Tuesday, October 11, 2016

11 October 2016
Luke 8:40-56

Good morning, welcome. What do a synagogue ruler, a dead girl, and a chronically ill woman have in common? Today we have a story of healing within a story of healing. Let’s take a look.

On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. (40-41, NLT)
As opposed to the people of the Gerasenes, who had asked him to leave.

Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying. (41-42; NLT)
Jairus is desperate. His only daughter is dying. He has heard the stories, perhaps even witnessed the healing firsthand. ‘Please come home with me. Cure my daughter. Don’t let her die.’ Off they go.

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. (43-44, NLT)
This woman is also desperate. Anyone who has ever suffered with long term chronic illness can relate. She is not concerned about protocol; she wants to get to Jesus any way she can. She probably thinks she can sneak up on him, be healed, and slip away unnoticed. Remember, her bleeding probably would have made her unclean, an outcast. She shouldn’t even be there. ‘Please, just let me touch him…’

But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” (46-47, NLT)
This is a breathtaking statement. Uncontrolled power to heal, coming from Jesus before he even knew she was there. Was the Spirit working independently here? Was the Father? Somehow the woman was drawn to Jesus; her faith opened a door that let divine healing flow.

When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (47-48, NLT)
Busted! What had been done in private was now proclaimed in public. Fear and trembling gave way to peace. The woman too is a daughter of God, now fully restored.

While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”
(49-50, NLT)
While all this was going on Jairus’ daughter died. He was too late in coming to Jesus. Of course, Jesus has other plans.

The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. (52-55, NLT)
Jesus had said to Jairus ‘have faith, she will be healed’. Evidently Jairus believed; the child’s life is restored. ‘Her life returned’; where did it go? Jesus tells the parents to give her something to eat as proof she was alive; people of that time believed spirits could not eat.

Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened. (56, NLT)
This has been a story of contrasts. The woman tries to come to Jesus in private but her healing is made public. Jairus comes publicly yet the raising of his daughter is to be kept private. Faith is the one common thread. The lesson I see here is this-it doesn’t matter how you come to God as long as you come. Sometimes we are struggling to the point where all we can do is reach out a hand and hope God does not respond in anger. Other times we may come with bold confidence that He will honor our requests. Sometimes we may think we have been denied only to find God had something much better planned. Doesn’t matter how we come; just come.

One final note about faith, and sneaking up on God. This is another great meditation story. Imagine being that desperate. Imagine faith as a sort of door which, when opened, allows God’s presence to flow into your heart. Spend some time thinking about what this woman’s story might reveal about the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. What does this say to you about the nature and power of God?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all this day. JRG

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