Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 7 Study # 7
Thesis: The words of Jesus only make sense when our perception of Him is legitimate.
Introduction: As we have looked into Luke's record of Jesus' dealings with the ruler of the synagogue and the woman with the issue of blood, we have seen that his major point is that those who wish to live must come to grips with what it means to believe in the grace of God.
This morning, as we come to the end of our studies in this part of Luke's record, we are going to look at two connected facts. First, we are going to consider Jesus' words to those who were expressing grief over what they considered to be the "death" of Jairus' daughter. Second, we are going to consider Jesus' command to the parents to give the girl something to eat. Both issues are problematical to some degree: the words of Jesus to those who were weeping and smiting themselves appear to deny reality (we generally call this "lying"); and, the instruction to feed the girl seems, at least on the surface, to focus upon something so insignificant that we wonder why it is in the record.
In order to consider what I have called "two connected facts", I want to set the stage by looking at what Luke tells us in the material between them. Then we shall look at the connected facts to see what they tell us.
August 9, 2009
- I. First, Luke's Record of Jesus' Actual Raising of the Girl.
- A. He says that Jesus "took her hand".
- 1. The verb in use here is pretty potent: it typically means to dominate so completely that only what the one who has "taken" the person/object wants done will be done.
- a. The verb is used many times in the New Testament and it invariably signals a grasp significant enough to control.
- b. It also invariably signals the presence of an "agenda" that is so intentional that it will only be denied if the person taking the action simply does not have the strength to see it through.
- 2. Luke's choice to use this word in this text is instructive.
- a. By telling us that Jesus took complete dominion of the girl's hand, Luke is telling us that Jesus intended something that, if He could help it, was not going to be denied.
- b. And, the "if He could help it" is the point: Jesus is always, in Luke's view, John's "Mighty One" to come.
- c. Thus, Luke's record insists that Jesus can only be correctly understood if He is seen as the One Whose agenda is going to be accomplished.
- B. He says that Jesus, having taken her hand, spoke saying... .
- 1. It is impossible to not see that Luke is telling us that the raising of the girl from what the observers called "death" was accomplished by simple "sound" from Jesus.
- 2. This is so "Genesis One" that we cannot miss it.
- II. Then, the "Connected Facts".
- A. Jesus' deliberate use of language in a way that not only is, but can only be, completely misunderstood.
- 1. Jesus told the mourners that the girl "did not die", but "is sleeping".
- 2. If anyone else had said this, we would accuse him/her of not telling the truth.
- 3. How is it that Jesus was not guilty of misrepresenting the truth?
- a. At the root of "faith" and "unbelief" there will always be a perception of what is true and what is not.
- b. At the root of the "perceptions" of what is true and what is not are two basic elements.
- 1) The first element is what reality actually is: this is often impossible to discern by normal human methods.
- 2) The second element is whether reality is being legitimately described.
- c. At the root of the "descriptions" of reality is language and the definitions assigned to its most elemental parts: the words.
- 1) If the definitions of the words have been corrupted, there can be no legitimate description of reality.
- 2) The presence of unbelief guarantees that the definitions will be corrupt.
- a) Unbelief is never willing to be seen as "wrong".
- b) The words of unbelief will always be "self-justifying".
- c) The refusal to accept "faith" will invariably lead to this use of words of deceit.
- d. When Jesus said, "She did not die", He meant it.
- 1) "Death" in the words of God began in Genesis 2:17.
- a) The demonstrated meaning is revealed in Genesis 3:8.
- b) The distortion of that meaning evolved over time into a physical definition so that when people talk about "death" they almost invariably mean the body has ceased to function, but they call it the "person".
- 2) "Death" in the words of God ends in Revelation 21:8.
- a) The demonstrated meaning is post-resurrection so that "death" does not mean the separation of the spirit from the body.
- b) The long-term distortion into a physical definition is finally set right.
- 3) What Jesus said is that the girl's condition was incorrectly called "death".
- a) He insisted that the mourners stop calling the girl's condition "dead" because that definition includes the emotional outburst that "hopelessness" produces.
- b) He insisted on the exercise of "faith" and hopelessness cannot coexist with it.
- e. When Jesus said, "She is sleeping", He meant it.
- 1) "Sleeping" is invariably connected to the expectation of a resumption of activity at the point of awakening.
- 2) "Sleeping" is never seen in the words of God as an inherently "hopeless" state.
- 3) Believers who have been separated from their bodies are regularly said to be "sleeping".
- 4. The point: Jesus is considered to be "lying" because the liars control the language.
- B. Jesus' instruction to give the girl something to eat.
- 1. There is nothing in the text to indicate that Jesus' restoration of the girl's spirit to her body was, in any sense, tied to whether she got some food in her or not.
- 2. The only issue of the text regarding "eating" is that it is highly unlikely that anyone as sick as she was would have eaten anything for some time.
- 3. This means one thing: in a perfect state of health, the girl would have been very hungry.
- 4. Given the phenomenal circumstances of her sickness and her separation from her body, the issue of whether she was hungry, or not, seems to be so far down the list of things that are important as to be almost ridiculous.
- 5. But this is the point: the PantoKrator is just as interested in the tiniest of details, and needs, as He is the biggest.
- a. This absolutely "colors" the perception we are to have of Jesus.
- b. The ability to walk with God is heavily dependent, not upon our "faith" that He has addressed, and will address, the big ticket items, but that the "little" stuff is as much of a concern to Him as the rest.
- III. Our Conclusion.
- A. Jesus is being presented by Luke as the Object of Faith so that those who "believe" will be able to "live" effectually and freely [this is the "faith" that delivers us from all of our fears].
- B. For the presentation to be effective, we have to start with the Almighty, Whose words must be understood by His own definitions and not denied by the perversity of man's unbelief, and we must proceed from there to a "comfort zone" in which that Almighty is seen as completely involved at every level of our experience.