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Luke 8:40–56 (ESV)
C.S. Lewis once wrote a letter to a budding author on the art of storytelling.
He reminded the young writer that the author should not have to continually ask the reader: “Gentle reader, do you feel amazed?
Gentle reader, do you feel astonished?”
A story, if it is written well, will have that effect naturally if its news is astonishing.
I wonder if we have all heard the accounts from Luke’s Gospel so often that we fail to be amazed by what we encounter.
Luke, you remember, is writing to Theophilus and he writes his Gospel accounts so compellingly that he doesn’t need to ask the reader to react in certain ways because the sheer wonder of Christ’s work in the lives of people speaks for itself.
Last week, Bob Rumbaugh taught on the healing of the Gerasene demoniac possessed by legions of demons.
It is very telling that after the display of Christ’s authority and power, the entire city begged Christ to leave them.
As we pick up at verse 40, Christ just returned to Galilee and He was welcomed by a throng of people.
Pressing through the crowd came a desperate man.
His name was Jairus and he was a ruler of the Synagogue at Capernaum.
Every synagogue was ruled by a board of elders and this was a man of high position.
In Capernaum, Christ had healed a paralytic as recorded for us in Luke 5. Also in Capernaum, a Roman Centurion had sent request that Christ heal his servant and Christ had marveled at the faith of this God-fearing gentile who was a benefactor of the Capernaum synagogue.
Surely, then, Jairus knew of Jesus’ power and authority and came to Christ and in an act of self-humiliation before Christ threw Himself at the Master’s feet.
Where the people of Gerasene had pleaded with Christ to leave them, Jairus pleaded with Christ to come to his home to heal his twelve year old daughter who was sick and near death.
A father’s affection and desperation poured out of him.
This was his only daughter.
He called her “my little daughter” in Mark 5.
She was his girlie and she was dying.
He pleaded that Christ would come quickly.
Now we know that Luke wrote his Gospel not as one who had seen the events but as one who had carefully interviewed hundreds of eyewitnesses and put them into an orderly account.
This account is written as if we’re reading the whole thing through the eyes of Jairus and I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a man who desperately loves his daughter and wants to get the Savior to her as quickly as possible.
As they went to the house, the going was slow.
Crowds were pressing in on Jesus and suddenly Jesus stopped.
I can only imagine that Jairus was several feet ahead of Christ and looked back and thought “…why is He stopping, doesn’t He realize my little girl is dying?”
But Christ was looking around and asking “Who touched me?”
Who touched you?
Are you kidding me?
There are people pressing in on you and you ask “Who touched me?”
Leave it to Peter.
He’s like you and me.
Peter tells Him what is obvious to the naked eye: “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
It’s so easy for us to criticize Peter because we don’t realize that he was a better man than we are.
If you’ve never been baffled by the way of the Lord then I would suggest you don’t know the Lord very well.
We are so blind to spiritual things and assume all the time that what we see is how the Lord sees things.
But Christ knew better.
As He was pressing through the crowd, a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years snuck through the crowd.
She thought to herself that if she could just touch the tassels of his garment that she would be healed.
The crowd was so large that she thought she could just brush him unnoticed.
You and I read this and we think to ourselves: “OK, a flow of blood for twelve years” but, beloved, those were twelve long years for this woman.
She had exhausted every penny she had on physicians to heal this affliction.
It’s not as if she simply had to deal with the physical discomfort of this sickness but this flow of blood made her ceremonially unclean according to Lev 15.
This meant that not only was she not permitted to worship with the people of God but it also meant she couldn’t even come near them or they too would be ceremonially unclean.
This meant that this woman had lived twelve long and painful years in the solitude of ceremonial uncleanness.
Bavinck writes a beautiful account of the creation of the first woman and how much the first man needed companionship.
What is true of man is true also of woman and I want you to hear what he says about Adam after he named the animals and couldn’t find a helper suitable for him: “Though formed out of the dust of the earth, Adam was nevertheless a bearer of the image of God.
He was placed in a garden which was a place of loveliness and was richly supplied with everything good to behold and to eat.
He received the pleasant task of dressing the garden and subduing the earth, and in this he had to walk in accordance with the commandment of God….
But no matter how richly favored and how grateful, that first man was not satisfied, not fulfilled.
The cause is indicated to him by God Himself.
It lies in his solitude.
It is not good for the man that he should be alone.
He is not so constituted, he was not created that way.
His nature inclines to the social — he wants company.
He must be able to express himself, reveal himself, and give himself.
He must be able to pour out his heart, to give form to his feelings.
He must share his awarenesses with a being who can understand him and can feel and live along with him.
Solitude is poverty, forsakenness, gradual pining and wasting away.
How lonesome it is to be alone!
Twelve years this woman had wasted away in solitude.
Perhaps she had gone to the Priest: “Is there any way for me to approach the people of God that I might worship and fellowship with them?
Is there nothing you can do for me?”
But the Priest could only administer the Law.
The Law had no remedy for her.
The Law could only command that she stay away.
Numbers 15 commanded the men of Israel to wear tassels on their garments to remind them to keep the Law of God.
Christ was the only man to ever remember to keep that Law perfectly and this poor woman reached out and touched that reminder.
And she was instantly healed!
Jairus was probably getting impatient at this point.
Christ was standing there asking who had touched Him.
Finally, when she realized she could not conceal what she had done, she stepped forward.
Women didn’t call attention to themselves in that culture and the tale of her sickness would have been embarrassing as she recounted it but, glory be to God, she had been healed!
Christ had outed her for two reasons.
First, He is such a compassionate Savior that He wanted it to be a public testimony that this woman was now healed.
She was now clean.
She could be restored to full fellowship.
Christ was not so busy or so important that He couldn’t stop and take the time to restore her to her people.
It was the end of her physical affliction and also the end of an unbearable loneliness.
Secondly, Christ called her out so she would understand that it wasn’t the tassel of His garment that had healed her but it was His power and His authority that had healed her.
Her faith had been somewhat superstitious.
Her faith had been somewhat weak in looking to a physical object to heal her.
But Christ rewarded even a feeble faith and reminded her that it was He who rewards.
It was Christ she had received.
In verse 48 He said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.
Can you imagine receiving a benediction to “Go in peace” from the God-Man who grants peace with God?
Now we don’t know how long they had lingered, but, while Christ was still speaking, someone came from Jairus’ house saying: “Your daughter is dead; don’t bother the Teacher anymore.”
How many of you have seen your child close to death as I have?
Can you imagine, even if only a little, how Jairus felt at that moment.
But Christ ignored the messenger.
He turned straight to Jairus and told him: “Fear no longer; only believe, and she will be made well.”
Hold on to me Jairus.
Do not fear.
How often do we need to hear that from God and how often does He tell us that in the Scriptures because we do fear.
When they arrived at the house, Christ allowed no one to come in except Peter and John and James, and the child’s father and mother.
It doesn’t say that there was no available space to fit more people but, rather, that Christ would not permit anyone else to come in.
Meanwhile, a crowd of mourners had already gathered and they were weeping and wailing over her.
Christ commanded them to stop weeping for, He said, “she is not dead but asleep.”
But, the text says, that the crowd laughed in Jesus’ face because they knew she was dead.
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