Resources » Matthew Henry's Commentary » Luke » Chapter 8 » Verses 40–56

Verses 40–56

Christ was driven away by the Gadarenes; they were weary of him, and willing to be rid of him. But when he had crossed the water, and returned to the Galileans, they gladly received him, wished and waited for his return, and welcomed him with all their hearts when he did return, Luke 8:40. If some will not accept the favours Christ offers them, others will. If the Gadarenes be not gathered, yet there are many among whom Christ shall be glorious. When Christ had done his work on the other side of the water he returned, and found work to do in the place whence he came, fresh work. They that will lay out themselves to do good shall never want occasion for it. The needy you have always with you.

We have here two miracles interwoven, as they were in Matthew and Mark—the raising of Jairus’s daughter to life, and the cure of the woman that had an issue of blood, as he was going in a crowd to Jairus’s house. We have here,

I. A public address made to Christ by a ruler of the synagogue, whose name was Jairus, on the behalf of a little daughter of his, that was very ill, and, in the apprehension of all about here, lay a dying. This address was very humble and reverent. Jairus, though a ruler, fell down at Jesus’s feet, as owning him to be a ruler above him. It was very importunate. He besought him that he would come into his house; not having the faith, at least not having the thought, of the centurion, who desired Christ only to speak the healing word at a distance. But Christ complied with his request; he went along with him. Strong faith shall be applauded, and yet weak faith shall not be rejected. In the houses where sickness and death are, it is very desirable to have the presence of Christ. When Christ was going, the people thronged him, some out of curiosity to see him, others out of an affection to him. Let us not complain of a crowd, and a throng, and a hurry, as long as we are in the way of our duty, and doing good; but otherwise it is what every wise man will keep himself out of as much as he can.

II. Here is a secret application made to Christ by a woman ill of a bloody issue, which had been the consumption of her body and the consumption of her purse too; for she had spent all her living upon physicians, and was never the better, Luke 8:43. The nature of her disease was such that she did not care to make a public complaint of it (it was agreeable to the modesty of her sex to be very shy of speaking of it), and therefore she took this opportunity of coming to Christ in a crowd; and the more people were present the more likely she thought it was that she should be concealed. Her faith was very strong; for she doubted not but that by the touch of the hem of his garment she should derive from him healing virtue sufficient for her relief, looking upon him to be such a full fountain of mercies that she should steal a cure and he not miss it. Thus many a poor soul is healed, and helped, and saved, by Christ, that is lost in a crowd, and that nobody takes notice of. The woman found an immediate change for the better in herself, and that her disease was cured, Luke 8:44. As believers have comfortable communion with Christ, so they have comfortable communications from him incognitosecretly, meat to eat that the world knows not of, and joy that a stranger does not intermeddle with.

III. Here is a discovery of this secret cure, to the glory both of the physician and the patient.

1. Christ takes notice that there is a cure wrought: Virtue is gone out of me, Luke 8:46. Those that have been healed by virtue derived from Christ must own it, for he knows it. He speaks of it here, not in a way of complaint, as if he were hereby either weakened or wronged, but in a way of complacency. It was his delight that virtue was gone out of him to do any good, and he did not grudge it to the meanest; they were as welcome to it as to the light and heat of the sun. Nor had he the less virtue in him for the going out of the virtue from him for he is an overflowing fountain.

2. The poor patient owns her case, and the benefit she had received: When she saw that she was not hid, she came, and fell down before him, Luke 8:47. Note, The consideration of this, that we cannot be hid from Christ, should engage us to pour out our hearts before him, and to show before him all our sin and all our trouble. She came trembling, and yet her faith saved her, Luke 8:48. Note, There may be trembling where yet there is saving faith. She declared before all the people for what cause she had touched him because she believed that a touch would cure her, and it did so. Christ’s patients should communicate their experiences to one another.

3. The great physician confirms her cure, and sends her away with the comfort of it: Be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole, Luke 8:48. Jacob got the blessing from Isaac clandestinely, and by a wile; but, when the fraud was discovered, Isaac ratified it designedly. It was obtained surreptitiously and under-hand, but it was secured and seconded above-board. So was the cure here. He is blessed, and he shall be blessed; so here, She is healed, and she shall be healed.

IV. Here is an encouragement to Jairus not to distrust the power of Christ, though his daughter was now dead, and they that brought him the tidings advised him not to give the Master any further trouble about her: Fear not, saith Christ, only believe. Note, Our faith in Christ should be bold and daring, as well as our zeal for him. They that are willing to do any thing for him may depend upon his doing great things for them, above what they are able to ask or think. When the patient is dead there is no room for prayer, or the use of means; but here, though the child is dead, yet believe, and all shall be well. Post mortem medicusto call in the physician after death, is an absurdity; but not post mortem Christusto call in Christ after death.

V. The preparatives for the raising of her to life again. 1. The choice Christ made of witnesses that should see the miracle wrought. A crowd followed him, but perhaps they were rude and noisy; however, it was not fit to let such a multitude come into a gentleman’s house, especially now that the family was all in sorrow; therefore he sent them back, and not because he was afraid to let the miracle pass their scrutiny; for he raised Lazarus and the widow’s son publicly. He took none with him but Peter, and James, and John, that triumvirate of his disciples that he was most intimate with, designing these three, with the parents, to be the only spectators of the miracle, they being a competent number to attest the truth of it. 2. The check he gave to the mourners. They all wept, and bewailed her; for, it seems, she was a very agreeable hopeful child, and dear not only to the parents, but to all the neighbours. But Christ bid them not weep; for she is not dead, but sleepeth. He means, as to her peculiar case, that she was not dead for good and all, but that she should now shortly be raised to life, so that it would be to her friends as if she had been but a few hours asleep. But it is applicable to all that die in the Lord; therefore we should not sorrow for them as those that have no hope, because death is but a sleep to them, not only as it is a rest from all the toils of the days of time, but as there will be a resurrection, a waking and rising again to all the glories of the days of eternity. This was a comfortable word which Christ said to these mourners, yet they wickedly ridiculed it, and laughed him to scorn for it here was a pearl cast before swine. They were ignorant of the scriptures of the Old Testament who bantered it as an absurd thing to call death a sleep; yet this good came out of that evil that hereby the truth of the miracle was evinced; for they knew that she was dead, they were certain of it, and therefore nothing less than a divine power could restore her to life. We find not any answer that he made them; but he soon explained himself, I hope to their conviction, so that they would never again laugh at any word of his. But he put them all out, Luke 8:54. They were unworthy to be the witnesses of this work of wonder; they who in the midst of their mourning were so merrily disposed as to laugh at him for what he said would, it may be, have found something to laugh at in what he did, and therefore are justly shut out.

VI. Her return to life, after a short visit to the congregation of the dead: He took her by the hand (as we do by one that we would awake out of sleep, and help up), and he called, saying, Maid, arise, Luke 8:55. Thus the hand of Christ’s grace goes along with the calls of his word, to make them effectual. Here that is expressed which was only implied in the other evangelists, that her spirit came again; her soul returned again to animate her body. This plainly proves that the soul exists and acts in a state of separation from the body, and therefore is immortal; that death does not extinguish this candle of the Lord, but takes it out of a dark lantern. It is not, as Grotius well observes, the krasis or temperament of the body, or anything that dies with it; but it is anthypostaton tisomething that subsists by itself, which, after death, is somewhere else than where the body is. Where the soul of this child was in this interval we are not told; it was in the hand of the Father of spirits, to whom all souls at death return. When her spirit came again she arose, and made it appear that she was alive by her motion, as she did also by her appetite; for Christ commanded to give her meat. As babes newly born, so those that are newly raised, desire spiritual food, that they may grow thereby. In the Luke 8:56; we need not wonder to find her parents astonished; but if that implies that they only were so, and not the other by-standers, who had laughed Christ to scorn, we may well wonder at their stupidity, which perhaps was the reason why Christ would not have it proclaimed, as well as to give an instance of his humility.