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. The Lord said to them, “Stop wailing,” “She is not dead but asleep.” 53They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead” (vs. 52-53). The Greek word translated as laughed in verse 24, is a scornful belly laugh at the words of Jesus. The mourners ridiculed Christ, 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 are 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 just 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 being 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 Marks of Love.

We are continuing our meditation on the Lord Jesus, after His resurrection, appearing in the room where the disciples were eating (Scroll down for yesterday’s thoughts). Here’s the passage again:

36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:36-42).

When one considers all the evidence that the disciples had heard that day, why would they still doubt? Was it the lack of evidence? Was it a lack of faith? What causes people today to doubt the resurrection of Christ?

Many people do not try to find answers to the doubts that they have. For some, it is not just doubts; it is unbelief, which rests more in the will than the mind. They make a conscious decision not to believe. Unbelief is a sin when it is a choice of the heart. The enemy, Satan, is quick to sow doubtful thoughts and suggestions into our minds. We are presented with a choice as to whether we will listen to God’s Word or Satan’s doubts. If you have doubts, do not hesitate to examine and seek out the facts where the Gospel is concerned. There is evidence at every step for the Christian faith, but there is a point where one must cast themselves into the hand of God and choose to believe or reject the Gospel. Martin Luther said: “The art of doubting is easy, for it is an ability that is born with us.”[1]

God doesn’t have a problem with your doubts, but He does have a problem with willful unbelief that shuns the truth, refusing to reach a conclusion when presented with the evidence. Henry Drummond once said: “Christ distinguished between doubt and unbelief. Doubt says, ‘I can’t believe.’ Unbelief says, ‘I won’t believe.’ Doubt is honest. Unbelief is obstinate.”[2] If you lack evidence as to the faith, be sure that the Lord is near and ready to confirm you in your faith, if you are willing. If, in the deepest place of your heart there is openness to the truth, the evidence will come if you seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Jesus manifested Himself in their midst, and twice we are told that He showed them His hands and feet (Luke 24:39-40). I wish I could have seen their faces as He had them look on His wounds. Maybe, one day we will be able somehow to view those marks of love when we finally get home! Luke notes the joy and amazement on the faces of the disciples as they took in all the evidence of the visible, bodily presence of Christ (v. 41). They must have wondered if what they were seeing was too good to be true. They felt the nail prints as He held out His hands to them while going around the room.

Have you ever wondered why the scars remained in the hands of Jesus even though His body was totally healed and resurrected? The marks of love remain for all to see. How wonderful that the God we serve bears the marks of love on His body.But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 66 at this linkJesus Appears to the Disciples (Luke 24:36-53). Keith Thomas.

[1] John Blanchard, Gathered Gold, Printed by Evangelical Press, Welwyn, Herts, England. 1984. Page 71.

[2] John Blanchard, More Gathered Gold, Printed by Evangelical Press, Welwyn, Herts, England. 1986. Page 79

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

We are continuing to think about Christ’s appearances to the disciples after He was raised from the dead. After the two disciples from Emmaus realized who had been talking with them on the road, they decided to return to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. We can only imagine what their joy must have been like as they hastened back to Jerusalem to share about their encounter with the Lord Jesus. It must have been late in the evening when they finally covered the seven miles uphill to the room where the disciples had gathered. They had to knock and whisper to the eleven and others inside to get in, for the door was “locked for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). When they burst into the room testifying to the fact of Jesus’ walking and talking with them, they found out that Peter had received a personal appearance of the Lord (Luke 24:34). How beautiful of the Lord to confront Peter on his own. We are told nothing of that conversation, and that is how it should be when a man is confronted with his failure. We can only imagine the wide eyes in the room as the two Emmaus believers shared their experience of talking with and seeing the risen Christ.

We are not told where the disciples were gathered that Sunday evening, but it is quite likely that it was the same upper room where they had eaten the Passover meal. It would have been a very poignant picture. The last time they had shared a meal together, Christ had told them that He would be taken from them and that He would be betrayed by one of them. They had shared the meal together, not wanting to believe the things that He had been saying. Then, there they were, discussing the possibility that He was alive again. Mark adds the fact that they were eating at the time (Mark 16:14). The news from Cleopas and his friend caused a stir in the room, and they were still discussing these things when Jesus Himself appeared before them in the room.

 36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:36-42).

They were in the middle of discussing all the evidence when the Lord Jesus materialized in the center of the discussion. It must have been an alarming experience to have somebody appear in the middle of the room. It sounds like something out of Star Trek or some other sci-fi series! Their first thought was that He was a ghost, perhaps due to the way He arrived among them. One of the first things He said to them was: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Verse 38). How did He know they were troubled and had doubts about His being raised from the dead? He was listening, of course! Where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is, in the middle of them (Matthew 18:20). The Lord listens in to our conversations. He knows exactly where each of us is in our faith walk. He knows our needs even before we ask.

Although we cannot see Him, He sees and listens to all that we say and all that we do. Nothing escapes His attention. He knows the pain and heartache, which we may be experiencing right now. He knows our loneliness; He sees how we are being treated at work or at home. He never leaves us when we are having doubts and when questions arise in our hearts. Be honest with God. He listens not only to your every conversation but also to every thought.

1O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD (Psalm 139:1-4).

Just as He came among the disciples while they were having doubts, He longs to do the same for us. He is a good listener. He had listened to the testimony of the two Emmaus disciples even when they did not realize who He was.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 66 at this linkJesus Appears to the Disciples (Luke 24:36-53). Keith Thomas.

The One Who Waits for an Invitation

We are continuing our meditation on the two disciples walking to the village of Emmaus. The risen Lord Jesus had come alongside them and walked with them, going over Old Testament Scriptures that spoke of God sending a Suffering Servant who would deliver them from sin. But as they approached the turn off to the village they were going to, Jesus went to carry on down the road:

28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread (Luke 24:28-35).

Why would Jesus act as if He were going farther? Why did He wait until He got an invitation? This is not the first time that the Lord acted as if He would pass them by. In Mark’s Gospel, we are told of a time when He went alone to a place to pray through the night. While praying in the dark, He saw that they were having difficulty rowing the boat against the wind on the Sea of Galilee, so He went out to them at three o’clock in the morning:

48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” 51Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished (Mark 6:48-51).

Why would Jesus be about to pass by them? Perhaps, it speaks of the gift of free will that God has given us, i.e. that He will not come into the boat or into our homes and walk with us without invitation. If we want Him to be with us or, more truly for us to be with Him, we will have to lower our defenses and invite Him to come to us. How wonderful that Christ took the time to eat a simple meal of unleavened bread with them (the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven days). He would not force Himself on them; it was only due to their fearful cries and invitation on the Sea of Galilee that He turned and came to their boat. Our God delights in being wanted not for what He can do for us but for Himself. He gently awaited their invitation to come to the house where they were staying.

Have you invited Him into the house of your heart? Does He live within? He has given you the gift of free will and longs to walk this road with you, casting your sins behind His back, if you will openly confess where you are. Give Him full control of who you are and everything you own. He wants to come and dine in sweet fellowship with each of us reading this message. At their strong invitation, He went with them.

As they ate with Him, their hearts burned within them as Jesus continued to open their understanding of the Word of God. He was connecting with their hearts as He talked. Their later confession was, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (Verse 31). The fire burns within our hearts when the Spirit of God breathes on His word as we meditate on the Scriptures. “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned (Psalm 39:3). Do not underestimate the power of simple reading, meditating, and musing on the Word of God. How about you, dear reader? Have you invited Christ into your home?

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 65 at this link, Jesus on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35). Keith Thomas.

He is Not Here, He is Risen!

While Mary Magdalene was returning to the tomb after Peter and John had left, the other women had arrived at the tomb with spices. Mark tells us that there were three: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Mark 16:1). They had brought spices with which to anoint the body. While on the way, they began talking among themselves as to whom they would ask to roll the stone away (Mark 16:2). When love is involved, difficulties, such as a one-ton stone to remove, were not considered until they were near. Obviously, the stone was too large for the three of them to move. They proceeded to the tomb, regardless, believing that they would find a way. Their love and dedication to Christ compelled them to give Him a proper burial and put more spices over the body. It was the least they could do in this terrible situation. As they drew near, Matthew tells us what they witnessed:

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay (Matthew 28:2-6).

Matthew tells us that an angel of the Lord came down, rolled the stone away right in front of the soldiers guarding the tomb, maybe before Mary Magdalene arrived. Matthew says that the guards were terror stricken, trembled, and acted like dead men not wanting to move as the angel rolled away the stone. I presume that this all happened just as the women arrived, because the women themselves were overwhelmed at what happened (Matthew 28:5), and they were the witnesses to the soldiers lying on the ground. The angel showed the women the evidence of the vacant tomb while the soldiers, hardly daring to breath, acted like dead men. Jesus didn’t roll back the stone; He had already risen. Mark indicates that, when the women arrived, the stone was rolled away and Jesus was already gone. The angel rolled the stone away to show the women that He was risen, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6).

The angel told them to go and tell the disciples the good news that Jesus had risen from the grave. It is possible that there were two groups of women that had arranged to meet at the tomb at daybreak, but they arrived separately. After talking with the angel, the women met the Lord on the way:

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28:8-10).

Luke tells us that several women reported what had happened to the disciples: “It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles” (Luke 24:10 –emphasis mine), but the disciples were incredulous at their words: “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 23:11).

Matthew tells us of the guards being fearful for their lives on losing a prisoner. They went to the chief priests and told them exactly what had happened. The Jewish leadership devised a plan to keep the guards quiet; they paid them a lot of money to tell people that the disciples came during the night and stole the body. If Pilate didn’t find out about it, they were in the clear. They probably kept the money for a few days so that they could say that they were bought off by the priests if they did not back them up before Pilate (Matthew 28:11-15). This story has been spread among the Jews to this day (Matthew 28:15).

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. Click on study 64 at this link, The Resurrection of Christ (Luke 23:50-24:12). Keith Thomas.