2023 Study Summary 11: These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth
Matthew 9–10; Mark 5; Luke 9
“These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth”
Matthew 9 Jesus forgives sins, heals a paralytic, and calls Matthew—Jesus eats with sinners, heals a woman who touches His garments, and raises Jairus’s daughter to life—He opens the eyes of the blind, casts out a devil, and preaches the gospel.
Matthew 10. Jesus instructs and empowers the Twelve Apostles and sends them forth to preach, minister, and heal the sick—Those who receive the Twelve receive the Lord.
Mark 5. Jesus casts out a legion of devils, who then enter the swine—A woman is healed by touching Jesus’ clothes—He raises Jairus’s daughter from the dead.
Luke 9. The Twelve are sent out—Jesus feeds the five thousand—Peter testifies of Christ—Jesus foretells His death and resurrection—He is transfigured on the mount—He heals and teaches.
How did Jesus feel about children?
In 1995, an event occurred that bears repeating because it adds light to this lesson. It deals with Israel’s neighbors, the Jordanians, it’s the late visionary King Hussein, and little children. The background to the news story included an expected festivity as a new bridge, named the Hussein Bridge, was opened across the Jordan River, connecting Israel and Jordan. The king was coming to visit Israel, this time officially and publicly. The media waited for the two previous enemies to meet half way across the bridge. They were surprised however, that the Israeli officials did not arrive on schedule. Instead, Israeli children with bunches of flowers ran toward the Jordanian king. Unarmed, unaccompanied, they surrounded the king and gave him bouquets of flowers. The king wept. The media didn’t understand. Even in a land and among a people that don’t know their King of Kings, they know how to greet a king. They sent their little ones. When Jesus arrived at a town, often his fame proceeded him, little children ran through the gathering crowds and clustered around the Savior. His disciples attempted to “shoo” them away, Jesus responded, “Suffer (allow) the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:15)
How can I sense the sacred and private nature of Jesus’ blessings?
Often, the Lord sent the multitude away and asked that the miracle be kept private. It was His nature; it was his way of showing the personal nature of His salvation. Viewing miracles in their private context will give us a greater insight to His mission–of saving every one of us. To sense the context of this, let me explain. Religious Jews today wear an outer garment of light wool called a talith (pronounced Talleet). The name is derived from the Hebrew word for lamb, taleh. The hem or the strings of the talith are customarily touched during Jewish religious services. (The four sets of strings are knotted so that the sum of knots and strings equals 613—the number of laws and covenants including the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai.) Modern Jews touch the strings and knots of the talith garment to remind and commit themselves to keep the laws being blessed of God by them. The woman who touched the garment of Jesus (probably the talith) was healed. When He questioned who had touched Him, the woman fell at His feet and confessed, probably because it was totally against Jewish custom for a woman bleeding (ritually unclean) to touch anyone. Jesus assured her that her faith had made her whole. “And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” (Mark 5:31-34)
When would I take the time out to “bless the one?”
Of the children at Capernaum, I recall the account of a twelve-year-old girl who was ill. Her father, the leader of the synagogue, begged Jesus to come and heal her. “And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: . . . And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.” (Mark 5:21-24) It was on the way to bless the child, that Jesus noted a woman had touched His garment. “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:21-30) The blood issue of the woman, unclean for twelve years, (untouchable under Mosaic law) was last in His healing. She was told that she was whole, to go in peace and then, followed by being healed of her “plague.” Is it possible that Jesus knew that her distress of bleeding was in fact the lesser of her challenges in life? She may not have had a hug, a touch or caress in twelve years! Sometimes we are sick one way so that the Lord can bless us another way. His responses often included a broader lesson. “He was a “Whole-istic” healer.
What does “Talitha Cumi” mean to me?
By the time Jesus arrived to bless the daughter of the leader of the synagogue, she had died. The people laughed at Jesus when He said the girl was only asleep. He sent all the mourners away, then with Peter, James, and John, “. . . he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel . . . and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi . . .” (Mark 5:40-41) The endearing term Talitha may have been Jesus’ way of saying “little lamb,” or “curly locks” (a nickname)—and cumi in Hebrew means “get up.” “And straightway the damsel arose and walked.” (Mark 5:42) In discussing this event with my own curly-locked daughter, we mused on the tender feelings, the personal nature, and the poetic nature of Jesus’ caring. We wrote a poem together. Jesus’ teaching methods are reflected in the following verses that a young curly locked girl might have also thought two thousand years ago:
The reflections of a little girl
Deborah and Daniel Rona
They said he was a stranger man,
But I liked him right away.
The crowds lingered and followed him.
But, I always heard him say:
Hello, my precious little one,
Will you sit with me today?
He called me Talitha, curly locks,
and he taught me how to pray.
When I was sick, he came to me.
But my life had slipped away.
He told my father, not to fear,
Have faith, he was heard to say.
Then, took my little hand and said:
Talitha, rise up and stay.
How can I see the “real lessons?”
Jesus was teaching while he was comforting a bereaved family, torn apart by the untimely death of their daughter. His lesson probably included the personal comforting thought, “Your family is together again.” Yet what He was really teaching was that “Families can be together, forever.” The account in Mark of the palsied man had another subtle yet powerful lesson. Connect the meaning of this event with others. For example, most people that witnessed Jesus heal the withered hand, (Matthew 12:12, Mark 3:1, Luke 6:6) or heal the woman with an issue of blood, (Mark 5:25) saw these as signs of His power over ailments. Yet, the palsied man was told that his sins were forgiven. Consider the man with his withered hand. What happened to the rest of his soul? Think about the curly locked daughter as she returned to mortality possibly telling “How beautiful” the next life is. Probably, blessing her family with an intimate understanding of eternal life.
How did “desert” really mean “deserted?”
Another lesson took place at the uninhabited eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Even today, the few archaeological ruins indicate the deserted nature of that area. At the lower and southern end of the Golan on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is a more desolate or deserted place (not a desert) where few people lived. During Jesus’ ministry He went there to be alone. When the people heard that He was on the other side, they followed Him out of their cities. He blessed them and preached to them until the disciples urged Jesus to let them go home to buy food to eat. He said, “Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men. (This did not account for women or children). And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.” (Luke 9:13-17) Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, and they said it couldn’t be done because they did not have enough food even for themselves, the Twelve. Surely five loaves and two fishes could never feed the multitude! Still, Jesus did not change His charge. He took what they had, prepared it, and returned it to the disciples. Then they fed the loaves and fishes to five thousand – not counting women or children.” (Matthew 14:21). There was even enough left over for each disciple to have a basket of food for himself. Would it have been more dramatic if there had been fourteen basketfuls left over? Or would it have been less dramatic if only ten basketfuls remained? The residual twelve baskets full of food would surely suffice the Twelve as Jesus sent them by boat to the other side of the lake. He can do the same with our lives, when we bring Him what we have.