Power To Subdue - Part Two
December 02, 2018 | Randy Smith
Power To Subdue—Part Two
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Pastor Randy Smith
I was looking at figures of speech for the word, “desperation”: “At the end of one’s rope or tether.” “To be stir-crazy from confinement, to feel trapped.” “Forlorn (sorrowful, lonely) hope.” “Grasp at straws.” “Last-ditch.” “Tear one’s hair out.” “Push the panic button.” The definition of that one goes like this: “To be visibly distressed or agitated; to show signs of extreme anger or anguish. Originally referring to a gesture of mourning or intense grief, this expression, dating from the 16th century, is no longer used literally. It continues to be said, however, of one who is extremely frustrated, or going through an intensely painful emotional experience.” The Free Dictionary - desperation
Have you ever been desperate? Do you live in a spirit of desperation? Are you desperate right now? What are you desperate about?
This morning before we break for the Lord’s Table, we’ll be introduced to two people who were very desperate. As far as humans go, they were complete opposites. One a man and the other a woman. One rich and the other poor. One respected and other rejected by society. One leading the synagogue and the other removed from the synagogue. One with a 12-year old daughter and the other with a 12-year old disease.
Yet both of them share something common to all humanity. This world is painful and they were desperate. Let’s see where they ultimately turned to find comfort.
A Desperate Man—Part One (verses 40–42a)
Let’s begin with the first sub-point,“A Desperate Man – Part One.”
So let’s establish the geography and timeline. Jesus leaves Capernaum with the Apostles. They sail across the Sea of Galilee. A great storm blows in and Jesus stops the wind – authority over nature. In the morning> the boat arrives on the east side of the sea in the district of the Gerasenes, Gentile territory. Demons are cast out of a man – authority over demons. The people become afraid to be in the presence of Jesus. They demand He leave. Jesus complies. The healed man begs to go with Jesus, but our Lord keep him there as a witness to those people. Jesus and the disciples get back into the boat. They sail west and return to Capernaum.
Now look at verse 40. “And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.”
So in the span of one day one group of people rejected Jesus and asked Him to leave and the other group mentioned in verse 40 were “waiting for Him” and when He arrived they “welcomed Him” You have to wonder, why such opposing attitudes toward Jesus?
Based on the text, my best guess centers on the word “fear.” Last week we learned that people repeatedly tried to help this demon possessed man. Instantly Jesus did what they couldn’t. Last week we learned how this man would terrify the people. Jesus healed the man and made him “well” (verse 36). Their response? Verse 35 – “frightened.” Verse 37 – “gripped with fear.”
When sinful humanity really encounters the holiness of God, the result will always be great fear. People will either run to Him for grace and mercy or demand He leaves their presence. Just like so many in their hearts today. The town realized who Jesus was (apart from the one man made well) and they said, “Get out of here!”
Does that mean the people in Capernaum were different? They were “waiting” for Jesus. They “welcomed” Jesus. Why? Well, based on the context it seems they simply loved to be around His miracles.
Imagine a society minus 2,000 years in medical technology. Everybody was hurting and there were very few cures. Food wasn’t plentiful. Poverty was common. Everybody was physically hungry. Minus 2,000 years in science. Everybody was clueless as it pertained to natural disasters. Everybody was powerless regarding demonic oppression. And a guy comes into your district with authority over all of these? So many desperate people and Jesus is the best show in town.
Even with our technology, knowledge and wealth, if all Jesus did was heal people and give free food the whole world would follow after Him today as well.
Yet these same people from Capernaum in a span of months would be demanding His crucifixion. They were people that were into the “Jesus show” and that is not the purpose for which He came. When they realized who Jesus really was and what He demanded, just like the folks of the Gerasenes, “They cried out all together, saying, ‘Away with this man!’” (Lk. 23:18).
So while everybody is wanting a piece of Jesus, Luke shifts his focus to one very desperate man in the town. Verse 41, “And there came a man named Jairus [JI-RUSS], and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house.”
This is an incredible verse! The text says Jairus was “an official of the synagogue.” So this man was not only a Jew, but the one highest Jewish leaders in his community. He, along with 2-6 other men, would oversee and maintain order in the local synagogue. And let’s not forget that at this point there was already much tension between Jesus and many Jewish leaders.
But the text says he “fell at Jesus’ feet.” The text says he “began to implore Him” That’s to “beg earnestly, to plead with somebody to do something.” Imagine if the Pharisees got wind of this one!
Why the desperation? Verse 42, “For he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.”
Any of us with children can feel his desperation. The text says this was his “only daughter.” She was 12 which put her right at the edge of womanhood and marriage back then. Like any father he loved her dearly and she was in the process of dying.
The lengths we will go when we are desperate. I remember hearing about an event that happened at my former church just before I arrived in 1990. Another desperate father had a very sick daughter. When he realized she wasn’t getting any better he turned to some kind of contraption that he thought would bring healing. It was some device that you inserted a picture of your sick child. It’s wasn’t at the level of naivety. It was at the level of witchcraft and sorcery. Then he proceeded to promote the product to others in the church.
The lengths we will go when we are desperate. Stories I can tell you of professing Christians making horrible decisions at a point of desperation. Impulsive and emotional purchases, actions and words that they often regret. From living in the Spirit to living in the flesh. Even praising Jesus one day and then jumping ship the next. Faith in Jesus is easy when things are going well. The true test of faith – how close are we sticking to Jesus when the waves start crashing over the bow and Jesus appears to be asleep, helpless and a million miles away? Where do we turn then?
And from the positive side, my faith was strengthened by so many in this church with significant pain, praising Jesus during the testimony time at the Thanksgiving service last week. Kathleen DeGregorio with severe physical pain – “Hope from God regardless of the trial.” Troy Kraszewski after losing one of his best friends – “Living in faith that God’s plan is bigger than ours.” Amy Brown who with Marcel lost their 6 month old baby last month – “Thankful that others may be saved through his passing.” Debbie Rosa who lost her husband last year read Psalm 121.“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Ps. 121:1-3). And to the others who shared, thank you!
Jairus, a Jewish leader in the community when it would cost him everything, turned to Jesus.
Does desperation turn you to Jesus or away from Jesus? Think about that one! It is revealed in your character, disposition, object of hope and degree of faith.
A Desperate Woman (verses 42b–48)
And just when you are wondering how Jesus is going to respond, there is an unexpected and awkward break in the action. Jesus is interrupted by a desperate woman.
Let’s go to the second point. Beginning half way through verse 42, “But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped” (Lk. 8:42b-44).
So what do we know about this woman? As I said earlier, she represents the complete opposite of Jairus. The only thing they have in common is desperation and the perspective that Jesus is the answer to their dilemma. She’s suffering from some kind of continuous bleeding. It is probably some kind of female uterine bleeding. It’s been twelve long years without any relief. No one can heal her and because of her condition under Jewish Law she is considered unclean, banished from the synagogue and community in general.
You couldn’t touch her. So it was a bold move on her part to enter an area packed with crowds. Yet she went because she believed that only Jesus could heal her. Desperation! Mark’s gospel tells us no physician could help her and she spent all her money seeking a cure. And her condition just worsened (Mk. 5:26). So she sneaks up behind Jesus and touches probably one of the blue tassels that would hang from the corner of his cloak.
Verse 45-47, “And Jesus said, ‘Who is the one who touched Me?’ And while they were all denying it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.’ When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.”
As a footnote – so you probably have Jairus watching all this as his daughter is moving rapidly toward death wondering if we can speed things up here! This is like an ambulance stuck in traffic! The guy is probably like, “We are wasting precious time!”
But Jesus allows Himself to be interrupted to minister to this woman. That shows compassion for others. That shows sovereignty over time. Then after she is healed, Jesus calls her out. “Who is the one who touched Me?” Jesus knew who touched Him; He wanted to make sure that she realized that there was nothing superstitious in His garment. And Jesus wanted to make sure that she realized that He offers much more than a physical healing. Let’s remember: Jesus is God looking for worshippers; not a doctor looking for patients.
Will this woman who is sneaking around in secrecy come forward? This was the real test of her faith in Jesus. Did she really want Jesus or did she just want to be healed?
Verse 47 says, “She came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people.”
Folks, this is all about true healing that comes from a relationship with Jesus. It’s not about physical healing that is separate from loving and trusting Him. It’s about falling before Him and publicly declaring that He is Lord. This is about intimacy. “Touch” or “touched” is mentioned four times in four verses. We see compassion. We see authority over demons. We see power that is personal which Jesus feels and power that is never exhausted. We see (just like the man with the demons last week) restoration physically, emotionally, socially (as Jesus publicly restored her to the community) and in verse 48, spiritually. “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”
Again, such encouragement! “Daughter” the only time Jesus ever used that of a woman. She was now part of the spiritual family. She was “made…well.” How? The verse says her “faith.” Jesus physically healed many people without faith. Yet He never healed anyone spiritually without faith. It was her faith, her trust in Jesus that granted her spiritual restoration. She was “made…well.” Literally the verb (“sozo”) says she was “saved.” She was now on right terms with the living God. Now wonder He could say in this verse, “Go in peace.”
A Desperate Man—Part Two (verses 49–56)
Well, we need to move to the third point because our story with Jairus is not done. Remember him? His daughter was dying and Jesus is ministering to this woman.
Verse 49, “While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’” It looks like Jesus delayed too long. Someone from the house brought the sad news to Jairus. The little girl had died.
Verse 50, “But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, ‘Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.’” 51, “When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother.” 52, “Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, ‘Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” 53, “And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.” 54, “He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Child, arise!’ 55, “And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.” 56, “Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.”
Desperation can endure any difficulty as long as we have hope. The doctors told the lady she had no hope. The messengers told Jairus he had no hope. Desperation will look under every rock possible for hope. It will pore over the Internet and empty its pocketbook or wallet just for a glimmer of hope. It will consult every false teacher in this world and experiment with every opportunity just for a ray of hope.
This story is not a promise that everyone with a physical illness can have the hope they will be cured by Jesus. Sometimes He heals and sometimes He chooses not to do so. This story is about His sovereignty, His authority over diseases and death. How He chooses to use them in our lives for His purposes and our greatest good is His prerogative.
And that is where faith kicks in. It trusts Him because it knows He is in control. And it trusts Him because it knows that God will always restore someone spiritually. When we acknowledge Jesus and trust in His work on the cross to pay for our sins we can have the promise that He will give us hope. That He will forgive us. That He will accept us. That He will keep us close to Himself. That He will heal us internally.
Four accounts in the last two weeks. Authority. Ability to be trusted. Belief in Him meant results. And God’s results (verses 36, 48, 56) are always making someone well