John T. Willis

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jesus Restores and Heals Two Women--Luke 8:40-56

After relating the account of Jesus miraculously healing the Gerasene demoniac in Luke 8:26-39, Luke now relates two additional miraculous works of Jesus: healing a woman suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years, and raising from the dead the twelve year old daughter of Jairus. This appears in Luke 8:40-56, and naturally falls into two paragraphs.

I. Jesus heals the woman with hemorrhages. Luke 8:40-48.
a. These two stories are dependent on Mark 5:21-43. Matthew 9:18-26 also is dependent on Mark 5:21-43.
b. Jesus had made his way by boat back to the west short of Lake Gennaserat, from which he set out. The crowd mentioned in Luke 8:4, 19 meets Jesus as he returned because they were waiting for him. 8:40.
c. A man named Jairus, a Jew somewhere in Galilee, a leader of the synagogue, met Jesus, fell at Jesus' feet, and begged him to go to his house, because his only daughter, approximately twelve years of age, was dying. People assumed in the ancient Near East that a woman at age twelve was near marriageable age. 8:41-42.
d. As Jesus went with Jairus, the crowd pressed in on Jesus. A woman suffering with hemorrhages for twelve years encountered Jesus. She had spent all her money on physicians to heal her, but no one could heal her. This woman came behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his clothes, and IMMEDIATELY her hemorrhage stopped. This was a daring move for this woman, because Leviticus 15:25-31 declares that such a woman is "unclean," which would contaminate everyone she touches. Nevertheless, this woman was so desperate and in such great need that she took the risk to come through the crowd and touch Jesus. 8:43-44.
e. Jesus immediately asked, "Who touched me?" Peter told him that many people were around him pressing in, so many peopled touched Jesus. But Jesus told Jesus that someone had touched him deliberately because "POWER HAD GONE OUT" from Jesus. 8:45-46.
f. The woman suffering from hemorrhages realized she could hide herself from Jesus. She came to Jesus trembling. She fell before Jesus, and told all the people around why she touched Jesus and Jesus healed her. Whenever Jesus does something for anyone, that person should naturally immediately tell everyone around what Jesus has done for that person. Jesus reacted: "Your faith has made you well; go in peace." 8:47-48.

II. Jesus raises Jairus' daughter from the dead. Luke 8:49-56.
a. While Jesus was still speaking to the woman suffering from hemorrhages whom he had healed, someone came from the house of Jairus to tell Jesus that Jairus' daughter had died, so it would be futile for Jesus to move on to his house. It is significant that this person from Jairus' house called Jesus "teacher," indicating that Jesus often taught his messages to various audiences in Galilee. See Luke 7:40. 8:49.
b. Jesus responded to the person who came from Jairus' house: "DO NOT FEAR; ONLY BELIEVE," and Jairus' daughter will be saved, i. e., delivered, from death.See Luke 1:13. Jesus proceed to go to the house of Jairus, and when he arrived, he would let no one go in but Peter, James, John, and the father and mother of their daughter. This is the very first time that the Gospel of Luke specifically named Peter, James, and John to witness Jesus' power to raise someone from the dead. 8:50-51.
c. Inside the house of Jairus, mourners were there weeping and wailing for Jairus' daughter. It was very common for people to assign mourners in times of death. See Genesis 23:2; 50:1-3; Numbers 20:292 Samuel 3:32-34; 15:30; Jeremiah
22:10; Ezekiel 8:14; Lamentations 1:2. Jesus told the people there not to weep, because Jairus' daughter was not dead but sleeping. Jesus does not mean that Jairus' daughter was only apparently dead, but her death, like sleep, is limited in time. A person's death is not permanent, but transitional. Hence, death is like sleep. 8:52.
d. The people around who heard what Jesus said LAUGHED AT Jesus. They knew that Jairus' daughter was dead. What they did now know that Jesus has the power to raise anyone from the dead. 8:53.
e. Jesus then took Jairus' daughter by the hand, a well-established gesture about Yahweh taking hold of Israel's right hand--Isaiah 41:13; 42:6. Then Jesus said to the daughter of Jairus, "Get up," as if she were waking from ordinary sleep. Jesus' command is fully sufficient to resuscitate the dead. 8:54.
f. The "spirit" or breath of Jairus' daughter returned as a sign of the new life bestowed. The picture here is very similar to the account in 1 Kings 17:21-22 in the story of the raising up of the son of the widow of Zarephath. Jairus' daughter immediately got up, and Jesus told the people around to give her something to eat. 8:55.
g. Jairus and his wife were astounded by what Jesus had done miraculously. Jesus told them not to tell anyone what had happened. It is not clear why Jesus gave this command. It is possible that Jesus wants to withhold this until he is arrested and crucified. 8:56.

These are two marvelous accounts. God through Jesus Christ manifests great power. If we can only believe in God and his mighty power, God can do anything at any time in human history.

Share YOUR insights and fears and anxieties and proclamations to others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Know the Plans I Have for YOU--2

God's plans for his people and humankind begin with God's nature and mighty acts. It is a major mistake to begin with where anyone is right now on earth. God initiates and moves outward to reach all human beings. God ALWAYS functions as the subject of ACTIVE VERBS. Let us begin. God CREATED and continues to CREATE throughout the universe and on an individual level. Here are some of the verbs. 1. God CREATED. Throughout the Bible, the verb "create" appears ONLY with Yahweh as the subject. This does NOT mean that God created something out of nothing [although undoubtedly God created everything out of nothing, but this is not the biblical point]. The point is: God has done marvelous things that NO OTHER BEING could or can do. "In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1. "God CREATED the great monsters and every living creature that moves of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind." Genesis 1:21. "God CREATED humankind in his image, in the image of God he CREATED them; male and female he CREATED them." Genesis 1:27. But according to Genesis 2:7, God formed man from the dust of the ground," showing that God used already existing material to CREATE." This was not out of nothing. "Thus says the Lord, he who CREATED you, O Jacob." Isaiah 43:1. This shows that God CREATED the Israelites--but obviously he did this through several generations beginning with Abraham, followed by Abraham's descendants. 2. God SAID--"Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:3. This term occurs several times in Genesis 1. God SPOKE=SAID, and immediately this happened. Psalm 33:6, 9 makes this point clear: By the WORD OF THE LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the BREATH OF HIS MOUTH. . . . For HE SPOKE, and IT CAME TO BE; HE COMMANDED, and IT STOOD FIRM. No human being or all human beings together could ever created the universe. But God is so powerful that without any sweat SPOKE or SAID and it came to be. 3. God MADE the universe. Genesis 1:31. "Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has DONE or MADE it." Isaiah 44:23. "May you be blessed by the Lord, who MADE heaven and earth." Psalm 115:15. The verb "make" means "manufacture." God functions metaphorically like a carpenter or a mason, who uses various types of material like wood and stone to MAKE or MANUFACTURE buildings of all kinds. 4. God SEPARATED the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4, 18), the waters below from the waters above (Genesis 1:6-7), the day from the night (Genesis 1:14). We all experience this all the time, usually without realizing that this is a MIRACLE, something which is far beyond our abilities or capacities. Our God is an awesome God. 5. God SET the sun and the moon in the sky. Genesis 1:17. How the universe functions is beyond our abilities. We can describe all this, but cannot make this happen. This is a God thing. 6. God FORMED every animal and every bird out of the ground (Genesis 2:19) and God FORMED man from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). The Hebrew word "form" means the work of a potter, who uses wet clay to shape a bowl or a cup or all other kinds of pottery. Jeremiah 18:1-11 is just one biblical text that describes this work. Our God is an artist, who is VERY CONCERNED about the aesthetics of all life in the heavens and on planet earth. We should daily appreciate all the creatures of all kinds around us. 7. God BREATHED into all creatures life. "God BREATHED into man's nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a LIVING being." Genesis 2:7. "Turn away from mortals, who have only BREATH in their nostrils, for of what account are they" Isaiah 2:22. Every moment, we MUST breathe whether we like it or not in order to survive. This is a marvelous gift of God. How can anyone reject the God who gave us life? In order to have any kind of VISION at all is to appreciate our God. God ACTIVELY WORKS constantly in the universe and in our lives. Without realizing and appreciating this, there is no real life. Share YOUR thoughts and insights and concerns and anxieties and cares and hopes with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis