The great privilege is mine week after week to prepare, to preach, to prepare, really, to teach the lessons that are before us in the gospel of Luke. I...I can't even measure the value of this and the joy of this in my own life because I have the privilege of being face-to-face with the person of Jesus Christ, which, of course, is the highest, most wonderful privilege that anybody could ever have. The challenge for me is to spend the week thinking, contemplating, studying, examining, exegeting, expositing these various pictures of Jesus Christ which fill my mind, and then to come and tell you some small part of what I have learned and what I have gained. The richness comes not just in the assimilation of the information, but in the communion that goes on because as life goes on and as my teaching goes on, I accumulate more and more knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ. I see more and more His glory and His magnificence. And I think it's fair to say that in the intensity of teaching through a book like this, and having done that for many, many years, your mind is so flooded with the images of Jesus Christ, with the words of Christ, with the actions and attitudes of Jesus Christ that it's virtually on your mind all the time. I'm still thinking about things I have learned from Him...from passages about Him in past weeks and past month. I'm looking ahead and thinking of what it is that I'm going to be doing when I get to chapter 9 and looking at the glimpses that are coming, and then I'm deeply involved in what it is that we're actually going to be getting ready for this particular Lord's Day. And it's just a...It's just a living of life in the...in a situation where you're just flooded with the reality of Jesus Christ. And that is a...That is an immense privilege. That is a great, great joy. And I am extremely thankful for that, to be able in one week to prepare a message on Luke chapter 8 which takes us into the wonders of the person of Jesus Christ, and at the same time be preparing from 1 John chapter 2 another message that deals with Him as our define...divine defense attorney, which I'll preach tonight. It is to be so profoundly enriched. I only wish I could share with you a small portion of the richness of understanding that comes to my own heart. It seems like the more I know about these things, the more I long to know. And so this becomes for me the greatest of joys. I hope it is for you, as well.
We come to this glimpse of Christ provided for us in the 8th chapter of Luke, starting in verse 40 and ending at the end of the chapter in verse 56, Luke 8:40 through 56. Let me just remind you of the passage as far as we went last time by reading it, starting in verse 40.
"Behold, there came a man..." we'll go back up to verse 40, "As Jesus returned the multitude welcomed Him for they had all been waiting for Him. And behold, there came a man named Jairus and he was an official of the synagogue. And he fell at Jesus' feet and began to entreat Him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years old and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes were pressing against Him and a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, 'Who is the one who touched Me?' And while they were all denying it, Peter said, 'Master, the multitudes are crowding and pressing upon You.' But Jesus said, 'Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.' And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well, your faith has saved you. Go in peace.' While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official saying, 'Your daughter has died, do not trouble the teacher anymore.' But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, 'Do not be afraid any longer, only believe and she shall be made well.' When He had come to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him except Peter and John and James and the girl's father and mother. Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her, but He said, 'Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.' And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and called saying, 'Child, arise," and her spirit returned and she rose immediately and He gave orders for something to be given to her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.'"
Of all the fears and all the phobias and all the elements of dread in human life, the ultimate fear is the fear of death. Death is the most certain fact of life. People naturally have an intense dread of death and do everything they can to push it as far away as possible. If you are looking for a religion and a religious leader, you would be wise to find one who has power over that great enemy, power over death. The tombs of the world's religious leaders are occupied with one exception, and that is the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ which has been empty since three days after He was placed there. The ultimate distinguishing mark of Jesus Christ, the ultimate proof that He is God, the true Messiah and Savior of the world, is His power over death, which power was demonstrated not only in His own resurrection with unmistakable, inarguable finality, but a power which was demonstrated in His ability to raise others from the dead.
We see it again right here. Here's the story of the raising of a twelve-year-old girl who was the daughter of a synagogue official. She was dead. And He made her live. The book of Hebrews records that Jesus came in human form, the Son of God, into the world, to destroy him who had the power of death, and to deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. The whole human race understands that. The whole human race is their whole lifetime subject to the bondage of death, the fear of death. Jesus came to destroy that fear. Jesus came to end your fear of death, to make you view death as a friend.
Our Lord Jesus showed His power to conquer the forces of nature in this very chapter. He stopped the wind and the water. He showed His power over demons, casting several thousand demons out of a maniac. He showed His power over disease, healing the woman with the hemorrhage which had lasted for twelve years. And now as we look back at the same text, we're going to see His power over death. All of that Luke provides for us in this one section from verse 22 to the end of the chapter, thus telling us without question Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God in human flesh, the one who has power over nature, power over demons, power over disease, and power over death, the One who can bring the promised kingdom, conquering sin, conquering death and conquering Satan, conquering hell. Satan is the one who brought death into the world in his temptation, killing the whole human race, making them all subject to the bondage of death for all their life. They lived then the whole of life in the fear of the unavoidable, inevitable reality of death. Jesus came to destroy that. Jesus came to give us eternal life, to take the sting out of death, Paul tells us.
Now, Luke has already recorded for us Jesus' power over death back in chapter 7. Jesus stopped a funeral by touching the coffin. And He said, "Young man: I say to you, arise." And the dead man sat up and began to speak. Here then is a second account of a resurrection. There were more, there were others, for sure, that are not recorded because you will remember that the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus, chapter 7 verse 19, they said, "Are You the expected one or do we look for someone else?" We want to know if You are the Messiah, the Savior, the Promised One. And He answered and said to them in verse 22, "Go report to John what you have seen and heard, the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up." You go tell John that I have this power, power to give sight to the blind, to make the lame walk, to heal the lepers, to give hearing to the deaf, to raise the dead, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. You go tell John I preach the good news of divine forgiveness. I bring the forgiveness of God and I demonstrate the power of God.
Our Lord has been doing this all along in His Galilean ministry. He's been healing people. He's been casting out demons. He's been showing His power over nature. And He has been conquering death. The town of Capernaum was sort of the center of His operations. Capernaum, the town at the very northern tip of the Sea of Galilee, no longer there, by the way, because of its failure to believe in the Messiah, received the curse of God and went out of existence. And if you go there today, you won't find any town at all. The town of Capernaum saw many, many miracles, perhaps in the thousands. And here Luke provides for us another one of those miracles, the miracle of raising a dead girl.
In the middle of that miracle, by the way, from verses 43 to 48, was an interlude miracle in which Jesus healed the woman with a hemorrhage of blood. And we saw that last time. We learned from that that Jesus was accessible and He was available and He was interruptible and He was inexhaustible in dealing with people's needs. We closed out the story of that woman in verse 48 by listening to the words of Jesus when He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace." And I said that not only did this woman receive physical restoration when her issue of blood was immediately healed, but she received a social restoration because, you remember that any woman who had an issue of blood, according to Old Testament law, was considered to be unclean. She couldn't be touched by her husband. She couldn't be touched by her children. She couldn't be touched by any family or friends, anybody in the community. She couldn't come to the synagogue. She couldn't go to the temple. Consequently she was like a leper. She was an utter and complete outcast. And once she was healed, Jesus wanted her to give public testimony, pulled her out of the crowd and made her make a confession and tell about her testimony so that everybody would know that she had been healed in order that she might be restored socially. This is something of the inexhaustible interest of Jesus in people, restoring her physically, He restored her socially, and then finally we noted in verse 48 that He restored her spiritually. He spoke of her faith, her faith in Him which had saved her, sōzō. There are times in the New Testament when Jesus says your faith has made you...made you whole or made you well, when it's referring to salvation. That would be true, for example, back in chapter 7 verse 50, the prostitute who came in verse 48, He forgave her sins, there's no healing here at all. He forgave her sins and in verse 50, "Your faith has saved you," same word. Your faith has made you whole. And then He says the same thing He said to the woman with the issue of blood, "Go in peace." So this was something Jesus said to people who had been forgiven; who had not just been healed physically, and restored socially, but restored to God spiritually.
I think there's every reason to think that the statement here does refer to her salvation, to her salvation. Whereas down in verse 50 when speaking of the daughter and Jesus promise is she shall be made well, He there is referring to a physical resurrection, not a spiritual salvation of that girl. The word has then to be determined as to its meaning by its context. But you look what's around verse 48, just to remind you of it. He calls her "daughter," the only time in the New Testament record that Jesus identifies someone in this fashion which indicates that He accepted her into His kingdom as a daughter. I think that's an identifying title for one in the family of God. He speaks of her faith having made her well. That, as I said, in chapter 7 verse 40 was exactly what He said to the forgiven woman. It is also in chapter 17 verse 19 exactly what He says to a thankful leper having been healed. You remember, ten were healed, only one came back and said thanks and He said to him, "Your faith has saved you." There were ten who were healed, there was one, He said, was saved. And I think in that same context here with the addition of the word "daughter" and then the statement, "Go in peace," that is to say God doesn't say that to anybody who hasn't established that peace with God. So I think what you have here is a true conversion. Go in peace, that is to say go, knowing that you have been restored to God. Matthew says Jesus also said to her, "Be of good courage," or, "Be confident." Another way to say everything’s OK. All is well. So I believe He not only restored her physically and restored her socially, He restored her spiritually.
So He stops in the middle of this conversation with Jairus. It's noted in verses 40 to 42. Jairus' comes begging Him to come to his house because his only daughter is twelve years old and she has reached the prime of life. Marriage age, by the way, in Israel was twelve, time to get married and have a husband and a family. This should have been the most wonderful time in the girl's life but just the contrary, she was dying. And Jesus agrees to go and He starts to go and the crowd presses and then the woman grabs Him and He goes through the interlude with the woman.
By the time He's finished with the woman, and has affirmed her restoration in all its fullness, verse 49 says, "While He was still speaking," perhaps to the woman, perhaps to the crowd. Because He was primarily a teacher, He would have been always clarifying the gospel. You remember, I just quoted from the seventh chapter where Jesus said, "You go tell John the Baptist that not only are the blind given sight and the deaf given hearing, the dead raised up," and so forth, "but the poor have the gospel being preached to them." At the heart of Jesus' ministry was the preaching of the gospel, the preaching of the gospel, the teaching of forgiveness through repentance and faith in Him. And so, He went on speaking, perhaps finishing up talking to the woman, but using it as an opportunity to present the message of forgiveness to the crowd as He would always do. While He was still speaking, having stopped His progress toward the house of Jairus who by now must have been even more stressed, more panicked. You remember, he had been there waiting on the shore at Capernaum for Jesus to show up. Jesus had gone over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to Gadara and there healed the demoniac, the maniac, and then come back with His disciples in a number of little boats. They had arrived at the shore in Capernaum. The crowd was all there waiting. No telling how long the girl had been sick, the father more anxious and more anxious as time goes on. Jesus comes. He gets through the crowd. Because of His importance, probably could get the front place, and he says to Jesus, "You've got to come...You've got to come now, my daughter is dying." Jesus starts to go. The crowd restrains and restricts. The woman stops Him in His tracks. He goes through all of that. He's teaching all the time. And Jairus' anxiety, no doubt, is being elevated at every moment.
And then the worst possible scenario occurs. While He's still speaking, verse 49 says, "Someone came from the house of the synagogue official saying, 'Your daughter has died. Do not trouble the teacher anymore.'" An unidentified messenger, we don't know, who but somebody from the household. "Your daughter's died," the bad, the worst has happened, the delay has proven deadly. Jesus delaying His coming because of the pressure of the crowd, because of His concern and preoccupation with this woman has caused the worst situation possible. While Jesus was giving Himself to an outcast, the lowliest person in the crowd who shouldn't have even been in the crowd because she was an untouchable, while He was giving Himself to this lowest of people, the child of the most important person in town had died. In caring for the most rejected, He had ignored the most respected. The messenger, however, is kind in the way he expresses or she expresses because the message is, "Do not trouble the teacher anymore." He is identified as the teacher, and I love that because that's the best way to identify Jesus. Even though we're going through miracle after miracle after miracle in the record of the New Testament, know this that Jesus was never silent. He was teaching and teaching and teaching all the time. We can remember also that His miracles only took a matter of a split second; long enough to say whatever words He needed to say to create whatever He needed to create to restore the person. The rest of the time He was teaching. He is called didaskalon, a title, by the way, of great respect, “the teacher.” Don't trouble the teacher anymore. The messenger is saying, "Look, don't bother Him anymore, He's got this massive crowd around Him, all these people with all these needs and all these demands and He needs to be teaching them. And He wants to be teaching them. And it's too late."
At this point, Jairus spoke to Jesus. Luke doesn't record it but Matthew does. By the way, Matthew 9, Mark 5 both give us accounts of this same event. Matthew 9:18, Jairus said this to Jesus. "My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live." I like that faith, don't you? The messenger didn't believe. The messenger was kind. The messenger said don't bother Him anymore, it's too late. Jairus said, ‘She died, but You come and You put Your hand on her and she will live.’ There's really no equivocation in that. There's no hesitation. There's doubt about his confidence in the power of Jesus. Well after all, he was a leader of the synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus had been doing miracles for a long time. He had been there, no doubt, in the 4th chapter when Jesus had cast the demon out of the man after having an amazing conversation with the demon right in the middle of the synagogue service, and surely he had been there on numbers of occasions when Jesus had given sight to blind, or hearing to deaf or made lame people to walk, or healed lepers, or maybe even raised dead people. But if he hadn't seen a resurrection, he had heard about them because he believed that Jesus had the power to raise the dead. Believe me, he was a Jew, he knew the Old Testament, he knew promises and prophecies of the Messiah. And he has faith that Jesus has the power of God, that He represents God. His faith is unwavering and death does not diminish his faith.
And so he says, "Just lay Your hand on her and she'll live." As if to say, "It's easy for You, just put Your hand on her, just touch her." When Jesus heard all of this, He said to Jairus, "Don't fear, mē phobeō, stop being anxious or fearful or phobic. Don't be afraid,” because there was faith but there was faith mingled with fear. "Only believe and she'll be made well." It actually uses sōzō there, I believe, but in this context it's not referring about spiritual salvation because she was dead and couldn't obviously have faith. “Don't be afraid,” he says, “only believe.” Mark says, "Keep on believing." And you combine the two and what Jesus said to him was, "You have believed, believe now. You've believed up to now, you believe I could heal her. Keep on believing." And that may be when he said, "You touch her and she will be well." We don't know exactly the sequence of those statements, but perhaps after He said, "Keep on believing," he may have said, "Touch her and she'll live." In any case, there was fear mixed with his faith but his faith was unwavering. Jesus says, "Don't be afraid. She's going to be resurrected. She's going to be delivered, sōzō, saved, brought back."
Now this is the promise that Jesus makes: the promise of resurrection. Keep on believing. He doesn't make that, interestingly enough, really necessarily a condition for the resurrection, He just says, "Don't be afraid. Keep believing. I'm going to raise her." Jesus healed many people who didn't believe. He healed many without faith. He never saved any without faith, never will. But He healed many without faith. But sometimes He used faith as a channel through which He could operate. But in this case it isn't necessarily cause and effect, He doesn't say, "If you believe she'll be made well," He simply says believe, she'll be made well, she'll be restored.
So our Lord makes a promise, a promise of resurrection. That's so wonderful because this is sort of a microcosm picture of what He promises to all of us. He promises us life even though we face death. And from the promise we come to His perspective. I just think this is the most dramatic part of the picture, verse 51. In this we get a little bit of an insight into a Jewish funeral at the time. Jesus finally had come to the house. By the way, a significant time had passed. I don't know, maybe an hour, maybe two hours. I don't know however long it would take. But enough time had passed for the funeral to start. The mourners would have been on notice that she was dying, get ready, be available because the Jews didn't embalm so they didn't leave corpses above ground very long. So they had the funerals immediately. And when the girl died, the mourners who were already put on notice that she was dying would have been called and by the time Jesus got there, the funeral was on in full.
They came to the house and just to give you the picture a little bit, go down to verse 32. "They were all weeping and lamenting for her." He comes and they're into the full funeral, it's really going on. Matthew adds some to it. Matthew 9:23, he describes the scene. "Jesus saw the flute players and the crowd in noisy disorder."
Now let me give you just a little bit of background. You've been to funerals, probably a lot of funerals, some of you. And sort of the standard decorum for a funeral is, in our society, is quiet, right? Real low, mellow, organ tones in the background, kind of somber, everybody sort of speaks in whispers. Nobody talks very loudly and nobody moves or makes noise. It's a quiet, very sedate event. Just the opposite of a Jewish funeral in Jesus' time: absolute hysteria going on, screaming, wailing, howling, shrieking, playing dissonant notes on high-pitched flutes. That's what they did. Noisy disorder.
Can you imagine going to a funeral like that? Can you imagine coming into a funeral, walking in the backdoor and just hearing people screaming and yelling and wailing and moaning and crying and people playing dissonant music on high-pitched flutes? That's what they did. There were three ways to express grief at a Jewish funeral. One, you rip your clothes up. You tore your garments. So before you went to the funeral, you picked the one you didn't want to wear anymore. If you were the mother or the father, then you ripped it over the heart. Everybody else, you ripped near the heart. And it had to be a hole big enough to put a fist through, show, be visible. You know then you could put loose threads through it and leave it that way for a month so people would see your sustained broken-heartedness. Your heart had been torn by the loss of this person. That's what was being demonstrated in that.
By the way, the Jews got so good at this particular thing that there were thirty-nine rules for ripping your clothes. Yeah, they had a whole format for doing that, thirty-nine regulations and forms. The tearing was always to be done while you were standing up, for example. And so forth. For women who were modest and didn't want to rip their garments in the front, could rip the garment under their outer cloak and then wear it backwards. And so the rules went.
And so they were all going through the machinations of ripping in the right place and doing whatever they needed to do. That would be going on. The second way of expressing grief was to hire professional women who screamed and wailed. Women are more effective at that because they have the high, shrill voices.
And they would...While they were wailing, one of the things they did was they would wail and they would name the person that died and then they would, they would find out everybody who had died in the past and they would bring their names in and wail about them. So what happened was you had the accumulated wailing of everybody who died in the family. So, all the memories of old grief were resurrected. Every tender chord was touched. Agony was magnified with loud shrieks and wailing and groaning. And then you add to that the flutes, the flutes, again, loud dissonance somewhat shrill noises. And even the poor in Israel were required to have at least two flutes and one wailing lady. So for a ruler of a synagogue, you probably had a whole lot of flutes and a whole lot of wailing women.
Well this was all needless, absolutely needless. So when Jesus arrives, Mark paints the scene in Mark chapter 5 as the same chaotic disorder. But he also says, "He allowed no one to follow with Him except Peter, James and John, and when they came to the house they beheld a commotion and people loudly weeping and wailing and entering in." What that tells us is that when Jesus left the crowd, He allowed only Peter, James and John to go, not the crowd. He stopped the crowd from following Him. He stopped the other disciples who He probably used as sort of a perimeter guard and He just took those three with Him. Because He knew the chaos would be there, He didn't want to add more chaos. He didn't want to drag the entire crowd into that environment. So he...and He didn't even want all the disciples going, not even all the twelve apostles, but just three. And this is the first occasion when Jesus separated Peter, James and John out from the rest, first time. He does it in the future numbers of times because He can't always work with that many and He always has to have an inner circle and it's these three, Peter the leader, John the lover, and James who became the first martyr. He selected these three to be His most intimate. They were the ones who reported from the disciples and apostles their concerns to Jesus and they were the ones who went back to the disciples with Jesus' concerns. Every leader has to have an intimate circle and it was these three that Jesus chose.
So from the time they left the crowd it was just the three of them and Jesus. They got to the house. It was still just the three of them and Jesus and the father, Jairus, and the mother who is unnamed. And when He came to the house, He hears this commotion, this noisy disorder, this dissonance going on. He doesn't allow anybody to enter into the house except Peter, John and James, the girl's father and mother. They go in the middle of this chaos and there's going to come a new perspective. They were all weeping and lamenting for her, but He said, "Stop weeping, stop."
You see, Jesus brings a whole different perspective to a funeral, doesn't He? "Stop, you don't need to be weeping. Why are you making such a commotion?" Matthew 9 says, Jesus also says, "Get out, the funeral is now over, get out." Uses a very strong word, the word to depart, get out. It's a very strong word in the Greek and He probably said it with some firmness. "Stop this funeral, get out, the funeral is over. It's the end of it."
We also learn, interestingly enough, that according to Mark, Jesus began putting them out, Mark 5:40. "Get out." And they probably said, "What do you mean?” you know. "Get out, the funeral is over." And He started putting them out. Matthew adds, "When the crowd had been put out, Jesus then entered the chamber where the girl was." He had to struggle to get them out of there. They were doing what...what they were supposed to do, what they were hired to do, what was traditional, what was cultural, what the rabbis had instructed them to do. They were following all the regulations. This is what everybody did. What do you mean? And Jesus is simply saying, "The funeral is over, and the reason is, she hasn't died, she's asleep." And in that statement, Jesus redefined death as temporary. Jesus redefined death as temporary, like sleep. This perspective then is the true perspective on death. When you say dead, she has died, people typically think that's finality, that's the end. That's permanent separation. Jesus said, "No, death is not a good word for this because it's not permanent. She's just asleep, she's just asleep."
And that's the way the Bible defines death. Even in the Old Testament it talks about those who have fallen asleep. You remember Paul's sermon in Acts 13, in Acts 13 I think it's verse 36, he's talking about David who had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep. But he whom God raised did not undergo decay. He fell asleep. Why does he talk about David's death, his body goes into the grave, he talks about his decay in the grave, and that's sleep? Sure because it's temporary. It's temporary. A good way to see this is in John chapter 11 at the death of Lazarus. You remember the story because it's so familiar. And he comes, verse 11. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,” he says. "But I go that I may awaken him out of sleep." Jesus redefines death as temporary. The disciples said to Him, "Lord, if he's fallen asleep, he'll wake up." I mean, they're used to the normal terminology. "Now Jesus had spoken of his death,” but they thought He was speaking of literal sleep. “So, Jesus therefore said to them, 'Lazarus is dead, but I'm glad for your sakes that I wasn't there so that you may believe.' Let's go to him.” I'm glad he died. I'm glad I didn't get there when he was just sick, I'm glad he's died because, He says in verse 25, "I am the resurrection and the life. Who believes in Me shall live even if he dies." And He shows it to be true. In verse 43 He says to Lazarus, "Lazarus, come forth." He who had died came forth. Jesus said, "Unbind him and let him go." It was...It was true to redefine death from a permanent situation to a temporary one because that's reality. Death is just a form of sleep. In fact, it's a brief sleep, very brief. The body may sleep a little while but the spirit doesn't sleep at all. It goes into the next life, into the next world.
You know, Jesus was given the authority to raise the dead by His own Father. Some He would raise to the resurrection of life and some to the resurrection of damnation. But sleep for all people is a better definition of death because it is temporary. For believers, "We shall not all sleep," right? First Corinthians 15:51, "We shall all be changed." First Thessalonians chapter 4, the wonderful rapture passage, views believer's death as sleep. "We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, about those who are asleep because even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say by the Word of the Lord that you who are alive and remain till the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who have fallen asleep, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout” and then the rapture. So the Bible defines death as sleep because it emphasizes its temporary character. It's temporary for everybody. Believers can celebrate its temporary element because we know we wake up on the other side in the next life. That's why Paul says, "For me to live is Christ, to die (is what?) is gain." "Far better," 2 Corinthians 5, "to depart and be with Christ." Jesus had a different perspective on death. We see death as final separation. It is not. It is better defined as sleep and a short sleep at that from which you awake immediately in another life.
Well, they thought this was so stupid and so ridiculous that He would say she was asleep in verse 53, not having any spiritual insight at all, or faith. They began laughing at Him. You can be sure they were hired mourners if they could shift gears that fast. They began laughing at Him knowing that she had died. Everybody knew she was dead. It was obvious she was dead. Everybody was aware of the finality of that. Their view of eternal life was vague and somewhat undefined. They felt this was the end, this was the final separation. On their way out, as Jesus was putting them out, as Mark tells us, and when He had finally put them out, they were laughing on the way. Their laughter was gloating laughter over such a stupid statement showing the ignorance of Jesus about what was obvious, mocking laughter from people who had no real sorrow, people who had no confidence in Jesus. The Authorized Version says, "They laughed Him to scorn," which is a really good way to translate katagelaō. It means to laugh at someone in ridicule, scornful laughter, the laughter of supposed superiority. The same laughter they put in Jesus face in Matthew 27 when they laughed at Him on the cross. And I think the world still laughs at the divine perspective on things. The world still mocks and scoffs at the reality of the Lord's perspective. But that doesn't limit what He does.
So into the situation He comes with a promise. He'll raise her. He comes to the funeral with a perspective that's very different. Thirdly, He comes with power, power. He went into the room where she was. One of the other writer's indicates that from the other part of the house they entered the room now. He, however, took her by the hand in spite of their mocking laughter and called saying, "Child, arise." I love the fact that He took her by the hand. Jairus had asked her, according to Matthew's account, if You would just put Your hand on her, she will live. And so He did as Jairus had asked, though He could have spoken to her, He didn't have to touch her. But I think the touch is again a demonstration of His willingness to do what people asked Him to do in the way they asked Him to do it. It's also a demonstration of His gentleness, of His compassion, of that personal interest He has in people. And He called, it means to speak loudly, He spoke loudly and He said, according to Mark 5, He said, "talitha cumi," He would have spoken in Aramaic. That was the language of the time. Though the text of Scripture was written in Greek, the people spoke in Aramaic. And in Aramaic Mark tells us, "talitha cumi," which means little girl, arise. He just commanded her to live, the same way He had spoken life into existence on the six days of creation with the same power, the same way He commands life into every living thing, every living thing that comes into the world whether it's in the plant world or the animal world or the human realm receives its life from the one life giver in the universe, the Creator, the Lord. With that command Jesus shattered death, broke its hold, severed its chains. And verse 55, "Her spirit returned," just like that. Not another spirit, but her spirit, pneuma, her breath, her inner person, her being. Life came back into that body, her life. Hers, very important, it wasn't another life, it was her life. The power of Jesus to make that body live and then to put back in that body the same spirit that had departed, to take that spirit wherever it was in the universe and put it back into that same body, staggering. And the healing and the resurrection was so complete she rose immediately, got up immediately, got out of bed. She went from being dead to feeling fine. There's no rehabilitation here. She may have been sick for months, she may have been sick for years, certainly she had been sick for weeks, days, a twelve-year-old with all the life and all the health and all the youth and all the vitality would be able to fight against illness for some length of time. And as she grew weaker and weaker and weaker and weaker, finally dying, she would have been in such unbelievable weakness, having dissipated all of the strength and vitality of her youth. And yet when she comes back to life, she gets immediately out of bed. There's no recovery period, there's no restoration. And that's the way it is with every miracle Jesus did. It is total and complete and full. There are no progressive miracles, never. Always instant, always complete, she was alive instantaneously and she was healthy as any other twelve-year-old, even more healthy.
And then I think it's so interesting, verse 55, "He gave orders for something to be given her to eat." One thing we know about kids, they got to eat, always have to eat. This is so important. Why is that in there? Well it shows the tender touch of Jesus. While you're all celebrating and rejoicing and jumping around the room and thanking the Lord for what's going on, could you get her something to eat? But it's more than that, that that tenderness is there, but it's more than that, it's to tell us that this is not an apparition, this is not some kind of fantasy. This is not an illusion. This is a real person. This is not half girl, half angel. She didn't come back as some hybrid spiritual creature, this is just the girl. Her spirit back in her body and she's needing to live a normal life and life is sustained by food and she hasn't eaten for a long time. It's a marvelous combination of the miraculous and the natural, isn't it? Here He creates, as it were, a person and then says, "Feed that person." The person has to eat. So this is a real resurrection of a real girl, that girl back in her body. She needs to eat to sustain her physical life.
Here is the great power of Jesus, just astonishing power to create life. And here at the same time is the tender touch of Jesus. And here at the same time is the instruction of Jesus about the normalcy of life. This is the magnificent reality of Jesus' miracles. There's nothing bizarre, fantastic, over the top, out of the ordinary in what is being done here. This is just the power of Jesus expressed with the most dramatic supernatural results to produce the most normal kind of life. Just as His great creative power began it all in the original creation, He has power to raise dead people.
In John 5 verse 21, "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For, not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son in order that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and does not come into judgment but is passed out of death into life." You believe in God, you believe in Christ, you will pass out of death into eternal life. "Truly, truly I say to you, an hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear shall live." He's going to speak some day in the future, and all the dead are going to hear His voice and they're going to come forth. All who are in the tombs are going to hear His voice and it will come forth, those who did good to the resurrection of life, those who committed evil, to the resurrection of damnation, or the resurrection of judgment. He says I have the power to raise the dead, I will raise the dead. First of all, "I'll raise all of those who believe in Me and who know Me and know My father unto eternal life. The rest I will raise unto eternal damnation."
When a person dies, their spirit either goes to heaven to be with the Lord if they believe in Christ, or their spirit goes into hell to be apart from God forever. The bodies stay in the grave, but some day all bodies will be raised. The bodies of believers will be raised to a resurrection unto eternal life. The bodies of unbelievers will be raised, brought before the Great White Throne Judgment, depicted in the book of Revelation, at which time they will be judged for their sins and in those resurrection bodies, sent into everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire called hell, where they will be tortured forever in those bodies granted to them in that resurrection as suitable instruments for punishment. This is the divine promise.
We don't have to fear death as believers. We can trust the one who conquered it. If we trust in Him, then death for us is sleep and we who are asleep for just a moment will awaken in the presence of Jesus Christ. Those who fall asleep, as it were, without Him, awake in hell.
Then there's a prohibition that ends the passage and it's an interesting prohibition. I suppose we can say that at best we have to speculate a little bit because the Lord doesn't tell us why He said this, but verse 56 says, "Her parents were amazed. But He instructed them to tell no one what had happened."
They were...talk about being excited, I mean, beyond description. When it says they were amazed, it uses the Greek verb existēmi. Existēmi literally means “to stand outside yourself.” We could put it this way: They were out of their minds. It means to be beside oneself. It is a level of astonishment that is hysterical. It literally... It's used in Mark 3:21 to say he's out of his mind. There's a terrifying amazement here, just a terrifying amazement with the power that's present there. And they are terrified by this. They're literally beside themselves with this fear, this holy awe. We've seen it all the way along. Back in verse 25, the disciples when Jesus stopped the storm were fearful and amazed. Verse 37: The people of the Gerasenes were gripped with great fear when they saw the power of Jesus. The woman with the issue of blood in verse 47 came trembling and fell down before Him. And here the parents literally are out of their minds, just terrified, a holy presence there. And He says to them, "Tell no one what happened."
What is that? Does that mean He didn't want anybody to get the information? No, because in Matthew 9:26 it says the news went out into all the land. How could you keep that a secret? When everybody knew the girl was dead and she's around town? You can't keep that a secret. And eventually every conversation the parents have with anybody, it's going to be about that. And the mourners are going to see the girl and they were the ones who in their mocking laughter affirmed that she was really dead. Everybody knows there was a resurrection. And the news went out into all the land. There was a time, there were times when Jesus didn't want information spread like that. Mark chapter 1, verses 40 to 45 gives an illustration, a man who was healed from leprosy, and Jesus said, "Look, can you just keep quiet about it? Don't tell anybody." But he disobeyed and told everybody and it made it so difficult because when people heard that Jesus had healed the leper, so many people came He couldn't minister in the city, remember that, Mark 1:45, and He had to go out in the wilderness. There were times when Jesus said don't do it because it puts...it puts too huge amount of pressure on me and I can't function. There were also times, as we'll see later in the ninth chapter of Luke, when He told them not to tell because it was an act of judgment on people who were already settled in their unbelief and it was as if He was saying, "You don't need to tell anybody anymore because they already have enough information and they're hardened into unbelief." And so the not telling them becomes a kind of judgment.
But what was it in this case? Well I think my best guess is He... He was just saying, "Don't feel like you now have to go tell the crowd. Don't feel like you now have to go and spread it around. Don't do that." He instructed them to tell no one what had happened. That's not your obligation. That's not your responsibility. It will take care of itself. It's already being spread everywhere. The funeral's been cancelled. Everybody who was there knows that. The girl is alive and everybody's going to see that. The word will go. You don't need to do that.
I think it was really designed for the moment. I think the Lord was saying, "Stay where you are. I've cleared the house. It's just us. That's the way it needs to be. Just enjoy the reunion, the imaginable...unimaginable thrill of resurrection, the restoration of love, the restoration of life. Don't feel some obligation to satisfy the curious crowd. Don't feel some obligation to go back and say to the mourners, "Ya-ya ya-ya ya-ya." Don't...you don't need to do that. Just enjoy what has been done. Just enjoy the power of God, enjoy the life of the girl, celebrate, worship, give thanks to God. And maybe Jesus had more to say to them about the gospel. There are lots of people who can spread the word. The word would get spread for sure it did. But you have another priority, enjoy this gift. Enjoy My power, enjoy My goodness, enjoy My company, enjoy My grace, rejoice in the life I give and later on you'll have plenty of opportunity to tell the story.
And He's really letting us know again, reminding us that we're worshipers before we're witnesses, aren't we? Before we rush to dispense our obligation to testimony, we need to stay and worship. Tell the Lord how grateful you are before you tell people. That time will come. You have met the conqueror of demons, the conqueror of disasters, natural and supernatural. You have met the conqueror of disease. You have met the conqueror of death, the One who alone can provide eternal life, the One who can create a perfect world and will. The One who will bring a new heaven and a new earth where there are no enemies of any kind, physical, social or spiritual, no sorrow, no sickness, no tears, no pain, no death. You have met the death conqueror. You have met the King, the Savior, the Lord, the Creator, the Redeemer. And because He lives, you can live. He has conquered death for you. If you believe in Me, He said, you'll never die, John 11:25. Death becomes a brief sleep which then turns into eternal life.
Father, again we thank You for the glory of Christ that is manifested here. We thank You that we know Him. How thrilling that for all of us this incredible, amazing, thrilling miracle will be our own experience. We will not be raised back to physical life. We'll be raised to something even better. We'll be raised to eternal life. So we have no fear of death. Death has no sting. Jesus has conquered death not only for Himself but for all who believe in Him. Thank You for this wonderful hope. In it we rest and rejoice in Christ's name. Amen.