Jesus was not in the habit of uttering idle words, or words without significance. In all history there is not an example recorded of a man whose reticence was so marked. Every word he uttered conveyed some important lesson to humanity. It does not seem probable that he would question those poor blind men regarding their faith in his power, unless their faith was an important factor in the case.
The case of the ten lepers of Samaria and Galilee has been cited as an instance of his healing in the absence of faith on the part of the patients:-
"And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
"And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
"And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
"And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
"And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
"And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed ? but where are the nine ?
"There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
"And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." 1
It has been said that this passage shows that nine out of the ten were healed without the exercise of faith on their part, because he said to but one of them, "Thy faith hath made thee whole." The obvious answer to this is that he had no opportunity to say it to the rest. There was but one of the ten who exhibited sufficient gratitude to return and give thanks for what had been done for him. That the rest were healed in the same way is oVvious. That they all had faith in his power is evidenced by the fact that they cried to him from afar off, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." I submit that that is not the language of doubt.
1 Luke xvii. 12- .9.
Again, it has been said that in the cases where he raised from the dead there could have been no faith on the part of the dead. This is by all odds the strongest case that could be cited in support of the theory that faith was not required. But the objection instantly vanishes when we remember that it is the faith of the subjective mind, or the soul, that is required; and that the belief of the objective mind has only a limited control, governed by circumstances.1 When Jesus raised a person from the dead, the conditions were, in one sense of the word, the best possible to enable him to obtain complete mastery of the soul of the deceased by the power of suggestion. The objective senses were in complete abeyance, the body was dead; consequently, there was no objective auto-suggestion of doubt possible. The soul, in obedience to the universal law, was amenable to control by the mysterious power of suggestion. Jesus, possessing more subjective power than any one who has ever lived, commanded the soul of the deceased to return to its earthly tenement.
He may not have employed objective language when he issued his command, but his soul, in perfect telepathic communion with that of the deceased, and dominating it as only he could dominate the souls of men, issued his mental mandate to the departing soul to return to the body and resume its functions. That command it must obey, and it did obey. There was no law of nature violated or transcended. On the contrary, the whole transaction was in perfect obedience to the laws of nature. He understood the law perfectly, as no one before him understood it; and in the plenitude of his power he applied it where the greatest good could be accomplished.
The case of Jairus' daughter is a perfect illustration of the fact that he perfectly understood the mental conditions necessary to enable him to raise her from the dead. Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, besought Jesus to come to his house and heal his daughter, who was lying at the point of death. Jesus readily complied with the request; but before they arrived, word was sent to Jairus that the damsel was dead:-
1 See the chapters on Mental Therapeutics.
"While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further?
"As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
"And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.
"And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
"And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep ? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
"And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was tying.
"And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
"And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.
"And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat." 1
There are several points embraced in the above which are deserving of serious consideration.
The first is that Christ perfectly understood the importance of securing for his patient a favorable mental environment. To that end he endeavored to quiet the fears of the father, and to impress upon him the necessity of holding his mind in the attitude of faith and confidence. The father was necessarily in telepathic rapport with the daughter, and it was important that he should not impress his doubts and fears upon her departing soul. The injunction was, therefore, laid upon him, "Be not afraid, only believe".
1 Mark v. 35-43.
He also understood the value of a positive mental force surrounding the deceased, which would be in perfect harmony with his own force and purpose. To that end, he selected three of the most powerful of his followers, Peter, James, and John, to be present in the chamber of death, and he suffered no one else to follow him. He kept the multitude of unbelievers as far away as possible. When he came to the house and saw the tumult, and heard the weeping and wailing of the friends and relatives of the deceased, he not only put them all out of the room, but sought to quiet their fears by the only way possible, which was by assuring them that " the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth." These words possess a double meaning, a double purpose; and some have supposed that they implied that the damsel was only in a cataleptic trance. It is probable, however, that they were uttered in the sense that the soul never dies. It will be remembered that he used the same expression in regard to Lazarus, but afterwards explained his meaning by declaring that Lazarus was really dead in the common acceptation of the term. His object in using that expression was twofold.