Friday, March 8, 2013

Luke 8:40-56

And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason 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.”

While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.” But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.”

When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”

And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.

And by "welcomed" Luke means "mobbed". Only some of the followers of Jesus had formed a flotilla to the not so restful Gadarene pit stop. Many others anxiously awaited his return. "More healing! More miracles! Save us! Look at me!" The throngs pressed so close they almost crushed him.

Perhaps because of his status as a synagogue leader, Jarius makes it to Jesus. He falls at his feet in humility and respect, begging Jesus to save his dying daughter. As Jesus goes with him, an unknown woman, unclean and untouchable for twelve years, presses through the jostling crowd. Who knows how many times she had tried to reach Jesus before. She knew this was her only hope. Reaching out and touching the fringe of his garment, she is instantly healed! But Jesus feels the power leave him and asks who has touched him. Peter is taken aback. Everyone was touching everyone as they pushed through the thick mass of people. Slinking away back through the crowds was no longer an option. Shaking all over and fearing rebuke, she falls at his feet at tells all.

Now of course Jesus knew what had happened, so why not just keep walking? Because the woman was not truly made whole when her disease was cured. The words of affirmation from Jesus healed her life. As she touched the fringe of his garment, now his words touched the fringe of her soul, reaching through the clouds of desperation and self doubt and allowing her to truly go in peace.

Just then Jairus' world is shattered with the news that his daughter has died. He is told to bother Jesus no longer. But Jesus turns his eyes from the woman to look into Jairus' eyes. "Do not be afraid. Everything they are telling you is wrong. Your daughter will be made well." The wailing crowds laugh at Jesus' assertion that the girl is sleeping. They know the difference between the sleeping and the dead. Nevertheless a few disciples and the girl's parents quietly enter the house and witness a great miracle! Do you imagine the parents followed Jesus' instructions to tell no one?

Both Jairus and the woman exhibit a faith that would not give up. Despite spending all she had on doctors, being barred from Temple worship as unclean for 12 years, and likely being ostracized by the community, the woman desperately sought Jesus. The crowd could not stop her. Her fear of rejection could not stop her. She saw the source of life and would not stop until she touched it. Jairus had faith to ask Jesus to heal his daughter. But he and his wife showed extreme faith in continuing to trust Jesus when all else was stacked against them. The neighbors and professional mourners outside, wailing with ashes on their heads, would surely tell everyone what happened. Jairus had a choice: follow the members of the community in which he had such high standing or risk their mockery and loss of trust by relying on Jesus. Thankfully Jairus chose the latter.

May we exhibit the same faith. May we believe that one touch from Jesus can heal physically, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually. May we trust his words no matter what the world or even our closest friends assert to be true!

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