Two Desperate Beggars put Christ on Display (Matthew Sermon 32 of 151)
September 01, 2002 | Andrew Davis
Incarnation, Deity of Christ
We look now at a marvelous account of the power of Jesus Christ at work in the lives of two people, two desperate beggars whose neediness puts Christ on display. Now, the 20th century and on into the 21st century, was a great century of human achievement, of human power. There's many examples I could take of this but I'm thinking of a challenge that was put before the American people in May of 1961, by President John F. Kennedy, that we should, before the decade was out, put a man on the moon and return him safely back to earth. It was quite a challenge when you stop and think about it. It was mere six decades after Orville and Wilber Wright had flown the first heavier-than-air craft. So in just a short amount of time, we were going to put a man on the moon and return him back. That was an incredible challenge. You've heard of the expression 'reaching for the moon', in effect we were reaching for the moon. Could we do it? It was ambitious. Kennedy challenged us to put all of our scientific and economic resources behind the project. You know what happened on July 20th, 1969, at 2:56 AM Greenwich Mean Time: Neil Armstrong came out of the lunar module, and landed on one eighth of an inch of lunar dust and said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." This is an incredible achievement. After that, a saying came into the American expression: If we can put a man on the moon surely we can do such and such. If we put a man on the moon surely we can cure the common cold. If we can put a man on the moon, surely we are able to defeat poverty. If we can put a man on the moon, surely I can balance my checkbook. If we can put a man on the moon, we can do anything. There's a sense of human possibility, a sense of human power. We can do anything if we put our mind to it, if we get our resources marshaled, there's nothing that would oppose us.
The time of the 20th century and onto the 21st is a great testimony to human achievement and power. Yet for all of that, we are still weak and powerless, are we not? We cannot change the weather, we cannot stop a hurricane from devastating the state. We can't stop our own bodies from getting sick or dying. We can't stop ourselves from sinning in certain ways that we've pledged never to sin in that way again. Nations can't stop hating one another and going to war. We can't stop fighting, we can't stop being divisive. And more than anything, we can't stop dying, for we are truly powerless, in the ultimate sense of the word.
I think the scripture that we're looking at today demonstrates in a marvelous way human powerlessness. We look at a man like Jairus who was a successful,powerful leader, in Capernaum, but powerless to save his daughter from dying and powerless to raise her from the dead once she had died. Secondly, we look at a woman subject to bleeding for 12 years, powerless to do anything about her condition. Both of them knew it and both of them knew where to go — they knew to go to Jesus, because Jesus is the powerful one. Our biggest obstacle in the spiritual life is our own sense of our powerfulness. Our biggest obstacle is pride and a sense of what we can do, and as long as there's some option in our hand that we hold stock in, as long as there's something there that we can try, God will say, "Go ahead, try it. And when you've exhausted that come back to me." The Apostle Paul was under great pressure in Asia, far beyond his ability to endure so that he despaired even of life. Indeed in his heart, he felt the sentence of death he said, "But this happened so that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead." How hard it is for us to let go of that white-knuckled grip on our own ability, our own power, and let God show His power in our weakness. That's what this story is all about —beggars whose powerlessness and weakness put Christ on display. The essence of the kingdom of heaven for us is a matter of spiritual begging. We've seen this time and again. In Matthew Chapter 5:3, Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount, saying, "Blessed are you spiritual beggars, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven." If you're willing to come to me and beg, I'll give you the kingdom. We have here in this account two totally weak, powerless, human beings, a man and a woman coming to Jesus as destitute beggars. One of them powerless to save his daughter, the other one powerless to cure herself. As we've seen before, in Matthew, we will see Christ's awesome power over disease and His power over death, but we'll also see some other attributes of Christ, we're going to see His accessibility, we're going to see that He was touchable, we're going to see that He was impartial in addition to being powerful.
Jesus is Accessible
Let's look at the first, Jesus is accessible. Jesus was truly God come near. He was accessible. You could come close to Him, you could bring your problems to Him. The Scripture testifies to us very plainly that God is transcendent. He's above all things. We have come to learn a great deal about outer space since the Apollo space program. We have a sense more than we ever did before of the immensity of space, and space testifies to God's immensity, for He says, "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" Solomon, when he dedicated the temple said, "Heaven, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this temple that I have built." God is truly immense. Isaiah says in Chapter 40: 22, of God, "He sits enthroned above the circle of the Earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in." Our God is absolutely immense. His power dwarfs any problem you brought in with you today. He's an immensely powerful God. And yet for all of that, God desires to be very close to us. He wants you to touch Him, and he wants to touch you. The tangible proof of that is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The fact that He took on flesh and blood, the fact that He became a human being, that He entered the world, John 1:14 says, “The word [that's Christ] became flesh, and made His dwelling among us.” The Word made His dwelling, literally pitched His tent, among us. He went through the things that we go through.
In Matthew, speaking of Mary, the angel said, “She will give birth to a son and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, ‘The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son and they will call Him Immanuel. Which means, God with us.’” Jesus is God with us. When He took on a human body, He became God imminent. God with us, God accessible, God touchable, God moving through us.Christ lived and moved and had His being right in the middle of his people, He breathed the same air that they breathed. He saw the same orange sunsets that they saw, He shook the same dust of the desert off His clothes. He filled his stomach with the same barley loaves and fish from the sea of Galilee that they ate. He walked with them. He was among them.
Jairus had a desperate plight didn't he? He had a dying daughter. Verse 18-19, in Matthew 9 says, "While He was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before Him and said, 'My daughter has just died, but come and put your hand on her and she will live.'" Jesus got up, and went with him, and so did his disciples. Jairus was a powerful man, he was the Synagogue ruler there in Capernaum. He had a great deal of authority and power. He was well-respected in his community. He was probably almost certainly a Pharisee because I don't think you could have gotten to that level in Capernaum without being a Pharisee. What do I mean when I say that his plight was desperate? Desperate in that he had nowhere else to turn, he had a dying daughter. She was about to die, when he first came to Jesus. He was desperate because there was no other option. There was no other way that she could be saved, so he was willing to risk his reputation, he was willing, I believe to enter a tax collector’s house for the text indicates that Jesus was still reclining at table at Matthew's house when Jairus approached him. Jesus was still there at that feast with the tax collectors and the sinners. No other Pharisee would have gone in that house, but Jairus was desperate and he was willing to risk the loss of his reputation. He was willing to risk it all. The Pharisees had probably already blacklisted Jesus and they probably blacklisted anybody who went to talk to Him as Jairus intended to. But Jairus did more than that. He went and knelt before Him. He prostrated himself before Jesus and begged him to come. He was desperate because this was his daughter. A 12-year-old girl, the apple of his eye, he loved her and didn't want her to die. There was no where else he could turn, so he went to Jesus, he risked his reputation. He threw dignity to the wind and he prostrated himself before Jesus. Desperate need makes us single-minded when it comes to Jesus Christ.
People despise something called “foxhole religion.” You know what I'm talking about. You get out there in the battlefield, the shells are blowing up all around you, and all of a sudden you find religion. You turn your life over to Christ, because you think you're never going to get out of this thing alive. Let me ask you a question, why do we despise that? Except perhaps that we hear that people later turn back away from it, I suppose. But it's desperate need that brings us to Christ in the first place. We don't come to Jesus and say, "You know, I've got my life basically together, but if you would just add something to me, I would sure appreciate it." Instead, you come and say, "I'm going to face you before you on Judgment Day, and I am a sinner, and there is nothing I can do to save myself, I'm desperate. Help me, save me." It's desperation that makes you single-minded about seeking Jesus Christ.
In Pilgrim's Progress Christian leaves the City of Destruction with his fingers in his ears calling out, "Life, life, eternal life”, and the townspeople stand around mocking him. His own family begs him to come back, but he will not listen. He's desperate and single-minded for salvation. I don't despise foxhole religion if it's genuine. If people genuinely, in the midst of their distress, turn as that thief on the cross did and realized, “I’m a dying man and I can't stand before God without a savior.” Jairus was desperate and he turned to Jesus. He had a single-minded faith. He knew that Jesus had power to heal. He would not have risked all of this, if he didn't have some faith in Christ, but his faith was somewhat limited in that he asked Jesus to get up and come with him. You remember that the Centurion said, “You don't need to go anywhere Jesus. Just stay where you are, and say the word and my servant will be healed.” But Jairus said, "No, please come and put your hand on her and she will live."
Here we come face-to-face with a problem of Biblical interpretation. I don't want to hide it from you, but I can't go into great detail. The issue has to do with what we call the Synoptic problem. The Synoptic Gospels see the life of Jesus from the same perspective. They gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. John is obviously very different in the approach that it takes to Jesus' life, but in Matthew, in Mark and Luke, you're going to get similar accounts of the same things in Jesus' life, but they're each going to come at it in a little bit different way. It's only a problem for we who believe that the scriptures are perfect. For those that are willing to say that the scriptures are a human document with errors and all those kind of things, then it's not a problem. But for we who think that the Gospel of Matthew was a perfect record of the life of Jesus, and the Gospel of Mark is a perfect record life of Jesus, and the Gospel of Luke a perfect record of the life of Jesus, you start running into difficulties when you compare the stories one to another. The fullest story of Jairus and his daughter comes from Mark and Luke, not from Matthew. Luke 8 says, “A man named Jairus, a ruler of the Synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet pleading with Him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about 12 was dying." Do you see the difference? In Matthew's account she's dead already. In verse 49-50 of Luke 8, it said that while Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the House of Jairus, the synagogue ruler, and said, "Your daughter is dead. Don't bother the teacher any more." Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid, just believe and she will be healed." That's the full account. And so it really happened in stages, when Jairus first came to Jesus, she was just dying, but before he even got to the house, she was dead. We've seen before in Matthew, that Matthew constantly reduces or decreases the number of words that he uses to give the miracle accounts. The reason is he wants to give as many different miracles as he can to give us a sense of Jesus' power, His omnipotence. So what he does is he basically takes the point that Jairus ended up at before Jesus went to his house and makes it the initial request. The way I would say it is this, that his faith was enough to believe in a healing and then he had to be talked into believing for a resurrection. But in the end, the request is the same. Please come and heal my daughter. Raise her up because she's dead. And in the end, he had to believe for not just a healing, but for a resurrection.
The gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke leave out many things. They don't add anything that's not true, but they leave out many things. The Apostle John said in his account in John's Gospel, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs besides the ones I've written in this book.” As a matter of fact, if everything were written, I suppose the whole world couldn't contain all the books that there would be describing the life of Christ, so all of them shortened to some degree. I would love to read all the accounts of the miracles, because there are many summary statements where huge communities came to Jesus and He healed them all. I'd like to have thorough treatment of each one of those miracles. We'll get it in heaven. But right now, we have to go with the condensed account that Matthew gives us. But the bottom line in this interaction, is that Jesus is accessible, He's reclining at the table, He's enjoying himself at Matthew's feast, and Jairus comes and interrupts Him. He comes and says, "Get up and come to my house, and Jesus humbly stoops at that moment to Jairus’ need and to his weakness, and He gets up and goes with him.
Jesus was truly the servant of all. He had no office hours. It’s been challenging me, because I do have office hours and I'm thinking about how I should live in this way. How can I be as accessible as Jesus? He seemed to have no personal agenda for a day, except to serve His father and to serve those who came to interact with Him. In Mark 9:35, Jesus called the twelve disciples and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last and the servant of all." Philippians 2:5 and following says, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a Cross.” That's the savior that we serve. Servant of all meant that other people's needs were more important than His own desires for that day. As a matter of fact, His desire was other people's needs. He never refused. He never said, "Can't you see, I'm a busy here?" He never rolled his eyes and said, "What! Another healing? It's been a long day, I don't have time for that." He never once did it. Can you ever find a time when somebody comes to Jesus, for some kind of healing or ministry like this, and He refuses? He never said no. We're so selfish aren't we? We pass every demand every request on our time through the filter of what we like and dislike, whether we want to do it or don't want to do it. It's always me first and I'll see if I can fit into this request. Jesus never thought that way. He got up and went, He was accessible.
Jesus is Touchable
Secondly, we see that Jesus is touchable. In verse 20-21, a woman who'd been subject of bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak. She said to herself. "If I only touch his cloak I will be healed." This woman had a desperate physical plight, constant bleeding. Mark gives a fuller account. In Mark 5:24-29 it says ,”Jesus went with him [Jairus]. A large crowd followed and pressed around Him and a woman was there who had been subject of bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet instead of getting better, she only grew worse. 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." And immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." This woman probably, we can't be sure, but probably had some kind of chronic bleeding from the womb, and she had suffered, it says, much from doctors. We live in the City of Medicine[Durham,NC], and we might say, "Well if she had been under our care, we would have done much better, but if you say that you're missing the point of the story. The doctors did everything they could for her and they couldn't heal her. Actually, she only got worse. Luke, the physician, didn’t mention this in his book. I find that interesting. But Mark is bold to say that the doctors didn't help her at all. You can imagine if it was, in fact, this kind of a bleeding problem, how humiliating and how degrading these treatments would have been. And at any rate, she spent all she had. She had nothing left, she had no money left, no dignity left, no hope left except Jesus. Her physical problem, just got worse and worse, but she had a spiritual problem too. Because of her bleeding, she was ceremonially unclean. The Book of Leviticus 15:25-27, basically says, "A woman with this kind of a constant discharge of blood is constantly unclean until the problem is solved,” so she could not take part in synagogue worship, she couldn't take part in temple worship, and furthermore, anybody who touched her, couldn't either. She was like walking unclean-ness all the time which is also a picture of spiritual unclean-ness before God. There's a verse in Isaiah 64 which is familiar to you. Isaiah 64:6 says, "All of us, all of us, have become as one who is unclean and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags in the sight of God." The word that Isaiah uses there would be similar to the rag that the woman used to care for her problem. That's what our righteous acts look like to God, apart from Jesus Christ. Do we hope to stand up in front of God and say, "Yes, but look at all the good things I've done."? He sees a pile of filthy rags. On that basis we will never be saved, and so her uncleanness represents all of our uncleanness. All of us, like one who is unclean. All of us, apart from Christ. Hopeless. But the woman also had an indomitable faith. She refused to be stopped.
The interesting thing about Jesus is that Jesus was so accessible that He became inaccessible. Do you know what I mean? Anybody and everybody came to Jesus. If you were on the outskirts of the crowd, you had no hope of getting close to Jesus. Mark and Luke gave us the clear indication that the crowd is actually almost crushing Jesus as He tries to get to Jairus' house. He can barely walk, that's how many people there are around. And this woman, refused to be stopped. She's pushing and pressing her way through. She doesn't care how many of those people she makes unclean. That doesn't matter to her. All that matters to her is she wants to touch the hem or the tassels of Jesus' garment. In the Greek it says, "She kept saying to herself, she kept saying to herself, 'If I only touch His garment, I'll be healed. If I can only touch those tassel, if I only get there, I'll healed.'" She kept saying it over and over. Pressing through the crowd.
When I was a child, I used to play with magnifying glasses and burnt leaves. You take leaves all day, and then if it's a sunny day, you could concentrate the sunshine down and burn the leaf. Seeing that white hot light gives you a feeling of power. I don't know what it is, but I feel like if you could see in this woman's eyes, it was like that. She was boring in on Jesus' hem, the hem of His garment, the little tassels that were bobbing and weaving as He would push his way through this crushing crowd. Now, what were these tassels? According to Numbers 15, the Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them, 'Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corner of your garments, on the corners of your garment with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at, and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord.'" So it was a memory inducer. They would look at the tassels and remember to obey the law of Moses. Jesus had these tassels. It says right in Numbers 15 that he would have needed to. He was born under the law, so I think he had these little tassels with a blue string in them. She zeroed-in on that, totally focused.
Some commentators say, perhaps even a little superstitiously, that maybe there's a sense of magic. I don't really know, but she knew it was Jesus, and Jesus alone that could heal her. So she presses in and hopes to be healed. I think it's also pretty clear from the account that she hoped to be healed without an interaction. She hoped to be healed anonymously. She hoped to be healed without embarrassment. She just wanted the healing. So she's in there at the hem of the garments down at the bottom. She might have even been crawling through the legs, reaching to grab up for Jesus' hem. She just wants to healing and then she wants to slink off and get on with her life. Jesus is touchable, isn't he? In the days of his life on earth, how many times did he heal people by touching them? We've already seen that he touched the leper, in Matthew 8, when he came down out of the Sermon on the Mount. He touches this filthy leper and cleanses him. He touches Peter's mother-in-law, who's lying in bed with a fever and she gets up. He touches the blind man, He touches their eyes and they can see. He loved to touch people with His healing. And again, from the story of the centurion, we realized He didn't have to do any of it. He could have sat in a chair and just healed the world if He had wanted to. He had that kind of power. But He wanted the interaction, He wanted the touch, so she's not going to get off so easily, she's not going to slink away with the healing.
In the Luke account, it says that the woman was there who had been subject for bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him, touched the edge of His cloak and immediately her bleeding stopped, just like that. As soon as she touches His garment, her bleeding stops immediately. Jesus stops walking and says, "Who touched me? Who touched me?" Leave it to Peter to say, "Lord, the crowd is pressing in on you. I've touched you a few times in the last minute or so. Everybody's touching you." "No, no, no, no, no. Somebody has touched me, for I felt power go out from me." The way the accounts are written, it seems as though the Father healed the woman through Jesus without Jesus' direct knowledge in His humanness. There were some things Jesus didn't know. You don't have to read it that way but I think that's probably what happened. He wanted the interaction though. He said "No, no. Who touched me?" The woman saw she couldn't get away without the interaction so she comes back, and she must have been trembling and terrified. She fell at His feet and in the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." Isn’ that wonderful? Jesus was touchable, but He also wanted to touch her. He wanted that interaction, He wanted that personal contact. The King James version of Hebrews 4:15 says, "We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet was without sin." Jesus is touched by our infirmities, and He wants to touch back, He wants a relationship. Jesus doesn't want to be a theory to you today. I don't know where you're at with Christ. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you, and anything short of that is not saving. He wants an eternal, intimate, face-to-face relationship with you in Heaven. He wanted this woman to stand up and face Him face-to-face, so that He could speak a word of a peace right to her. He wanted to be touched.
Jesus is Impartial
We also see that Jesus is impartial. What does Christ required for this kind of interaction? What does He require? He requires deep-felt personal need. He requires a sense of desperation. He requires that you realize that apart from Christ you are lost, you have no other hope, nowhere else to turn. That's what He requires. And He requires genuine faith that Christ and Christ alone can meet that need. What does He not require? Well, He does not require position, He does not require prestige, possessions or power. These are the things the world clings to. These are the things the world respects and honors. But Luke 16:15 says, "What is highly valued among men is actually detestable in God's sight." There are no disadvantages if you don't have these things, and there are no advantages if you do, before Christ, because He was impartial.
Jairus came, not as a powerful synagogue ruler. He came humble and broken with nowhere else to turn. He didn't come and say, "I'm the synagogue ruler. I command you to come and heal my daughter." He prostrated himself and he begged Him, "Please come." He had positions, possessions, power, and prestige, but they meant nothing to Jesus, and Jairus knew it. Now the woman, the unnamed, anonymous woman, with twelve years of bleeding didn't have position, power, or prestige, possessions. None of it, but she had desperate need and she had faith and that was all that was required. Jesus is truly no respecter of persons. Jesus' enemies said this in Matthew 22:16, "Teacher, they said, 'We know that you're a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men since you pay no attention to who they are.'" That is so true, our God is not to partial. He is not a respecter of persons and there's going to come a day when Jesus will sit down on the throne to judge the world. You will stand before Him, and He will be your judge, "For the Father Has committed all judgment to the Son that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." Jesus will sit on that throne and He will not care what your position, your power, your possessions or your prestige were in this world, it won't matter at all. On that day, all that will count is simple faith in Jesus Christ, simple trust in Him as your Savior. The hymn put it this way, "Come ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus ready stands to save you full of pity, love, and power." The fourth verse says, "Let not conscience make you linger nor of fitness fondly dream. All the fitness He requireth is to feel your need of Him." That’s it. He's impartial.
Jesus is Powerful
But thanks be to God, He's also powerful. Not just accessible, not just touchable, not just impartial, but He is powerful. He's powerful over disease. He looks at that woman and says, "Take heart, be encouraged, daughter. Your faith has healed you." Her bleeding stopped within her, she could feel it was gone. He had healed her. What doctors, what medical science could not do for her, Jesus had done effortlessly. Absolutely effortlessly, He had healed her. Jesus is also powerful to save sinners. How do I get that out of this text? The Greek says, "Jesus turned and saw her, 'Take heart, daughter, your faith has saved you.'" would be a better translation. For healings, Mathew almost always uses the word “therapeua” where we get the word therapeutic. He didn't use that one here. He uses “sōzō”, the saving word. "Your faith has saved you,” would be a good translation here. I don't want to lean too much on it, but I know there's a difference between healing and salvation. There are a lot of people that got healed, some got saved. Do you remember the story of the ten Lepers? Jesus cleansed them all. One of them came back and prostrated himself before Jesus and thanked Him and praised God, and Jesus said to him, "Your faith has saved you." “Sōzō”, the same word. Nine were cleansed, he was saved, and I think that's what happened here. Jesus has the power to save your sins. That's the purpose of all these miracle stories that you may know that you can come to Him with all of your mess, all of your sin, and lay it before Him and He can save you. He's powerful to save sinners.
He's also powerful to rebuke unbelief. First, He had to deal with Jairus. It’s not in the Matthew account, but Jairus, when he received word that she was no longer sick, but now dead, wasn't ready yet, I think, at that moment to say, "I know you can raise her from the dead." Jesus turned and said, "Don't be afraid, only believe." Then he was ready to say, "My daughter has just died. Come and put your hands on her and she will live." Jesus was gentle with him. What about when He gets there? In verse 23, when Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said "Go away, the girl is not dead but asleep." They laughed at Him. Who are these people? These were professional mourners. You say, "What, professional mourners?" Yes. If you were wealthy, you could hire somebody to come and cry at your funeral. Would that minister to you to know that paid people were crying at your funeral? They used to collect their tears in bottles to show that they had done their work well. There was this huge crowd crying and playing the mourning dirge with the flutes. It’s a terrible din and racket, and Jesus said, "Go away and sure don't send a bill to Jairus because she's not dead, she's just asleep." How sincere was their mourning, because at the turn of a hat, instantly, they mock Him and laugh at Him. That's the depth of their mourning. "Get out of here,” Jesus said. Notice that He doesn't do the miracle until they're gone. He rebukes their unbelief. "She's not dead, she's only asleep."
Jesus is powerful over death, isn't He? He has the power to raise a dead girl as though she was merely sleeping. Verse 25 and 26, "After the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took the girl by the hand and she got up." I love Mark's account here. “After he had put them all out, He took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with Him, and they went in where the child was, and He took her by the hand, and he said, 'Talitha, koum.'" “Talitha” means little girl. "Little girl, get up." She opened her eyes. Her spirit returned to her and she was alive. Praise God. Praise God for His power over death, praise God that He can speak to you in the tomb and raise you from the dead, and some day He will. All who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out. That's the power Jesus has over death. Can you imagine Jairus' feelings at that moment? When his little treasure, little 12-year old, opened her eyes and smiled at him? Can you imagine the shock of the professional mourners, knowing they would not be paid that day? They would have to go home because Jesus had risen her from the dead. She was only sleeping in a sense, to Jesus, anyway, only sleeping. Imagine the reputation of Jesus' spreading from Capernaum out, a man who has this kind of power over sin, over disease, over death. A man who is like this — accessible, touchable, impartial, powerful. Imagine His reputation.
What's our application for this? First of all, I want you to feel your powerlessness. Don't be so confident in yourself. Don't look to yourself. We're good at saying, "You know, we have the ability to go to the moon. I can do anything if I put my mind to it." My senior little caption in my yearbook, it said, "No goal is too high if you climb with care and confidence." I didn't know the Lord yet, when I said that. There's some goals that are too high, like salvation. It doesn't matter how careful or how much confidence you have. Let go of your feeling of powerfulness. Come to Jesus as a broken sinner. He is merciful, He's tender-hearted, He's accessible, He's touchable, He's impartial. so come to Christ for salvation. Let go of whatever it is you're holding on to that you think is going to save you on Judgment Day. It's not going to save you; Christ alone will save you. But even if you've already been saved, you already come to faith in Christ, you need to come to Him day after day after day, because we're still weak and powerless. Come to Christ today, again and again. Jesus said, "I'm the vine and you are the branches. Apart from me, you can do nothing."
Second of all, as ministers of the Gospel, we need to imitate Christ in ministry. First, be accessible. Are you interruptible? Could you have gotten up from Matthew's feast or would you have sighed, rolled your eyes a little bit, felt a little fussy? Here's another ministry opportunity. Are you touchable? Are you able to be touched by other people's pain, grief? When I was on a mission to trip in Mombasa, we drove in an air-conditioned van through one of the poorest areas of Kenya. We were surrounded by glass and steel and comfortable chairs, and we rode through in safety and in comfort as we looked at poverty. I wish we'd stopped. I wished we'd gotten out. Sometimes I feel that we, Americans, go through life surrounded by protective cocoons, I guess, and we're not really touchable to the true needs that surround us all the time. And are we impartial? Do we care too much about people's positions, their possessions, their power, their prestige? Do we minister to everybody? More than anything though, we can't imitate Christ's power, can we? We can be accessible, we can be touchable, we can be impartial, but we cannot imitate His power. We need to be instead just clear vessels through which His power operates and does its mighty work.