Feb 17 2019 Luke 8 - Willing to Endure the Risk of Faith
23rd February 2019
Luke 8: 40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, because they were all waiting for him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue, came up. Falling at Jesus' feet, he pleaded with him to come to his house, 42 because he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds pressed around him.
Last week we looked at a Roman Centurion and a sinful woman. This week, we look at a synagogue official. Luke is showing the diversity of people Jesus interacted with. Going back through, Jesus healed a man of leprosy – and then a man who was lowered through the roof – then
Then the sinful woman last week – and this week, the daughter of a synagogue official and a woman who had a hemorrhage. Luke is showing that it is a diverse kingdom – and the only requirement is faith in Jesus Christ – moving in the direction in our hearts toward Jesus. Everything else is just peripheral.
God wants to work in a unique way in each life. And the same is true in us. God wants to work in a unique way in your life – with a tailored approach. In our world of constant access and radio and books and social media … Christians are involved in each area – and that is good – and there are books galore that Christians want to sell you. And it is great that the stories get out – but then the Christian becomes famous and we turn those famous stories and people into patterns of how God wants to do things. And the most guilty are the pastors! A pastor will build a huge church and write about his strategy and then they read his books and go to his conference and bring it back and inflict it on their congregations!
Knute: The reason your church will never be Andy Stanley (or whoever)’s church – is because you are not him!
Your congregation is your congregation – and God has something unique and specific for each congregation. We are like teenage boys when Air Jordan shoes came out – and every child wanted those shoes so they could be like Mike! And it doesn’t work that way with teenagers and it doesn’t work that way with Christians. We can’t have someone else’s faith life. There is a difference between imitating faith and mimicking faith. Then we try to force God to act the same in our lives.
How about a conference where the speakers are normal Christians who share about their journey in following Jesus – and no one would come – but it would be a whole lot better and more like the heroes of the Bible.
Put yourself in Jairus’ shoes – the synagogue official – his feelings and emotions – try to see it through his eyes.
His only daughter – I have never had daughters – but I have heard that a daughter and father can develop a strong bond – and here, his only daughter is dying. Think of the anxiety, fear, uncertainty and dread.
Try to feel this…
43 Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years but could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, and at once the bleeding stopped. 45 Then Jesus asked, "Who was it who touched me?" When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds are surrounding you and pressing against you!"
First thing you notice – a number there – how old is the girl? How many years has this woman suffered – 12 – not a coincidence.
In the Bible Project video from a few weeks ago – on holiness – this woman would have been considered impure and unclean. For 12 years. Think of the disruption in her life and relationships! She was ceremonially impure. Think of the effect this must have had on her life! Then – a big no no – she touches Jesus’ clothes. She was strictly forbidden from doing this -and this is the first time that a person is healed in this way. They had a belief that there was power for healing just in touching this holy man’s clothes – Malachi might relate to this – Healing in his wings – the end of his clothes? Questionable – but it may mean that.
Like Peter – back to the fishing thing – How could you know someone was touching you?
46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I know that power has gone out from me."
Jesus notices when someone responds in faith. God takes notice when we respond to Him in faith. Personal faith takes initiative. It doesn’t just come upon us – wake up and – ok, now I have faith! It is based on some really important things. But so often, we just go along as part of the group waiting for something to happen rather than taking faith initiative on our own.
What are you believing God for right now? It is okay if you haven’t thought about that? But what faith initiative are you taking? Or a service initiative? When was the last time you took a service initiative? I get that? There are a of lot things that tire and wear us out – it is not about doing some other activity – but having faith that God will work. And that is the mindset of this woman. In doing this, she is taking a huge risk.
47 When the woman saw that she could not escape notice, she came trembling and fell down before him. In the presence of all the people, she explained why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed. 48 Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
Notice, he calls her daughter – why? Because there is a daughter still in the story – and Luke is showing the love and compassion of a father.
Shalom – means much more than just peace – but whole life healing. Her soul and life were restored by this act of Jesus – and her faith.
49 While he was still speaking, someone from the synagogue ruler's house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer." 50 But when Jesus heard this, he told him, "Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."
We get excited about something – and then there is a major roadblock that hinders everything – and that is where faith is tested -and becomes the most important.
This is how things happen – we start a major faith initiative – and then there is a major roadblock. Think of Abraham and Sarah. Told they would fill the earth and then no children.
Then they have a son – and God asks him to offer him as a sacrifice
Joseph has a dream – and then gets sold as a slave – spends years in Egypt before seeing the promise come true.
51 Now when he came to the house, Jesus did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child's father and mother. 52 Now they were all wailing and mourning for her, but he said, "Stop your weeping; she is not dead but asleep." 53 And they began making fun of him, because they knew that she was dead.
There will be naysayers and opposition – it rarely goes smoothly – there are things that get in the way – and I’ll give a caution –
You should not mistake a life of faith with a life that lacks wisdom – James says faith without works is dead – well, this might not be biblical, but I say faith without wisdom is dead.
We were all convinced that Jesus would return before the 1980s began – and we took steps of faith that lacked wisdom – and those were not steps of faith - faith and wisdom will go together.
The question came up – only believe – we know of people who weren’t healed – and some say – that is because of your unbelief and lack of faith. That is not appropriate in any universe and it is just not true. Understanding that Jesus was God and had very special things tied to his ministry – and to think that these healings should happen all the time – the reality is, he did not heal everyone in Israel – there were specific people he healed. And eventually – each person healed died. Sickness is part of living in a fallen world – that doesn’t mean that God cannot heal – and sometimes He does! We should pray for healing. Jesus said that there is a sickness that leads to death and a sickness that leads to the glory of God – only God knows which is which.
54 But Jesus gently took her by the hand and said, "Child, get up." 55 Her spirit returned, and she got up immediately. Then he told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.
Why does He tell them to not tell anyone? How would these parents actually do that? I don’t think they can do that! Jesus does this numerous times. Jesus understood that spectacular miracles often do not produce faith in the crowd. He was doing all these miracles – and He asked – why do you come to Me? Because of Who I am or because I am feeding you? Are you just coming for the miracles? Sometimes God works through miracles – but Jesus knew that that alone would not draw a crowd to genuine faith.
Some practical things about these two – and their boldness of faith.
- 1) Their faith was not baseless and wishful thinking. They had heard stories of Jesus healing people – so they went to Him knowing that He had the power to do what they were asking Him to do. They had a concept of the compassion and heart of Jesus to relieve suffering. The woman had some understanding of the capacity to touch His clothes. There is an understanding of what God is doing and what He might want to do. The faith is based on that.
- 2) Both were in desperate need – and faith was necessary. They were at the end – the woman – 12 years – in one of the other gospels it said she spent everything she had on doctors – and there was nowhere else to go.
- 3) They were willing to endure the risk of faith. To step out and to see everything fall apart – to be shamed and laughed at – to step out before people in faith.
- 4) They understood that their faith initiative did not come with a guarantee.
We are not guaranteed.
Daniel 8 – the story of the fiery furnace – 17 – they respond back – we don’t have to give an answer – our God, whom we serve – is able to deliver us from the furnace and blazing fire…but even if He does not, let it be known to you that we won’t worship your gods…
Hebrews 11 – speaking of the heroes of the faith – all these died in faith without receiving the promises. We think – if you had faith, you would have received it – but having seen them and welcomed them from a distance – and having confessed that they were outsiders – seeking a country of their own.
Real faith is looking to something greater than being obedient – something much bigger – and those things that seem most important here and now.