Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Jesus' healing miracles of Jairus' daughter and the woman with an issue of blood.
[Audio begins] The Scripture reading for today is found in the 8th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, and we’re going to begin with the 40th verse and read through the 56th verse, which is the account of the healing of Jairus’ daughter. And then there is a miracle within that miracle, the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. The message that follows will be primarily related to the healing of Jairus’ daughter. In the 40th verse of the Gospel of Luke we read,
“And it came to pass, that, when Jesus returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him. And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.”
You know, it is very interesting that in the Markan account of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, there is a detail that is not mentioned in the 8th of Luke. Now, in the early service this morning, I made a few comments which I’m going to make. And I want you to know that Dr. Hull has demanded equal time. And so, I think you will understand why he has demanded equal time after I give the comments.
Luke was a physician. And it’s very interesting that he describes this woman as “having had an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians.” Now, you can tell that he was a member of AMA in good standing. And he adds, “Neither could be healed of any.” But after all, he was a physician. And Mark is, if anything, more direct. Mark when he describes it says, “And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” I think that is one of those little implicit touches that suggest that Luke probably did write this gospel after all.
But now, Dr. Hull said that I implied that perhaps the reason she got worse was because she had a doctor. And I must confess that is what I did imply. [Laughter] And so, since we do not have facilities for having equal time in Believers Chapel, I would just like to say that he suggested, gave me some professional advice, and said it would be free of charge, that she got worse, not because of the doctor but because of her disease. And so, I’m willing to accept that correction.
Now we turn back to Luke chapter 8, and we read verse 45.
“And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue (or power) is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out (Now for a few seminary students who are sitting in the audience and reading the Greek text, if you can read it, [laughter] that little clause “And he put them all out,” is not in the text at Luke. But it is in the text in Mark, and so, we’re going to expound the text as if it were here. But you will understand that we’re deriving the thought from the Markan account.) And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”
May God bless this reading of his word. Let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer] Our gracious God and heavenly Father, we come to Thee through the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for the wonders of Thy grace, which has sought us out when we were lost, when we were dead in sin and in our trespasses, which has brought us to the knowledge of the one who died that we might have life, hath brought us into the experience of all of the blessings of the riches of divine grace. And we express to Thee, Lord, our thanksgiving and praise for him who has offered himself a sacrifice well pleasing to God and pleasing to us and has purchased for us an eternal redemption. And we thank Thee, Lord, that through him we may draw nigh unto Thee. And so we worship Thee today for the gift of Jesus Christ. And we thank Thee, Lord, that with him Thou hast freely given us all things. Thou hast expressed Thy love to us. And Father, we pray that through the ministry of the word of God today, many more may be brought to know him, whom to know is life eternal.
And we ask that the Holy Spirit may take the words that are spoken by the servants of God throughout this land and throughout the entire earth and may he use them to bring those whom Thou hast chosen into the family of God. We pray, oh God, that today there may be a tremendous response to the ministry of the Scriptures. We thank Thee, Lord, for the way in which Thou hast blessed the true church. And wilt Thou also strengthen it today? And encourage each individual member. Meet all of their needs. For those who are sick, we especially pray for them, that Thy hand may be upon them for their good physically. For those who are troubled, we pray, oh God, that Thou wilt be to them the God of all comfort. To those who need Thy healing hand, we pray, oh Lord, that Thou wilt be the God of healing.
We pray for this land in which we live and ask, oh God, Thy blessing upon President Nixon and upon his cabinet, upon the congress, upon others in his administration. Father, give them wisdom and guidance. And if it should be Thy will, lay Thy hand upon some of them and bring them to a knowledge of him whom to know is life eternal. Protect and keep the men who are in the armed forces. We pray particularly for our men in Viet Nam. Lord, we pray that Thou wilt, through that conflict, bring many to know Jesus Christ as they face the loss of physical life. May their hearts, which are often so tender towards spiritual things at that time, turn to him through godly chaplains and others who have the word of God.
And we thank Thee for the ministry of the word in Believers Chapel, and we ask, oh God, that Thy hand may be upon us continually. Deliver us from pride and from confidence in ourselves. Enable us daily to remember that we are desperately in need of Thee. And so may Thy hand be upon the elders and upon the deacons and upon our members, upon our friends. And Lord, again we pray especially for any who are here who are visiting who do not yet know Jesus Christ. Wilt Thou bring them to him through the ministry of the word? We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Our subject for this morning is “Master of Death and Man of Feeling.” Vital to the Christian faith is the doctrine of the two natures of Jesus Christ. He is the man who stands representatively for us, and through his work, there is the judgment of God that was due you and me, and thus as the man, secures deliverance for men. But as God, he is the God who saves us as well. If he is only the emissary of God, we are not on the rock, as we might think that we are.
He is more than a man, more than simply a prophet of God; a Socinian could say that. He is more than a super man. He is more than God’s plenipotentiary; an Arian might say that. He is really the supernal man, the Lord from heaven, as Athanasius would have put it. Forsythe said, “No half-god could redeem the soul of a man, which it took the whole God to create.” And with that, I agree.
The early church wrestled with the question of the nature of Christ, and they finally came to a solution at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. And those of you who’ve been studying in the systematic theology class will remember that we stopped and discussed the conclusion of the council in which it was stated among other things that Jesus Christ was at once complete in godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man. That was really the high-water mark, the climax of the discussions concerning the nature of Jesus Christ. And I think that the church rightly decided that he was complete in his godhead and complete in his manhood, truly God and truly man.
And if we read the gospels of our Lord, we are going to see both aspects of his character. And I think in the incident before us, we shall notice that both of these aspects of our Lord’s person emerge. It is not easy to find an incident in the life of our Lord which more pointedly placards him in his deity as the master of death than this incident in which he raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead.
We read in the 56th verse, “And her parents were astonished.” And I think if any man with an open mind read this account for the first time, he would be astonished, too, for it has never been seen among men that a man should raise others from the dead. And that it what Jesus did.
Yet at the same time, this incident also broadcasts him as a man of feeling. If he is very God of very God, he is also very man of very man. The German scholar Rothe said, “I know no other ground on which I could anchor my whole being, and particularly my speculations, except that historical phenomenon Jesus Christ. He is to me the unimpeachable Holy of Holies of humanity.” And he surely was.
The incident begins with the welcome of our Lord back in Galilee. And as he has made his way back across the Sea of Galilee from Gadara, he is greeted by the crowds who had been eagerly waiting for him. And in the midst of the crowds, there comes to him a man by the name of Jairus and presents a most unusual request to him.
There are three important characters, and Jairus certainly stands out. He was what we might call a lay administrator of the synagogue. But when we use the term “lay,” we are using a term that the Bible actually does not countenance. As a matter of fact, if you have read the Bible at all, you may have discovered that no Christian is ever called a layman. He’s called a layman by Christians, but not by the Bible. The term “layman” is a good term by which we avoid our responsibilities as a Christian. The Bible does not know any distinction between the lay or laity and the clergy.
It is true that the Bible recognizes that some men have the spiritual gifts of apostle, prophet, pastor-teacher, teacher, evangelist, but by so saying, we are not suggesting that they stand upon a different plain before God than other men. All men have spiritual gifts. All men are servants of God. All men are believers in Jesus Christ. All stand upon the same basis. Some may have gifts of utterance. Some may not. But all have spiritual gifts.
As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as full-time service for Jesus Christ as over against part-time service. We’re all in full-time service for him. Whether we work or not is the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Some of us work. Some of us preach. When I was in business in Birmingham, Alabama, a friend of mine who was pastor of a local church made that comment to me. He said, I used to work, too. He also said, By the way, Lewis. He knew I used to be a pretty good golfer. He said, By the way, Lewis, he said, If you don’t go out to Dallas Theological Seminary, but go to my denominational seminary, they’ll give you two years credit for your golf.
But there is no difference between the layman and any other Christian in the Christian church.
Now, we were talking about Jairus as a master of the synagogue. It was the duty of the ruler of the synagogue to arrange for the services in the synagogue. He did not preach. He arranged for preaching. He arranged for the reading of the Scriptures. And he also had charge of the buildings. He was a kind of administrator of the synagogue. And so, he was a man of responsibility, a man of trust and a man of power.
But he apparently had come to the end of his own resources because the last person to whom a ruler of a synagogue would naturally go for help was Jesus. But he comes to our Lord. And so, he’s reached the end of the help that the doctors could give him for his daughter, the end of the help that his wife could give, the end of the help that he could give. And apparently he’s heard of Jesus, and so he comes to him.
Temple Thurston wrote The City of Beautiful Nonsense, and in it he comments that when we begin our lives, everything seems to go our way. We’re like a man who comes into the circus as the master of the circus, and we’re clothed in our broad cloth and our buckskin britches, and we have a cap and a whip in our hands. And we are conducting everything in that circus and everything obeys us until finally a lion escapes from a cage. And then Temple Thurston said, “Life gets up and looks at us.”
And that’s what happened to Jairus. Everything had been going wonderfully, until finally his daughter fell sick. And then life got up and looked at him. And he came to the place of concern. And he had heard of Jesus. And so out of faith, some weak faith in him, he had come to plead for the life of his daughter.
The second character is that daughter, an only child, twelve years old. She had been a tremendous blessing in that home. A little infant cuddled in the arms of mother and father, played with, encouraged. She had pattered in her little feet over their home. She had prattled with her mouth over the years. And her little life had been a blessing to the entire household, until finally she had been stricken with a disease. And now, the little legs that had pattered over the house and the neighborhood were lying in bed with a sheet over them. The little lips that had spoken words of endearment to father and mother and which had so cheered the household could not utter anything except perhaps the groans of pain. Life had gotten up and looked at Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue.
But there is another character in our story, and his name is Jesus. We read that Jairus came to him, and he fell down at Jesus’ feet. Isn’t that striking? He came and fell down at Jesus’ feet in the attitude of worship. And if, as so many of our contemporary theologians tell us, Jesus is only a man, only truly man, only very man of very man, he should have reached down and picked Jairus up and said, Stand up on your feet, Jairus. I, too, am a man. This is what the angel said when John fell at his feet to worship him. This is what the angel said to Peter. But you will notice that our Lord, whenever men fall at his feet to worship him, accepts their homage because he knew that he was more than man.
We do not read anything about his response here except that “as he went.” Matthew says, “Jesus arose and followed him.” And we’ve been saying that Jesus is man. And I want to stress this morning in the message the aspects of the true humanity that come out. And here we find the compassion of our Lord. And oh, the compassion of Jesus of Nazareth.
“And as he went,” there is no hesitation. He does not say, Now, Jairus, do you really have faith in me? Jairus, what does the catechism say about the definition of God? What does the catechism say about the definition of sin? What does the catechism say about the work of Jesus Christ? He does not say, What does the creed say? Do you accept the creed? Are you a member of the church in good standing. But our Lord immediately responds. Where there is reality in need, Jesus always responds.
I think one of the loveliest things about Christianity is its attitude toward children, too. It’s almost as if our Lord made a special place in his heart for children. Did you know that in Greek art, we have no evidence whatsoever of Greek artists being interested in children at all. At the time of our Lord, all of art was interested in adults but not in children.
But in Christian art, the portraits and pictures are full of children. It was Jesus who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not.” Why did he say “Forbid them not”? Well, because the disciples forbad them, that’s why. If you were to look at all of the manifestations of the character of our Lord in the gospels, at the top of the list, right at the top would be his compassion. One of the great features of his life.
Now then, he makes his way toward Jairus’ house, and on the way a woman with an issue of blood touches the hem of his garment and is wonderfully healed. I’d like sometime to speak to you on that incident, but we don’t have time this morning. I merely want to look at it from the standpoint of Jairus.
I think that our Lord as he passed through that crowd of people and suddenly stopped and said, Someone has touched me. And a silence fell over the crowd. And the apostles, one of the apostles comes up and says, Why Lord, there’s a great crowd around you. And they’re pushing and thronging you. How could you possibly discover who touched the hem of your garment? And Jesus said, I know that someone’s touched me, for I perceive that power is come out. And I think that Jairus standing by might well have been pulling on his garment and saying, Come on, come on, we have little time. Remember she was at the point of death.
But our Lord hesitates and waits. And finally the woman with the issue of blood comes forward, confesses that she’s the one, and that immediately she was healed. And it’s very striking. She had been sick for twelve years, and the little girl was twelve years old and was now sick. I think the reason that our Lord stopped was undoubtedly for the benefit of Jairus as well as for this woman. And so we learn that his delays are not necessarily denials. They are discipline.
And it’s almost as if, as in the case of the healing of Lazarus, our Lord purposefully stopped in order that when he arrived at Jairus’ house, there would be no question but that human help was hopeless. There must be a touch from God himself. And furthermore, I think as they made their way toward Jairus’ house, Jairus might well have reflected by the teaching of the Spirit upon what had just happened. And there might have been created within him just a little bit more of trust in this man who has now had the experience of this remarkable healing. And perhaps as he went along, he was saying to himself, if Jesus is able to heal a woman with an issue of blood for twelve years, whom the doctors have not been able to heal, perhaps he can heal my daughter.
Well, at that moment, they receive the emissary from Jairus’ house, and he has the fatal news, “Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.” And Jesus’ response is now epitomized in three statements. And you will notice that our Lord apparently, when the man arrives with his terrible news, she’s dead; don’t distress Jesus any longer, Jesus immediately turned to Jairus and anticipates any request that Jairus may have made. Oh the sensitiveness of our Lord. And he turns to Jairus and says, Jairus, “Fear not: believe only; thy daughter shall be made whole.” Very man of very man.
“Believe only.” Often you know in the Christian church, somehow or other, people gain the impression that the way we derive blessing from God is through our religion. And so we beat a path to the church, and we try to be at all of the meetings of the church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, any other thing that we possibly can, visitation night. And we’re so busy in the things of religion because we think that perhaps we shall gain some merit with God by our much activity.
Our Lord said, Jairus, “Fear not, only believe.” A man does not come to God through the ordinances. He does not come to God through good works. He does not come to God through reformation. He does not come to God through culture, through education. He does not even come to God through baptism and the Lord’s table. He does not come through any kind of religion. He comes to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Fear not, only believe.
And I sometimes hear preachers, and men who are within the Christian family, say that it is wrong for us to proclaim that salvation comes through simple faith. And then they usually launch into a few sentences about easy believe-ism preached by some preachers. And I would like to say this, it is Jesus who said, Fear not, only believe.
Now I realize that we must understand what the text means by belief. We must not think, for example, that “Only believe” means to have simply an intellectual conception of our Lord’s work. We’re not to suggest, we’re not to believe by this that Jesus meant that we’re not to be concerned about our sin, about our sense of need. These are things that the Holy Spirit produces in the heart of the man who ultimately comes to God. If you’re in the audience this morning, and you have absolutely no concern whatsoever about your sin, it is because you are not the object of the activity of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Men do not naturally feel their concern for their sin. That is produced by God the Holy Spirit. But it must be produced before we turn off to someone else for help. But when God has done his work of preparation, the gospel message is, in the light of the cross, Fear not, believe only, and thou shalt be made whole.
So Jairus is comforted by the sensitivity of our Lord. They make their way on to the house. And when they reach the house, we see further lessons of the humanity of our Lord. For when he arrives, we read in Luke that “He suffered no man to go in.” As a matter of fact, what apparently happened was this, that the apostles, Peter, James and John who were with our Lord, were permitted to go into the house with Jesus and the father and the mother of the maiden.
And as they arrived in the midst of the house, they arrived in the midst of one of the ancient customs which speak so loudly of the insufficiency of the truths that men believed at the time of our Lord.
You see, their weeping was not like the weeping of a Christian. The first thing that they did was to rend their clothes. And all of the men had to rend their clothes and had to make a rent over the heart so large that you could put a fist through. The women, of course, could not rend their clothes in that way, but in private they rent their undergarments, turned them around, wore them backwards, then rent the outward garment in such a way that there was also a rent over the heart. It was a visible expression of the grief of the heart.
But that was not all. Not only did they rend their garments, but they hired professional wailers and mourners. They were usually women in the city. And as soon as a death occurred, or as soon as death was about to occur, they were hired. And the professional wailers came, and they led the wailing and mourning with loud shrieks of pain. And they were experts at it. And when a stranger would come, that is a stranger to the house, they knew so much about the life of the community that they knew precisely what would produce mourning in them. And so they , for example, would know that perhaps this person had lost someone three months ago, and they would immediately bring it into the wailing and shrieking, so that they would begin to join in the wailing and shrieking. And so the mourning and the wailing and shrieking could be heard for yards away from the house. “All the ghastly apparatus of the mummers,” someone has said.
But not only that. The flute players were also there. And the wailing notes of the flute were used to accompany all of this. In fact, there were precise directions about this. In the case of some of the poor, it was only necessary to have one flute player. And Rome even made a law that you could not have more than ten flute players no matter who died.
So you should see what was really going on in this house when our Lord arrived. It was like an empire of disorder. And our Lord recognized it all as coming ultimately from Satan, and so he rebuked them. Why all of this mourning? She’s not dead, but she’s sleeping. They laughed him to scorn. They knew that she was dead.
You know, our Lord recognized that behind the outbreakings of nature, there was ultimately the evil one. For when he was in the storm on the sea, he rebuked the wind and the waves. He recognized that back of the wind and waves, there was one who was attempting to overthrow him and them in the boat. And so here, he rebukes them, and he casts them all out.
You know, Jesus was indignant. Did you realize that if you were to be truly human, there should be expressions of indignation with you too. It is sometimes thought that if we are to be genuine Christians, we are to be the kinds of Christians who are never anything but sweet like honey. That’s not true. A Christian is not to be like honey. You know, you can be so sweet that you’re sickeningly sweet. That is not the Christian. It’s rather striking that the meal offering in the Old Testament, designed to represent the character of Jesus Christ as an offering, has this specific prohibition: No honey. Paul said, “Be ye angry and sin not.”
Jesus looked round about upon the religious leaders of his day, Mark says, with anger. If a man is a genuine Christian, there comes ultimately the experience of life which demands indignation. And Jesus was indignant.
Not only that, as an expression of humanity, did you notice the quiet grace of our Lord? “He suffered no man to go in.” He wasn’t going to make this a public spectacle.
If Jesus had been the leader of a modern movement, if he had been the head man of an evangelistic crusade, he would have called for his PR man. And he would have said, Call the media. We won’t do anything until they arrive. And he would have had some of his disciples, with placards saying “Healing happening here today,” parading up and down. And then when everything is in shape, Jesus would go in and he would heal. And perhaps if they didn’t quite get it, he would stage the healing again.
You will notice that our Lord is quite different from men. This is not an attack on any evangelist. It is not an attack on any Bible teacher. But I do feel that we often substitute for the power of the Spirit of God, the power of communications. I am not suggesting that a man should not advertise his meetings. But I do feel that in the final analysis, it is what God does through the Holy Spirit that really counts. Our Lord was not a publicity seeker.
You know, there is something else about him, too. Did you notice how as he gets ready to heal Jairus’ daughter, he reaches over and takes up the hand of the dead little girl. It would have been a shocking thing, perhaps, for her to be brought back to life and to look into the face of a strange man. But Jesus takes her hand. And from it, of course, we see something of the quiet grace of our Lord. He was the kind of man who had that perfect sense of what true tact really is.
And may I say something to you here? I think that every Christian man who has grown in grace, and who has really become identified with our Lord, will manifest some of the quiet grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. And when you have the coarse man, who has nothing of that finer spirit that our Lord had, and manifests none of it, you can be almost certain that that man is not walking in fellowship with Jesus Christ. Our Lord offended, and he offended terribly the generation in which he lived. They crucified him. But he did not offend them with his coarseness, with his tactlessness. And his grace, he was a man of grace, a man of care, a man who was sensitive. The one man that you would wish to have around when things were going bad.
And did you notice, too, that when he healed this little girl, he said, Give her something to eat. That’s one of the loveliest touches of this incident. Give her something to eat. I’ve often thought of the picture of our Lord that we have in the New Testament. He is very God of very God, but then on the other hand, there he is at Lazarus’ tomb and we read, “Jesus wept.” I forgive those who misdivided the sentences of the Bible so often. I forgive Robert Stephanus for all of his mistakes in dividing the verses of the Bible into verses and missing the context so often. I forgive him for all because he has this one text, “Jesus wept.” Jesus sobbed. And there we have the one who is truly God, very God of very God, but a tear is streaming down his face. What a picture of God.
And then there is the God who receives little children and puts them on his lap. God with a child upon his lap. And here, it’s almost as if we could say God with a biscuit in his hand to feed the little girl. That’s the kind of God we have, you know. The wonderful humanity of our Lord. He takes the little girl, and he says, Little lamb. That’s what “talitha” means, something like “little lamb, arise.”
And I learned the voice of Jesus penetrates the spirit world. It has been said that she was only in a coma, that she was not really dead, because did not Jesus say, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.”? I’m inclined to think, although the Greek word is slightly different here from the common word used to express a Christian’s death, that this is death. But you see, death for a Christian is not like death for any other man. The Bible reserves a little term for a Christian’s death; a Christian falls asleep.
Why is that term used? Well, because when you’re sleeping, you’re resting. And when a Christian dies, he rests from his labors. Not only that, when a Christian dies, he doesn’t really die. He’s still living in the presence of the Lord. That’s where his spirit is. And when you see a man sleeping, you know that he’s living. I usually gives sounds to make it very definite that I am alive so you won’t mistake me. But most of all, when a man is sleeping, he is to awaken. And so the man who sleeps in our Lord is to awaken in resurrection. He is going to have a body like unto Jesus Christ’s own glorious body. And so when our Lord said, “Weep not; she is not dead. She only sleeps,” he means she sleeps as a believer.
Can human power abolish a coma with a word? Some have said Jesus was just a good diagnostician. There ss more to it than that. Furthermore, the cure was complete. She was no longer sick. No, the reference is to restoration to life.
May I conclude this morning by reiterating a point or two and then illustrating? Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man. He is the man of feeling. John makes a statement in his first epistle which I think is very apropos. He says, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk, even as he walked.” May I say a word to you who are Christians this morning? You have believed in Jesus Christ. You have put your trust in him. You belong to him. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk even as he walked.” May I see the sensitivity of Jesus in you? May I see the quiet grace of Jesus Christ in you? May I see the indignation of our Lord in you? May I see the compassion of Jesus in you?
But there’s more to it than that. Thomas à Kempis wrote “The Imitation of Christ.” That book says something very important, that Christians have an example. But it doesn’t say enough. For you see, in New Testament times, Jesus is not only our example, he is our life.
Have you ever noticed a little child? A little child grows up, and it’s not long before the little child, if it’s a girl, is imitating mother, even pronounces the words that mother uses as mother pronounces them. All of the dispositions of mother are indicated. If it’s a little boy, it’s influenced by its father as well as its mother. And you will notice that the little child will so imitate that you’re almost inclined to think, well of course, they imitate merely because they’re around their parents so much.
Now, I used to have a very bad habit. My wife is not here now. She might say he still has it. But I used to have this bad habit of coming home from work, and I was so impatient, I wanted to get at the paper and other things, that I would take my coat off and frequently hang them on the side of a chair. And Mary would come in. She’s Scotch-Irish, mixed with German, which is quite a combination. That means that she is very stubborn, because she’s Scotch-Irish. You’ve heard of the Scotch-Irish prayer, haven’t you? Oh Lord, help me to be always right for Thou knowest that I’m hard to turn. [Laughter] And then she’s German, which means she’s very active. Oh, I love her. She’s done more for me than anyone except the Lord. But anyway, I used to do that, and she would jump on me. But when my son came along, and we bought him his first suit with coat and pants, do you know what he did? He walked in the living room. He took off his coat, and he hung it on the side of the chair, and he said, Daddy, is that the way you do it? [Laughter]
Now actually, the reason that a child imitates parents so much is not because they have the parents for emulation and imitation. It’s because mother is in that child. It’s because father is in that child. There is a family relationship. There is a union between them, a union of life, for they have come from our loins. And in the Christian life, it is not enough to imitate Jesus Christ. No one could ever imitate him. We can only walk as he walked if Jesus Christ be in us, and that he is, and if he be allowed to manifest his life through us. And so if you’re a Christian, I should like to see him who is very man of very man in you.
But now, you may be here in this audience today, and you’re not a Christian. Jesus is master of death. And in the restoration of Jairus’ daughter, we have one of the most beautiful illustrations of the power of regeneration. The Lord Jesus in the 5th chapter of the Gospel of John makes one of the most significant statements of his ministry when he said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
What does he mean by that? Why, he means simply this, that when my word goes forth and the Holy Spirit has worked in the hearts of men to prepare them for that word, that word comes to them as if they were dead men in the grave and brings them forth to life spiritually, because we are dead in trespasses and sins. And just as Jairus’ daughter was raised by the word of our Lord, so you, dead in sin, may be brought to life in Christ by the word of our living God. We are dead.
Snoopy put it well. “There’s no one who causes more trouble in this world than the humans. They drive me crazy. I get so mad when I think about humans, I could scream.”
Dr. Barnhouse used to say, “If we should go to heaven as we are, we’d wreck the place.”
Coleridge put it much better. He said, “I believe and hold it as the fundamental article of Christianity, that I am a fallen creature; that I am of myself capable of moral evil, but not of myself of moral good, and that an evil ground existed in my will, previously to any given act, or assignable moment of time, in my consciousness. I am born a child of wrath.”
We need the voice of the Son of God in his word.
Not only that, we have illustrated the power of resurrection. Jesus also said in that 5th chapter of John, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming.” He did not say, And now is, for he was referring to the future resurrection here. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear my voice.” And it is Jesus who is responsible for the resurrection of men. And just as he restored Jairus’ daughter, so he will resurrect the men who have put their faith in Christ giving them a resurrection body. And finally, he shall raise all, giving them a body in which those who do not believe in Jesus Christ shall suffer eternal death.
And then, I think we also have here illustrated the power of our Lord to bring reunion because Jairus’ daughter is restored to mother and father. And we have one happy family because Jesus’ power is seen. And when our Lord comes from heaven and the spirits of those who are with him rejoin the bodies raised by his mighty power, given bodies like unto his own glorious power, and when we who are alive and remain on the earth are changed, given a resurrection body, join them and meet the Lord, just as Jairus was given one grand reunion in his family, so we shall have one grand reunion in the church of Jesus Christ at his coming.
I do not know what that means. I read a story this week of a doctor who was calling on a patient who was dying. The patient knew the doctor was a Christian, and he asked him if he had any convictions about what lay beyond for him in the other world. The doctor was fumbling for some words to comfort the man when he heard a scratching at the door and recognized it as his dog, which he had brought on the house call. You can tell this is an old story. And the doctor then said to the patient, he said, Do you hear that? He said, I brought my dog with me. The dog hasn’t the slightest idea about what’s going on in this room, but the dog knows that I’m here. And he wants to be in. I really do not know what is going to happen when you pass into eternity, but I know this, that my savior is there. And if you have put your trust in him, you shall enter into his presence. And after all, that’s the epitome of the life beyond the grave, even though it is not all of that life.
If you’re here this morning and you have never put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we invite you to put your faith and trust in the one whose voice pierces and penetrates the spirit world. The only requirement is that you believe in him.
There’s a lovely story about Thomas Chalmers, with which I wish to close. Dr. Ironside used to tell the story quite frequently. And he said that when he was in Toronto once, he picked up a broad Scotch paraphrase of the New Testament in which he noticed that the word for believe was the Scottish word “lippen”, which means to trust or to throw your whole weight upon. And one of the texts, and several of the texts, in fact, where the word believe occurred in the text, it was lippen. For example, “Whosoever “lippens” to Jesus should not perish but have everlasting life.”
And Dr. Chalmers was once seeking to lead an elderly Scottish woman to the Lord, but he couldn’t seem to get over to her the fact that all that was required was faith. She couldn’t understand it. And finally, he gave up and turned to go home. And as he was going home, he passed over a little bridge which was over a little creek. And he was making his way rather gingerly across, and one of his friends called out and said, Can you no lippen the bridge, Doctor?
And he said, Lippen, lippen, that’s the word I was looking for. And so he went back, and he knocked on the door. And when the old lady came to the door, he said, I’ve got the word for you. Can you no lippen to Jesus? She said, Lippen to him? Is it just to lippen? Aye, I can lippen to him. He’ll never let you do’n, will he? That’s all it is. It’s just lippen to him. Throw your whole weight upon him and what he has done for you. And when that happens, you pass from death into life.
There’s a wonderful hymn. It has two stanzas, one which expresses his perfect humanity and the other which expresses his perfect deity. And I should like to close with it.
Majestic sweetness sits enthroned upon the Savior’s brow; His head with radiant glories crowned, His lips with grace o’erflow. Very man of very man, complete in his manhood.
To Him I owe my life and breath, And all the joys I have; He makes me triumph over death, And saves me from the grave. Very God of very God, complete in his godhead.
Do you know him? Have you put your trust in him? You may pass from death to life right now by simply in your heart saying, I need Thee Lord. I take Thee as my personal savior. I trust Thee. I can lippen to you.
May we stand for the benediction?
[Prayer] Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, the presence and communion of the Holy Spirit be and abide with all who know him in sincerity. And oh Father, by the Holy Spirit, work in the hearts of men to bring thine own to thyself. May Thy grace, Thy mercy and Thy peace go with us. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.