- Here's a man who's in as bad a shape as any we come across in the Gospels
- Jesus is immediately saying, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!"
- The response from the evil spirits was one that 1) knew exactly who Jesus was and 2) was full of fear as to what that would mean.
- Jesus asked the spirit's name.
- The spirit(s) answered. And begged for mercy.
- Quite surprisingly to me, Jesus actually responded with mercy. To evil spirits, even.
- The whole thing was too much for the herdsmen and the people of the city and the surrounding country and they begged Jesus to leave.
- But the man became, immediately, who he should always have been.
- The man begged to come with Jesus, but Jesus sent him to tell the glory of God. And he did. He has, I think, one of the best responses of anyone in the Gospels to what Jesus told him to do.
- The next adventure started with a great crowd around Jesus.
- A synagogue ruler came to beg for his daughter's life.
- He stated complete confidence that she would be made well if Jesus laid his hands on her.
- Jesus went, and the crowd, or much of it, followed him.
- Then Jesus was interrupted. It might seem like this interruption would cost the synogogue ruler's daughter's life. But in the end, like Jesus' delay before going to Lazarus, it proved to be for the greater glory of God.
- The interruption was by a woman who had tried everything in this world for healing, but that had failed.
- She had heard about Jesus and believed he could make her well - even if she only touched his garments. And it was so. And she knew it immediately.
- Jesus knew that "power had gone out" and pursued that, perhaps for closure in the healing, perhaps for her need to publicly praise God, we aren't told why.
- Jesus told her that 1) her faith had made her well, 2) she should go in peace, and 3) she should "be healed."
- Then, turning back to the daughter, the group received the report that she was dead.
- Jesus said, even when things were not just mostly hopeless from an earthly point of view, but totally hopeless, that the synagogue ruler should "not fear, only believe." That's a request for faith that's above and beyond what most are asked for in the Gospels.
- Jesus allowed only a few in with him, perhaps only those who, at least somewhat, believed.
- Jesus told everyone she was only sleeping when it's obvious from all the responses that all knew she was dead. I don't know why Jesus said this. It seems to me to reduce the marvelous work of God. Was he giving them reason for faith? Was he simply saying she wasn't really gone, she was coming back?
- Jesus simply told the girl to get up and she did.
- Jesus "strictly charged them" not to tell anyone. Why so different from the man freed from the "Legion"? I don't know.
- Jesus kept the excited people from ignoring the girl's need to eat.
I see many things that apply to me here, but I'd like to focus on the additional level of faith Jesus asked of the synagogue ruler and, I think, of Peter, James, and John. All know that people can be very sick and get better. To believe that Jesus can actually cause that takes faith. But all _know_ that no one can be raised from the dead. To ask them to believe that she will live at that point is to ask a whole different level of faith.
It makes me think back to the point Trinity was at in coming to 477 N. Mathilda where the city council had already voted against on something that was irrecoverable. We prayed, perhaps like them because we had nowhere else to turn, and God answered in obvious power.
As I walk with Jesus, I find that I am asked to a further extent to set the facts, knowledge, reality, and nature of this world aside and know Jesus instead. His world is greater than this world and more real than this world. His world does not nullify this world, but it overcomes this world. The more I walk with Jesus, the more I see how huge this is.
Lord, I ask that you will grow my faith. That in many more situations, I will see you, rather than the world. That in the places where I already know what will happen, I will see you instead, and give the situation to you regardless of how much I already know about it. Thank you for your grace to accomplish your work in me. Amen.
Posted on Tue, July 21, 2015
by Brian Landers