Today, we’re concluding our message series entitled “Jesus Offers Hope.” We’ve been looking at Jesus’ encounters with people who were in difficult or hopeless situations. More and more people in our society are struggling with anxiety and worry. One in five adults in the US has an anxiety disorder of one kind or another. What are people anxious about? They’re anxious or worried about the future. Rather than having hope for the future, they’re anxious, worried or even depressed about the future. The hope that Jesus offers is the cure for anxiety, worry and depression.
Today, my message is entitled “When All Else Fails” from Luke 8. In the last message in our series, we looked at Jesus healing a demoniac who had been possessed by thousands of demons. The man was being tormented and was completely hopeless. Yet, Jesus delivered him and set him free. Let’s think for a minute about the downward cycle of hopelessness. Losing hope begins with worry, the sin that Christians joke about. Worry is trap of the enemy to render you ineffective in life and can ultimately be fatal.
Matthew 6:31 (ESV) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
These are the words of Jesus, they are a command us today. Do not be anxious or worry about tomorrow or whether your needs will be met. When we sin by worrying, we are not trusting God. Unrepented sin gives Satan a strong hold in your life. Repeated worry and anxiety leads to the anxiety disorders we’ve talked about and is highly correlated to depression. A depressed person is not just worried that something bad may happen tomorrow, a depressed person is convinced that tomorrow will be bad. When depression gains a stronghold in a person’s life, they often struggle with life- controlling addictions such as drugs, alcohol and sex-related disorders. The end of the road of hopelessness is death, either from addictions or suicide. In the last 10 years, the US suicide rate is up 19% and in Missouri it is up 36%. No matter, where a person is at in the downward cycle of hopelessness, Jesus can heal.
Hebrews 6:19-20 (ESV) We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf …
Faith and hope in Jesus gives us a sure anchor for our souls and minds. The hope that Jesus offers is a hope for both this life and the next. So, let’s take a look at a story of Jesus’ encounters with two people in hopeless situations. These stories take place immediately after Jesus returns from freeing a man from thousands of demons. In them we see Jesus’ authority over demons, sickness and death. The first instruction God wants to give us is to …
Jesus came to this earth to bring healing of every kind to us, including physical healing. Sickness is the result of the curse of sin in our world. It will not be completely eradicated until Jesus returns. Yet, Jesus showed us that the power of God’s kingdom is breaking into our present age with healing for physical illness.
Luke 8:40 (ESV) Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.
Crowds followed Jesus everywhere. The people wanted to hear His teaching and to be physically healed of their sicknesses. In that crowd were two people who needed healing, a man and a woman.
Luke 8:41-42 (ESV) And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him.
First we see that Jairus, a Jewish leader came seeking Jesus’ help. He fell at Jesus’ feet in worship and begged Jesus to come help him. His only daughter, just 12 years old, was dying from some type of sickness. The situation was dire, time was of the essence. And many others in the crowd were pressing around Jesus, seeking to get His attention for them and their problems.
Luke 8:43 (ESV) And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.
There was another person in the crowd, in great need, a woman. Although her condition was not life-threatening, it was life-altering. She had been struggling with her issue for 12 years, just as long as Jarius’ daughter had been alive. This particular issue made her unclean, according to Old Testament law. That meant that she should not be out in public with other people and definitely not touch anyone, for that would have made them unclean. Not only was there a social stigma with her condition, she had used up all her money on doctor’s help to no avail. So, she now was financially destitute. And here she was, in the middle of the crowd, seeking to get close to Jesus. Seeking to come to Jesus for healing.
As human beings, we need healing in many areas. We often need physical healing in our bodies. Some cases are minor and short-lived while others are major and may have been ongoing to a long time. Many struggle today with mental and emotional issues that need Jesus’ healing touch to bring wholeness and health. God desires for you to come to Jesus for every problem that needs a healing touch.
What about doctors and medicine? It’s not a question of Jesus or doctors. God, by His grace, has given wisdom to the medical field to heal many things. Jesus works in and through doctors and can heal when all else fails. Every Sunday, we have an opportunity at the end of the service for healing prayer, as well as other issues. Take advantage of that for yourself and your family. Do you know of someone who has a serious medical issue? Invite them to come to church and receive prayer for healing. Although God can and does heal through distant prayer, most of the healings of Jesus involve touch. The healing power of God most readily works through laying on of hands and prayer.
Will everyone without exception be healed? No, there are many reasons why people may not be healed. Sometimes, it takes multiple prayers over a period of time. Yet, many have been healed and if we bring more people for prayer, we will see many more healed. God wants to heal people, we need to bring them to church for Jesus to heal.
So, now for the next few verses, our story will concentrate on the woman with the bleeding disorder.
Luke 8:44 (ESV) She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.
A parallel passage in Mark 5 tells us what the woman was thinking as she approached Jesus in the crowd. She was thinking, if I can just get close enough to touch his garment, I will be healed. So this frail woman pressed through the crowd, probably ignoring various voices shouting unclean. She ignores all the rules about not touching others and reaches out to touch the bottom of Jesus’ robe. As her fingers touch the robe, she senses that she has been healed.
Luke 8:45-46 (ESV) And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
Jesus immediately knew that something had happened in the spiritual realm. He knew that healing power had been transmitted from him to the woman. Now, it’s important to note that there were many people touching Jesus, probably other sick people, but something was different about the touch of this woman.
Luke 8:47-48 (ESV) And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
The woman came forward in response to Jesus’ question. She gave witness to how she had touched Jesus in faith and knew that she had been immediately healed. Jesus refers to her as daughter, she was now part of God’s family. It was her faith in Jesus that made her well. In fact, the literal Greek of the verse reads “Your faith has saved you.” She now can go in peace, no longer unclean, but healed. She reached out and touched Jesus by faith.
The key to healing is to come to Jesus and touch Him by faith. Now, Jesus is no longer physically on this earth, how do we touch Him? We touch Jesus by reaching out to Him through prayer. We touch Jesus by being prayed for by believers with the spiritual gift of healing. We touch Jesus by being anointed with oil in the name of the Lord according to James 5.
What kind of faith is required? It is faith that Jesus is both able to heal and that He will heal you. God gives that kind of faith as a gift to those who earnestly seek Him. Sometimes the faith is in the person who is praying for the sick person. The best way to build your faith, either to be prayed for or to pray for someone else, is to mediate and pray over Scriptures that speak of healing. Faith comes through hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord.
Let’s now turn back to the story of Jairus, whose daughter was dying.
Luke 8:49 (ESV) While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.”
Jesus’ interaction and healing of the woman with the bleeding issue took some time and delayed Jesus’ trip to visit Jairus’ daughter. You can imagine the thoughts going through Jairus’ mind. If only Jesus had come quicker, she would not have died. The thought of his only daughter was filling his mind with anguish and fear.
Luke 8:50 (ESV) But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”
Jesus spoke to Jairus with the important words, “Do not fear, only believe.” You see, fear is the opposite of faith. Fear looks into the future and sees bad things. Fear looked into the future and for Jairus saw his daughter in a coffin. Jesus instructs him to not fear, but believe, have faith. And if he does that, then his daughter will be well or literally in the Greek, will be saved.
Luke 8:51-53 (ESV) And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.
Jesus travels to the house and takes only three of his closest disciples and the parents of the girl into the room where her body lay. Jesus wanted the room to be full of people of faith, not doubters or mockers. Friends and family were already around the house mourning her passing. When Jesus said that she was merely sleeping, they all laughed at her. Jesus knew that the girl was dead, but in the Bible, death for a believer is often referred to as sleep. For death for a believer is not final, they will awaken to eternal life as from sleep.
Luke 8:54-56 (ESV) But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.
Jesus touched the dead girl, he took her by her hand and gave the command, Child arise. The Scripture says that her spirit returned. At death, you spirit departs your body and goes, either to heaven or hell. In this case, at Jesus’ command her spirit returned to her body and she came back to life. The parents were amazed. Jesus told them not to tell others, lest He be totally swamped by crowds. The father of the girl had obeyed Jesus, he had refused to fear and put his faith in Jesus and His healing power.
We must be very clear that worry and fear are the enemies of faith. Worry and fear will keep you from many blessings that God has in store for you, including physical healing. Some will say, well, I just can’t stop worrying and being afraid. Jesus never instructs us to do anything that He won’t give us the power to do. Jesus commands to Jairus are His commands to us this morning “Do not fear, only believe.”
This morning, we are applying this specifically to physical healing, but it applies to every difficult situation in life. When you are in difficulty, make a choice to not fear, but to trust and believe in God. Believe that God has all power and He is bigger than your difficult situation.
Today, we’ve looked at two hopeless situations. A woman who had been sick for twelve years and there was no remedy in the natural. Second was a man with an only child, who was now dying and there was nothing that the doctors could do. When all else fails, we must do three things.
Build your faith to believe that God can and will heal others physically, as we pray for people in church. Bring the physically sick, those who have problems of all kinds, and encourage them to come forward for prayer. As we seek Jesus as the answer for every situation, we will see God do great things.