Faith That Heals -- When the Crowd Laughs -- 01/09/2022
John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus and asked him, "Why do your disciples not fast often like we do?" Jesus tells them, “How can the guests of bridegroom fast when He is with them? People don't pour new wine into old wine skins, if they do the wineskins will burst, the wine will run out and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined."
Jesus in effect tells them, "I am like new wine. You can pour me into your faulty religious practices. I am too dynamic for that. Your old wineskins are useless. I will shatter your expectations and you will be worse off than you are now if you do not accept me to be who I say I am. I am the freshness of new wine; I am the power of new life poured into you!'
As he was saying this, surprisingly, a leader of the local synagogue came and knelt before him. A synagogue leader, who should be happy to be an old wineskin, filled with old wine, comes and kneels before Jesus. Jesus the Messiah, of the house and linage of King David.
Kneeling before Jesus, he lays his problem before the King, "My daughter has just died."
[possible story of the King of Allada - when you bring your problem to the King it is solved]
Then this synagogue open's his new wineskin - the wineskin of faith - expecting Jesus to fill it with new wine. He says, My daughter has just died, but come and put your hand on her and she will live."
Jesus recognizes that this is a divine surprise from His Father, because Jesus taught us this truth,
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
Jesus recognizes the work of His Father who has given the synagogue leader the faith to come and lay his problem before the king with the expectation that King can and will solve his problem.
Because Jesus also said,
John 5:19 (NIV)
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19, NIV)
Jesus clearly sees the will of His Father and He is willing constrained by it and is voluntarily obedient to the Father's next assignment for Him. Jesus got up and went with the synagogue leader and so did Jesus' disciples.
Just then - surprise! - a woman came up behind him and touched the edge of her cloak. This woman had a problem bleeding, this daughter of Abraham, was as good as dead - if she didn't get healed the bleeding would eventually drain all life from her.
The woman said to herself, "If I can only touch his clock, I will be healed. If I can only get to the King my problem will be solved!"
This sick woman, possibly with much difficulty and perhaps in pain, manages to press her way through the crowd that was following Jesus and as Jesus is walking by, not in desperation but in faith, she stretches out her had as far as she can opening as wide as she can her new wineskin of faith and miraculously her fingers brush the edge of Jesus' cloak.
Jesus turns and sees her - can you see the tenderness as Jesus locks his eyes with the eyes of this broken, yet faith-filled, woman. Can you hear the deep love in his voice as he says to her, "Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you." Matthew tells us “The woman was healed at that moment."
What was that moment, it was the moment where in the middle of bustling crowd of folks? It was the moment this broken woman had an intimate moment with Jesus that was more than she could have imagine. It was the moment when she held wide open her wineskin of faith expecting Jesus would fill it with new wine - and he did! Jesus went beyond her expectations. She expected healing, but she was also accepted as Jesus' daughter. Jesus claimed her as his own daughter because His Father had revealed to him the faith given this woman to believe that Jesus is who says he is and can do what he says he can do. Surprise! Daughter of the Lord of Life.
There was more than one daughter to raise from the dead on this day!
Jesus enters the house of the synagogue leader. There are all the sights and sounds of mourning. Certainly, members of the local synagogue were there, neighbors and relatives.
In the biggest surprise of the day, Jesus tells them, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep."
Jesus rocks their commonsense view of reality. Dead is dead and everybody knows it. This Jesus walks in and says, dead is not dead – it is only sleep. Physical death is only a temporary state, it is like falling asleep. Jesus would prove this mightily when he was laid in the tomb as dead as dead could be, but on the third day - Jesus woke up and walked out of tomb completely whole with a glorious resurrection body.
Unsurprisingly, then, as it is today, the crowd laughs, because everybody knows dead is dead not sleep.
In another amazing act of faith, the synagogue leader, at this word from Jesus, puts his unbelieving synagogue members, neighbors and even his own family outside the house. It is obvious that their old wineskins can't take the new wine Jesus is pouring out.
With the unbelievers outside, the synagogue leader, this faithful and loving father, experiences the glory of Lord and the power of King Jesus. In the least surprising event of the whole day, Jesus takes the girl by the hand, and she gets up. It is no surprise at all that when the Lord of Life touches that which everybody knows is dead; that which we know to be true is shatters like a mirror to blow of a sledgehammer – for that which we know is dead beyond all hope - springs to life.
When the Lord of life touches you; you will spring to life. You must! This is what reformed churches call irresistible grace. When the Lord of Life gives us the gift of his life drawing us in faith to him, we are constrained by the will of the Father, and we voluntarily open our new wineskins of faith trusting that Jesus will fill us with himself . . . and he does.
John 14:23 (NIV)
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
This is for us abundant life now and eternal life when we fall asleep and get up in the presence of Jesus.
This is good news for all God's children, but our experience of resurrecting life of Jesus is not limited to the moment of our final sleep. That is essential, but Jesus wants us to experience his resurrecting life right now. If we think it the promise of his resurrecting life only applies to the moment we sleep in death, the we will have a "rest-less" life in this world.
Jesus says to us,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
What is dead or dying in your life? What are you longing to see brought back to life! It could be your marriage. It could be a family relationship. It could be something going wrong in your professional life. Maybe it is deep-seated long-lasting hurt that you just can't seem to move beyond. It could be the suffering in your body or in your mind, or in your heart.
Will you bring it to King Jesus? When we bring our problems to the King they are solved. When the Lord of life touches that which we bring to Him in faith that which is dead must come to life.
What keeps us from bring that which we so desperately want healed and resurrected to Jesus our King. At the root, it is the sin of unbelief. Our old wineskins are full of the reality of the ages - dead is dead and that is that - full stop.
I am not calling us to a simplistic name it and claim it kind of faith that treats God like a fast-food beverage dispenser that gives us what we want on our demand.
I am call us to faith that is the gift of Father, the faith rises up in us. The faith that causes us to bring our issue, whatever, it is and kneel before our King Jesus and say to him, "Look at this Lord, this which is precious to me is dead. But touch it Lord and it will live."
God’s Word calls us to faith that stands firm knowing that Jesus resurrects and heals everything that is dead and dying in his children. In fact our loving Father gives us faith that is willing to keep on asking, seeking, knocking, and trusting. We rest in hope for relief while we have life here, but also, we rest in knowing that our complete healing will come just beyond our sleep, when we wake up at touch of Jesus in his presence forever.
When the crowd laughs, we listen not to them. Rather, we shut the door to our private place with Jesus and listen for his gentle, loving voice speaking to us, “Take heart my daughter, take heart my son, your faith has healed you!”