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JESUS HEALS A DEAD GIRL AND A SICK WOMAN

Luke 8:40-8:56
Key Verse: 8:50

We thank Jesus who has power over demons and heals demon-possession of human beings. In him we can have real identity and true freedom. May we depend on him and engage in a battle against the powers of demons. In today’s passage Jesus heals a dead girl and a sick woman. In this study we can learn how to come to Jesus and how much Jesus blesses those who come him.

First, Jesus was pleased with Jairus’ coming (40-42a). Look at verse 40. “Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him.” Jesus had been rejected by the people of the region of Gerasenes. Now when he returned to the west side of the lake a crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. It was likely that Jesus could do anything for this expecting and welcoming crowd. However, what happened? In verse 41, a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, 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.” Here we see Jesus was so pleased with Jairus coming and pleading with him that Jesus was willing to go to Jairus’ house, despite the expectation of the welcoming crowd.

Then what was so great in Jairus’ coming to Jesus? Here two things are written about Jairus: He was a ruler of the synagogue, and his only daughter was dying. At that time the religious leaders were hostile to Jesus, since Jesus had healed a paralytic, declaring the forgiveness of his sins. When on one Sabbath Jesus healed a man whose right hand was shriveled in the synagogue before the very eyes of the religious leaders, they were furious and discussed how they might kill Jesus. Crowds of ordinary people followed Jesus, but the leaders of the people were opposing Jesus. In that social atmosphere, it would not be easy at all for any man in a certain social position to come publicly to Jesus. To come to Jesus, Jairus had to overcome his prejudice and pride, people’s criticism and misunderstanding and peer pressure.

In his normal human condition, he could not have done such things. It is not easy for anyone to curb his pride and deny social consensus and public opinions when everything is going well. But when Jairus’ daughter was sick and suffering to the point of dying, he was crumbling. Luke specifically wrote that the daughter was his only daughter. In such a situation, what Jairus considered was valuable and prestigious was not accountable as before. Especially when he came to know the good news of Jesus, who healed all kinds of illness and diseases, this news became more accountable than anything else. Coming to Jesus by any means became the first priority in his life. He was desperate to come to Jesus. If only she could be healed, he would do anything and everything. In this situation no one could meet his needs, but Jesus. This was the reason he came to Jesus, discarding all other hindrances, and fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with him to come to his house for the healing of his dying daughter. Jesus was pleased with Jairus and turned his way from the crowd to Jairus’ house. Jesus wanted to help this one person even at the cost of crowds of people.

Jairus’ coming to Jesus due to his daughter’s sickness shows a beauty of human parents. On another occasion, a father of his only son came to Jesus when the son was harming himself falling into the fire or into the water under the control of the evil spirit. Yet, not all fathers were like that. That’s why, as we studied in Luke 1, the mission of John the Baptist was to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (1:17). Sadly, in our times we often hear about parents who abandon their children, and even abuse them. And there are things that alienate the true relationship between the parents and children. These are all the work of the evil one. In view of God’s creation the right relationship between parents and children is that parents take care of their children, and children obey parents in love. This is truly a beauty of humanity and it must be maintained. It can be possible in Jesus, who knows our helplessness and meet our human needs. May God raise up many fathers and shepherds like Jairus who can come to Jesus on behalf of their children and God’s flock of sheep.

Second, Jesus blessed the faith of a woman (42b-48). As Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house, the crowds almost crushed him. In this situation something particular took place. Look at verse 43, “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.” Twelve years are not a short time. Even being sick in bed for a single year, 365 days, is not easy at all to bear. But she had been subject to hemorrhages for twelve years. Interestingly Luke wrote that Jairus’ daughter was a girl of about twelve and the woman had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. A new generation was rising, but she remained sick in bed. She had probably spent the prime time of her life, her twenties, bedridden in her sickness. According to Leviticus (15:25), her illness was an unclean disease and anything she touched would be unclean. So she was not to appear public and was left alone. According to Mark, she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse (5:26). However, the physician Luke simply wrote, “no one could heal her.” Her illness was incurable. He wrote in this way probably because he did not want to gibe at doctors, since he was a doctor himself.

Then what did she do in her condition? In verse 44, “she came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” What could not be done for the past twelve years despite all her effort, was done in a moment of her touching the edge of Jesus’ cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped as she came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. Her coming to Jesus makes a contrast to that of Jairus. Jairus came to Jesus and fell at his feet, pleading with him, certainly, before the crowd. But she came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. What she did was in secret, unnoticed by anyone, while what Jairus did was in public noticed by all. The reason she acted in this way was because her disease was unclean and she was not to appear before public, and also probably because she was withdrawn into herself for a long time and she was shy. Anyway, what she did was what she could do in her own situation, and it worked. Immediately her bleeding stopped. This was her act of faith.

Yet, this is not all about the event. Something really interesting was going on. Jesus asked right away, “Who touched me?” To Jesus when the woman touched the edge of his cloak, it was touching him. When they all denied Jesus’ question, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” To Peter, “Who touched me” was a strange question. For so many people were touching Jesus, even crowding and pressing against him, as Luke wrote earlier, “the crowds almost crushed him.” As for Peter and all others, there was no way to know the uncommon touch from the common pressing. He could not distinguish between the two. But to Jesus there was difference between a woman’s touch of faith and the crowd’s pressing and crushing him with no faith. So Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then why was Jesus bothered by the touch? She was healed by the touch; was not that enough? She could be thankful for the healing. Why didn't Jesus just let her go home? At Jesus’ persistent questioning, "the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. At this Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Here we see that Jesus wanted to give her the whole blessing form God: not only physical healing, but also spiritual healing. If she had gone home unnoticed, with just the healing of her physical body, she would still be known as an unclean woman in the eyes of the people in the society. Furthermore, she herself might carry the guilty feeling that what she did was against the law. She could not be sure of whether she did was right before God. But Jesus helped her to tell the whole story in the presence of all people. Then Jesus declared, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” At Jesus’ declaration, now everybody could know that she was healed and now was not unclean any more. More than that, Jesus let her and all people know that she is a precious daughter of God. She must have been ashamed of herself because of her unclean and incurable disease. Humanly, it was not even known whose daughter she was. Now that did not matter. She is declared as a pure and precious daughter of God, not a unclean and lowly daughter anymore. Jesus also declared, “Your faith has healed you,” so that she could be assured that what she did was indeed an act of faith that pleased God, not an act defiant to the law. She could continually live with such faith throughout her life. And when Jesus said, “Go in peace,” she could be sure that her relationship with God was right in Jesus and she would go in peace and live in peace with God her whole life in Jesus. At this we should know that when Jesus declared all these, he was taking upon himself her uncleanness and impurity and unrighteousness.

Here we learn that Jesus gives his full blessing to those who come to him with their own unique faith in their own peculiar situation. The touch of faith can be one’s daily Bible reaching, sincere prayer, attending a small group of meeting, whole-hearted worship, accepting one word through sincere testimony writing, etc. A touch of faith is different from habitual pressing. Jesus blesses a touch of faith without fail. Jesus wants us to have one touch of faith after another in our life journey in this world, even while many other people are just crowding and pressing against him.

Third, Jesus raised the dead (49-53). Then what was going on with Jairus? Look at verse 49. “While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he said, ‘Don’t bother the teacher any more.’” While Jesus took a long time involved in the woman’s matter, Jairus must have really worried and even feared that such news from his home would come. But what he worried and feared took place. His daughter died. It seemed that his dying daughter indeed died because of the unexpected delay. At that moment, many things could have passed in his mind like the thoughts of “It would have been better for me not to come to Jesus, not bothering him at all”, “Did not Jesus know that my daughter’s case was an emergency case, while this woman's case, chronic?” or “Life is life; let me prepare the funeral.” At this confused, heart-breaking and terrifying moment, a word came from Jesus. Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” Jesus said this after hearing the news that she was dead, and so recognizing this fact.

Let’s ponder on these words of Jesus to Jairus. Jesus knew Jairus was afraid at the news that his daughter was dead. Who would not fear at the hearing of such news? But Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.” “Don’t be afraid”, “Fear not,” is the constant message of the Bible. As we studied in Luke, to Jesus his disciples being afraid of the storm was not a right response. When the king Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were in a situation that a vast army was coming and at hand to attack them, the king was alarmed. At this God’s message to the king and his people was, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Ch 20:15).

Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not afraid” and then he said, “Just believe.” When Jairus came to Jesus, he came with faith. He believed that Jesus would heal his dying daughter. Now even when he heard that his daughter was dead, still Jesus wanted to him to believe. Jesus wanted him to keep the faith he had at the beginning. Jesus wanted him to believe to the end, from first to last. Keeping faith is an ongoing spiritual battle. Jesus did not want his faith to be swayed by the situation. Faith in Jesus had to be constant and consistent, even though the situation worsens, because Jesus is constant and consistent, remaining unchanged and faithful. Faith can work instantly like the woman’s touching the edge of Jesus’ cloak. Faith also can be a process, taking a certain period of time, even a considerable time. In the meantime, faith in Jesus must be maintained without giving up at all, although the situation is deadened and hopeless. Jesus wanted Jairus to have such faith, when he said, “Just believe.” And then Jesus concretely promised in Luke’s gospel, “and she will be healed.”

As for Abraham, God gave him a son after twenty five years of his life of faith, while God gave a son Samuel to Hannah, enabling her to be conceived right after she poured out her soul to God in prayer. For the long period of time, God gave Abraham a clear promise, “I will make you into a great nation…you will be a blessing” which included the promise of giving him a son. And God fulfilled the promise to Abraham. When Jesus called Simon Peter, Jesus said to him, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men” (Lk 5:10). Jesus wanted Simon to believe this promise to the end of his life. Just believing faith is to believe the given promise to the end.

Then how does the story go on? When Jesus 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. This could be an implication to Jairus that Jesus was making an environment to indeed do a miraculous work of God. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for the dead girl, Jesus said, “Stop wailing; she is not dead but asleep.” It does not mean that the girl was not dead. She was really dead in human terms. But in Jesus there is no death. So Jesus said, “She is not dead but asleep.” Then the people laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. During this whole period of time, Jairus was silent, surely keeping his faith in Jesus. Then what did Jesus do? Look at verse 54, “But she took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up?’” At this her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then he told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.

In the gospels, there are three events of Jesus raising the dead. As we studied in chapter 7, Jesus raised a dead young man from the coffin in the funeral procession of a large crowd. Jesus did it before the large crowd and the people praised God (7:16). Also, when Jesus raised Laazrus from the grave, Jesus did it so that the people around him might believe that God sent Jesus (Jn 11:42). But interestingly Jesus wanted to keep this event secret. Jesus ordered her astonished parents not to tell anyone. He raised the young girl, as a mother says to her young daughter in the morning, “My child, get up!” And he told them to give her something to eat, as if they would give her breakfast. Why was this event different from the other two events of raising the dead? We don’t know the reason wholly. Yet, we can try to grasp it. He did an amazing work like an ordinary event. We know that raising the dead is sensational and extra ordinary, and that the power of resurrection must be proclaimed and be made known to as many people as possible. At the same time something extra ordinary can be kept in the ordinary events like the Son of God dwelling among them. We have seen this in Luke’s gospel; Jesus is both human and divine; he slept both in the gentle waves of the sea and in the stormy sea. Although the parents were astonished and certainly experienced Jesus’ resurrection power, Jesus wanted them to bring up the child as if she were an ordinary child. In short, Jesus wants us to live with resurrection faith and experience his resurrection power in our ordinary lives. Resurrection faith can be a daily event.

In this passage we learn that when we come to Jesus with faith, he blesses abundantly; he wants to give full blessings. May we especially listen to Jesus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” and experience his limitless power in our own helpless situation and in our daily ordinary lives.

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