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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 31: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

MATTHEW 9:23-26; MARK 5:35-43; LUKE 8:49-56

Matthew 9:23-26

Mark 5:35-43

Luke 8:49-56

23. And when Jesus came into the house of the ruler, and saw the musicians and the multitude making a noise, 24. He saith to them, Withdraw: for the young woman is not dead, but sleepeth: and they ridiculed him. 25. And when the multitude was put out, he entered and took hold of her hand, and the girl arose. 26. And this report spread into all that country.

35. While he is still speaking, there come from the ruler of the synagogue persons who say, Thy daughter is dead: why dost thou trouble the Master any farther? 36. And immediately on hearing the word which was said, he saith to the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe. 37. And he did not permit any one to follow him, except Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38. And he came into the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw the tumult, and persons who wept and lamented much. 39. And he entered, and said to them, Why do you vex yourselves and lament? the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. 40. And they ridiculed him. But, having put them all out, he taketh the father and mother of the girl, and those who were with him, and entereth where the girl is lying. 41. And he took hold of the hand of the girl, and said to her, Talitha-cumi: which is, if one interpret it, Girl, I say to thee, Arise. 42. And immediately the girl arose, and walked: for she was twelve years of age. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43. And he charged them earnestly, that no man should know it: and commanded them to give her something to eat.

49. While he was still speaking, one came from the house of the ruler of the synagogue, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead, do not trouble the Master. 50. But Jesus, having heard this, replied to the ruler, saying, Fear not, only believe, and she shall be cured. 51. And when he came into the house, he did not permit any one to enter, except Peter, and James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. 52. And all were weeping and bewailing her. But he said, Weep not: she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53. And they ridiculed him, knowing that she was dead. 54. And he having put them all out, took hold of her hand, and cried out, saying, Girl, arise. 55. And her spirit returned, and she immediately arose: and he commanded to give her something to eat. 56. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them to tell no man what had been done.


Mark 5:36. Fear not, only believe. The message about her death had induced despair: for he had asked nothing from Christ but relief to the diseased young woman. Christ therefore bids him take care lest, by fear or distrust, he shut out that grace, to which death will be no hindrance. By this expression, only believe, he means that he will not want power, provided Jairus will allow him; and, at the same time, exhorts him to enlarge his heart with confidence, because there is no room to fear that his faith will be more extensive than the boundless power of God. And truly this is the case with us all: for God would be much more liberal in his communications to us, if we were not so close; but our own scanty desires hinder him from pouring out his gifts upon us in greater abundance.  528 In general, we are taught by this passage, that we cannot go beyond bounds in believing: because our faith, however large, will never embrace the hundredth part of the divine goodness.

37. And did not permit any one to follow him. He forbade that they should be allowed to enter, either because they were unworthy to be his witnesses of the miracle, or because he did not choose that the miracle should be overpowered by a noisy crowd around him. It was better that the young woman, whose dead body they had beheld, should suddenly go out before the eyes of men, alive and full of rigor. Mark and Luke tell us that not more than three of the disciples were admitted, and both mention also the parents. Mark alone states that those who had accompanied Jairus when he came to supplicate Christ were admitted. Matthew, who is more concise, takes no notice of this circumstance.

Luke 8:52. And all were weeping. The Evangelists mention the lamentation, that the resurrection may be more fully believed. Matthew expressly states that musicians were present, which was not usually the case till the death had been ascertained, and while the preparations for the funeral were going forward. The flute, he tells us, was heard in plaintive airs. Now, though their intention was to bestow this sort of honor on their dead, and as it were to adorn their grave, we see how strongly inclined the world is not only to indulge but to promote its faults. It was their duty to employ every method for allaying grief; but as if they had not sinned enough in disorderly lamentation, they are eager to heighten it by fresh excitements. The Gentiles even thought that this was a way of soothing departed spirits; and hence we see how many corruptions were at that time spread throughout Judea.  529

Mark 5:39 The girl sleepeth. Sleep is everywhere in Scripture employed to denote death; and there is no doubt but this comparison, taken from temporal rest, points out a future resurrection. But here Christ expressly makes a distinction between sleep and death, so as to excite an expectation of life. His meaning is, “You will presently see her raised up whom you suppose to be dead.” That he was ridiculed by thoughtless and ignorant people, who were wholly engrossed with profane lamentation, and who did not comprehend his design, ought not to awaken surprise. And yet this very circumstance was an additional confirmation of the miracle, that those persons entertained no doubt whatever as to her death.

41. And he took hold of her hand, and said to her Luke 8:54. And he took hold of her hand, and cried Though naturally this cry was of no avail for recalling the senses of the deceased young woman, yet Christ intended to give a magnificent display of the power of his voice, that he might more fully accustom men to listen to his doctrine. It is easy to learn from this the great efficacy of the voice of Christ, which reaches even to the dead, and exerts a quickening influence on death itself. Accordingly, Luke says that her spirit returned, or, in other words, that immediately on being called, it obeyed the command of Christ.

43. And he charged them Though Christ did not admit all indiscriminately to behold this resurrection, yet the miracle might not have remained long concealed. And it would indeed have been improper to suppress that power of God, by which the whole world ought to be prepared for life. Why then does he enjoin silence on the young woman’s parents? Perhaps it was not so much about the fact itself, as about the manner of it, that he wished them to be silent, and that only for a time; for we see that there were other instances in which he sought out a proper occasion. Those who think that they were forbidden to speak for the purpose of whetting their desire, resort to a solution which is unnatural. I do acknowledge that Christ did not perform this miracle without the intention of making it known, but perhaps at a more fitting time, or after the dismission of a crowd among whom there was no prudence or moderation. He therefore intended to allow some delay, that they might in quietness and composure revolve the work of God.



Mais la petitesse, et (par maniere de dire) la chicete de nostre foy, l'empesche de faire decouler plus abondamment ses biens sur nous;” — “But the smallness and (so to speak) the niggardliness of our faith, hinders him from making his benefits flow more abundantly on us.”


Dont nous pouvons recueillir comment le pays de Judee estoit lots reinply de beaucoup de corruptions, et diverses sortes d'abus;” — “whence we may infer how much the country of Judea was then filled with many corruptions, and various sorts of abuses.”

Next: Matthew 9:27-34