Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 7 Study # 3
Thesis: Luke's blending of "daughter" stories is his attempt to present Jesus as the "believable" solution to Death.
Introduction: In our attempts to give significance to the record of Luke in 8:40-56, we have focused upon what appears to be the "big" issue: faith. With that focus in mind, we looked into the transition verse between the Gadarene reaction to Jesus and the Galilean response to Him and saw that "faith" requires a no-objection embrace of Jesus' works and words. Then, keeping the same focus, we looked into the introductory description of the man named Jairus and found that the seven identifying traits were closely linked to the demons in the land of the Gadarenes. From this we concluded that "faith" requires a rejection of the attitude of entitlement that is pervasive among men but finds its greatest expression among those considered to be "powerful". Whether this analysis is legitimate, or not, the principles are. No one can "believe" in someone with whom they have "conflicts", nor one can anyone "believe" in someone whom they simply wish to "use" as a means to their ends.
When we look at the record, it is not only "faith" that stands out. There are two other "stand out" points: the "problem" that calls for the "need" for and "use" of faith and the "content" that identifies the "object" of faith. In the "problem" area, "death" is front and center. In the "content" area, "Jesus" is front and center. In the "death" focus, the daughter of Jairus is very near physical death and the woman whom Jesus calls "daughter" is "leaking" her blood wherein her "life" exists according to Leviticus 17:11.
However, when the "problem(s)" are presented by Luke, the presentation is complicated by his inclusion of the facts that the first "daughter" is "as of twelve years" and the second "daughter" has been "leaking" from a point twelve years past. There are two issues here: first, what is the significance of the "twelve" years?; and, second, why did Jesus let this "problem" go on so long?
July 12, 2009
- I. The Significance of the Number of Years.
- A. Some textual/contextual facts.
- 1. Clearly the same year the first daughter was born the second daughter lost her ability to give birth.
- a. This sets up a contrast that is crucial to the "thesis" regarding the need for, and use of "faith".
- 1) Twelve years prior, the birth of a "first and only" daughter undoubtedly caused high rejoicing (in deliberate contrast to Luke's opening salvo in this "Gospel" regarding the childlessness of Zacharias and Elizabeth).
- a) Jairus and his unnamed wife had no clue at this point how time would gradually compress their hopes and fears around this daughter (no more children).
- b) Nor did they know that their great hilarity of celebration was going to be brought to an end in twelve years.
- 2) In contrast, twelve years prior, another "daughter" got the first indication that she was headed for deep despair (like unto the despair of the first "daughter" mentioned in Luke's record at 1:5).
- a) This unnamed daughter lived in a culture wherein a woman's greatest contribution to "life" was her fertility.
- b) This woman had no clue at this point that she was on a descending spiral into "uselessness and condemnation" (Elizabeth could have told her what was ahead).
- b. This also, however, sets up a serious reversed-similarity in light of the "thesis" regarding the use of "faith".
- 1) The only begotten daughter was going to live for twelve years, creating an illusion of hope and she incrementally moved toward the reality of death's remorseless unveiling of the "joke of a hope that rests in the wrong person".
- 2) The other daughter was going to live for twelve years in the valley of despair, creating an illusion of hopelessness as she applied all of her resources in the attempt to participate in the "joy of a hope that rests in the wrong idea".
- 3) In a very real sense, "death" was already the adversary.
- a) The first daughter was headed for what most would have called an untimely date with death.
- b) The second daughter was living with death as it chewed away her hope.
- c) Their experience was "opposite" but very much wrapped up in "death".
- c. This makes Luke's "point" regarding the use of "faith".
- 1) Faith is supposed to be "used" to address the reality of the problem of Death.
- 2) This use is deeply frustrated when the "object" of faith has been subverted.
- a) Death cannot be destroyed, even by God, in the experience of those who insist upon placing their faith somewhere else.
- b) Great rejoicing as a "producer" is supposed to rest in God's gracious use of those who walk with Him to "produce" blessing for others, not in God's provision of "blessing" to the self-absorbed...God's gifts are never supposed to be subverted into the cause of rejoicing.
- c) Great despair as one who cannot "produce" is supposed to be confronted by a faith that rests in God's gracious revelation that He determines how He will use a person to bless others, not the "culture".
- 2. Clearly the use of "twelve years" is not to be dismissed.
- a. It does not merely identify the point at which these two daughters began their movement toward Jesus' correction of unbelief.
- b. "Twelve" is a widely used number for the purpose of addressing a summation of a highly developed complexity.
- 1) There are a host of "twelves" in the biblical text.
- 2) These uses have this in common: they present a thesis of an "adequate representation" of a profound complexity.
- c. The implication of "twelve" in our record is that both "daughters" represent an adequate picture of the twin problems of unbelief: the mountain of arrogance and the valley of despair.
- 1) The arrogance of the rulers of the synagogue rests, in Jairus' case, upon his delusion that life comes from having an only begotten daughter.
- 2) The despair of the infertile rests, in the unnamed daughter's case, upon her delusion that life comes from "being productive".
- 3. Clearly the "problems" being faced were indicators of serious flaws.
- a. The "Law" had specifically addressed these two problems with specific "requirements / commitments".
- 1) Exodus 20:12 commits "the Lord thy God" to the provision of "long life" for those who honor their parents.
- 2) Exodus 23:26 commits "the Lord thy God" to the provision of "fertility" for those who serve Him.
- b. Any breakdown of the requirements/commitments of "Law" were indicators of fault on the "requirement" side of the coin.
- c. This is the major obstacle to Luke's "faith" thesis: the awareness of personal failure is what drives both pride and despair.
- II. The Significance of "the Long Wait".
- A. For human beings, one of the major "problems" we face is what appears to be arbitrariness in God.
- 1. On one hand, we ask "if God is going to solve the problem, why doesn't He just do it instead of waiting?".
- 2. On the other hand, we ask "if God is not going to solve the problem, why doesn't He just go ahead and drop the hammer instead of dragging everything out?"
- B. However, this issue of "problems" is the revelation of the answer.
- 1. One reason for God's "timing" is altogether bound up in what He is attempting to do.
- a. No "doing" is "instantaneous" except the "miraculous".
- 1) By definition, a "miracle" is a "process-less power event" (the word "miracle" is a translation of "powers").
- 2) By definition, a "miracle" is an "out of the norm power event" (once something becomes a "norm" it loses its "power" to impress).
- b. The intent to "impress" is fundamental to God's program of getting "persons" to actually buy into Truth at a level that can actually change them.
- c. Getting "people" to the point where the "impression" will actually change them is a highly complex and time consuming process.
- d. Thus, the fact that the record exists indicates that the problem still exists.
- 2. In addition, the fact that people have a problem with God's "timing" is a revelation of the profound difficulties associated with bringing people to an embrace of the Truth.
- a. No one who has fully embraced the Truth of God's Love has any problem with what He does, or does not do.
- 1) If Job had understood how often God was going to use his "testimony", his conflict with God would have disappeared ... IF he really wished to be a servant to God.
- 2) Since God does not shy away from the "cost" of painful realities, no one who really wishes to be His servant is going to shy away (we cannot be servants of a God of love and refuse to love like He does).
- b. That people are so reluctant to embrace Him in a reciprocating love is clear evidence of the profound difficulties associated with bringing rebels to Life.
- c. Thus, the fact that people are still having "problems" with the way God does things is the reason for the way God does things.