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July 7, 2017: Child, Arise

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Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 15-16Psalm 130-131Luke 8:40-56Colossians 3:15-25

Luke 8:40-56:

More amazing miracles, and amazing compassion on the part of Jesus too. Jesus returns and the crowd welcomes him, for they have been waiting for him. How good it is to wait with eagerness to hear from Jesus. Let us get up each morning, open our Bibles, and sit before Jesus eagerly expecting to hear from him.

Jairus, a synagogue ruler, has a twelve-year-old daughter who is dying. Note that high achievement in religion, and attainment of religious position, is no barrier against painful and personal suffering. At least Jairus goes to Jesus for help. He has some faith at work within him.

Jesus makes the journey, and Luke tells the story masterfully. The crowd is pressing on him. It’s like a football game crowd longing to see, and if possible touch, their hero. People are everywhere. Jesus is making his way to this little girl, who is at the point of death, to heal her, crawling through the crowd, ever so slowly, slowly. How agonizing it must have been for Jairus to see the slow progress of Jesus before he came to help his daughter.

But there is another woman who must be healed. She has sought help from many other places. She has gone to all the experts, but none of them can help her. She comes up behind Jesus and touches Jesus. Ah, this touch is different! The others in the crowd were merely pressing in on Jesus. But this woman touches with the touch of faith. As soon as she touches him, she is healed! Beloved, learn the difference between “touch” and “touch.” It is one thing to come into contact with religious things. It is one thing to go to church, even to read the Bible, and say your prayers. It is another thing to reach out to God with faith. That touch, the touch of faith, is the only touch that becomes the channel for power.

When Jesus asks who touched him, Peter cannot believe he asks the question, because there are so many people crowding against him. But “power” has gone out from Jesus. Surely he compassionately willed that power to heal the woman. But yet there is a claim upon Jesus, sovereignly so designed, that answers to the touch of faith. Would you “touch” Jesus today, and ask him for help with your friend who does not yet believe in Jesus, for patience with your difficult boss, for renewal for marriage, for inner peace and joy, and eternal life?

The woman is discovered. She is scared thinking that she might be rebuked. Not at all! “Daughter,” the loving word, “your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

But now what of the twelve-year-old girl? At that very moment, as Jesus was speaking, so long delayed it must have felt, someone from Jairus’ house comes up and tells him the terrible news. His daughter is dead. One daughter has been healed. But it will not be his. He should not bother the teacher anymore. What a terrible calamity! What extraordinary pain and pathos!

But Jesus again, teaching about the channel that faith is for his power: “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” We must expect great things of God and attempt great things for God. It all starts with faith. Belief, trust in Jesus and in God’s Word.

When Jesus arrives, no one will believe him that he has any hope of helping her. They know she is dead. So does Jesus, but from his divine perspective, he knows that this is but merely a sleep. She will arise. Then the tender words: “Child, arise.”

One day Jesus will take us by the hand, too, and tell us to “arise.” What a glorious day that will be when we awake and see his loving face bending over ours!

Jesus tells them to give her something to eat. Jesus could never be accused of being so heavenly minded that he was no earthly good. She has been through a lot. She has been sick. It is important she replenish her energy reserves. She needs to eat. We must not forget that we are physical beings as well as spiritual. Hunger can make us grumpy and let the halo slip a little; lack of sleep can lead to shortness of temper, bad diet, poor exercise: all things can contribute to diminishing our spiritual exercise. Are you taking care of the body that God has given you as a temple of the Holy Spirit?

He charged the girl’s parents not to tell anyone what had happened. It was too early to spread such stories. It would be misunderstood, and lead to problems. The time would come for the message to be preached—as it is today.

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