A Matter of Death and Life – 1

3/2/2020

HERE WE GO – typos and all – even though, believe it or not, I agonize over looking for them.  My goal is to publish something every Monday and Thursday.  I’ll try to keep them as short as possible, but I want to finish a complete thought.  Please be patient as I try to balance between too much and too little.  I’ve got a lot to learn. 

            We’re going to be looking through the eyes of Luke (Chapter 5) and Mark (Chapter 8) to get a clearer, more complete picture of what was happening in this situation.  But first,  I’d like to get a running start at what we’re going to be looking at today.

            In Luke 8, verses 26 through 35 tell us that Jesus and His disciples got into a boat and sailed across a lake.  On their way, they encountered a storm so violent that the disciples were convinced they were all going to die.  When they finally got to the other side of the lake, Jesus cast a legion of demons out of a man.  When those demons came out, they ran straight into a herd of pigs.  The pigs rushed down a steep bank, fell into the lake, and drowned.

            Luke 8:36 says, “Those who had seen it told the people how the demon- possessed man had been cured.”  Verse 37 says, “Then all the people of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear.”  Their fear took over and determined what they were going to do.  Mark 5: 17 tells us that the people were begging Jesus to leave the region.  Obviously, they had no idea who Jesus really was and what He was able to do.

            Sadly, as a pastor, I’ve seen churches do the same thing when the Holy Spirit begins to work in ways they never expected. I’ve been in churches where congregations have unknowingly asked Jesus to leave because they wanted their church to stay the same.  They didn’t want anything, including themselves, to change.

            Luke 8:39 says that the man who had been delivered from those demons begged Jesus to let him go with Him but Jesus told him to, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”  Everyone whose life has been changed by Jesus has been given a commission, a responsibility.  We’ve been sent out to tell every one around us about the things Jesus has done for us. 

            Verse 39 tells us that “the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”  We don’t need Seminary training to be witnesses. We simply tell others about the amazing things Jesus has done in our lives.

            Luke 8:40 says, “Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed Him for they were all expecting Him.”  One one side of the lake the people were begging Him to leave and on the other side, they welcomed Him because they were expecting Him.  Jesus will do incredible and unimaginable work in the churches that welcome Him and give Him complete control.

            But if we’re expecting Jesus to work in our church, we’d better be prepared for Him to do the unexpected.  Jesus hardly ever does what I expect Him to do.  His ways are nothing like our ways.  We can’t allow our fears to stop Him from doing the work we’ve been praying for Him to do.

            Let’s move on to Luke 8:41.  Jairus is the one I really want to take a look at today.  He was the “Ruler of the Synagogue.”  He was a member of the Board of Elders that governed the Synagogue in Capernaum.  He was responsible for the physical logistics of the Synagogue services.  This is no ignorant, crude, red-necked fisherman the Bible is talking about here.  Jairus was a religious and civic leader, a man of influence and authority.

            Luke 8:41 says Jairus “came and fell at Jesus feet.”   That’s what naturally happens, that’s what automatically happens whenever we find ourselves in the presence of Jesus.  In John 18:2-6, on the night they came to arrest Jesus, when Jesus told them who He was, “they drew back and fell to the ground.”

            In Psalm 24, David asks, “Who can stand in His holy presence?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.”  In other words, no one can stand in the holy presence of the Lord.  No one has clean hands of a pure heart.  Our hearts are sinful.  We have all sinned and fallen short of meeting God’s standards.  There is nothing we can do to make ourselves acceptable to Him.  It’s only when we’re dressed in His Righteousness alone that we’re faultless to stand before His throne.

            The only reason we can come to the Lord with boldness and full assurance of faith is because of His abundant mercy, love, and grace.  His presence is awesome.  His presence is overwhelming.  If we could actually see ourselves in the presence of Jesus right now, none of us would be standing either.

            Mark 5:23 say that Jairus “pleaded earnestly (fervently, passionately) with Jesus.  “Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and live.”  This was not an “if it be Thy will” kind of prayer.  Jairus is desperate.  His daughter is dying and he’s not thinking about his doctrine right now,

            This is not a “maybe He will or maybe He won’t” kind of prayer.  This is a “she’s my daughter.  She’s only twelve years old, she’s dying and you’re the only hope she has” kind of prayer.  Jairus is pleading with Jesus to save his daughter’s life.

            Jairus could have stayed home and let nature take it’s course.  He could have prepared himself for the inevitable.  He could have accepted the fact that if his daughter died, it was God’s will.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

            BUT HE DIDN’T DO THAT.  Jairus had the opportunity to go physically, to go literally where the rest of us can only go spiritually.  He fell at the feet of Jesus crying out, “Please come.  If you place your hand on her, she will be healed.  If you don’t, she’s going to die.”

            James 5:14 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”   When a believer prays with faith and passion great things happen.  But maybe we have to be as desperate as Jairus before we’ll be able to pray like that. 

            Jairus is a man who doesn’t know any better.  He’s a reasonable man who just won’t listen to reason.  He’s a man who refuses to buy into the conventional wisdom of the world, or even the church.  He’s a man who doesn’t realize that some things are impossible and they’re just not meant to be.

            He’s a grown man with a simple, trusting, naïve, child-like faith.  He’s a man with a deep rooted conviction.  He believes that Jesus can heal his daughter and he believes it with all his heart. 

            Do you believe anything with all your heart, anything at all, concerning God?  It doesn’t have to be about physical healing.  It could be an unshakable conviction that the Lord will soften someone’s heart, change someone’s mind, or reshape someone’s attitude, a belief that they will be saved someday.

            Do you have a deep-rooted belief about something that flies in the face of human reason and common sense?  Jairus had a deep-rooted belief that Jesus could heal his daughter and he was about to be tested on it.  It’s easy to believe something when we have no reason to doubt it.  The question is will we still be able to believe it when it’s not so easy to believe it, to keep on believing it when we need to believe it the most?

            If you believe something with all your heart but, so far, you’ve never been tested on it, let me ask you this.  How long can you keep believing it?  How far are you willing to go with that belief?

            Mark 5:24 says that “Jesus went with him.”  Jesus went with Jairus because Jesus never walks away from faith.  Jesus will go wherever faith invites Him.  But He won’t go unless He’s invite..

            Lord willing, we’ll walk along with Jairus and Jesus on Thursday.  If you’ve made it this far, I hope it has been helpful.  Invite some one else to go In the Word with Pastor Buj. 

pastorbuj.wordpress.com

Also, check out a free preview of “Why Did He Bother?” available as paperback, e-book and audible from Amazon.com

Published by pastorbuj

I have over forty-five years of pastoral experience serving churches in Rhode Island, New York State and California. After retirement, I wrote and published a book titled, "Why Did He Bother? A Pastor's Account of God's Abundant Mercy, Love, and Grace." It is available as a paperback, e-book and audible from Amazon.com. My newest venture is a Bible teaching blog site called "pastorbuj.wordpress.com"

6 thoughts on “A Matter of Death and Life – 1

      1. You’re welcome. Please pray for me to receive the help I need to make this site more effective for the glory of God. He wants me to do this so I’m sure there is someone who will help me.

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