 
    • You can picture the scene of the mass of people crowding and moving along with Jesus; each straining to get nearer to Jesus, trying to listen to what might be being said, to see what might happen next. You can hear the excited murmuring and conversations incessantly going on around Him. 
    • In the midst of all this commotion this woman subtly pushes herself up front near Jesus in an attempt to touch His garment without being detected by anyone. 
    • Now this shows great courage, really for two reasons. First, because she was a woman and it would not have been proper for her to touch a rabbi. Second, because she was ceremonially unclean. If discovered she would have been severely rebuked by both the crowd and the Jewish leaders. She was boldly going against cultural & religious norms and taking a risk, which is why she went up from behind.
  • “Edge of His garment” - Jesus would have been wearing the traditional garb of the day for a Jewish male;  unlike John the Baptist - who wore “a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey” - Jesus was current with the general dress of the culture. 
    • This would have included a soft inner garment worn close to the body, known as a tunic. An outer garment worn over the tunic, a cloak, which would have (for a Jewish male) included four tassels that hung at the four corners of the cloak (*Deut. 22:12 [remind of obedience and commitment to YHWH]; cf. 23:5), which is most likely what Matthew is referring to here.  
    • So here this woman is suffering greatly, she is desperate, slowly and courageously making her way through the crowd to simply touch His clothes.

      1. Great Faith
  • “For she said in herself, ‘If only I may touch His garment I shall be healed - Matthew is now giving the reasoning, the motivation of faith that caused the woman to take such bold action. 
    • FN: omniscience of Scripture. Only God knows what a person is thinking in themselves; not Matthew, but the Holy Spirit. In the same way, he knows what we are reasoning in our hearts to, at every moment. 
    • The tense of the verb (imperfect) suggest that she was repeatedly saying this to herself, probably to maintain courage. Mark notes that she made this move “after hearing about Jesus.” Some suggest that there is a level of superstition in the woman’s thinking; possibly some of that, but, this is the reasoning of faith; not a perfect faith, but a genuine faith in Jesus. 
  • This woman recognized that Jesus had the power to heal her and it would appear from Jesus’ response that she wanted more than just physical healing.  

    1. Humble Grace of Forgiveness 
  • “Jesus turned and seeing her said, ‘Cheer up daughter! Your faith has made you well (lit. ‘saved you’)” - gracious words from a merciful Savior. 

1. Piercing Response

  • “Jesus turned and seeing her” - this must have jolted the woman - probably still in shock because of her awareness of instant healing and wanting to fade away back into the crowd. (Mark 5:30) “perceiving that in Himself that the power from Him had gone forth turned around and said, ‘Who touched My garment?’” Luke notes another form, “Who is the one who touched Me.” Obviously, He had to ask more than once
    • Such a stark and immediate reaction of Jesus apparently put those nearest Him into a slight panic since that all begin “denying it” (Lk. 8:45). Finally, the ever courageous Peter speaks up and says, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on you.” No doubt Peter was the first to speak, but Mark notes the other disciples chimed in to, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and you say, ‘Who touched Me?’” (Mark 5:31). Unperturbed by their incredulity, Jesus simply says, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” It would appear that He knew specifically what the healing was - Mark notes “He looked around to see the woman who had done this” (Mark. 5:32)
    • The woman could hide no longer; (Lk. 8:47) “she saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.” 
  • Why did He do this? He could have simply let this woman blend back into the crowd. Matthew could have recorded it, and we would still have another testimony of His power to heal. But Jesus wants something more than that. 
    • Certainly part of it was to give public testimony to His power, but even more this is a mercy to this woman. First, it is a public declaration that she was now clean; this would have enabled her to blend back into her culture, back to temple worship; no longer an outcast. But secondly, it was a divine confirmation of the reality of her faith,

2. Precious Proclamation

  • “And He said to her, “Cheer up, daughter! Your faith has made you well (lit. ‘saved you’) - precious words to the ears of a sinner and one who has just been healed from such an awful disease. “Cheer up” - speaks of courage in the midst of danger (14:27; John 16:33; Acts 23:11; 2 Cor. 5:6). Never spoken to an unbeliever; note also the connection to her faith. 
  • “daughter” - Interestingly, this is the only time Jesus uses this term as a direct reference to a specific person using this term. In Lk. 13:16 the crippled woman healed in the synagogue on the Sabbath as “Daughter of Abraham.” In Lk. 23:28 the women weeping at the foot of the cross as “Daughters of Jerusalem.” Here He is identifying this woman as a true Israelite, a true daughter of Abraham, of the faith of Abraham. 
  • “Your faith has made you well” - Certainly, He meant these words to confirm that it was not some magical element to her touching that healed her, but it’s more than that. 
  • The term (here and throughout this section) is swzw often translated “save,” and refers to deliverance in a variety of senses (danger [8:25; 14:30; 27:40], sin [1:21; 10:22; 16:25; 19:25]).  How does He mean it here? The element of deliverance from her physical illness cannot be removed. All the gospels writers note this as the result. Luke that it happened immediately upon her touching His garment (Lk. 8:44)
  • However, the response of the Lord points past simple freedom from the flow of blood to something deeper; it seems she knew there was a greater freedom that was to be found also in Jesus: the freedom from the bondage of sin. 
    • He could have very easily used the common term qerapeu/w, i˙a¿omai for healing (8:7, 13), but He did not. And in connection with His previous announcements it is clear this woman’s faith was a saving faith. 
  • There is an echo here of His words to the paralytic (9:2) in which He directly declares the man’s sins forgiven; it would appear to be the case with this woman.  

3. Perfect Healing

  • “And the woman was healed (lit. ‘saved’) from that very hour” - Perfect, complete, whole healing. Jesus knew nothing of partial healing’s; when power went forth it went forth the ability to accomplish exactly what it was intended to accomplish. The healing was perfect because His power and His Person are perfect. 
    • The woman went home with a restored body and a restored relationship with the God of Israel. She experienced a full measure of the humble mercy and grace of Jesus Messiah, healed not only of her physical ailments as a merciful foretaste of that final future state in the MK and the ES; but also of the spiritual damage & death as a result of her sin. This is the One who came to save His people from their sins, and ultimately even the consequences of that sin. 
    • This woman still died physically because the full realities of redemption and all that Christ accomplished in the atonement are yet future. But as long as Christ was here on earth there was a unique taste of this future glory. He was indeed God with us, the gentle, merciful, and humble Savior who welcomes all who come to Him in faith. 
  • Not all receive healing, but all receive forgiveness. “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:17-30). He is the same Savior now who beckons through His servants and through His Word. If today you hear His voice do not harden your hearts, but trust in this One who purchased full and perfect redemption for all who come to Him void of any sense of your own righteousness and leaning fully on Him.
  • Is is this purchasing of His people with His own blood, which speaks of His violent death - even more His bearing the wrath of the Father - we celebrate this morning. 
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