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In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis

Infinite Power and Intimate Tenderness, Part 2 (Mark Sermon 24)

Series: Mark

Infinite Power and Intimate Tenderness, Part 2 (Mark Sermon 24)

September 04, 2022 | Andrew Davis
Mark 5:35-43
Majesty of God

Pastor Andy Davis preaches on Mark 5:35-43. In the account of Jesus’ interaction with the bleeding woman and Jarius, we see both Jesus’ power over death and his great tenderness and desire for intimacy with his people. 

             

- SERMON TRANSCRIPT  -

Turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 5. We're going to continue our study in the Gospel of Mark with this incredible account. I want to preach today on the infinite power and the intimate tenderness that Jesus Christ displays. I've meditated on those themes in God for a long time. Two verses in Isaiah 40 capture the staggering combination of God's infinite power with his gentle tenderness for his people.  Isaiah 40:11-12, “He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, over with  the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” The same God that measures the waters of the oceans and the seven seas in the hollow of his hand. And who, later in that chapter, marks off the dimensions of the heavens with the breadth of his hand?  It also says, "Carries the lambs, tenderly in his arms and gently leads those that have young." The same God.  

I. God Majestic Over Us, Yet Close to Us

Now, in our text today, we're going to see Jesus Christ picturing both aspects of God. We're going to see him displaying infinite immeasurable power in raising this little 12-year-old girl from the clutches of the monster known as death. But he does it with the gentle touch of his hand, an intimate tenderness. As he touched her, he spoke these words, "Talitha koum." Talitha, as I'll discuss later, the etymology of it as “little lamb.” Little lamb. Jesus, just in saying that, fulfills these marvelous words of Isaiah 40, “He tends his flock like a shepherd, and he gathers the little lambs in his arms.” We're pondering a God who is infinitely majestic over us and yet desires intimate closeness with us.

The infinite majesty of God is taught in the Bible from the very first verse of the Bible. In the beginning, “God created the heavens in the earth.” Almighty God is infinitely beyond. He soars beyond anything we can possibly comprehend. The boundless scope of the nature that he has created confirms this, the ocean, which stretches out to the horizon as far as the eye can see, unfathomably deep roaring with power. God made it. The towering mountain ranges peak after peak, dwarfing us, looming over us with their brooding magnificence, the limitless reaches of outer space, which has no boundary, stretches to infinity in every direction from our tiny planet.  It is the power of God, creating all of that saying, "Let there be," and there is. It's the majesty of God.

And yet, the intimate closeness of God, the Bible reveals a God that is closer to us than we can possibly imagine.  We are dependent on him every moment for our very existence as Paul said in Acts 17, God is not far from each one of us “for in him, we live and move and have our being.” More than that, God yearns to have a close relationship with us, a love relationship with us. He wants to love us. He wants us to love him moment by moment. He created humanity in his image with the capability to do that, the capacity to have a relationship, a love relationship with God. Therefore, this intimate relationship with God is truly what life is all about.  As Jesus said in his prayer to his heavenly Father in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” But sin ruptured that intimacy. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, if you read the account, they immediately sought to hide from God. With sin, a terrible barrier has been erected between us and God. And in our sin and in our misery, we live our lives distant from God.


"The intimate closeness of God, the Bible reveals a God that is closer to us than we can possibly imagine.  We are dependent on him every moment for our very existence..."

God seems distant. To some, he seems literally non-existent. Suffering people cry out to God for relief, and they seem to get no answer. They thought that the lack of an answer proved that God doesn't exist or that God doesn't care. But the problem is sin. The problem between us and God is sin. As Isaiah 59 says, verse 1-2, "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” Because of our sins, our intimate relationship with God is severed, destroyed. God is distant from us relationally, ready to judge us for our sins, not seeking intimacy with us, apart from atonement for our sins. 

The incarnation of the Son of God is God's answer to that problem that we cannot solve. In Christ, we have God drawing near to us. Christ is Immanuel, God with us. By his incarnation, Christ has come to live among us in very close intimacy.  John, 1:14, “The word, Jesus Christ, became flesh and made his dwelling among us. And we have seen his glory. Glory is of the only son from the Father full of grace and truth.” The Greek says he literally “pitched his tent among us,” hearkening back to the days of the patriarchs, their tent dwelling days. He came in our midst and pitched his tent right in the middle of us.  God, in Jesus, came to draw near to us seeking an intimate relationship with us. He is near to us in our misery, in our sin, in our alienation from God, in our suffering, our diseases, even in our death. All of Christ's ministry is to achieve one end, a reconciled relationship between us and God, between a Holy God and sinful humanity.The restoration, the perfection of intimate closeness, as it says in I Peter 3:18, “for Christ died for sins, once for all the righteous, for the unrighteous to bring you to God.” Meditate on those words. That's the work of atonement, to bring us to God. Therefore, in II Corinthians 5:20, we are told that we have been given a message and a ministry of reconciliation,"We are, therefore Christ's ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf be reconciled to God.”

Reconciliation is a restored relationship with God, intimacy with God. I think Jesus's parable of the Prodigal Son perfectly gives me a picture of that from the father's point of view. As this sinful son comes back, trying to get a job on his father's plantation working with him, it ends with [Luke 15:20], “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”We sinners should meditate on that much. That is our father running to us, throwing his arms around us and kissing us while we're still stinking of pig manure and covered with filth, just recently come out of rebellion. This is what our father does.  Jesus's ministry is all designed to repair the breach between sinful human beings and a Holy God.  In Christ, therefore, we have the perfection of intimate tenderness but also infinite power. He was compassionate toward broken sinners. He showed them astonishing tenderness. He also displayed stunning power to heal their diseases and even to raise the dead.

Let's talk about the context of today's account. We're spending two weeks on one lengthy account, two encounters that Jesus has with two desperate people, a desperate father with a dying daughter, and then a desperate woman with an incurable illness. They're united together in Jesus' display of tenderness and power. It began last week as we saw and continues this week with a man named Jairus, a synagogue ruler, a powerful man, well connected with a Jewish religious leaders of the day, but a desperate man whose precious little daughter is dying, his only daughter. He has nowhere else to turn. Abandoning all restraint and all decorum, he comes and throws himself down on the ground before Jesus and begs him. Verse 23, “My little daughter is dying. Please, come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” Now, we know from other accounts, Jesus could easily have healed her from a distance. Occasionally, he did that, but generally not. He wanted intimacy. He wanted relationship. So in humility, he gets up and goes with this sorrowing man, surrounded by a crushing crowd. On route, the second desperate person approaches him, a woman suffering from a chronic bleeding problem, heard about Jesus's healing power, a kindled hope and faith in her heart.  Mark tells us her sad story of seeking healing. Verse 26, “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had. Yet, instead of getting better, she only grew worse.” She sought to be healed from Jesus without any interaction at all. I don't mean to disparage her at all. But she seems to be a miracle shoplifter, like kind of a smash and grab job. Come up behind, touch the hem of the garment, and get out of there quick.

Verse 27- 28, “When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’" Her healing was instantaneous. She felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. But Jesus felt in his body that the power of God had flowed through him to someone in that crushing crowd, someone different than all the others. Verse 30, “At once, Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’” 

As we have noted, Jesus had come into the world, not merely to be a dispenser of miracles, like a miracle-vending machine, a pipeline of impersonal blessings. You need to know that God and his goodness does that every day. He causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil. In his goodness, He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous to unbelievers, atheists, whoever. He's an impersonal goodness vending machine, and they never think to thank him.  Jesus didn't come to do that. He wanted an interaction with this woman. Verse 32, “Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.” The surging massive humanity was not his focus at that moment. One person in that crushing crowd was his focus, one desperate sinner. He wanted to do more than just heal her body, He wanted to save her soul. Verse 33:34, “then the woman knowing what had happened to her came, fell at his feet, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. And he said to her daughter, ‘Your faith has saved you.’" The Greek said “saved you” though healing is involved. “Go and peace and be freed from your suffering.” But in the intervening time that Jesus spent with this woman, Jairus's daughter died. The flickering candle of her life went out.

 II. The Terrible Crisis of Faith

This brings us to this man's terrible crisis of faith. It begins with the faithless bearers of bad news, verse 35, “While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. Why bother the teacher anymore?” These messengers are curt, they’re unfeeling. They crush Jairus with this devastating news, with the delicacy of a sledgehammer, "Your daughter is dead.” Behind this blunt news is a significant measure of unbelief. Why bother the teacher anymore? In other words, there's nothing he can do. Everyone knows death is final. It's the end of the line. In our technologically advanced world, we have the advantage here in the Raleigh, Durham area of being surrounded by some of the best doctors, nurses, medical practitioners in the world, state of the art.  You could picture them working in an emergency room on a person who comes in right on the edge of death. You can imagine all of the frantic activity and the commands and the energy and people running in and out of the room and bringing equipment or medicines or techniques, whatever's needed to try to save this person's life.  But when the physician in charge declares that the individual is dead, all of that stops. Time of death is noted. All that activity, then people slow down. They walk. There's nothing more that can be done. We know that. It's finished. That's how these messengers were. That's how it is in almost every case. They believe there is nothing Jesus can do.

Death is the final enemy, the monster no one can defeat. Along with this is the great sorrow of a dead child. Few things  are sadder than the funeral of a child. Death is hard in any case, but the agony is greater when someone's young, a teenager or younger child. It's a sense of rage, a sense of injustice and fairness, like something was stolen.  In 1741, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon for a young teenager named Billy Sheldon who died in their community. The name of the sermon and the funeral sermon was “Youth Is Like a Flower Cut Down.” Later with many tears,  Edwards revised that same sermon and used it to preach the funeral of his own beloved daughter, Jerusha. The message said, in part these words, "Youth maybe liken to a beautiful wildflower growing in a field. And their death is like the sudden cutting of the flower in the stem. Youth is an age wherein people are commonly full of hopes and promises to themselves of the good and the prosperity that they shall see in this world.  They're just entering upon the stage of this world. And they promise themselves much that they shall see and enjoy afterwards. And their parents and their friends are also ready to promise themselves much future comfort in them and are full of hope in seeing them settled.”  He told the young people at the funeral to come and look on the face, the dead face of this young boy, Billy Sheldon, "Come and look at him. Do you see how cold and gray is his power, how stripped of color his cheeks, like when a wildflower is cut and soon droops and withers and loses all of its beauty in its vitality, how instantly this happens.”  

So it was with Jairus's daughter, the end of the account. We're told that she's 12 years old. You picture her happy, energetic, promising life and joy to her parents, still happily hugging her beloved father, kissing his cheek with tender affection. He imagined the years ahead.  Soon, she would be of an age to be married, bear them grandchildren, perhaps even a beautiful little granddaughter to kind of take her place and then jump up in his arms and kiss his cheeks. He's imagining this. But suddenly, sickness gripped her, and it just got worse. We don't know much about the sickness, maybe she had a fever or something like that burning up. As the days passed, she only got worse, not better. Her mother nursing her, caring for her, patting her, fevered brow with a cloth. Not much anyone could do. Parents crying out to God for healing, but to no avail. Instead of getting better, she grew worse. But Jairus had one hope. He'd heard about this healer, Jesus, and he went to find him. It's a last hope for his daughter, Jesus wasn't there. He'd gone across the Sea of Galilee. There was no no telling when he was going to come back.  It seems he just stood there and waited by the shore, waited for Jesus to come because in the account, as soon as he has got back from the gatherings, he's there right away. With urgent anguish, he comes and throws himself on the ground before him and Jesus gets up and humbly goes with him. 

But on route, we have this encounter with the woman and the bleeding and all of that. And that must have taken some time because by the time they get back to Jairus's home, the funeral rituals are well on.  They're well established, so it must have been a while. Then the messengers come with that cold blunt message, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?" Now, what did Jairus feel? We don't know, but it's not hard to imagine, waves of dark grief, sorrow. What he dreaded has now happened. And perhaps some anger at the crowd. Jesus could have gone faster. If it weren't for the crowd. Maybe he's even frustrated with the woman, perhaps questioning Jesus in his priority structure.  And like the men who brought the message, it doesn't seem like his faith is much beyond theirs, “There’s probably nothing more Jesus can do.” His faith in Jesus had reached a crisis level, so Jesus addresses Jairus's faith right away. Verse 36, “Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don't be afraid. Just believe.’" 

In all of the accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all of his encounters with people, Jesus never coddled unbelief. He never excused unbelief. It was never okay to not believe, ever.  Even the most extreme circumstance, like a raging hurricane, professional fishermen in the boat seeing their boat filled with water. Matthew 8: 26, he said, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid? You shouldn't be." Now, we know in the economy of God and salvation and the gospel work, we are justified, forgiven of our sins by faith in Jesus, by simple faith in Christ, not by works. By trusting in Jesus are our sins forgiven. Jesus knew that.  So when any disciple doubts or begins to doubt, it is a big deal. It is a bigger crisis than any fever or any bleeding problem, so he addresses the problem. He speaks directly to Jairus's soul. Literally in the Greek, it's this, “stop being afraid and keep believing.” Stop being afraid and keep believing. Fear and faith are often opposites in the Bible. Jairus needs to beat back his fear by trusting in Jesus.

He did believe, but he needs to keep believing through this, even in the face of our greatest and our final enemy, death itself. Jesus gives an additional promise to help him. Faith feeds on the promises of God. That's where faith comes from, the promises of God. In Luke's gospel, Jesus gives Jairus an additional promise to help feed his faith.  In Luke, 8:50,”Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don't be afraid. Just believe, and she will be healed.’" She will be healed. 


"Faith feeds on the promises of God."

So it is with us. In our greatest trials, God has the power to speak directly to our souls based on the scripture and remind us of things maybe that we had forgotten so that our faith can be fed and strengthened in the midst of the suffering to renew our faith in Christ.  Notice also, and isn't it beautiful again, and again, how beautiful, the serenity, the leadership of Jesus, the majesty of his person, never flustered, never distressed, never not knowing what to do, always in command of the situation. So beautiful. He is the captain of our salvation. That's Jesus. 

III. The Commotion of Unbelieving Grief

So now, we see the commotion of unbelieving grief in the account.  First, Jesus weeds out the crowd, whittles them down quickly, he doesn't want them coming. He filters out his own apostles, nine of them and the disciples, the huge crowd that's following him. Then, just the hangers on, all of them, weeded out. It doesn't let any of them follow, verse 37, “He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James,” the inner three. The inner circle of the 12 apostles was Peter, James, and John, the rest of the apostles are excluded. The disciples are excluded. The huge crowd is excluded. No one else can come. Then, Jesus arrives at Jairus's house. He's confronted by another crowd. But this time, a crowd of noisy mourners, verse 38, “When he came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw commotion with people crying and wailing loudly.”

Jewish funerals back then very different than what we are accustomed to, very different. If you go to a funeral home now for the visitation, everyone there speaks in hush tones. Everybody's whispering and go up quietly and say to the grieving family, "Praying for you," expressing condolences, this kind of thing. I've been to lots of them. That's how it is.  It would not be appropriate for me to wail loudly and express grief at the funeral home. People would be thinking I was out of my mind. But in the first century, this is what they did. People were actually expected to give loud and boisterous voice to their grief and anguish. The more they did, the more they were connected with the family and showing the anguish that they have in reference to this death. They're also expected to tear their clothing in displays of grief.  Now, along with this apparently, there was a class of professional mourns who did this for a living. They would show up and they would do some wailing and grieving for a fee. Hard to believe but there it is. They would bring along musicians, flute players who would play in loud discordant notes to kind of represent in musical tones, the anguish everybody's feeling.  That's what's going on as Jesus comes. Now, these professional mourners are merely actors. They don't have any genuine compassion for the people. They felt no appropriate level of grief for Jairus and his wife. Why do I say that? Well, look at the account. In a short time, they are instantly laughing at Jesus. Where did all the grief go? Where was all the grief? It was fake. It wasn't genuine. Even worse though, they're unbelieving toward Jesus.  Verse 39, “He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’" 

 IV. The Tender Touch of Infinite Power

Jesus is about to show his infinite power in the greatest possible context. Our ultimate enemy, death, will be defeated effortlessly. But he's not going to do it in front of these unbelieving people, so he has to rebuke these fake mourns. He makes this clearest assertion, "She is not dead. The child is not dead, but asleep." Death is like sleep. It's only temporary.  In other words, it is no more difficult for Jesus to raise this girl from the dead than it would be for her parents to wake her up from an afternoon nap. Jesus' resurrection is going to prove this for all time. But the mourner's reaction is pure faithlessness and mockery, verse 40, “They all laughed at him.” They laughed at him, so Jesus clears them all out.

After He'd put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went in where the child was. So picture this, our powerful commander, the master of our souls, going down into the valley of the shadow of death alone to defeat the foe for us.  Now, picture that. I know that there's people with him, but in terms of who's going forth to do the battle, it's Jesus. Now we see the tender touch of infinite power. As I've said, everything Jesus did was for relationship. He could have healed this girl from a distance, no problem, but instead, he wanted to touch her hand with his own hand. He wanted to reach out his hand and take her by the hand. He wanted to display his power nestled in his astonishing tenderness in gentle mercy.


"He wanted to display his power nestled in his astonishing tenderness in gentle mercy."

Verse 41, “He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum," which means, “little girl”, I say to you, get up.” You have the touch and the word. It's beautiful. In Franco Zeffirelli's classic Jesus of Nazareth, it films this encounter with tremendous sensitivity. Jesus goes into her room. There's three square windows, way up high. She's laying flat on the ground on a palette, and sunlight is streaming in through these three little kind of portholes, but mostly the room is shrouded and shadow.  Jesus goes over and kneels down near her. The camera zeros in on Jesus's face. Look on his face and then down on his hand. The hand, just the way it's shot, is covered with light, but there's darkness all around it. Then, he reaches down and takes her by the hand. Instantly, she just sits up and puts her arms around his neck. He hugs her and picks her up. That's how Zeffirelli pictured it. Probably something like that.  Along with that are the words that he spoke, which I've already noted. Only Mark's gospel gives us the Aramaic, “Talitha koum.” Now the word Talitha's translated for us “little girl,” but like I said, etymologically, it means “little lamb.” It's definitely a term of endearment, tender affection for a little girl. Though she was 12 years old and would soon be entering into the duties of adulthood, of motherhood, of marriage and motherhood, still to her parents, probably, especially to her dad, she's a little lamb, but so, it is with him. That's the way it is for Jesus.

This scene is why Christii and I named our daughter Daphne Talitha, because we trusted that Jesus would raise her from the dead spiritually while she lived, which he has through faith in Christ and that he would raise her from the dead physically at the end of the world, which he will. Talitha koum, “little girl,” arise. Instantaneous healing.  Jesus has absolute effortless power over death. Verse 42, “Immediately, the girl stood up and walked around.” She was 12 years old. As with all of Jesus's healings, there's no need for convalescence, no need for rehab or long process of recovering her strength. Her body is as healed as it was before the sickness came. This dark enemy, this powerful implacable, undefeatable foe of the human race, death, Jesus defeats with effortless power. 

After his own resurrection, Jesus will claim absolute power forever over death for all of his people. Then comes worship, verse 42, “At this, they were completely astonished.” Jesus's awesome power is breathtaking. We're going to spend eternity in heaven, completely astonished in wave upon wave upon wave of astonishment. It's never going to end. As he keeps telling you and teaching you things he did, you never knew he did, you'll be on the ground praising, worshipping. Then you'll get up ready for the next wave, completely astonished. This is the essence of worship.

V. “Don’t Tell Anyone”

But then comes this strange command, “Don't tell anyone.” In verse 43, he gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this. Again and again, we see this restriction in these gospel accounts. We must acknowledge this is obviously temporary. How do you know that? Well, it's in the Bible. The Bible's a very famous book. The Holy Spirit inspired this account to be written. Clearly, God wants this story published abroad. There is no restriction now. There's no strict command, “Don't tell anyone.” Actually, we have strict commands to tell everyone. So I just charge all of you this week. Tell this story in the workplace. You're free to do it. 

Then, why did he restrict them? Why this Messianic secret? Why this command? I think it really just comes down to crowd control. They had misunderstandings of the kingdom.  So, it's already crazy. Remember that the whole woman with the bleeding problem, Jesus can't even breathe just because of the healings, but this knowledge would make it more difficult. That's probably the reason. Another interpreter says it's also because Jesus hasn't finished his work over death yet, so the message isn't complete yet. He wants to finish the message by his resurrection from the dead. Then this can get out. That's possible.  After Jesus rose from the dead, he appears to the apostle John in the island of Patmos and in Revelation 1:17-18, he says, "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. I am the living one. I was dead and behold, I am alive forever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and the grave." Isn't that awesome? The message has been completed by Jesus' historical bodily resurrection from the dead.  He also gives one final practical command. Did you notice? He told her parents to give her something to eat. I love that. “Give her something. She hasn't eaten in a while.” I just love it, this show of tender care. He cares for every aspect of life. 

 VI. Lessons

What lessons can we take from this?  First, the way I couched this entire sermon was infinite power and intimate tenderness. Ponder that. Ponder both sides. It is vital for us to realize how powerful Jesus is. There is nothing he cannot do. There is no enemy we face that he cannot defeat. There is no need we have that he cannot meet. He created the universe by the word of his power and sustains it by the word of his power. That's who Jesus is.  He rules the win and the waves. But instead of that making us terrified of him and distant from him, we need to see how tender he is with sinners and with little girls and with women and with weak people. He's so tender with them. “The bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” He is skillfully tender with broken people, perfectly gentle. All of his power, his ministry, his miracles, his teachings, his atonement on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, all of it is toward one end, to bring us to God. 

Do you know him today? Do you know him?  Have you trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you realized he shed his blood on the cross so that you would not have to burn in hell forever and ever as you would deserve to do? So would I if it weren't for the blood shed. He died the death we deserve so that we could live a life with him forever. Do you trust him? Have you trusted in him?

Secondly, this theme of faith versus fear, there is a category of faithless fears that we're all plagued by in life. I've seen it a lot in COVID. I still see it sometimes. I worry about some folks. I can't judge him. I don't know. But I wonder if they're enslaved to some faithless fears. If it wasn't just COVID, it’s just in general. We're all plagued by faithless fears by that, I mean fears, we should not have, fears that faith in the word of God and Jesus should drive out. There are some fears we should have, fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom, fear of what sin might do to my life.  There are certain things we should fear. But there are faithless fears, usually having to do with circumstances, things that go on in life. Are you suffering from any faithless fears today? Jesus says right in this text, "Don't be afraid. Keep on believing. Stop being afraid. Keep on believing. Bring your faith into that fear."

The big lesson of this text must be Jesus' power to raise the dead. That must be the big lesson here. Death is the final enemy, and we have no answer to it. There is no pharmaceutical company, there’s no research hospital that's working on this problem of death. They may be working on not dying in this way or that way or the other way. But death itself stands over all of us. It is the final enemy. Jesus has absolute power over it.


"That must be the big lesson here. Death is the final enemy, and we have no answer to it. ... It is the final enemy. Jesus has absolute power over it."

Think about Revelation 1, “I hold the keys of death and the grave. I was dead, and behold, I'm alive.”Jesus claims to be able to give that power to us. He is going to raise us from the grave. As John 5 28 says, "Do not be amazed at this. A time is coming when all are in their graves will hear his voice and come out,” just like Talitha koum. He won't say that to you. But he'll say like, "Lazarus come forth," something like that. Only you'll come forth in a resurrection body never to die again. He has that power.  In John 11, he says, "I am the resurrection in the life. He who believes in me will live. Even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Like he said to Martha, "Do you believe this? If you believe in Christ, he is resurrection in life.” 

Finally, we have a responsibility to liberate people in this area, this geographical region, from their fear of death. We have the power to do that.  Jesus by his death, Hebrews 2 tells us, destroyed him who holds the power of death, the devil, so that he might liberate or set free those who all their lives are held in slavery by their fear of death. I want to say it comes in two steps. First, if they are lost, if they're dead in their transgressions and sins while they live, they ought to fear death because if they die in that condition, they will spend eternity apart from God in hell. So I want them to be afraid and then flee to Christ. As Newton said in Amazing Grace, "T'was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved." We get to do that with people. We get to help them to fear like they should and then say, "Jesus will relieve those fears through the gospel.” 

 Close with me in prayer.  Father, thank you for the time we've had to walk through incredible account. Thank you for the infinite power and the tenderness of Jesus. I pray that you'd help us to understand what this teaches us about Jesus to draw close to him. I pray for brothers and sisters who have been trusting in Christ for years, but are going through trials that they would be able to draw near to you and allow your words to drive out faithless fears. I pray, Lord, that you would strengthen each of us to be faithful to share this gospel message with people who are lost in our community, lost who need to hear of Christ. And we pray these in Jesus's name. Amen.

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