Sermon: The Lord of Desperate Faith (Luke 8:40-56)

sunday 7.31.11

The Lord of Desperate Faith

Luke 8:40-56

The account before us today is a story of how God sovereignly weaves together these two people who find themselves in desperate situations.  First, we’re introduced, very briefly, to Jairus.  Luke tells us that he was a ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum.  We’ve already seen this synagogue in Luke 4 where Jesus preached and did miracles.  He left this synagogue and went and healed Simon’s mother in law.  It was in this synagogue that Jairus ruled.  Jairus, had, no doubt, witnessed the miracles of casting out of the evils spirits, healing the man with the withered hand and later the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.

Jairus also believed Jesus could heal His twelve-year-old daughter; after all if Peter’s Mother-in-law was at the point of death and Jesus could heal her, He can heal my daughter who is also at the point of death.

Secondly, we’re introduced to a woman who had a bleeding disease for twelve years.  The disease had taken all her strength away and all the money away in paying doctors.  Like Jairus, she was helpless to effect any change in her circumstances.  She had tried everything anyone had told her and nothing helped.  In fact, mark tells us that she was worse off than before.

Luke, also being a doctor, understood all to well the limitations that doctors had back in those days.  He also understood the significance of the account we’re about to read.  So what we have that weaves these accounts together is that both are helpless to find a cure and both seek out Jesus Christ for their answer.  Both had some degree of faith, though it wasn’t perfect.  Both came to Christ in belief and desperation and Jesus, in love and compassion, did what only He could do.  Both fell at the Master’s feet and sought the answer and cure in Him.

Have you ever found yourself at the place of desperation?  Have you ever been helpless to effect change yourself.  Have you ever tried to help matters by listening to other’s advice and like the woman with the issue of blood, only found your situation worse?

Let’s stand and look into God’s Word and discover the Lord who has power to heal and the Lord of desperate faith…

Luke 8:40-56

40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning 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 taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. [1]

Father fix permanently Your Word deep in our hearts forever…

1. The Synagogue Ruler Who Fell at Jesus’ Feet

41 And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

The first person to meet Jesus today is a prominent religious leader.  Luke introduces him as the ruler of the synagogue.  This man was well known by the people and very respected.  He was very religious being the one in charge of the everyday affairs concerning the place of worship.

What drove this religious leader to Jesus?  Under normal circumstances they had nothing to do with Jesus.  The religious establishment of the day either avoided Jesus or went after Him trying to somehow trap Him and get rid of Him.  It was out of the ordinary for a proud religious ruler to approach Jesus, it was not the proper thing to do.  Jairus was desperate.

No one had ever seen Jairus act this way.  Rather than having it all together, he was falling apart.  Rather than being in charge, his world was spinning out of control and as hard as he tried, there was nothing he could do about it…his twelve year old was dying.  His darling daughter that had brought him and his wife so much joy for twelve years was about to leave this world and there was nothing he could do…except to fall at the Master’s feet in humility and brokenness and cry out to Him to heal his twelve-year-old little girl.

2. The Unclean Woman Who Fell at Jesus’ Feet

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Here is the second person Luke shows us today and she is also doing something socially unacceptable.  Because of her disease, she has been made unclean.  To touch such a person made you unclean.  Someone declared unclean could not enter the worship center or have contact with anyone else until the disease was cured.

25 “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness. As in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. [2]

This woman was desperate.  Luke tells us she has tried all the doctors.  She has spent all her money.  She has been a social outcast for twelve years.  She has not had any sort of family life or community connections for twelve long years, she’s poor, sick, and outcast.

We’re given another detail that’s interesting…Jairus’ daughter is twelve years old and this woman has had this bleeding disease for twelve years.  When in one house joy and happiness was born twelve years ago, sorrow and sickness was born in the other.

The woman had no doubt heard of the miracle working power of Jesus Christ.  She must have thought that there is no way He could come to me because of the blight that coming in contact with me would give Him.  If I could secretly touch Him maybe without anyone knowing I would be healed and He would not be contaminated by my uncleanness.  That’s exactly what she does.

44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.

She didn’t touch His head or His arm but simply the hem of His robe.  Jesus Christ’s power to heal overwhelmed the disease and through faith she was made whole again.  Her plan had worked except for one thing, she was no longer hidden in secret any longer, and yet now she didn’t need to be, she was cured.

47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Jesus knew what was going on.  It was for the benefit of declaring this woman officially clean that He called her to the front of the line.  It was also for the benefit of His followers that He put her center stage.

In fear and humility she fell at His feet.  In faith and healing Jesus lifter her up and declared to everyone she is now clean.

What does Jesus say to her?  Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.  First He calms her fears by calling her Daughter.   Then He says to her that it was her faith in Him that healed her.  Her desperate faith that told her Jesus can do this.  Her belief in the healing power of Christ caused her to go to Him.  She didn’t just say to herself, I believe Jesus has the power to heal me and then do nothing.  No, she believed so strongly that she acted on what she believed and went to Him.  She came sick and afraid, she left healed, at peace and saved.

You might wonder but Jesus not only healed her physically but also spiritually.  Luke uses the word SOZO that is translated in other places as salvation or saved.  Her faith not only gained her access to God for healing but it also gained her access for salvation.

3.  While Jesus was Still Speaking

49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”

In the very seconds Jesus was speaking peace to the healed woman, Jairus’ situation went from desperation to death.  Now what had feared him the most became a reality.  As soon as he saw the messenger’s face he knew that she had died.  I’m sure he thought, If only that woman could have waited an hour longer we could have made it in time.  What he was about to learn is that There is nothing impossible for God.

As I read this passage carefully, I was reminded of the beginning of the Book of Job.  He begins receiving bad news and over and over it says that while the messenger was still speaking another came and while he was still speaking another came.

I was also reminded of the centurion,

And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. [3]

It was no trouble for Jesus to go.  Notice what He says to this grieving father, Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.

God would do the healing but the human part is faith…we do the believing.  God always does the work in salvation.  He does the work and we do the believing.  Coming to Jesus was the right thing.  Even though now it seems things are beyond hope, Jesus is still in charge, she will be well, there is that same word again, she will see salvation.  She will be healed body and soul.

The people from the house didn’t believe.  Their advice was to not trouble the teacher anymore.  Jairus was different.  Even though his was a desperate faith, it was still faith.  It was the type of faith that even when told his little girl was dead pulled Jesus along by the hand until they reached his home.  This was a great faith.

4. The Great Awakening

51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52 And all were weeping and mourning 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 taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. [4]

I want to direct our attention to a couple of important things in this section.  First, Jesus says that the little girl is not dead but sleeping.  We must understand that she was dead.  However, for believers, death is very similar to being asleep.  What Jesus was saying was that death would not have the last say.  Death will give up its captives.  The 12-year-old daughter of Jairus was a precursor to the great resurrection all believers will experience.

Second, at the command of Christ her spirit returned to her body.  Death happens when our bodies cannot are unfit to house our spirits.  Jesus recreated new life as He spoke and her spirit returned.  Someday when we experience glorification, our spirits and our bodies will be reunited again as well.

Conclusion:

When faced with trials in our lives, we must act in faith like Jairus and the woman.  We must believe and go to Christ.  You may be in the thick of a trial right now what is the right response?  Go to Christ by faith.

49 While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”

Would it be correct for us to hear Jesus telling us through the Word today… Do not fear; only believe, and all will be well.

Faith in Christ is always the answer.  How do we endure trials?  Believe and act on that belief.  How do we resist temptations?  Believe that Christ is more valuable than any pleasure sin could bring.  Faith will drive us the act.

Are believing today?

15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” [5]

I know many of you today are enduring trials.  Let’s pause for a moment and pray.  Let’s call upon the Lord as a congregation in the day of trouble for here.  Let’s claim by faith that we believe God’s Word.  Let’s humbly remind the Lord of this promise that as we call on Him in our time of trouble, He will deliver our loved ones and us.  When He does we will glorify Him.  So the deliverance you may be seeking today is not deliverance to comfort but one in which God’s glory will be magnified.


[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 8:40–56). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Le 15:25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 7:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Lk 8:40–56). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ps 50:15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.