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First Scripture = Luke 17:11-19
11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
We are still in our series looking at the questions that God asks in the Bible. But remember that God never asks a question for his own benefit – he already knows the answer. Jesus and God ask questions to get at something within our souls.
Last week we heard Jesus ask, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” We were encouraged to see each other as sisters and brothers of Jesus, children of God, because while we aren’t in the same boat right now we are all in the same storm.
This week we are again following Jesus. Sometimes when Jesus asked a question, it stopped everyone in their tracks with its depth or insight. Other times…like this text…people wondered if Jesus had lost his mind! When Jesus asked his question in our text today, his followers wondered if he was joking! But he was as purposeful as ever.
Main Scripture = Luke 8:40-56
40Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, 42for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying. As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. 43Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. 44She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 45Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” 46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” 47When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
49 While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 50 When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” 51 When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.
Different Needs, Same Solution
The two people in our text today could not be more different. Jairus is a leader of the synagogue. He helped plan what we would call worship services. He was part of the Jewish establishment. He was important in his town.
Then we have the woman – not even important enough to be named here – the woman. She had spent all of her money on twelve years’ worth of failed treatments for her bleeding. She was prevented from being part of the community – and especially places like the synagogue that Jairus ran.
On one hand, an important man. On the other, an unnamed woman. On one hand, a religious leader. On the other, an outcast who was religiously “unclean” because of her condition.
And yet here they found themselves on the same level. Jairus’ daughter was dying. If you’ve ever had a very sick child, you know that it’s hard to think about anything else. Your whole world can seem to be defined by your sick child. How much more when your child is dying?
And for the woman, the last twelve years of her life had very literally been defined by her illness. Unsuccessful doctor visits. Running out of money. Her condition forced her to isolate herself from everyone else. She couldn’t touch anyone else. She couldn’t be near anyone else. She couldn’t go to church. She was quarantined. Sound familiar?
So these two very different people were in desperate need of a healing. These two very different people had nowhere else to turn. These two very different people took a flier on Jesus, because maybe, just maybe, just maybe he had something to offer that no one else did.
Who Touched Me?
So now that we know the characters in this story, I want you to try to imagine the scene. Our text says that Jesus was returning to this area – in fact he had already passed through and performed some miraculous healings. So “the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.” Not just a few people from the community. They were ALL waiting for him.
Have you ever been in a packed crowd? Maybe you’ve been to Disney World. Maybe you’ve been to an amusement park on a busy day. Maybe you’ve been trapped in a crowd at a sporting event.
I remember running the Capital 10K race in Austin. There were so many people around us that when the starting gun went off, our initial pace was…zero miles per hour. We couldn’t move for like 10 minutes because we had to wait for so many people ahead of us to get going. Standing still for ten minutes is a strange way to start a race!
So imagine if I were standing in the middle of that crowd of 20,000 and I suddenly shouted, “Who touched me?” People would think I was nuts! They might even be right that I’m nuts, but that’s a different question.
Peter replied to Jesus, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” That was Peter’s delicate way of saying, “Are you kidding me, Jesus? Everyone’s bumping into you!”
So remember that Jesus doesn’t ask a question for his own benefit. He knew who touched him. He knew who she was. He knew why she touched the fringe of his cloak. So why did he make such a scene? She wanted to remain anonymous! Why did he stop in the middle of this crowd? Why did he stop on his way to save a little girl’s life to ask “Who touched me?” Think about that for a second. Knowing who she was, knowing what she had experienced for the last twelve years, why do you think Jesus paused? And why did he make her step forward instead of just turning to her and pointing her out? Why do you think he did it that way?
It’s also interesting to continue the contrast between Jairus the leader of the synagogue and the woman who was bleeding for twelve years. Jesus paused in the middle of a crowd so that everyone noticed this woman and recognized that she was healed. But a little later Jesus finally arrived at Jairus’ house. In the time Jesus paused to speak to this woman, Jairus’ daughter had died. But Jesus still came.
But the contrast was striking! Jesus sent the crowds away from Jairus’ daughter. Jesus sent out most of the family – even most of his own disciples. Jesus made the crowd stop and recognize this anonymous, outcast woman. But Jesus cast out the crowd so that he could be in a very small group for his even more impressive miracle of bringing Jairus’ daughter back from the grave. Why do you think Jesus did it that way?
Seriously – think about that. Why do you think Jesus stopped to make the crowd recognize this woman while sending the crowd away when he raised Jairus’ daughter from the grave? Go ahead! I’ve got time to wait.
Well why don’t we see what Jesus said to each of them. Maybe we can figure this out together. When the woman came trembling, Jesus replied in front of everyone, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
So the woman who many assumed had sinned against God to deserve her hemorrhages was now being praised for her faith. It wasn’t that Jesus’ tassels were magical. Her faith made her well. And this anonymous woman was now proclaimed to be “daughter” by this man of God. This woman whose body was falling apart was told “go in peace.” The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom,” meaning wholeness.
So Jesus proclaimed to this crowd that she was no longer to be called “that woman.” She was to be called “daughter.” She was no longer to be called “sinner” or “outcast,” because she had faith that made her well. She was no longer to be seen as broken, because she was sent out in wholeness. What a transformation! What a renewal!
And she probably needed to change how she thought about herself, too. The crowd wondered what was wrong with her. She probably wondered what was wrong with her, too. But instead of wondering what was wrong with her, Jesus called her “daughter” where everyone could hear it.
Where do you need to be refreshed like this woman going from “outcast” to “daughter?” Where is your soul trembling or falling down like she was?
Jesus also refreshed Jairus in an interesting way. Jesus often condemned religious leaders in Jairus’ position because they were seeking recognition and praise for how religious they were while at the same time neglecting to care for people – especially the poor. So Jesus gave Jairus two commands in our text today. He told Jairus and his wife to bring the girl some food – to care for her. And he told them to keep this to themselves. Care for those in need, and don’t seek praise for it. Jesus gave Jairus a new, smaller, more tangible mission.
Where do you need to be refreshed? Jairus also came to Jesus barely able to stand, and he went away with a new purpose to care for the needy and not seek recognition or praise. Jesus gave him a new perspective on his purpose. Do you need a new perspective on your purpose right now like Jairus did?
You know, I’ve noticed a change in many people over the last few weeks. I saw many perky people for the first few weeks of this disruption. New ideas were springing up to help kids have something safe and interesting to do. People had ideas about how to pitch in to help in new ways. But now, many people I know are tired. I know I’m tired! Many people are worn down by all of this. It’s hard to maintain peak compassion and peak creativity for weeks and months. It’s exhausting to be stuck at home, unable to do your normal things. Can I get an Amen on that one? I mean, come on! It’s exhausting! And if you’re not exhausted, I would say come over and babysit, but, oh wait! I can’t have you over to do that!
I believe many people in our church and our broader community need to be refreshed. Because the length of this disruption has worn people out. And it’s not over yet. Is that you? Are you worn out? Do you need to be refreshed?
If so, how do we get refreshed during this time? So many of the things we typically do for self care are off the table right now. It’s been mighty frustrating to lookup at those snowy mountains for the last six weeks with ski passes in my hand and no way to use them! I’m not running with my friend. We can’t go out for a date night. You know the drill. What are you missing right now that would normally refresh you?
When Jairus had nowhere else to turn in our text today, he fell at the feet of Jesus. When the woman in our text today had nowhere else to turn, she fell at the feet of Jesus. We don’t have many other places to turn right now. Might this be a good time to fall at the feet of Jesus?
If you are among the ranks of the exhausted right now, perhaps you need to be spiritually refreshed. If you go through what Jesus told us to expect as we follow him, some of the promises are pretty good. Our heavy burdens can be exchanged for a sense of lightness in Christ. Our despair can be overshadowed by an everlasting hope in Jesus. Our sense of disorientation in the world can be exchanged for the guidance and purpose of the Holy Spirit. Our anxieties can be swapped out for the peace of God which transcends all understanding.
Here’s what Isaiah 40 says about our faith: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
You and I might be faint and weary. But our God is everlasting. You and I might be overwhelmed by our situation. But our God still stands. You and I might not know when all of this will end. But our God knows. You and I might be powerless right now. But our God is ready and able.
So to help you reconnect with God and be spiritually refreshed during this time, I’ve put together a 7 day devotional that focuses on refreshing, inspirational, and encouraging Bible verses. It’s linked in the description below and on our church website and Facebook as well. If you are feeling down, if you are feeling drained, if you are feeling done with all of this, reconnect with Jesus. It won’t take long, and I bet you will feel a strange new reserve welling up within you. Because that’s how Jesus works.
One of the keys for getting a devotional from your eyes to your heart is to spend at least some time reflecting on how it applies to your own life. That pause for reflection makes any devotional, any reading of Scripture, vastly more effective in your heart. So for each day of this devotional I have a few ideas for reflecting and applying the uplifting Bible verses to your life right now. That step is important if you want to feel refreshed, if you want to feel as restored as the woman did when Jesus called her “daughter.” She could have just slinked away – that would be like reading the Bible verses and moving on. But instead, Jesus called her out to have a moment of recognition. And that moment transformed her life forever. Don’t skip your own moment with Jesus. That moment to reflect each day is where the good stuff lives.
Sisters and brothers, Jairus had nowhere else to turn, so he fell at the feet of Jesus. The woman had nowhere else to turn, so she fell at the feet of Jesus. Both found what they were seeking. And both found something far greater in Jesus than they ever imagined. If you need to be refreshed as they were, if you need to be restored as they were, reconnect with Jesus this week. Don’t skip your moment with Jesus. Amen.