Luke 8:40-56


Faith – Essential for Salvation

Luke 8:40-56  -  Jesus Raises a Girl and Heals a Woman

The following incident was so framed as to highlight the importance and nature of saving faith.

40 When he got back, the crowd welcomed him,
for they had been waiting for him. 
41 Just then a man named Jairus, the director of the synagogue,
fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home
42 because his only daughter, twelve years old, was dying.
As he went, the crowds were pressing around him.
43 A woman approached
who had suffered a hemorrhage for twelve years.
She had spent all her livelihood on doctors
and none of them had been able to heal her.

In the Jewish mind, the number twelve carried the sense of completeness. The privileged daughter of a ruler of the establishment, a director of the synagogue, was dying. The situation of the older woman, bleeding for twelve years, and consequently permanently (ritually) unclean and unsuitable for marriage, was beyond help from the presently constituted Jewish system: no one could cure her.

The Jewish Scriptures had spoken of oppressed Israel as virgin daughter of Israel. Between them, the two women symbolised Israel in need.

44 She came up behind him
and touched the lower hem of his cloak.
Immediately the flow of blood stopped.
45 Jesus said, “Who touched me?”
No one said anything, so Peter said,
“Teacher, the crowds are milling around you
and pressing in on you.” 
46 Jesus said, “Someone touched me.
I know power has gone out from me.”
47 Knowing that she had not escaped notice,
the woman came forward trembling
and fell at his feet,
and in the presence of all the people
she told the reason for her touching him
and how she had been immediately healed.
48 Then Jesus said to her,
“Daughter, your faith has saved you. God in peace.”

The older woman, oppressed and at the bottom of the honour system, permanently unclean and unwanted, was saved precisely because she was prepared to believe in Jesus: Daughter, your faith has saved you. By referring to her precisely as daughter, Jesus sought to connect her with Jairus’s daughter. 

49 While he was speaking
someone came to the synagogue director
and said, “Your daughter has died.
Do not trouble the teacher anymore.”
50 Jesus heard and said to him in answer,
“Have no fear.
Just believe,
and she will be saved.”

The way to salvation for the privileged but dying daughter of the establishment was also, and only, through faith: Just believe, and she will be saved.

51 He went to the home
and allowed no one to go in with him
except Peter and John and James,
and the child’s father and mother.
52 Everyone was weeping and bewailing her.
But he said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died.
She is sleeping.”
53 Knowing she was dead, they ridiculed him.
54 He took her hand, and called out, “Child, rise up!”
55 Her breath came back to her,
and she got up immediately.

Though the faith of the father, the symbol of the establishment, was not explicitly mentioned, it seemed to have been presumed. Breath came back to  to dead Israel.

 He directed that she be given something to eat.
56 The parents were beside themselves.
He cautioned them then not to tell anyone what had happened.

Though the hint was minimal, the comment: give her something to eat, may have contained a reference to the Eucharist as practised in the Christian community, the climax of the ritual of salvation beginning with the baptism of faith (a possible connection confirmed by the story of the feeding of the five thousand that Luke would soon address).

Next >> Luke 9:1-17