Interrupted Resurrection (Trinity 24, 2010)

 

For an audio of this sermon, CLICK HERE.

 

Look at these two women, two daughters as Jesus calls them. One dead, one dying. One was cut short with her life all before her, the other was slowly dying, hemorrhaging, bleeding to death for twelve years. Although they were two daughters in different places, Jesus gives both of them what they need more than anything else in the world. He gives them life, He heals them and gives them salvation. What will He give to you this day?

The younger one’s father, a ruler of the Jews named Jairus,[1] comes to Jesus, kneels before him saying, ““My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” (Matthew 9:18 ESV) Jairus knew and understood that the presence of Jesus changed things in a big way. Jesus was the healer of the sick, the ruler over demons, and even the wind and the waves obeyed His will. But raising from the dead? That seems a stretch, to hope for that much. Yet that is what this father trusts. He trusts that Jesus even make his dead daughter live again. “Lay your hand on her” he said to Jesus.

Do we trust God that much? Do we believe that God can actually, really change things? So often we cut God short when it comes to our expectations of Him. We have become so cynical, so jaded and hardened to the realities of God’s mysterious presence in our lives. Listen again to the crazy things that Paul asks of God for the Colossians:

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col 1:9–10 ESV)

Spiritual wisdom and understanding means going to the source, Christ Himself. Spiritual wisdom means asking for what only God can grant. Living as though God is actually the Lord of heaven and earth is much harder than it sounds, but that is what Jairus does here. So He asks, and Jesus is on HIs way with Jairus to heal his daughter. But this trip of healing life will be interrupted.

 

The older woman is in a very different place than the younger girl. She sneaks up behind Jesus. She is too ashamed to even ask for healing out loud. The life is in the blood (Lev 17:11–14; Deut 12:23), and for her to have a discharge of blood for twelve years meant that she had been unclean, unable to enter into God’s holy presence in the Temple. She is slowly dying. But she, like Jairus, knows that in Jesus is life. If only I can touch the hem of His garment, she thinks to herself. I don’t want much. I’m not asking to change the world here. I only want my life back. Jesus, though, is not satisfied with only this. He turns around and says to her, ““Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”” (Matthew 9:22 ESV) She may be unclean and slowly dying, but she is God’s precious child, His daughter. There is no such thing as a little problem to God. Each of His children are His beloved, and that means you, just as it did for this older daughter in our text.

But we can certainly sympathize with Jairus here, can’t we? Sometimes God’s healing salvation for you and I is interrupted. Can you imagine walking along with Jesus to heal your dead daughter, and He gets sidetracked by someone grabbing at His clothes? Sometimes we want to cry out to God like Isaiah, WAKE UP GOD! Remember? You’re the one who does all things well? Remember that I’m your son, your daughter? One thing is for sure, our sense of timing is not God’s sense of timing. Faith is trusting not in your timing and schedule and view of the world. Faith is trusting that Jesus does all things well, and that even though it may not happen when and the way you want, the way that Jesus does all things is far, far better than anything you or I could ever come up with in the first place. Jesus does raise this younger daughter from the dead. He does heal her. And He will raise you, and your loved ones who have died in Christ. Whether you are young or old, it doesn’t matter. God is the God of hope, not of despair. Trust that when God promises to raise you up on the Last Day, that it is true. On that day, everything will change. Death will be defeated once and for all. On that day it will be like the Israelites when they returned from Egypt:

“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” (Psalms 126:1–3 ESV)

So come to the table. Christ bids you not only to touch his garment, or to reach out his hand to you. Christ gives Himself to you, wholly and completely. You are His daughter, His son. You are precious in His sight. He who does all things well is here for you. While it may seem as though His healing presence is interrupted, do not be afraid. It will all happen in God’s gracious time. And it will be better than you can even imagine. Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

 [1] (we know this from Luke)

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