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Sunday, May 21, 2017

posted May 21, 2017, 3:52 PM by Site Administrator

 

DON’T BE AFRAID; JUST BELIEVE

 

Luke 8:40-56

Key Verse 8:50

 

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."

 

First, "Your faith has healed you" (40-48). Now after saving one demon-possessed man, Jesus returned to the other side of the lake. Then, as a usual, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. There was one synagogue ruler, named Jairus, whose daughter was laid sick. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him to come to his house. At this, Jesus went with him. But while Jesus was going to Jairus house, an unexpected event happened. A large crowd followed him and pressed around him. Among them was a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She came up behind Jesus, touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately, her bleeding stopped. The description in verse 44 is very plain, but what she did and what happened to her was really amazing. 12 years are long time to suffer from a chronic disease. When people have this kind of problem, and after trying this and that to solve it, but failing all the way, they despair and give up. But she did not give up; she hoped for healing, and once she found the possibility of healing in Jesus, she rose, and sought him wholeheartedly. Those who have faith in God can rise from despair in any circumstances. The prophet Micah shouts, "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I shall rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light." (Mic 7:8)

 

The woman's struggle to come to Jesus was really great. Even though she was weak and feeble, even though there was a thick barrier of muscular people, she wouldn't be afraid; even though she would touch so many people and make them ceremonially unclean, she would not care; like the Incredible hulk, or like an aggressive NLF football player, she jumped onto these people, threw them up one by one, or knocked them down with body check, and made her way all the way to Jesus.

 

People have various chronic sin problems - lust, smoking, drinking,... repeated failures. Many people give up after trying this and that, and failing repeatedly. Such people live in defeat, shame and misery. But those who find the hope of healing in God, the hope of victory in God because they believe in God, keep struggling, looking for a way, asking God for help. They seek God wholeheartedly like this woman. Such people eventually rise in victory by God's help. They come to have a testimony to tell the whole world about what God has done for them. 

 

Then, after such a heroic struggle, once she came behind Jesus, she just touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. All the people there even including the woman considered Jesus as a great man of God. In that sense, there was no difference between the crowd and the woman. There were many people who were pressing on him; some people were holding him tightly, but nothing happened to them; they were enthusiastic to touch him; they welcomed him greatly; yet, nothing happened to them. 

 

Then, how come such a great miracle happened to her through just one touch, while nothing happened to the crowd? The difference is that she had something she really hoped for, something she really wanted - healing from her bleeding, and thereby, having a normal, sound and healthy life. In Jesus, her faith had become concrete because she had something she really hoped; her faith had substance - a real and tangible goal. And she had absolute faith that Jesus was a great man of God  and that God's power was working in and through him and that, only if she touched him, she would be healed. Because of this confidence, she could seek Jesus wholeheartedly, making such a heroic struggle to come to Jesus despite so many obstacles. Later, Jesus said to her, "Your faith has healed you." That was Jesus' explanation of how she was healed.

 

Faith is being sure of what we hope for. The real problem for Christians is that they become like the crowd in the passage, so enthusiastic to shake hands with Jesus, but not having anything they really want in him, and thereby, their faith is dead; they have no reason to use their faith in their practical life; instead, they are just content that they are identified as Christians or they have some comfort that they will go to heaven when they die; such faith is dead, and it has no real value. At that time, even if they honor Jesus highly as the Christ, even if they happily shake hands with him, and get his autography, still nothing happens. That's why their Christian life is very boring. We must really approach him with real faith in him: He can save you from your chronic sin problem; he can send you many sheep; he can bless you to establish many disciples; he can give you a good career job; he can heal you of your sickness... But we must really mean it. When we have something we really hope for, then, our faith comes to have real substance; when we have something we really hope for, our faith is not theological or conceptual any longer, but we really mean it; at that time, our Christian life is no longer just being religious or adding more knowledge of the Bible; instead, our faith has a clear goal, and thereby, we can seek God really wholeheartedly just like the woman in the passage, because we know that only He can help us in those things. There was one man born blind; he shouted at Jesus, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." He made so much noise that the disciples rebuked him to be quiet; but he didn't stop; instead, he shouted all the louder. Finally, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The man answered, "I want to see." Jesus said to him, "Go, your faith has healed you." (Mk 10:47-52) When we have something we really hope for, our faith becomes real. Then, in our pursuit of God for such matters, we come to have a chance to do an act of faith. Then, that act of faith even if it is as small as a touch on the edge of Jesus' cloak, it becomes the channel through which God can launch his power on our case and God's glory can be revealed in our life. When we experience God's power, when we have real victory in our lives through God's power, our eyes are truly opened to God and our life will never be the same. 

 

Look at verse 45. When she was healed, she was ready to disappear pretending nothing had happened. But things did not go as she had planned. At once Jesus recognized that power had gone out from him. He must have been surprised! While he was going to Jairus house, someone used his power by absolute faith even without his permission. The power was his power, and it was in his body, but someone secretly acquired the PIN, and was using it right behind him. It was somewhat amazing and at the same time, somewhat embarrassing. Jesus wanted to see the person. So he turned around and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" His disciples did not know whats going on or what Jesus was talking about. They thought that Jesus said this because so many people were crowding against him. But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then, 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 the whole truth. Originally, her strategy was "hit-and-run," but now she was caught. She was trembling for stealing Jesus power. But Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.

 

It seems that so many people worldwide, are enthusiastic to welcome Jesus and meet him every Sunday; it seems that so many people try to do God's work. But God's kingdom advances through the work of faith - our fishing, our one to one Bible study should be the expression of our faith; in a very limited condition, we come out with our heart's resolution that we will do God's work by any means; in a very hectic schedule, we decide to serve God's kingdom work first. Through the acts of faith, people tap into God's power; through the acts of faith, God's power is launched in this world, and God's kingdom advances powerfully. And Jesus is sensitive to the work of faith. Even though he is in heaven, once someone does an act of faith on earth, Jesus senses that something great has been done, and he wants to see who did it. If you do an act of faith, Jesus wants to see who you are and what happened. When you do anything by real faith in God, Jesus is amazed; he wants to see who did it, so he asks, "Who touched me?" To Jesus, such people are real VIPs.

 

Second, "Don't be afraid; just believe" (49-56). Look at verse 49. While he was still speaking, someone came from thehouse of Jairus"Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don’t bother the teacher any more." What terrible news it was! At this, Jairuswas about to collapse and cry out bitterly or just simply pass out so that he might be excluded from the present pain momentarily. Once Jairus had faith in Jesus, but now when he heard that his daughter died, his faith was being destroyed and he was terrified and shaky. It seemed that the person who delivered this news was concerned about Jairus and even Jesus. But when he just said things based on the facts alone, when he relied on his logic and understanding without faithhe became an instrument of Satan in destroying Jairus faith and hindering God's work Jesus was going to doCertainly, it was not his intention, but that's what happened when he said things based on the facts alone without faith. We must be very careful; with our words, we can build up many people in faith; at the same time, by saying words carelessly without faith, we can be instruments of Satan in destroying many people's faith. That's why we must strive to say words of faith, saying, "Yes, we can." "Yes, you can. God will help you."

 

Jairus almost lost his faith. But Jesus sensed what's going on and quickly intervened into the situation. He said to him, "Dont be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." When the situation got worse, and it seemed that the hope was already gone. When it seemed that the situation was already over, Jesus still encouraged him not to lose his heart, but believe in him no matter what. What did Jesus mean by saying, "Don’t be afraid; just believe"? He meant him to go on despite the visible reality. Jesus encouraged Jairus to hold onto his faith in him continually beyond death. Jairus faced the most difficult challenge from the enemy, the devil, but by Jesus’ help, he did not lose his heart; he did not faint, but continued on his journey to his house togetherwith Jesus. 

 

When we try to do God's work, or when we try to see God's glory, or when we try to overcome our miserable life in Jesus Christ, often, our faith is really challenged by difficulties and obstacles. People want to experience God's glory, but because of such challenges and obstacles, many people give up, thus, failing to see God's glory in their life. When people stop believing because of challenging reality, there they stop, so they never come to experience God's power. Only those who keep their faith continually despite hardships come to experience God's power in their life, and thereby, their life changes completely. This is the nature of the battle we are engaged in - the battle of faith: if we believe despite challenging circumstances, we keep on going, but if our faith is destroyed due to challenging circumstances, we stop there - that is the end of the story. The present reality is always challenging. And God encourages us to believe despite the challenging reality, saying, "Don't be afraid; just believe." If anything is worth getting, it is difficult and there are challenges and obstacles. But our tendency is that, whenever some challenges come, we think of the worst scenario possible - in the career matter, in the marriage matter, and in the fruit matter,..., and we become so fearful. But Jesus says, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." Things will not go in the way you anticipate. The worst scenario possible will not occur. Instead, things will get better and better, and you will enjoy a wonderful life, because God is with you, and God will help you. The reality is challenging, but we don't live by the reality; we don't live by sight; instead, we live by faith in God as the Bible says, "The righteous will live by faith from first to last." Despite challenging circumstances, we still believe that God will make us fathers and mothers of many nations. By faith, we entrust all the matters in God's hands and do what He wants us to do. "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."

  

Look at verse 51. 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. The twelve apostles were with Jesus, but until this time, they were kind of onlookers, wondering what would happen; they were spectators, wanting to see how Jesus would solve this critical challenge. But when Jesus chose only three of them, things changed; these three were now no longer spectators in this matter, but they were to fight together with Jesus; they became partners and coworkers of Jesus for this matter. We do God's work, but often, people take spectator's attitude; instead of taking God's vision as their own vision and tackling it down to fulfill it, they just fold their arms and sit back, and say, "Let's see it will come true or not." When people take that kind of attitude, they cannot be blessed by God. God wants us to be his partners and coworkers; Jesus wants us to be his friends who know his business very well and take it as our own. When Jesus took only three of them, how did the other nine apostles feel? Of course, they felt so bad; it seemed that Jesus favored only the three, and that they were the second class disciples; they could entertain all kinds of humanistic thinking about Jesus and God's work. It was dangerous. But Jesus still did not take them in, because it was absolutely necessary. What he needed was not a whole bunch of spectators, but real partners who would take a real sense of responsibility for God's work. 

 

 Look at verse 52. Jairus' house was full of a funeral mood. Professional mourners were already there and were promoting the sorrowful environment very well, crying out and wailing so professionally. Jesus said to those who were wailing and mourning for her, "Stop wailing. She is not dead but asleep." Jesus wanted his people who believed in him including his disciples and Jairus, not to be overwhelmed by the unbelieving environment, but have the vision that the child was not dead, but asleep. It was not a dead end, but she was just sleeping only to wake up refreshed. Jesus did not want his believing people to think about a child lying dead, so sorrowful and dark, but a child sleeping so peacefully. The work of faith starts from having this kind of very positive visions and imageries in our hearts. One time, father Abraham suffered from the sense of loss about his life of faith, because he didn't have any son yet, despite his dedication to God. Then, God took him out of his dark tent and said to him, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars-if indeed you can. So shall your offspring be." God planted in him such a positive and daring vision. When this vision was planted in him, Abraham was happy and excited and continued on his life of faith. "Stop wailing; she is not dead but asleep." Jesus wants us to think of amazing and glorious things that can be done by the power of God. Our campuses will be filled with disciples and sheep studying the Bible together; 50 churches will be established in California and all Californian students will have a chance to study the Bible with us. Through our one to one Bible studies, America will be established as a missionary sending country to the whole world once again. 

 

Look at verses 54 and 55. Jesus took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" As if a mother wakes up her children in the morning, Jesus said, "My child, get up!" At this, her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Look at verse 56. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. It seemed that the parents should tell people about what Jesus had done so that many more people would come to him. But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. How come? Jesus did not want people to come to him because he had raised the child from the dead; instead, he wanted people to come to him because of the word of God he preached. This was the very direction he had had at the beginning of his ministry. In the next chapter, we see Peter's confession of faith as the conclusion of Jesus' public ministry; so, it was almost at the end of his public ministry. Yet, still he had the same direction for his ministry - he did not want people to come to him because of some miracles he had done; instead, he wanted them to come to him because of the word of God he preached. This was how Jesus served God's work. And this is how we must serve God's work. Instead of trying to attract people to the church with many exciting programs, we would teach them the Bible and they would come to our church because of the word of God we teach them. For this, our whole struggle is to dig out the word of God and sharpen our Bible study notes so that once they study the Bible with us, they may be greatly amazed, inspired and encouraged. Through the word of God we teach them, they would find the meaning and purpose of their life, joy and happiness of learning God's love and plan for them. Then, they would say, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

 

One Word:Don't Be Afraid; Just Believe!

 

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