What does Luke 8:54 mean?
ESV: But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.”
NIV: But he took her by the hand and said, 'My child, get up!'
NASB: He, however, took her by the hand and spoke forcefully, saying, 'Child, arise!'
CSB: So he took her by the hand and called out, "Child, get up! "
NLT: Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, 'My child, get up!'
KJV: And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
Verse Commentary:
A synagogue leader has asked Jesus to raise his dead daughter, and Jesus willingly complies. For the third time—perhaps that day—He is exposed to someone who is ritually unclean. First it was the man beset by thousands of demons who roamed the graveyard naked and covered in sores from the stones he drew across his flesh (Luke 8:27–38). Then it was the woman with chronic bleeding who had the audacity to touch Jesus in search of healing (Leviticus 15:25–30; Luke 8:43–44). Now, it's a dead body (Numbers 19:11).

Such an act proves Jesus' compassion in addition to His power. He has no need for touch when healing (Luke 7:7–8), but He heals out of compassion (Matthew 14:14). Unlike the professional "mourners" who quickly switch from wailing to mocking (Luke 8:52–53), this girl and her family are not a job to Him.

Mark, here, quotes Jesus' Aramaic words directly: "Talitha cumi" (Mark 5:41). Scholars think Mark tried to prove Jesus doesn't use magical spells: He's no traveling showman or magician. He simply speaks what He wants to see happen, as He did with the storm (Luke 8:24; Mark 4:39). Luke is writing to a Greek audience that probably doesn't know Aramaic or wonder if Jesus is a magician, so he feels free to use an interpretation.
Verse Context:
Luke 8:40–56 records the third and fourth examples of Jesus providing salvation from worldly hardships—this time, illness, shame, and death. Jairus begs Jesus to come heal his daughter. Along the way, a chronically ill woman touches Jesus' robe. Jesus stops, blesses her faith, and calls her "daughter." He then raises the young girl from the dead. Jairus and the woman both show their faith through their diligence and boldness to procure Jesus' healing power. Next, Jesus will imbue His disciples with His power to continue His work. These stories are also found in Matthew 9:18–26 and Mark 5:21–43.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 8 includes portions of three sections of Jesus' Galilean Ministry. The women who support Jesus' ministry bridge the faithful outcasts of chapter 7 to the sower who spreads the news of God's kingdom (Luke 8:1–3). Luke 8:4–18 includes the parables of the sower and the lamp under the jar. These illustrate the importance of hearing Jesus' message with a mind to believe and obey. Luke 8:19–56 presents different faith reactions when Jesus' life, power, and authority elicit questions about His identity.
Chapter Context:
This passage continues Luke's pattern in the account of Jesus' Galilean ministry: alternating calls to discipleship with stories that describe the discipleship He expects. In Luke 6:17, Jesus transitioned from calling and training the Twelve to a more general call; in Luke 7, Jesus interacted specifically with those with less privilege in society. Chapter 8 reveals how people react when Jesus reveals who He is, mostly through miracles. In Luke 9:18–50, Jesus returns to intense discipleship of the Twelve to give them courage and faith, preparing them for the journey to Jerusalem and what they will witness there.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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