Sermon Notes 24th Sunday after Trinity, 6 November 2016 Anno Domini
18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. Matt 9:18-26 (KJV) see also Mark 5:41
We may not have considered how we came to know God at the moment of our being born anew into that Royal and Heavenly family. Most of us probably believe that we, by our own meritorious dispositions, decided to turn to God and receive Him as our Lord. We may even believe that God was anxiously awaiting our decision, helpless to affect the outcome. Does this line up with the God described in today’s lesson? The text is about two people who came to Christ out of urgent need, and another who was unable even to consider His Name or Person. None were professed followers of Christ when they came to Him out of their abject need. Let us consider Jairus, the Woman with an Issue of Blood, and the precious little twelve-year-old girl who died while her father sought the Lord’s help; but first, let us review the terms of today’s Collect:
Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity
O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
According to today’s Scripture-based Collect, who alone absolves of sin; and who initiates the saving works needful for our souls? God alone absolves of sin through the benefits of the Redemption made available in His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And who is the sinner? Every man and woman born into this life. While we are yet in our sins, we are as good as dead – and the dead know nothing at all. (see Ephesians 2) We were unable to help ourselves in any way. But when Christ called us forth from the dead, we heard His voice and could not help but respond to it just as did Lazarus. You will recall that Matthew knew nothing of the Lord as he sat at the table of customs; yet, when Jesus called him to “Follow me,” he immediately left his counting and followed Christ. “9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” Matt 9:9 (KJV) The same is true of the other disciples. Sometimes we make too much of a new convert’s lack of familiarity with the Bible and judge them to be of a lesser calling than we ourselves. But if they are called of Christ, it is He that shall teach them all things regarding the things of God.
THE EPISTLE FROM Romans 6:
“22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 6:22-23 (KJV) The sinner, we must admit, can do nothing good in the eyes of God. But when the Holy Ghost places and Anchor in his heart, he cannot resist coming to follow Christ. The lost sinner is paying daily the wages of sin for he is already dead awaiting the summons to life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE OLD TESTAMENT passage from Malachi echoes truths parallel to those of the Gospel Text:
“16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Mal 3:16-18 (KJV) “1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” Mal 4:1-3 (KJV)
The same Lord who healed the woman with an issue of blood, and restored to life the little daughter of Jairus. He acted in His same nature as “the Sun of righteousness with Healing in His wings!” He heals not only the infirmities of the body, but the desolation and depravity of the soul.
THE GOSPEL TEXT From Matthew 9:18-26 and Mark 5:21-43
The world may be divided into two distinct groups – those immense numbers who do not believe, and those very few who do believe, and believe unto salvation. The unbelievers provide no venue for God’s miracles. They separate themselves from the grace of God by their unbelief. Those who believe invite the Hand of God to work according to His will, even if that will supersedes the Natural Law (which the Maker of Natural Law is able to do). Many are conformed to that image of God that He intended for them by being called evn in their ignorance of Him.
Let us consider the man Jairus first from the text. He was a well-to-do fellow and a leader of the local synagogue. His loyalties were beholding to the Scribes, Pharisees, and Lawyers of the Temple. He was apparently from the Capernaum side of the Galilean Sea. He had a great dread and despondence arising out of the burden of a seriously ill daughter. (Matthew summarizes the occasion by stating the daughter was dead outright; but Mark 5 tells us that the girl was seriously ill – near death. Both were right for the girl was indeed dead when Christ finally arrived. No one can comprehend the grief and angst of a father whose daughter is at the point of death. Jairus did not go before the Scribes and Pharisees since he knew in his heart that they coulod do nothing to save his daughter. He was at the end of his spiritual rope. If his daughter would recover, it would necessarily be by means of a miracle beyond the ability of any religious leaders he knew. He had heard of this Jesus. The illness of his daughter gave him the meager measure of faith needed to seek the help of Jesus.
Great need and urgent occasions in men’s lives today is often necessary to drive them to the Altar of Mercy which Christ is! Jairus is the ruler of a synagogue. His political and religious world does not naturally include Jesus. Though Jairus has heard much of Christ, and seems to have surely believed that He was able to do the works of God, he was reluctant to break the bonds of political and peer pressure to come to Christ in fair weather. But now the beloved little daughter of Jairus has taken ill to the point of death. Extraordinary ordeal may lead to extraordinary faith – and this is the case with Jairus. When the die of death is cast before him of one most beloved, Jairus is forced to reach into the depth of his heart for the courage to do that which is expedient and right. He runs to the LORD, and is willing to accept the ridicule of the Pharisees in doing so.
What did Jairus do that resulted in his most amazing blessing? Well, first Jairus came to the very Fountain of Life that he believed would sustain his little daughter’s life. That is the first step of every sinner – COME TO CHRIST! That Fountain of Living Waters will grant life, not only in this world, but eternal life in the world to come. So, Jairus musters the courage and fortitude to come to Jesus.
Secondly, Jairus worshipped Christ. Mark 5:22 says that Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus. Though it is very true that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess to Christ, timing is everything when it comes to salvation. Our great need is at the day and hour that worship of Christ will result in salvation – not after the curtain has fallen and it will be too late to acknowledge Him as Lord. Jairus acknowledged the Divine power of Christ to heal. His mind was upon the body of a precious little girl at the point of death, but that power Jairus acknowledged also extended to the healing of her precious soul.
Thirdly, Jairus not only came to the Fount of Life, but he also expressed his faith through prayer! How all-important is prayer in the life of a saint. Prayer is the steam upon which the engine is driven. His prayer was not a doubting, but a believing, prayer. “My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.” Yes, little did Jairus realize that his prayer was so full of truth! Even if the child was dead, she shall live if only Christ lays His hand on her! Christ does not view death in the same way we view it. It is not the end, but the very beginning. Christ calls that terror, SLEEP. “Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.”
Word came to Jairus as he was with Jesus that his little daughter had died. But just a little faith goes a long way with Christ. He would go a step farther than healing the girl – He would awaken her from the sleep of death! But, even so, Christ did not merely lay His Hand on her – He, instead, took her lovingly by the hand and, with a voice that penetrates centuries and the ears of death, said, “Talitha cumi!” This is a term of Chaldee origin meaning, “Young girl, arise!” What does one, even if dead, do at such a command from the portals of Heaven itself? Immediately, she awoke in the very Presence of Christ, and He was holding her hand! Every believer will have that privilege at the instant of death. Despite the ridicule and jest of the unbelievers without, she arose and walked, and was given food to eat at the command of Christ, for she was hungry! (Mark 5:42, 43) Death knows no hunger, but the truly living thirst for the Bread of Life!
Miracles of heart always accompany miracles of body. As Jesus journeyed to the dying room of Jairus’s daughter, another miracle of faith had taken shape in the heart of a poor and desperate woman taken with a long-lasting (twelve years) issue of blood. The woman had spent all of her living on physicians who had not helped her in the least, but rather she had grown steadily worse. She had spent the lonely hours, days, months, and years in pain and a sure knowledge that her affliction led to a manmade grave of death. She was destitute of means of living as all her money had been spent on physicians, so-called. Then, her blessed and fortunate ears heard of Jesus! Hearing is not always enough. We must act on the hearing of Him, and this woman heard, believed, and sought Him out as an answer to the affliction in her body and the pain in her heart.
Hearing a commotion in the street, she came out and discovered that this man, Jesus, was approaching in a great throng of men. How could she approach Him? And, as well, how COULD she approach him being ‘unclean’ with an issue of blood as the Jewish Law ruled? I know her dread, for I was there – and so were you, if you believe! We all were that woman, and we were Jairus as well! There was a moment in time that we arose, like the woman, from our sick beds of the leprosy of sin, and sought solace in the healing Balm of Gilead. Like Jairus, facing the misery and despair of dying love, we sought the very Fountainhead of Life and Love…..and He answered!
There were so many people pressing around the Lord that the woman despaired of reaching Him. Quite often it is the very ones nearest the Lord that hoard His Presence and prevent others from coming to Him. But the faith of this woman would not be turned away. It was a fervent and persistent faith that would not admit of defeat! She dared not disturb His dignity out of a high reverence for His Person, so she contrived to innocent touch the hem of His garment without disturbing His Peace. …and she did! Not the slightest expression of faith goes unnoticed by our blessed Savior! He felt the touch of the woman from eternity past until the moment of its expression in time. “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30) This is a question framed by our Lord long before that encounter on the dusty streets of Capernaum – “Who touched me?” Have you dared touch Christ with the prayers of your heart?
Have you, friend, wept the bitter tears of Jairus for your living young ones who linger in the walk of death to which all sinners belong? Have you arisen from your sick beds of sin and went seeking Christ, the Healer and Preserver of Life? If not, why not? Why, He is passing on your street even now! He will journey to your house today to restore life to a precious child of your greatest love. But, your faith must invite the miracle of life! The greater miracle of Christ is not a restoration to temporary life, but to Life
Now, there was a third little soul involved in this account which we have already touched upon – the twelve year old daughter of Jairus. Helpless in the sleep of death and devoid of any consciousness whatsoever, her lifeless little body awaited the Voice of Christ to arise. Lazarus had heard that Voice. The son of the Woman of Tyre had heard that Voice, and countless others. All who believe and sleep in the faith of Christ shall hear that Voice in due time.
We see that all kinds and classes of people are called by Christ. The man who is a village preacher, the woman with a serious blood affliction, and the lifeless little girl child of Jairus all alike heard and responded to the Voice of our Lord. Have you?