31 Luke 8.40-56
Nearer My God to Thee
READ Luke 8:40-56 (p. 1607)
v How do you approach God?
Ø Do you storm the gates of Heaven…
§ Or do you timidly knock on the back door
Ø Do you enter his presence with confidence…
§ Or do you fall on your face before him?
Ø Do you advance toward God face to face…
§ Or do you go in quietly hoping to be notice?
Ø Do you ask of him boldly…
§ Or do you fear even to speak to him?
v There are many ways to approach God
Ø And before us today we see a study in the contrasting ways how to draw near to Jesus
§ A woman and Jairus
· And through their contrasts we get a clear picture of the equity of God
v Let’s begin our examination by looking at WHO can approach God
Ø Look at the difference between who these two people are
Ø Look at the woman
§ She is totally anonymous
· We are not told here name
§ While we are told Jairus’ name
Ø Again, look at the woman
§ She is Lowly, ordinary, common
· She did not even consider herself worthy of approaching Jesus
§ In contrast, we are told exactly what Jairus does
· Leader of the local synagogue
¨ Clearly Affluent, in the upper tier of society
v Anonymous vs. Named
v Lowly vs. Wealthy
v By contrast, this tells us exactly WHO can approach Jesus…
§ Anyone can approach God!
Ø No respecter of persons
§ Doesn’t matter who you are or what you do
· Doesn’t matter if you are…
¨ A CEO or a grocery bagger
¨ A diamond trader or a ditch digger
¨ A computer mogul or a
¨ President or pauper
· All are equal in Christ’s eyes
¨ Genesis 1:27 says…
Ø So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
§ Here the sexes are equal
¨ This is repeated by Paul
Ø Gal 3:28
§ There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus
· Here not only are the sexes named as equal…
¨ The ethnic and socio-economic barriers are broken down
§ There is no greater or lesser in God’s eyes
· That was one of the problems that Paul was dealing with in the Corinthian church
¨ 1 Cor 11:17-22 (Turn to and read)
Ø If there is one thing that our text in Luke shows us, it is that Jesus is no respecter of persons
v What does knowing this teach us?
Ø 2 Things:
§ 1) The Gospel open to all
During World War II, the late President Roosevelt used this particular expression in one of his great speeches. Poland, with some of the other countries of Western Europe, had been conquered by the German hordes and Great Britain was hard pressed. The battle of the Atlantic was about to begin. Addressing his remarks to England, the President said, “As for Iceland, we are determined at all costs to keep the way to Iceland." What did he mean? Iceland, situated strategically in the North Atlantic, was in the hands of the American government.
Thus the sea lanes were assured of the safe transit of ships as long as Iceland remained in friendly hands. Roosevelt said in so many words that no matter what the cost, we would keep the way to Iceland open in order for shipping to make its course across the ocean unimpeded. The way was to be kept open.
Jesus has made a similar promise to mankind about heaven.
· Jn 6:37 ~ Whoever comes to me, I will not drive away
· Acts 2:21 ~ Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved
God the Father has ensured that the way to the heaven will be kept open, no matter what the cost, and the cost was great! The price of his one and only son Jesus Christ.
The second thing that knowing that Jesus is no respecter of person helps us realize is that…
§ 2) It doesn’t matter who you are in the world’s eyes…
· The only thing that matters is who you are in God’s eyes
¨ Good news for some, bad for others
Ø To the affluent, this can be bad news
Ø To those of affluence who feel entitled, this is bad news
§ There is no networking in heaven
§ You cannot get better seating, there is no preferential treatment
· God is no respecter of persons
¨ There are no Cal Hockley’s in Heaven
¨ Illustration: Titanic - the movie
Ø Cal Hockley, Rose’s fiancé
§ Because of who he was…
· He was able to get Jack Dawson arrested
· Was able to sway Rose’s mother
· Was able to buy a seat on a life raft
¨ His affluence afforded him special treatment
¨ With God, all are treated equally
Ø There is no preferential treatment with God
§ Jairus probably couldn’t believe that Jesus stopped for this woman
§ His daughter was dying and every minute counted!
§ But Jesus showed that she was just as important as Jairus’s daughter
· So it is bad news to those of affluence who expect special treatment from the Lord
· However, God being no respecter of persons is Good news for the woman…
¨ as well as all the “have-nots” of the world
Ø Jesus does not look at your bank account, house size or type of car you drive
§ Just your need
· And to Christ, your need is just as important as anyone else’s in the world
v Let’s continue our examination by looking at HOW to approach Jesus
Ø Look at the difference between how the woman and Jairus approached Jesus
§ The woman Timidly approaching Jesus from behind (v. 44)
· Not wanting to be notice
¨ Wanting to be lost in the crowd
§ While Jairus approached boldly through the crowd
· Came to Jesus face to face
Ø The woman came for her need
§ While Jairus came for someone else’s need…his daughter
v Timid or bold
v For self or for others
v What does this teach us?
Ø You can approach God in different ways
§ For yourself
· As David did over and over again in the psalms
¨ Ps 59:1-2
Ø Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men.
§ For others
· As Paul did for Philemon
¨ Philemon :4-6
Ø I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ
· As John did in Revelation
¨ Rev 1:17
Ø When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.
§ And in Boldness
· Hebrews 4:14-16
¨ Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
· One of the boldest ways to approach God is through Imprecatory prayers
v How do you come to Jesus?
Ø In humility or boldness…
Ø Pleading for self or others…
§ It doesn’t matter, as long as you come to Jesus
· He beckons you to come to him
¨ Matt 11:28-29
Ø Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
v The Third contrast shows us WHY we approach Jesus
Ø Look at the woman
§ 12 years of suffering (v. 43)
· Bleeding for 12 years
· Mark’s account tells us that she had suffered a great deal and spent all she had on doctors
¨ Because of her bleeding she was ritualistically unclean so anyone who touched her would become unclean
Ø Could not worship
Ø Money gone
Ø Friends, Family and Faith all compromised
§ This woman was truly suffering
Ø While just the opposite was true of Jairus
§ The last 12 years were filled with the joy of his daughter
· Anyone who has had a son or a daughter knows the joy of having a child
¨ First time they say “daddy”
¨ First steps
¨ The funny things they say
¨ The way they imitate you
Ø Example: Avonlea sitting on the step while getting the oil changed
Ø Notice also that…
§ The woman was coming to Jesus as a last Resort (Mk 5:26)
· While Jairus seeks out Jesus was a First Resort
v Why do you come to Jesus?
Ø In the depths or on the mountaintop
Ø As a last ditch effort or first resort
§ It doesn’t matter, just come to Jesus
v It is interesting…
Ø They do have one thing in common
§ And that is…
Ø Regardless of who they were…
§ A leader or a nobody
Ø Regardless of how they approached…
§ From behind or face to face
Ø Regardless of why they approached…
§ Last resort or first chance…
Ø They both ended up at Jesus’ feet
§ They both realized that they could not do anything to help their situation
· They both realized “I can’t do it”
Two construction workers once fell into a deep pit. One said to the other, "Save me from this wretched place. Please get me out of the dirt and mud." The other replied, "You idiot, how can I? I am in the same plight as you." Since they were both in the pit, neither one could help the other. Then they heard a voice from above calling to them to grasp a rope. A third worker had not fallen into the pit, so he was the only one who could save them. He brought help from above.
The very best man among the prophets could not save us from the pit of sin because he, too, was a sinner just as we are. He landed in the same pit we did. But Jesus was God and thus was not sinful. He came from above to save us from the horrible plight we are in. Like the two workmen, we cannot save ourselves.
v Both the woman and Jairus realized that they could not do anything to help their situation
Ø And we have to realize that we cannot do it either
§ We cannot save ourselves
· We have to rely on Jesus Christ
¨ And know that Jesus is the only way out of the pit
Ø Acts 4:12
§ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Many European towns still bear the marks of walls that surrounded them in the Middle Ages. Streets near these old walls are curved and sometimes wind up in a dead end. A man asked a stranger how to reach a certain address. When the stranger directed him, the inquirer was still a little dubious. "Is that the best way?" he asked. The stranger answered, "It is the only way. If you follow the other turning it will bring you back here."
It is the same with our way to God. Go through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.
"Is that the best way?" someone might ask.
The only answer to that is the truth: "It is the only way."
Any other turning will take you not back to where you are, but off into outer darkness and eternal separation from God.
v The woman was unable to worship because she was unclean
Ø And Jesus restored here to worship
v Jairus was a leader of worship
Ø We are not told whether he was a believer or not
§ But we can be sure that his worship was renewed!
Ø Unable to worship or Leader of Worship
Ø Alone or In a Family
I don’t believe there is a president
Look at my cell how clean it is, my behavior how perfect. Doesn’t that grant me a pardon
I don’t accept the president’s pardon, but I will accept Prime Minister Blair’s pardon
You cannot get to heaven unless you believe in Jesus Christ
You cannot get to heaven through any works that you might do
You cannot get to heaven by believing in anything else
Ø This text reminds us that
§ Whoever you are, God is there for you
§ Whatever situation you are in, God is there
§ For whatever reason you come to Jesus, he is there
v What Jesus does to us
Ø Jairus Daughter = How Jesus saves us
Ø Woman = How Jesus heals us