Summary: Two interwoven stories that teach us some fascinating principles on Faith.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 22
Help for the Hopeless!
Luke 8: 40-56
The Lord and his disciples had returned to the boats following the casting out of the evil spirits from the demon possessed man. As they began to row away from the beach towards the northeastern shores of Capernaum perhaps they could see a crowd of frightened and superstitious Gentiles, standing at the water’s edge, breathing a sigh of relief that they had really left as they had asked. At the same time they could see the former demon possessed man once known as Legion standing alone on the beach, fully clothed and in his right mind, waving good-bye to his new LORD and Savior. His heart was now filled with the joy of being possessed by the Holy Spirit, and he had been given a commission to tell all of the surrounding cities what had happened to him.
The Garasenes could not wait for Jesus to leave, the Galileans could hardly wait for Him to arrive. For in verse forty the reader is informed that as Jesus and his disciple returned to the beaches of Capernaum they were warmly welcomed. ”So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him.”
What we have before us this morning is two interwoven stories that teach us some fascinating principles on Faith.
1. Faith Was Born Out Of Need (vv. 41- 43)
And as many had heard of the healing he had done, there were gathered to meet him those who had some sickness that they wished to be healed from. On this occasion they were met by a distressed man who had a daughter who was dying. Verse forty-one “And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, (42) for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him.” Jairus even though he was head of the local synagogue came a made a request of Jesus. In the hour of his extreme need he came to Jesus. The text says that he reverently made his request for “he fell at his feet.” And he passionately made his case “he begged him to come to his house.” Casting aside all of his pride, this religious leader fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, desperate for one last lifeline for his little girl. Without a word Jesus sets out for this man’s house.
And on the way to help this man Jesus met another, a woman who we are told had (v. 43) “….a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, “
We are told that this woman had “flow of blood” an abnormal bleeding from the womb. In the Mark’s account it is twice called “a plague” (Mark 5:29, 34) the word translated plague is a word that carries the connotation of “whip.” Notice the things that this whip drove from her life. First, it drove from her life strength and health. For twelve years she had steadily grown weaker and weaker. Secondly, it drove her from her husband and family. There is no mention of a husband, but if she had one, in a day when getting out of a marriage could be for as silly a reason as burning his breakfast toast and was as easy as handing a wife a hand-written notice of intent and saying publicly, “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.” he probably dumped her years ago. The fact is that she could not touch or be touched by anyone. Thirdly, it drove her from her friends - she was ostracized from Society. Three things in Jewish daily life could make a person ceremonially unclean; touching the dead, menstrual bleeding and leprosy. Finally, it drove her from her place of worship she had been excluded from Worship (for over twelve years).
In verse forty- three Doctor Luke says that she was “humanly incurable.” “Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,” In spite of all her previous effort she remained unhealed. She still suffered pain, all the different treatments she had tried had only succeed in making her poor, this verse says that “spent all of her livelihood on physicians.” She has gone to many doctors, and all the doctors had cured her of was her bank account. Individual after individual had raised her hopes only to dash them to the ground when they failed to help her. Mark tells us (5:26) that she had “suffered many things from many physicians, searching for an accurate diagnosis. Twelve long years without remedy for her problem, and presumably she has by now decided, “There is no hope for my problem.” In fact she was worse instead of better. This poor woman was broke, cut off from family, society and even the church and in declining health. She probably could not have felt any lower. I suspect that she had to deal regularly with bitterness, with anger - anger against her circumstances, perhaps even against God who had allowed these circumstances to continue: loneliness, self-hatred, fear of the future, alienation from God.