While he spoke these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshiped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay your hand upon her, and she shall live.
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His action overpowered his speech. This caused the jaws of his critics to drop all the further. In this case, the one who came running was himself a ruler of his synagogue! And the crisis was appalling. For the child was his only daughter, only twelve years old, in the very flower of her life. It was especially for this reason that he raised her up and did so immediately. Luke says that people came who said, “Do not bother the teacher any longer, because she has already died.” Because of this we will say that Matthew’s statement, “She has just now died,” came from one who was making a guess based on the time that had elapsed since he had started on his journey. Another possibility is that the man was overstating the misfortune. For it is the habit among people who are in need to exaggerate their personal problems and to say a little more than what actually is the case. They do this to get a response more effectively from those with whom they are pleading their cause. But note the ruler’s insensitivity, how he abruptly requires of Christ two things, both his actual presence and the laying on of his hands. This, by the way, is a clue that he might have left her still breathing. Similarly you will recall Naaman the Syrian imploring the prophet: “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call in the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.” For those who are more or less dull of temper tend more to require sight and sensible signs. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily