The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter

49While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore” 50Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51When 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. 52Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened (Luke 8:49-56).

Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed” (v. 50). When they got to his home, the professional mourners were there, crying and wailing at the loss to the family. He said to them, “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead” (v. 52-53). The Greek word translated as laughed in verse 24, is a scornful belly laugh at the words of Jesus. The mourners ridiculed Him knowing what death looked like. They were not beginners at funerals. She was not asleep. This was no coma. They were witnesses to the death of the twelve-year-old. What did Jesus mean by saying that she was asleep? Those who are of the household of faith in Christ never die. Our body may be put in the ground, but we are very much alive at the point of departure of the body.

Some believe that, when a Christian dies, his soul sleeps and that he is unconscious until Christ comes for him or her at the resurrection. The Bible does have a few passages where Jesus talked about death for a Christian as “sleep.” In the case of when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, He deliberately waited another two days before He even left for the tomb (John 11:6). The Lord waited so that He could prove to the skeptics that He had authority over death. Jews believed that the dead person’s spirit could remain around his body for up to two days before going on to the afterlife. Lazarus was not sleeping in the tomb. He was dead.

11After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep (John 11:11-13).

[Jesus said:] “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

The believer in Christ is never dead; he is separated from his body, a state that Jesus calls “sleep.” A person is only dead, according to the Lord Jesus, when he has not entered into a relationship with Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 5). We are told that, at this moment in heaven, there are the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). In another place, when Christ returns for His church at the Rapture, “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Their bodies were in the grave, but they themselves, the unseen part of our nature, i.e. our spirit and soul, are very much alive and with the Lord.

When I get into my car, it is dead until I turn on the ignition. It will do nothing at all without my driving it. In the same way, the real me is composed of a spirit and soul that “drives” my body. The real person lives on beyond death. There is more to life than just this body of flesh.

At a funeral we bury something, not someone; it is the house not the tenant that is lowered into the grave. Verna Wright.

 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Paul the Apostle wrote: “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). He fully expected that, the instant his body released him, he would go immediately to be with the Lord. If you are a Christian, the body is seen by the Lord to be “asleep” until the resurrection of the dead at the coming of the Lord. To be “absent” from one’s body simply means to die because, at death, the spirit is separated from the body and moves into its eternal abode—either heaven with the Lord, or hell, separated from God for eternity.

Back to Luke’s testimony. The Lord took Jairus and his wife, plus His three closest disciples: Peter, James and John. It was an intimate moment with the Savior. Can you imagine the joy of your only child coming back to life from the dead! He cares for us in our pain, He cares for us in our trouble. Jesus cares! 54But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. (Luke 8:54-55). When Jesus took the daughter’s hand and told her to get up, Luke tells us that her spirit returned (v. 55). What a wonderful sight as her eyes flickered before opening and seeing the face of the Lord Jesus. Many of us reading these words will one day have that experience of shutting the eyes of flesh and seeing the Lord Jesus as we pass into real life—eternal life. Where had the little girl been? Her body was dead and laying on the bed before the Lord and three of His disciples, but the real person, her spirit, had been somewhere else—with the Father in heaven. I hope to see you there. Keith Thomas

The Woman with the Issue of Blood

25A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 33But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:25-34).

How wonderful it is that God responds to faith. This woman’s faith was born out of desperation. Matthew in his gospel (9:20) tells us that the woman had internal bleeding for 12 years. What would it have been like to be in her situation? Her condition was one where it was illegal for her to be in a public place, for fear of contaminating anyone else. Leviticus 15:25 says, “When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.” She could never enter the Temple, synagogue, or fellowship with others. Her condition excluded her from the social structure of the day. Mark further tells us that she had spent all her money on doctors (Mark 5:26), but was no better, but rather grew worse. This poor woman was financially at an end, and more than likely had not slept in a bed for some time, what hotel would have her in her condition. What friend would let her stay at their house? Everything she touched would be ceremonially unclean.

How scared she must have been as she was mingling with the crowd trying not to be seen and recognized, desperately trying to reach Jesus, her only hope. Mark tells us that when she touched Him and was instantly healed, Jesus turned and looked on the crowd, saying, “Who touched my garments?” (v.31). Her response was one of fear. She fell at his feet, trembling with fear (v. 33). Why was she trembling?  She took a huge risk. Jesus was well known as a Rabbi in whom is the Spirit of God. She perhaps thought she would contaminate Him with her uncleanness and render him not able to heal the ruler of the Synagogue’s daughter. I am sure that she expected to be severely told off and brought before a court.

I love Him for His response to her, “Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Her past history over 12 years of having this condition was one of rejection by people. How beautiful to see grace, acceptance, understanding and joy in the face of our Savior.  Doesn’t grace and kindness win your heart? Hasn’t He been like that with you? I long to be accepting of the poor and hurting like Him.

Prayer: Oh God, make us more like Jesus, full of grace and truth.

Keith Thomas

The Healing of a Paralytic in Bethesda

1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked (John 5:1-8).

We are told of a pool near the Sheep Gate on the north side of Jerusalem called Bethesda. John describes a scene of total misery with a great number of people just lying there. How many would constitute a great number? More than a hundred, do you think? They were all as close to the water’s edge as they could get, cramped and huddled together, desperately waiting for any movement of the water. Verse four in the King James Version says, “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had (John 5:4 KJV).

It sounds from the description that it depended on how quick a person could get into the water after ripples of water appeared on the surface. Perhaps, in their desperation, the faith they had that God would heal in this way was the reason that they were healed. God answers desperate and faith filled prayer. However, it does seem that if only the first one who could get into the water after it was stirred was healed, it is obvious that some people would have been at a serious disadvantage. If everything depended on how quick a person could get into the water, the closer a person was to the edge of the pool when the ripples occurred, the better their chances of getting healed.

Amidst the degradation of the place we see Jesus visiting this mass of desperate humanity. We are told in verse 5 that the invalid had been in that condition for thirty-eight years, and that he had no one to help him into the pool. One thing we do know, the Father had seen this man and sent Jesus to help him. In that way, he was about to finally experience the healing mercy of God. The Father sent His Own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to care for him. The apostle John tells us:

6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (Verse 6).

This man was still looking for an angel to stir the water, when the Lord Jesus, God Incarnate, was there to minister to him personally, and still he was asking for some help into the water! Later on, when the man was asked who healed him, he replied that he did not know. Scripture tells us that Jesus had “slipped away into the crowd.” He had been there “incognito,” and as soon as the man had been healed, Christ departed (verse 13). This says a lot about the character of Christ. Jesus didn’t do miracles and healings for any reason other than to relieve the pain of hurting people and glorify the Father. He simply healed the man to relieve him of his pain. The Lord didn’t even require faith in His true identity as the Son of God, for He didn’t tell him who He was.

The Lord told the man to do something that was impossible for him to do: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (verse 11). One thing is sure; the man received healing apart from his faith and understanding about Christ. The man was instantly healed. Christ did not lay hands on him or even help him get up. Nothing! Just words that are spoken! Imagine the scene. A word of command and it is done! The scripture says, “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (verse 9). How kind the Lord is!

Keith Thomas

 

Your Faith Has Made You Well!

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19).

In this passage, we read about the kind of faith that God is pleased with. We’re not talking about faith in faith—that has nothing to please the Father. Faith in God and the One He has sent is what pleases the heart of God (John 6:29; Hebrews 11:6). Lepers, having a communicable disease, were commanded to stay at a distance outside the city and community and either ring a bell or cry out, “unclean, unclean,” when a clean person came near them (Leviticus 13:45-46). The only way that they could re-enter the community and social network inside the city was for them to receive the all-clean stamp of approval from the priest (Leviticus 14:2).

We are told in verse 12, that they stood at a distance shouting to Christ to have pity on them. It’s interesting to see that Jesus required them to act upon His Word and do what a cured leper would do even though they were not healed yet. He asked them to take steps of faith and trust in His Word. He didn’t lay hands on them, even though He had healed lepers before by touching them (Luke 5:13). He didn’t give them much instruction as to why they were to go to the priest. He just told them to present themselves to the priest to get checked out. This required faith in His Word, because they were not yet healed. They were only healed as they were on the journey. It must have seemed illogical to them as they started on their journey, to go and get a healing certificate when their faces and limbs were contorted with Leprosy. Sometimes faith in God will seem illogical. One of them was a Samaritan, a person that the Jews did not normally associate with, although we find them together in their misery.

What do you think was on the mind of the Samaritan as he started on the way to the Temple? Don’t you think he might have been a little bit suspicious of Jesus? He knew Jesus was a Jew by His clothes. At what point did the miracle happen to him? Wonder of wonders! As they were on their journey of obedience, the miracle of healing happened! Imagine their surprise to find that as they are walking, their fingers start to grow, their toes suddenly begin to fill their shoes, and they can feel the skin on their faces become soft and their noses growing out again! One of them, the Samaritan, was ecstatic with praise to God and could not contain himself. He left the company of the others for he had to find Jesus and thank Him. This man ran back and when he found Christ, he knew how to give thanks. He gave vent to his emotions as he shouted loudly to God. He approached Jesus and threw himself on the ground (Verse 16) lavishly shouting his praise. He acted according to His belief and trust in Jesus’ Word and he saw the power of God at work in his life as a result. How his thankfulness must have warmed the heart of the Lord! Let’s never forget to thank God for all He does for us.

Let me issue you a challenge: Think of a situation in your life which needs resolution, it may be an impossible thing to you, but dare to believe that God can work through your simple faith. Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:4). Call out to Him and ask Him for faith to believe that He will accomplish what you ask of Him. Then praise Him, loudly!

Keith Thomas

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country (Luke 7:11-17).

Widows and orphans have always been people to whom God has given special care and compassion. His heart goes out to them in their need. James, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, wrote, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). It is a cruel world for those who are unmarried and have children. They are among the neediest in our society. God Himself has a heart toward the defenseless of society, and His eye is always on them:

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5).

Let’s try and get a picture of the scene in front of us. We are told in verse 11 that a large crowd of people were following the disciples. Just as they were approaching the town gate, they were confronted with a funeral procession. We don’t see the widow asking for a miracle, Jesus performs the miracle without any request from her. Author Ken Gire says, “It is a miracle done without human prompting. Without thought of lessons to be taught to the disciples. Without thought of deity to be demonstrated to the skeptics. It is a miracle drawn solely from the well of divine compassion. So free the water. So pure the heart from which it is drawn. So tender the hand that cups it and brings it to this bereaved mother’s lips.”

In some situations, God does not require faith before He moves supernaturally. He acts out of His own compassion, grace, and mercy. This widow was a perfect picture of someone who was totally helpless. She was totally alone in the world, without anyone to provide for her or protect her. She had done nothing to earn or merit Jesus’ attention, except to be in need. We, like this widow, have done nothing to merit His favor. It was when we were still lost in our sin that Christ died for us. He said, “Don’t cry.” The scripture says that “His heart went out to her.” Luke uses the strongest word possible here to describe Jesus’ pity. The Greek word from which it is translated refers to what is inside, the viscera (the heart, liver, lungs). It describes an emotion that has a physical effect. Jesus was not worried about being made ritually unclean as He stepped forward and touched the coffin (v. 14). People are what matter to Him. There is a higher law at work, the law of love and compassion.

He spoke with authority, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” In every account in the Gospels where Jesus went to a funeral, He raised up the dead person! There was Lazarus in John 11, the centurion’s servant in Luke 7:1-10, and also Jairus, the ruler of the Synagogue, who had his daughter raised from the dead (Luke 8:40-56). These are four people about whom we are told, and possibly, there are more about whom the Gospel writers did not have room to tell us.

 We are told that there was an awe that filled them (v. 16-17), i.e. an astonishment at such a thing. There was a special presence of God that descended on them, an awe that God, indeed, was visiting His people. How could this be! This man was dead! Imagine the praise that went up as relatives and the mother herself received her son back from the dead. Imagine what pain there would be in losing your only son, and then the joy of holding the one you had already released to death. Never a truer word has been spoken about Christ, “God has come to help His people!” (verse 16). We are most like our Lord when we can step into the shoes of those who are poor and hurting and do this with hearts of compassion, longing to do what we can to alleviate their pain and need.

Keith Thomas