Sunday, April 15, 2012

Luke 8:40-56 - Healing and Resurrection

Jesus arrives with Jairus to minister to his daughter
Opening thought
A baby that had been declared dead at birth was discovered alive by her parents after she had spent 12 hours in a frigid hospital morgue drawer in Resistencia, Argentina.

The baby, born about three months prematurely, was whisked off to the morgue before her parents even saw her, said the baby’s mother, Analia Bouter. “I don’t remember much because I was put to sleep,” Bouter said through a translator. “They never showed me the baby.”

Twelve hours after the baby was declared dead at the Argentine hospital, Bouter and her husband insisted hospital employees bring them to the morgue and allow them to say goodbye. But when morgue employees opened the drawer where the baby lay, the parents heard her crying.

“That’s when we heard the baby cry,” said Favian Veron, the baby’s father. Bouter fell to her knees in disbelief, fearing she was hallucinating. The baby is now in critical care and improving, according to the hospital.

Tiny Luz Milagros, or "Miracle Light," is suffering from sepsis and convulsions along with signs of neurological damage, said Dr. Diana Vesco, neonatology chief at the Perrando hospital in Resistencia in northern Chaco province. She said the baby is on a ventilator and being treated with antibiotics.

Her mother, Analia Bouter, received a supportive call from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Wednesday asking to see the baby once she's out of intensive care.[1]

Our passage today has the story of another child, this one twelve years old, who actually died, and Jesus raised her from the dead after healing an older lady on the way to the child. In fact similar to that astonishing Argentine baby girl,

Key Truth: Luke wrote Luke 8:40-56 to teach believers to trust Jesus in life’s crises, interruptions, and surprises.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about trusting Jesus.
Pray and Read:  Luke 8:40-56

Sermon Points:
1.   Trust Jesus in life’s crises (Luke 8:40-42)
2.   Trust Jesus in life’s interruptions (Luke 8:43-48)
3.   Trust Jesus in life’s surprises (Luke 8:49-56)

Contextual Notes:
In his Sermon on the Plain, Jesus explains the blessings of faith and the woes of unbelief (Luke 6:17-26), urging us to put our faith into practice by developing Christ-like love (Luke 6:27-36), Christ-like integrity (Luke 6:37-42), Christ-like character (Luke 6:43-45), and Christ-like stability (Luke 6:46-49).

Then Luke demonstrates the astonishing faith of a Gentile centurion (Luke 7:1-10) and the astonishing resurrection of a widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17). Despite John the Baptizer’s doubt borne in faith (Luke 7:18-35), Luke demonstrates believing faith through a sinful woman in the home of a faithless Pharisee, whose doubts are a blunt denial of the clear evidence of Jesus Messiahship. (Luke 7:36-50).

Then Jesus begins another preaching tour of Galilee (Luke 8:1-3) with the Parable of the Sower, teaching that listening faith (Luke 8:8) bears fruit (Luke 8:4-15), brings light (Luke 8:16-18), practices God’s Word (Luke 8:19-21), has authority over fear (Luke 8:22-25) and the Adversary (Luke 8:26-39). The double miracle in the passage today is the third in a series of Jesus’ extraordinary acts preparing us for one of the key verses in Luke’s Gospel – Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah at Luke 9:20 (power over natural world: Luke 8:22-25; power over spirit world: Luke 8:26-37; power over disease and death: Luke 8:40-56). Here we see Jesus’ tenderness and compassion toward the marginalized and his preservation of their dignity.

Exposition:   Note well,

1.   TRUST JESUS IN LIFE’S CRISES (Luke 8:40-42)
a.   The ungracious way the people of the Gerasenes told Jesus to leave their area contrasts so strongly with the welcome He receives when He returns to Capernaum. Here the synagogue ruler, Jairus, meets Him to ask Him to come to his home and pray for his dying twelve year old daughter. Luke highlights Jesus’ authority and compassion and calls us to respond in faith to Jesus.
b.   Luke 8:40-42 – The synagogue rulers served local synagogues in the role of elders (Acts 13:15), as chief administrators who maintained the synagogue, organized the worship services, and prominent members of their communities. Jairus (“he will give light”) is the name Jair (Num 32:41; Judges 10:3). He comes to Jesus after having invited him to teach in the Capernaum synagogue, had seen him cast a demon out of one of his congregation (Luke 4: ), and he was undoubtedly one of the synagogue leaders who came to Jesus on behalf of the centurion (Luke 7: ). His daughter is at the important age of twelve. Like the Widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) who had lost her only son, Luke is the only evangelist who notes that she is his only daughter, also considered a great tragedy (Judges 11:30-40).
c.   APPLICATION: The nature of a crisis is that we don’t know when it is coming. When a crisis hits, we often focus on survival and a lot about life comes into blaring perspective. The best and the worst in people come out in a crisis. Character is most visible under stress and crisis. When crisis hits, watch for where God is at work. Do you run looking for the Savior like these people did? Cling to the Savior in times of crisis. There’s also an important lesson here about God’s sovereignty. All of life is directed by the Lord, not just the part we have planned (actually, not even the part we have planned!) Even the things we are sure about are not set in stone.
A woman reaches for Jesus in the crowd
2.   TRUST JESUS IN LIFE’S INTERRUPTIONS (Luke 8:43-48)
a.   On the way, Jesus is interrupted by a woman plagued with some type of female hemorrhaging for twelve years (note the similarity) who has struggled to touch the end of Jesus’ prayer shawl, his tallit. She caught hold of the edge or hem of his clothes (kraspedon, the word used in the LXX for the tassels on the four corners of their robes, Deut 22:12; Num 15:38-41).
b.   Luke 8:43-45 – The woman was bleeding all month, making her unclean under the law (Lev 15:19-33), a social problem on top of a physical problem on top of a religious problem. Her uncleanness made her unable to participate in worship at the Temple. She could not be touched and was probably divorced or never married, marginal to Jewish society. By touching anyone or their clothes, she also made them ceremonially unclean for the rest of the day (Lev 15:26-27). She therefore should not have been in this heavy crowd, and many teachers would have totally avoided her. Mark 5:28 tells us that she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. It is worth noting that Luke the physician does not mention, as Mark does, that the woman had spent all her money on doctors and only got worse (Mark 5:26; The NIV even omits “and she had spent all she had on doctors”). Luke did not criticize his colleagues!
c.   Luke 8:46-48 – Jesus identifies the woman who had touched him because power went out from him, even though by identifying her he is, in the public eye, acknowledging ritual uncleanness. Jesus calls her Daughter, the only time in the Gospels that Jesus addresses someone with this affectionate term, indicating the tenderness with which Jesus speaks to her. To keep anyone from thinking her healing took place by pagan magic, Jesus declares it happened in response to her faith. But it is the same thing Jesus said to the woman who anointed his feet (Luke 7:50). The peace Jesus sends with her is the state of spiritual wholeness in the Hebrew word shalom.
d.   ILLUSTRATION: One day this week on the way to a prayer meeting, I was so stressed because we were running late, and I’m the pastor. Then when we finally got everyone in the car and headed down the driveway, what passes in front of us going our direction? A big green tractor taking up the entire bridge, and taking its time all the way up Halifax Road. I was getting hot under the collar, and when a growl of exasperation finally came out, Amanda quietly said, “Gene, don’t worry about it. You can’t do anything about it, and who knows, the Lord may be saving us from something ahead like a wreck at the West Mount intersection.”
e.   APPLICATION: Don’t discount the unexpected interruptions. God’s timing is not linked to our clock in any way. He is beyond the strictures of time. What we view as an interruption may be exactly what the Lord is doing for us and in us. The Gospel writers not only tell us what Jesus did, but how he felt in those situations. Our sorrow breaks the great heart of our Lord, too. Jesus shed tears, too. Whenever he encountered sorrow, Jesus responded with compassion (Matt 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; Mark 1:40-42; 10:17-23; Luke 7:12-13; John 11:30-38), and people’s lives immediately changed.
f.    Are you wounded? Are you grieving? Are you struggling in your faith? Even though he may not bring our loved ones back from behind death’s curtain or instantly heal us, he has a special touch for us, to assure us of his presence and love and power. He goes beyond physical healing and heals our minds and spirits. He has our best interest at heart because we the Word of God shows his character. The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16).” When will you let him touch you and heal your spirit?
3.   TRUST JESUS IN LIFE’S SURPRISES (Luke 8:1-15)
a.   The result of the delay is that new messengers from Jairus meet the Lord saying the child has died. Nevertheless, Jesus continues to Jairus’ house with the professional mourners. To preserve the family’s dignity and not make them local theatre, Jesus sends out all but the girl’s parents and three of his own disciples. Then he performs his second resurrection from the dead, restoring the girl to her astonished parents.
b.   Luke 8:49 – For Jairus, the message hits with a crushing blow. They were so close! How could this happen? The woman’s faith had healed her, but what about his faith? His daughter? If Jesus hadn’t stopped, maybe she would have had a chance at life. It was his only daughter. Now she is gone. It was too late. His daughter was dead. The need was over.
c.   Luke 8:50-51 – Jesus spoke a word of encouragement immediately to Jairus: “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (Luke 8:50). Not only was it important in Jewish culture to have a large group of mourners to demonstrate great sadness at their loss including family and friends, but professional mourners were actually required at funerals, even for the poor. The funeral of the daughter of such a prominent family would likely have many mourners. Because of the quick decomposition of the body in the Middle East, burial must take place within a day, and apparently anticipating her death, mourners had gathered before Jairus knew she had died.
d.   Luke 8:52 - Jesus said she was not dead but asleep. Because of his statement, some liberal commentators have said she was only comatose, not dead. But the reaction of the mourners in laughter “knowing that she was dead” tells the truth. Jesus used the euphemism of sleep to comfort her parents, indicating that her death is temporary. He is going to do something about this death situation.
e.   Luke 8:54 – Jesus enters the room with only her parents and Peter, James, and John. Touching a corpse was defiling for a Jew, but this Jew took her hand and instead of being defiled brought life to her body. Mark records the Aramaic phrase Jesus used, “Talitha koum!” My child, arise (Heb. qum)! Then he told them to give her something to eat, proving she was alive and foreshadowing Jesus’ post-Resurrection act of eating (Luke 24: ). Many years later the power and impact of those words impact resonated still in Peter, whose testimony Mark composed. Writing to Greek readers, Luke provided only the Greek translation.
f.    Luke 8:55-56 - Of course technically this is a resuscitation, since like the son of the widow, she would have died later on. The actual resurrection will occur at the End. The girl’s spirit returns to her mortal body, and she regained life to the astonishment of her parents, literally, they stood beside themselves.
Invitation:
Jesus has come to bring a full resurrection for our lives, to bring us from death to life. Would you receive that free gift right now?