I believe in miracles. I believe Jesus Christ has the power to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to arrange the details of our day so our needs our met, our problems overcome, our world changed. Jesus has unlimited power to bring his healing touch to all. “Why not me?” too many people feel as though they are not worthy of the touch of Jesus, they believe in miracles for other people, they don’t want to change. But the Lord has enough power, enough compassion for all…there is room at the foot of the cross for you.
Luke 8 and several previous chapters are all about what it means to live by faith. The order of the stories of the Bible is important. Going back to Luke 6, Jesus teaches how to live by wisdom, similar to the book of Proverbs. We are called to live by the principles of God that lead to a godly life. Wisdom is underscored as a primary means of living a faithful life: making the best decisions we can that are rooted in the values of God. Entire books of the Bible are devoted to wisdom. The challenge beginning next Saturday is to read a chapter of Proverbs a day for 31 days! We are to make wise choices.
Luke 7 is a diamond of faith, four aspects of faith: confidence, dependency on God, asking questions, transformed by God. Now in Luke 8 Jesus goes to the common people, he is becoming well known, and what is first emphasized in the chapter? A story about listening to God and doing what he says ~ faith is matured in obedience. It’s a story about enlarging who is acceptable to the Lord. Wisdom, Obedience, confidence, asking questions, totally trusting in God, letting go of your sins and inviting the Lord to change you into a new creature. These are important practices to grow in the Lord. But wisdom alone will not bring us into complete maturity in our faith because we are not smart enough. Obedience will not fulfill us because we will fail and we are weak. Practice wisdom ~ make good choices. Obey the Lord finding the courage to do what you know he wants you to do. But at the end of the day, expect a miracle from the Lord to bring you to the fullness of all the Lord wants you to be. A miracle is the cream of the Christian life. When you run out of wisdom and strength, God will do the rest. A miracle is the cream of the Christian life.
When I was growing up in this church, it was a different world. My father was the pastor. One of the ways the church people helped the pastor make ends meet was to help in a variety of ways. I often went with my father to the Larson Farm out on the Hillview Road ~ Richard and Karen Larson’s farm. We had six clear gallon jugs and we had an open invitation to go to the milk tank and dip out as much milk as we needed. The milk was raw (something you could not do today). As it sat in the refrigerator at home, the cream would rise to the top. Nothing better in this world than pure cream on a bowl of fresh strawberries. Don’t tell my mother, but I used to sneak into the refrigerator and ladle off a glass of pure cream…. Grace Killam used to make apple pie when I hayed for the Killams. She put a slice of apple pie in a bowl and pour on pure cream. A miracle is the cream of the Christian life. When you run out of wisdom. When you run out of strength. When you run out of ability. God will provide! That provision, in his way, in his time, is the miracle. Jairus asked for a miracle, but Jesus fulfilled the miracle in a different way and in a different time than Jairus requested. God can and will sprinkle miracles in your life. God can and will shower you with miracles. Why not me?
An important principle! Miracles always have a purpose greater than the miracle itself. The purpose of a miracle is to increase your faith and the faith of people around you. The purpose of a miracle is to bring you to a greater place of trust in God. The purpose of a miracle is to be amazed by the Lord. The purpose of a miracle is to point to God, the author of the miracle. The healing is great, but more than being healed, it is to be in awe of the healer. At the end of our scripture today, Jesus heals the daughter of Jairus, both parents are in the room, and the Bible says, READ Luke 8:56. Why? I think it is because he did not want them to lose sight of the purpose of the miracle. God gives us miracles all the time and we treat them more as personal enrichment opportunities instead of pointing to God. The instruction to the parents is similar to Luke 8:18: “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.” Let the miracles of God increase your faith. Be humbled by him. Trust him more. You need a miracle because you aren’t smart enough, because you are a sinner, because we are inherently weak and incapable. Don’t treat a miracle like winning the lottery: a personal windfall that will improve your life. A miracle is to strengthen your faith in God.
Here’s a silly joke about a man that saw a miracle as an opportunity for personal gain:
A Rabbi and a Priest get into a car accident and it's a bad one. Both cars are totally demolished, but, amazingly, neither of the clerics is hurt. After they crawl out of their cars, the rabbi sees the priest's collar and says, "So you're a priest. I'm a rabbi. Just look at our cars. There's nothing left, but, it’s a miracle, we are unhurt. This must be a sign from God. God must have meant that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace the rest of our days." The Priest replies, "I agree with you completely. This must be a sign from God." The Rabbi continues, "And look at this. Here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune." Then he hands the bottle to the priest. The priest agrees, takes a few big swigs, and hands the bottle back to the rabbi. The rabbi takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap on, and hands it back to the priest. The Priest asks, "Aren't you having any?" The Rabbi replies, "No...I think I'll wait for the police."
Miracles are to grow your faith. Jairus is a man that is Jesus’ example of what it means to expect a miracle. You never know what a day will bring forth. Expect God to amaze you. Ask the Bible says ~ why not me? Believe. And God will provide in his way, in his time. Jairus asks in v. 41. “Believe” Jesus says in v. 50. And the entire scripture is Jesus granting the request in his way and his timing.
What do we learn from Jairus and miracles?
Jairus is broken. Jairus humbles himself and goes to the Master Jesus. He is so desperate he even goes to Jesus in public. One person described Jairus as a man that “pocketed his pride.” It takes humility to ask the Lord for a miracle, the kind of miracle that will grow your faith. You come to the end of your strength and depend on God. Put aside your stubborn streak and go to the Lord. Jairus is so different from the woman we meet next week…the woman with the long term bleeding is a nobody, she is the miracle within a miracle. Jairus is a man of authority in the synagogue, a leader. For him to be broken says something about him. To go to the travelling teacher and miracle worker that he’s heard about. What does it mean for you to be broken, put aside your pride, humble yourself… finally admit you need help. Until you get to that place, the greatest miracles will be elusive, the kind of miracles that bring you to a greater place of maturity in your faith ~ pride stops miracles. Jairus comes to Jesus because there is nothing left to do… doctors can no longer help his daughter, wisdom no longer helps, he has no power to reverse his daughters illness, his twelve year old only daughter ~ twelve is the transition year in those days, 13 she is a young woman, commonly getting ready for marriage in those days and instead of celebration there is grief and fear.
Jairus is confident. He came to Jesus expecting ~ why not me? he pleaded his case.
Jairus is a man that conquered his fear and trusted Jesus. That’s what I get out of Luke 8:50 READ. The condition Jesus gave was to not be afraid and the girl was healed…which implies that at some level Jairus overcame his fear. It’s not over till Jesus says its over. Until the Lord makes his verdict there is always hope. Don’t be afraid.
In Luke 8:49 the news came that would strike fear and grief into anyone: READ. To Jairus, his plan of bringing Jesus to his house to save his daughter is over. Jesus tells him to not be afraid, it’s not over. The only thing that is over is Jairus wisdom and strength, but those two qualities are not the whole of faith. Miracles are the cream of faith! There is always hope with the Lord, always his miracle working character. The greatest miracles go beyond what we can imagine, in ways we never expected! We cannot dictate how the miracle of God comes to be. Jesus appears to be acting exactly how Jairus says by agreeing to go to his house, and that is when he is interrupted. Jairus is certainly a man that is used to authority in the synagogue and people obey him. Jesus starts out as the man says, but then he is interrupted. This is a lesson Jairus needed to learn. God works miracles in his timing, in his way. How often do we get disappointed when God’s timing is not our timing. A wise man once told me that we humans are either way ahead of God or way behind God and most of the time we are way ahead: “Catch up with me God and change the world.
Miracles are the cream of Christian living. Expect miracles. Expect God to go beyond your wisdom and ability. Why not me? The goal is to become more mature in Christ. Humble yourself, overcome your fears, and trust the Lord Jesus Christ to bring a miracle into your life in his timing and his way. You never know what a day will bring forth, because Jesus is the miracle worker. Why not me?