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God’s Word for You

Luke 8:49-51 Just keep believing

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, April 19, 2018

49 While he was still speaking, someone came from the synagogue ruler’s house and said, “Your daughter has died. Don’t trouble the Teacher any more.”

If one considers this story from the point of view of the woman with the flow of blood, Jesus’ patience and healing were amazing. He was there at just the right moment to heal her and confirm her faith and her trust in him. But now we return to Jairus. From his perspective, he only wanted to hurry Jesus along to his house to be there before his little girl died—and now, here came the “someone” from the house—a servant, or a relative. There is no doubt that the Someone’s appearance, his unhurried stride and the look on his face told the whole story. She had died. His words were hardly necessary. “Your daughter has died,” he said, tenthneken (τέθνηκεν). This is a verb in the perfect tense, describing a state that has already happened and continues on, unbroken and unchanging, into the future. Jairus’ heart broke.

The Someone added: ”Don’t trouble the Teacher any more.” The word “trouble” is skyllo (σκύλλω), to harass or even to flay. But Jesus didn’t let this word or any part of the Someone’s message hang there. He spoke up right away:

50 But when he heard this, Jesus answered, “Don’t be afraid. Just keep believing, and she will be saved.”

The word I’ve translated “answered” is apekrithe (ἀπεκρίθη), almost always translated as “answered.” It seems out of place here, because it’s used in response to a question, and in this case, there is no question—except that Jairus was asking a silent question in his heart. What will I do now?

Jesus knew; he understood his despair. So even without any words in the air, he answered: Don’t be afraid. Jesus knew that Jairus believed in him, and so he assured him: Keep believing. She’s going to be saved.

51 When he arrived at the house, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s father and mother.

I have often struggled over what to make out of the fact that the woman who suffered from bleeding had been suffering for twelve years, and the age of Jairus’ daughter was also twelve. Does Luke present these facts to us for the sake of irony? It doesn’t seem like that would be a valid reason for including such facts. There is no spiritual significance to the twelfth year of a child’s life, except that Jewish girls had their bat-mitzvah at twelve. These two daughters of Jerusalem had these things in common:

    1, They were believers, from believing homes.
    2. There was no cure for their conditions: the flow of blood on the one hand, and death on the other.
    3, They were both healed by Jesus.
    4a, The girl had known life for twelve years, and then death and rebirth. Rather than her bat-mitzvah being the supreme religious event of this year, it was her resurrection from the dead, and renewal by Jesus the Savior.
    4b, The woman had known suffering for twelve years, then healing and rebirth. Rather than another year of disappointment and medical failure, it was the year of her release from her illness, and renewal by Jesus the Savior.

Jesus limited the group to enter into the house to just six: Two or three witnesses from his disciples (Peter and the brothers John and James) and the girl’s parents. Soon, though, everyone who was there would know what was about to happen. With God, all things are possible. I can almost hear Jairus whispering to his wife: “The Teacher says, Don’t be afraid. Just keep believing, and she will be saved.” The door opened, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself walked in…

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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