Uncle Bill asked if I would teach this week. When I asked what the topic should be he said maybe something that would talk about the gospel, since some of you students are working on a paper defining the gospel.
Since I am still studying the life of Christ, I want to share with you what I have been learning, and what God has been challenging me with in my time with Him, and hopefully I will be able to help define the gospel for you some also.
In October when I shared from my study in the life of Christ, I shared from the book of Matthew. As I was preparing for today, and looking at the different accounts of this story, it made me think that it may be helpful to share with you guys why the stories aren’t all the same. Have you ever noticed that? Have you wondered why the stories are told a little differently in the different gospels? Or why things aren’t in the same order in all the gospels? This has been something that has helped me to understand that, and hopefully it will help you too.
Each of the gospel writers are writing to different audiences, and with different focus / theme in mind. That’s why they share different stories, and sometimes even share different details of the same story. Because of the audience they are writing, they also don’t all tell things in the order they happened.
if there are differences in the way Mark recorded an event as compared to the way Matthew chose to record it, it does not mean the Gospel writers contradicted each other. They merely had different themes in mind when they wrote their accounts, and what each chose to write down about any particular event had to fit into the theme of his Gospel.
- Audience: Jews
- Theme: The King of the Jews
- The purpose: show that this Jesus really was the Messianic Davidic King.
- Matthew explained more about God’s kingdom program than the other Gospel writers
- Audience: Romans
- Theme: The Servant of God
- The Purpose: show Jesus as the ideal servant of the only true God.
- Mark records the deeds of the Messiah more than what He taught.
- Audience: Greeks
- Theme: The Son of Man
- The Purpose: show the humanity of Jesus
- Luke talks about Jesus being hungry, thirsty, tired, etc more than any of the other gospels
- A strong value of authenticity or a Greek was historical accuracy, therefore of the gospel writers Luke was concerned about writing things in chronological order.
- Audience: The church, and unbelievers
- Theme: The Son of God
- The Purpose: to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.. To reach the lost… a tool of evangelism for the church.. Strengthen those who believed
- Not concerned about all the details, because the other 3 gospels were already in circulation, but rather to fill in some of the details they didn’t share.
- Also focused more on his teaching than what he did
So the story we will be looking at today was recorded by 3 of the gospel writers, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Since Luke is the one who gives the most details for the sequence of events, let’s look at Luke to see what was happening around this event.
But, before we get started with this story, let’s pray.
Turn in your Bible with me to Luke chapter 8.
Section 1: Luke 8:1-3 Jesus sewing seeds with His Followers
Luke 8:1: Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God
Luke began this chapter with a short description of Jesus’ ministry traveling around Galilee , preaching and teaching, and sowing seeds, teaching about His coming kingdom. Luke follows that with a list of Jesus followers.
Section 2: Luke 8:4-21 Jesus parables and Jesus defining His true family
The next section in Luke 8 is “The Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed.” This is the story of the parable of the listeners that I talked about when I taught in October. The farmer scattering seeds on the different kinds of grounds.
When we looked at that story, I shared how Jesus had been sewing seeds and had encountered many kinds of ground. When I taught that lesson I taught you from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 13. In Matthew’s gospel, the story of the sower and the seed is part of a much larger scene where Matthew describes how the Jews reject Jesus as their king. Luke wasn’t focused on the Jews, nor the details of proving that Jesus was their coming King, but Matthew was, so he shared a lot more detail regarding that event in Matthew 12 and 13.
Here, Luke only shares a few details, but he ends Jesus defining who His true family was. After condemning the religious leaders for their rejection of him, his family tried to come and convince him to stop saying things like that. So instead of listening to his family,
Luke 8:21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
Section 3 Luke 8:22-25 Jesus shows His power over nature
Luke 8:22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out.
After a long couple days of teaching, Jesus told his disciples that he wanted to go to the other side of the “lake.”
Soon after they began their journey across the water Jesus fell asleep. While Jesus was sleeping a huge storm came up and the disciples were afraid they were going to capsize and drown. So, they woke Jesus up, complaining that he didn’t care that they were going to die. Jesus got up, told the wind and the waves to stop and then asked His disciples “Where is your faith?”
When they reach the other side, a demon possessed man met them as they got out of the boat.
Section 4: Luke 8:26-39 Jesus shows His power over demons
Luke 8:26-27 So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes,* across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him.
When Jesus asked his name he said, “Legion, for we are many.” Legion refers to a regiment of Roman soldiers. A Legion of soldiers was 6000 troops! When Jesus approached, the man with 6000 demons fell to the ground in front of Jesus!
After casting them out, the demons and they enter a heard of pigs. Jesus showed his disciples that not only did he have power over nature, he had power over demons!
The pig owners weren’t very happy with Jesus, so they ask Jesus to leave.
Jesus and his disciples get back into the boat, and sail back across the lake.
Now we come to our story for today.
Section 5: Luke 8:40-56 Jesus responds to believing faith
Luke 8:40 On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him.
Everywhere Jesus went, large groups of people followed him. So, as they get out of the boat, and people begin to realize that he is back, people started gathering from all over.
Luke 8:41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. 42 His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying. As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds.
Through the crowd, a leader of the local synagogue came and begged Jesus to come with him to heal his daughter. I really like how the TV series “The Chosen” portrayed this scene. Jesus and his disciples are surrounded by a huge group of people. Jairus is trying to lead them through the crowd to his home. But, there are so many people, it’s hard to make any headway.
Here’s a picture of the scene in “The Chosen.”
Maybe a scene like this would help you better
You’ve all been on a PMV where you can’t help touching the person beside you. this is the idea of what it was like walking through the streets that day.
While they were making there way through the crowd, another person needed Jesus’ help.
Luke 8:43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding,* and she could find no cure.
Mark records that she, “had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.” But then she heard reports about Jesus.”
It’s likely that this woman’s issued of constant bleeding probably relate to her sick mun. This woman basically had a constant sick mun for the past 12 years.
Just like here in PNG, there were a lot of taboos around a woman’s sick mun in the Jewish culture. During her sick mun she was not permitted to go to the Synagogue. She was required to stay away from people. Anyone she touched, or touched her during her sick mun would be considered unclean. And anything she touched would also be considered unclean.
So, for the past 12 years she has lived as a complete outcast, not able to be close to anyone or anything!
She had spent all her money on doctors trying to find a cure. But now, she heard about a healer. Someone who healed a lame man, a healer of lepers, a healer who had given sight to the blind, and she believed that He could heal her too. Because of her uncleanness, she knew she couldn’t touch him and he couldn’t touch her. But she believed that if she could just touch the fringe of his clothes, that would be enough.
Luke 8:44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.
In faith, this woman set aside her fears of what people think of her. She pushed through the crowd, and was able to just touch the fringe of his robe. When she did, she was immediately healed!
Luke 8:45-46 Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.”
Can you picture the scene? It’s total chaos around Jesus. People are yelling and pushing, Jesus and his disciples are getting bumped around by all the people, as they try and make their way to Jairus’ house. Then Jesus stops. He looks around and says, “Who touched me?”
I can understand why Peter said, “But master, the whole crowd is pressing up against you.” Lots of people are touching you. What do you mean, who touched you?
Many would have touched his garments in passing. But none had a faith that expected healing! Jesus clarified his question, “Someone touched me, for I perceive power has gone out from me.”
What kind of faith draws power from Jesus just by touching the fringe of his garment?
This woman had a confident faith. She believed Jesus could heal and that motivated her to take action. She pushed through a crowd, just to get close enough to touch his garment. In her condition, had she started bleeding and people noticed, it would have been a huge scene, and they would have surely sent her away in a shameful way. But she took a risk, by faith. And the moment she touched his garment, she felt the flow stop. She knew immediately that she had been healed. And Jesus knew immediately that power had gone out of him.
Jesus was ready to respond to the hand of outstretched faith?
Luke 8:47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed.
As Jesus stops to scan the crowd, every thing stopped. The woman was not able to get away. When she realized she was exposed and no longer hidden in the crowd, she turned and came back to Jesus. Falling at his feet, in front of the whole crowd, she declares what her faith led her to do. She heard of Jesus. She believed He had the power to heal. She put her faith into action and came. Despite her shame and the potential scene she may cause. But in believing faith, she pushed her way through the crowd and touched Jesus robe! And she received what she believed God for.
God is always ready to honor someone who comes to Him in believing faith!
Luke 8:48 Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
It was not Jesus’ robe who healed this woman. There was no special power in Jesus clothing. It was her faith! Jesus responds to her by saying, “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” It was her faith that reached out and drew power from Jesus!
What kind of faith draws power from God? Conident, Believing faith.
Jesus was ready to respond to the hand of outstretched faith? Her faith brought healing.
God is always ready to honor someone who comes to Him in believing faith!
Luke 8:49 While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
In all the excitement around the bleeding woman, it would have been easy to almost forget about why they were in the streets that day. But, while Jesus was speaking to the woman, someone from Jairus’ house also made their way through the crowd. But, instead of coming by faith, they came in doubt. When they got to Jesus instead of drawing power from Jesus, they declare, “Your daughter is dead, do not trouble the Teacher any more.”
Jairus has just heard that his little daughter, his only daughter, is not just sick, but dead! What would have been going through his mind? I’m sure he was fearful. I’m sure there would have been some hesitancy and wondering if he should “not trouble the Teacher any more” now that she is dead. Jesus speaks to that fear and doubt.
Luke 8:50 But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”
The woman had just declared the journey her faith brought her on. Starting from the first stories she had heard of Jesus being able to heal, concluding with her touching his garment. It’s almost as if Jesus was saying to Jairus, “Remember the woman and what her faith led her to do! Follow her example. Do not fear, only believe.”
Cautious faith is hesitant to believe God. When confronted with tragedy, they quickly go back to what they believed before.
The woman, in confident faith, set aside her fears and her shame. She believed, and she acted on her belief. Her faith brought healing. Jesus is now telling Jairus, “The same can be true for you. Don’t be afraid, just have faith! Believe! And your daughter will be well!” Don’t settle for a cautious faith, you need a confident believing faith.
In response to what Jesus said, instead of listening to those who came with the news, Jesus and his disciples continue with Jairus to his house.
Luke 8:51-53 When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. 52 The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” 53 But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died.
As they come to Jairus’ house, it’s full of people weeping and wailing. They were following the Jewish culture for how to act when someone has died. It was clear that she was dead. But, when Jesus got there, he told them all to stop the wailing. Then he said something that made them all laugh at him. Jesus told them to stop wailing because she isn’t dead, but only sleeping!
The people laughed at Jesus! Can you imagine. The creator of the universe, the one who spoke and the was light. He spoke the stars into existence! And when He said “she is only sleeping,” they laughed! What a contrast between the faith who pushed through the crowd and drew power from Jesus by touching his garment, and laughing at the very idea of Jesus having the power to heal!
A Critical Faith does not believe God can do what He says.
Mark actually says, “And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in.” Jesus left the doubters outside, and took only those who were walking by faith in to witness what He would do!
Luke 8:54-55 Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” 55 And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.
It is amazing what God can do in response to believing faith! Actually, God can do anything, whether we believe He can or not. But, in response to our faith, God loves to overwhelm us with His greatness! The people laughed, but the girls parents were overwhelmed and amazed! Oh that we would have the kind of faith that draws power from God and enables God to overwhelm us with His greatness.
So, what can we learn from this story?
- What kind of faith do you have?
- Jesus has been teaching his disciples about faith. He showed them that He had the power over the wind and waves, and asked them where their faith was.
- He showed them that He had power over demons when the man with 6000 demons fell at Jesus feet and begged for mercy
- In this passage I believe we see 3 examples of faith.
- Confident faith: The woman had a confident believing faith that led her to action! She put aside her fear and shame and pushed through the crowd just to touch his garment. Her faith drew power from God and she received what she had believed God for. Confident faith believes God and acts upon what we believe. God always honors someone who comes to Him in believing faith.
- Cautious faith: Jarius was hesitant and fearful. He wasn’t quite sure if he could believe God or not. His faith did lead him to seek out Jesus. But when confronted with tragic news he almost went back to what he believed before. Jesus helped him to put aside his fear and to move to having a confident faith that led to action.
- Critical faith: Instead of believing Jesus and taking him at His word, Jairus’ family laughed at the possibility of what God could do. They doubted God and didn’t believe He could do what He said. Therefore Jesus put them out of the house and they were not able to witness God’s power. Critical faith doubts God and does not believe what God can do.
How does this relate to the gospel?
The gospel is the good news of what Jesus did in paying our sin debt. Like we talked about a couple weeks ago in the end of our study of Matt 18. We owed a debt we could never pay.
- God said that the wages of sin was death. We deserved to die and pay the penalty for our sin. Just like the servant in Matt 18, we have no way to pay for our debt.
- The gospel is the good news that declares that although we have a debt we can not pay, God sent Jesus to pay a debt He did not owe. The debt He paid was our debt. Your debt. It was all His work. We simply need to believe He died for you, He died for me. Then with confident faith, act upon that by leaving our old beliefs and fully embracing our helplessness and believing what Jesus did.
- When we acknowledge that we are helpless and completely unable to pay the debt, and believe that Jesus paid it with His life, we show our faith by leaving our old belief, and thanking him for paying for what we could not pay.
When it comes to the gospel, God is looking for confident faith. A faith that takes him at his word and acts upon what we believe.
Unfortunately, often people have a cautious faith when it comes to the gospel. They may come to Jesus like Jairus did, but are hesitant to completely give up their old beliefs. And like Jairus, when tragedy comes, they quickly go back to their old beliefs to deal with the tragedy. They go back to the ancestor beliefs instead of believing God and acting upon what God says.
There are even some who remain critical about the claims of the Bible. And instead of embracing God’s gift of salvation, and believing the message of the gospel, they choose to continue in their old belief system.
What kind of faith do you practice everyday?
I hope that when it comes to the gospel you are practicing a confident, believing faith. If you have questions, or doubts, or are still hesitant in anyway when it comes to the gospel, please come talk to one of us.
But, what about your life every day? How does your faith affect how you live every day? Like the disciples in the boat. When you face storms in your life, where is your faith?
Confident Faith – Believing faith that moves you to action
When you face storms, do you fret and worry like the disciples did? Or are you like Jesus, able to sleep in the midst of the storm because you are confident that your father is handling the situation!
Believing faith moves us to action. We can be at peace, and rest, in the midst of the storm!
Cautious Faith – Not quite sure if I can believe God
What are you hesitant to believe God for? What is going to help you move to a confident believing faith like Jesus helped Jairus? Jesus helped him by reminding him of what the woman’s faith led her to do. Don’t be afraid, He said. Just have faith! Believe in me! What will help you move from cautious faith to confident faith that you will act on?
Critical Faith-Doubt God and don’t believe He can do what He says.
Is there anything that you have just written off as being dead / or a lost cause. Is there something that you just don’t believe God could do?
- He spoke, and the wind and the waves stopped.
- 6000 demons fell at his feet
- The woman’s Confident faith drew power from God just by touching the fringe of his robe
- Confident faith believes God and acts upon what we believe.
- God always honors someone who comes to Him in believing faith.
Where does God want to grow your faith?