Faith That Releases Power l Luke 8:40-56 l Chapel Hill Church Gig Harbor
It’s a thin blue line that stands between us and evil… and we are grateful for our protectors, aren’t we? Last week, I spoke on evil; evil that is more evil than we can know. But Jesus is stronger than we can imagine. A simple message, but I received more comments on that sermon than ever in my ministry. Perhaps because I put to words what so many feel: something is very wrong with our culture…and too few are willing to call it what it is: Evil. We are too cautious, too tentative, too woke. We must tell the truth…but we must proclaim hope. Hope in a powerful Jesus…who steps into unclean places. Who isn’t intimidated. Who cleanses what the world calls defiling? Perhaps we’re finally getting tired of living as if our Christian convictions are something to be ashamed of; to be hidden under a basket. Perhaps we’re longing for Jesus to show up in a powerful way.
Well, he does today. Last week we saw the power of Jesus over a rebellious storm…and over a legion of demons. Today… Jesus triumphs over illness…and even death. And we discover two people with saving faith that releases spiritual dynamite. Do you have that kind of power-releasing faith? Do you want it? Well, put on your ears!
“Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him.” Luke 8:40-42
One of my life group members said, “The one thing Jesus wasn’t good at was crowd control.” When he returned across the lake, the “…the people pressed around him.” The literal word is “choked”…the same word Jesus used in the parable of the sower to describe weeds that choke out the seedlings. The crowds were “choking” Jesus.
But suddenly, the crowds part, making way for the most important man in their community. Jairus was the ruler of their synagogue. He maintained their building, protected their scrolls, scheduled services. Jairus was influential and respected…and now, he pushes his way through the crowd with tears streaming down his face…and falls at Jesus’ feet. Was the crowd shocked at this undignified behavior from their esteemed leader? He couldn’t have cared less. Because he was also a daddy. He had a beautiful, 12-year-old girl…his only child…and she was at death’s door.
How many of you men have daughters? My Rachel still calls me Daddy…and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I spoke last week with the father of a young woman in our church. She was pregnant with twins when they discovered a brain tumor. The twins have been delivered…safely…and surgery is scheduled. But I heard in this dad’s voice the anguish Jesus must have heard from Jairus. We would do anything for our little girls… including groveling before a wandering rabbi.
Jairus falls to his face…and pleads for Jesus’ help. And without a word, Jesus follows him home, jostling through the choking crowds. Can you imagine the hope Jairus felt? The miracle-working rabbi was on his way. His daughter would be healed…all would be well…until it wasn’t. Let’s continue.
“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’” Luke 8:43-48
I used to watch Batman as a kid…and I hated the end of every show…because it was always a cliffhanger. We wouldn’t find out how Batman and Robin would escape from the Joker until next week…same bat time…same bat channel. You were left hanging.
This was that…in real life. Suddenly, Jairus…and his daughter…disappear from the story. We are left hanging…because someone else has walked on the stage. A woman who, for twelve years, has hemorrhaged. In fact, in the year that Jairus’ daughter was born into the world, this woman was forced out of hers. Because a woman in her condition was considered unclean. Anyone who touched or was touched by her was defiled. For twelve years, she was ostracized, shamed…and now, penniless. Like a leper forced to withdraw from society, family, friends. Utterly, bitterly, forsaken and alone!