So many Christians these days lack hope. They are stuck in a cycle of hopelessness. We live in a culture that is a hopeless culture. Our culture will attempt to tell you that you will be okay as long as you have money, a good job, a family, your health, a college degree, a car—amongst other things—your hopes will be fulfilled. But all those earthly things are temporary and futile. They set you up for perpetual disappointment. Jesus is our hope and offers each of us immeasurably more hope.
As part of our continuing Immeasurably More series, we explored how God has given us immeasurably more hope through Jesus. The message given by our lead pastor, Jeff Noble, used Luke 8:40-56 as the focal passage for his message (click for podcast). In these passages of scripture, we learn about hope through two expectant and desperate people. The first was a synagogue leader with a dying twelve-year-old daughter, and the second was a woman who had been plagued with an illness for twelve years that had rendered her unclean.
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
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 why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.”
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
When he 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. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.”
They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
Let’s unpack the amazing truth that is found in these passages. As Jesus is moving through the large crowd, a desperate dad, Jairus, approaches him. He is the leader of the synagogue and has witnessed Jesus perform miracles on more than one occasion. In that moment, he was frantic because his only daughter was gravely ill. Just like we so often are, Jairus was overwhelmed by his circumstances. However, he knew that Jesus had a track record of amazing things. However, things didn’t go as Jairus had planned; the timing was off.
For as Jesus was on his way to save Jairus’ dying daughter, the crowd pressed around him, and the story took a dramatic shift. Instead of continuing to reach the dying daughter, He pauses. Suddenly, He notices someone touching Him. Think about how wild that is. In a huge swarming crowd, buzzing over the excitement of Jesus, in the midst of the chaos, Jesus noticed the touch of one person. Do you ever find yourself believing a lie that Jesus has too much going on to be bothered by your small touch? We see from what happens next in scripture that Jesus notices each of our individual details.
The touch Jesus felt came from a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years straight, and therefore was considered unclean according to Judaic law. She had exhausted her earthly resources trying to be well. Earthly logic would say there was no hope for her. On that day Jesus proved once again that he has authority over illness and He made her well. Based on timing and God’s perfect circumstances, Jesus received all the glory for her healing in that large crowd. It was the right time and the right place. Have you ever considered how your struggles and sufferings are used to glorify the Father and the Son?
In one moment, Jesus fulfilled the woman’s wildest hopes. But this delay cost Jairus dearly—it cost his daughter her life, or so he thought. Religious leaders then addressed Jairus and belittled Jesus by saying not to bother “the teacher” anymore. This pointed out their disbelief in Jesus as the Messiah. Can you imagine how Jairus felt in that moment? Perhaps like a fool and a failure of a father. Like time was of the essence and Jesus should have done more. But Jesus, knowing what was going on, coaxed faith out of this religious man again. Jesus was telling Jairus to hope again.
Although it seemed like all was lost and there was no hope for Jairus’ daughter, Jesus proved His authority over death and that He is our hope. Jesus went to see the little girl and brought her back to life. Although by the world’s standards, Jesus was too late, Jesus proved that His timing and will is perfect.
Now, let’s go back to the very beginning of the story. Both the woman and Jarius went to the market place that day thinking, “maybe Jesus….just maybe Jesus.” Is today a “maybe Jesus” kind of day for you? Is it time to fully put your hope in a God and Savior that is able to do immeasurably more than your wildest dreams?
Have you noticed that in times of desperation, all the business and activity of everyday life fades into the background, and all we can see is Jesus and our dire need for Him? Hope is the pathway of activity for God to work in your life. The religious onlookers were laughing at Jesus, knowing the daughter was already dead. However, when hoping in God we need to stop using worldly logic and worrying forward. God is not bound by logic, illness, or even death.
Jesus is not done with you. Be confident he loves you. Be confident he has come to give you immeasurably more hope. Let us be a people that points the world to the real hope of Jesus.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)