January 9, 2024

Why Did He Say 'GO AWAY'?

”While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples. When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.“
Matthew‬ 9‬:18‬-19‬, 23‬-26‬ NIV‬‬

Author
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Tonderai Bassoppo-Moyo

Associate Pastor

In our reading of Matthew chapter 9, we come upon the narrative of the girl raised from the dead. While this chapter is filled with demonstrations of Jesus’ deity, authority, and power, this portion stands out because of how the deliverance from death takes place. Jesus instructs everyone to leave before raising the girl to life. Why?

Now, Matthew’s account of this passage is succinct, particularly when compared to Mark’s (Mark 5:21-43) and Luke’s (Luke 8:40-56). Matthew does not fail, however, to share forcefully how Jesus instructed the crowd to “Go away”, a phrase that can literally be translated to say “step aside”! These word choices bring focus to the question, was it necessary to be selective of whom was present for the raising of the little girl from death? In light of the preceding description of the noisy, pipe-playing crowd, this leads us to wonder why Jesus would instruct this? This can in turn lead to the question, if they were asked to withdraw, is it possible for people to hinder healing from manifesting?

In order to handle the text well, a quick look at the Jewish culture as it pertains to funerals can help shed some light. At funerals, families would pay people to cry, wail, and create a loud atmosphere of mourning, speaking to how valuable the deceased was. In other words, the more the crying and noise, the more it revealed how important and cherished the person was. It is in this setting that Jesus comes to the synagogue leader’s house. His desire here is not fanfare, pomp, or a duty to prove to His doubters (those that laughed, in this very text) of His power or position - rather, it is to bring this girl to life in response to the faith placed in Him as demonstrated by the girl’s father.

For this to happen, He did not need nor want the crowd who would have robbed the moment of the faith and respect that was needed. In Mark’s and Luke’s account, we read Jesus was even selective of the disciples He took in with Him. When the miracle was about to take place, faith was a prerequisite, and in that light, we can learn much from the miracles of Matthew chapter 9. Faith in Him is the permission we give Him, saying you are welcome to exercise your will in our lives, to bring good things to us, to make right that which is wrong, because indeed we can see it is not good.

This text is a lesson, reminding us of the importance of our faith and those we walk closely with. Let us be people that believe in Him and speak from faith, that we, too, might see Him move. We must place ourselves in an environment of using the word of our testimony wisely, giving and receiving faith filled and life giving words, inviting Jesus into our midst. Truly anything else that would hold our gaze must GET OUT!


For further study:
Mark 6:5-6
Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
The Pulpit Commentary

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David Terry

Executive Worship Pastor