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Gadara was located in the province of Perea, which was part of King Herod’s jurisdiction. The demoniac who was healed was told to remain there and to bear witness to God’s mercy upon him. In this way the man would prepare the way for Jesus to minister there at a later time. Mark 5:20 says,
20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marveled.
Decapolis means “ten cities” on the east side of the Jordan River. The northernmost city was Damascus, and the southernmost city was Philadelphia, now known as Amman, Jordan. This was the region that the healed demoniac evangelized.
In one sense it seems to depict an early ministry beyond the borders of Galilee and Judea. At that time, however, the foreigners as a whole were not ready to hear Jesus’ words, so He was asked to leave.
Jesus returned to “His own city” (Matt. 9:1), that is, Capernaum, for He had already moved away from Nazareth where He was unwelcome. Luke 8:40 says,
40 And as Jesus returned, the multitude welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.
Many had already been healed in Galilee, and so Jesus’ reputation had spread. Those who were sick or handicapped saw Jesus as their only hope for healing. Matthew’s account tells us that there were other people healed who were not mentioned in Luke’s account.
Luke then records two stories in one, which makes it somewhat confusing. Yet as we will see, the two stories are bound together to give us a greater understanding of the history of the Kingdom itself.
Luke 8:41, 42 says,
41 And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to entreat Him to come to his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes were pressing against Him.
Edersheim tells us that “a woman came of age at twelve years and one day, boys at thirteen years and one day” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p. 618, footnote). Jairus’ daughter, then, had just come of age but was suddenly at the point of death.
Jairus, being “an official of the synagogue,” had a Hebrew name, Ya’iyr, which means “whom God enlightens,” or, as Alfred Edersheim defines it, “he will give light.” His name implies that God was about to enlighten him and others with faith to hear the Word. However, it is clear that Jairus came with great urgency and haste. So the Father brought about a delay in order to try his faith and thereby perfect it.
First, the crowd pressed against Him, impeding His movement and slowing His pace. The crowd was mindless of the urgency of the situation. We can only imagine the frustration that Jairus was experiencing. To make matters worse, Jesus was interrupted by a woman who obtained healing by grasping the tassel of His cloak.
Luke 8:43, 44 says,
43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, 44 came up behind Him, and touched the fringe [tassel] of His cloak; and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.
“Oh, no! Not another delay! My daughter is dying! Come back later! I was here first!” But Jesus stopped to deal with the new situation. Luke 8:45-48 says,
45 And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the multitudes are crowding and pressing upon You.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” 47 And when the woman 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. 48 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Here we see two women presented in Luke’s account. One was twelve years old, and the other had had a hemorrhage for twelve years—or from about the time that the other girl was born. Prophetically speaking, they were one. The number twelve is written in Hebrew with two letters: (??) yod-beth. The yod is a hand, and beth is a house or household. So the older woman used her hand to touch the tassel on Jesus’ garment, while the daughter of Jairus was in the house. The combination of the two suggests the number twelve, which is the number of divine government.
This alone is eye-opening. Not only does Luke present us with many stories of women to raise them up to their proper place in the world, but also to their place in divine government. In Old Covenant culture (and marriage), women were placed under authority in obedience to their husbands; but a New Covenant marriage (when it is achieved) raises women up to the place of equality and agreement.
See my book, Old and New Covenant Marriage.
The infirmities of the women in this story appear to be a metaphor for the social infirmity of the women in that culture under the Old Covenant. The woman with the hemorrhage was perpetually unclean by the law. Lev. 15:25 says,
25 Now if a woman has a discharge of her blood many days, not at the period of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond that period, all the days of her impure discharge she shall continue as though in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean.
This is part of the law regarding clean and unclean, which, of course, was about to change form. Under the New Covenant we are made clean by the water of “the word” and by the blood of Jesus Christ.
To understand the prophetic significance of this woman, we must also learn the prophecy of timing in Leviticus 12, where we are told that a woman giving birth to a boy was considered unclean for the next forty days (Lev. 12:2-4). If she gave birth to a girl, she was unclean for eighty days. (Lev. 12:5). During that time of uncleanness, her husband was not to lie with her, which effectively meant that she could not conceive during that time.
Prophetically speaking, God brought forth a girl-nation at creation, but because of sin, His wife’s spiritual hemorrhage of blood prevented Husband and Wife from coming together again until the 80th Jubilee cycle. That is when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary to conceive Jesus Christ. By extension also, this included the Body of Christ, which we call “the church.” In this sense, the church was a son, but yet imperfect, seen in the fact that Pentecost was a leavened feast (Lev. 23:17). Therefore, God had to wait another 40 Jubilees to conceive again. This third spiritual or prophetic conception has already taken place and will result in the manifestation of the sons of God in the Tabernacles Age.
The woman in Luke 8:43 represents the condition of the prophetic “woman” in her time, which found its expression in the nation of Judea and the religious practice of the temple and synagogue. Jairus was the ruler of the synagogue representing that religious system whose faith needed to be perfected. The woman herself was unclean and could not rise above her condition in order to come to her proper executive position in the household of God. As representatives of something greater, both were unclean. The woman knew it, but Jairus was unaware of it. Christ is presented to us as her only solution. And when she touched His tassel, she was healed.
The significance of the tassel is that it represented the law itself, as seen in Num. 15:38-40,
38 Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, 40 in order that you may remember to do all My commandments, and be holy to your God.
By grasping Jesus’ tassel, she was remembering “all the commandments of the Lord.” The law itself was not her problem, but was actually her solution. Her problem was the application of the law under the Old Covenant. She needed a new application of the law under the New Covenant, wherein the law was to be written in our hearts by faith, which comes by hearing and obedience.
In representing the nation itself, which, through sin, had become a harlot, her act prophesied of the day when the nation would remember the law of God and cease to act like a harlot. Her faith was thus demonstrated, for she was taking hold of the law (word). Her faith thus healed her.
So once again we see the underlying theme of faith in Luke’s account. Faith is the result of hearing as proven by obedience (shema). This is what qualifies us to rule and reign with Christ in His Kingdom, as the number twelve signifies. For a more complete study of the law of tassels, see my book, Deuteronomy, Speech 6, Domestic Laws, chapter 10.
We should also point out that when the woman touched Jesus while yet in her condition, she would have rendered Him unclean, but for the fact that she was suddenly healed. It is not possible to render Jesus unclean, so when anyone is able to touch Him by faith, they do not pass their uncleanness to Him, but rather He passes on His holiness to them.
Luke 8:49 continues,
49 While He was still speaking [to the woman who had just been healed], someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.”
One can only imagine Jairus’ thoughts when he heard this sad news. While Jesus was being delayed by the crowd and this woman in particular, his daughter had died. Did he feel a surge of resentment? We may assume this, as this is the natural reaction. But Luke 8:50 says,
50 But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe [pisteuo], and she shall be made well.”
Jesus told Jairus to have faith. Faith is pistis, but its verb form is pisteuo, “to believe.” (In English, faith is only a noun, never a verb, so we must use the word “believe” to express faith in action.)
Once again, we see that this delay was designed to test and perfect Jairus’ faith. Death is never the end of the story. Whether we live or die and are raised from the dead, Jesus is always the answer.
51 And when He had come to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother.
There were only seven in the room, including Jesus and the dead girl. Perhaps the other disciples were standing guard at the door of the house to keep everyone else from entering. This was a lesson for the few.
52 Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. 54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” 55 And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.
The implication here is that “sleep” means that death is not permanent but that she will come back from the dead. She had indeed died, but death is not the end. Hence, death for all men is only “sleep” on account of the promise of resurrection. When Jesus commanded that she arise, “her spirit returned, and she rose immediately.” This pictures the resurrection itself at the end of the age.
Death itself is a return to its origins. At death, one’s spirit returns to God (Eccl. 12:7; Luke 23:46), the soul sleeps in sheol, or hades (Acts 2:31), and the body returns to dust.
So Jairus learned that as long as Jesus was coming, it did not matter if He was delayed or made haste. Even with exasperating delays, He was not hindered from His purpose. Death itself was not an obstacle to healing his daughter. By this, Jairus himself was enlightened by purified faith, and so he was able to give light to others in his synagogue.