Epistles to the Cyberchurch - Su Min

To: All
From: Su Min
Subject: Faith

To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

Yes it is amazing is it not, to realise that God had individually chosen each one of us to be saved, even long before we were born. What a mighty God we serve!

Today the word of God comes to us from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 9:18-26, with parallel verses from Mark 5:22-43 and Luke 8:41-56. Read and let the Word of God speak to you.

Then, one of the synagogue rulers, a man named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live" (Mark 5:22-23, Luke 8:41)

Jairus came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.(Matt 9:18).

Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples (Matt 9:19, Mark 5:24).

A large crowd followed and pressed against him (Mark 5:24).

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him (Luke 8:42).

There was a woman whom had been subject to bleeding for twelve years (Mark 5:25 Luke 8:43).

She suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she got worse (Mark 5:26).

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched the edge of his cloak (Mark 5:27, Matt 9:20, Luke 8:44).

She though at said to herself, "If I only just touch his cloak or clothes, I will be healed," (Matt 9:21, Mark 5:28).

Immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering (Mark 5:29).

At once, Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched me?" (Mark 5:30, Luke 8:45).

"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, "Who touched me?" (Mark 5:31).

When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you."(Luke 8:45)

But Jesus said, "Someone touched me: I know that power has gone out from me" (Luke 8:46).

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it (Mark 5:32).

Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, trembling with fear, she told him the whole truth, why she had touched him, and how she had been instantly healed (Mark 5:33, Luke 8:47).

Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." And the woman was healed from that moment (Matt 9:22, Mark 5:34, Luke 8:48).

While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. Why bother the teacher anymore?" (Mark 5:35, Luke 8:49).

Hearing this but ignoring what they had said, Jesus told Jairus the synagogue ruler, "Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed" (Mark 5:36, Luke 8:50).

He did not let anyone follow him, except Peter, James and John, the brother of James (Mark 5:37).

When he came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly (Mark 5:38).

Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd (Matt 9:23).

He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep" (Mark 5:39).

Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep." (Luke 8:52).

He said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. (Matt 9:24)

They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead (Luke 8:53)

After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went in where the child was. (Mark 5:40, Luke 8:51))

He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (which means "Little girl, I say to you, get up," (Mark 5:41 Luke 8:54))

Immediately her spirit returned to her and at once the girl stood up and walked about. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were completely astonished. (Matt 9:25, Mark 5:42, Luke 8:55,56).

He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat (Mark 5:43, Luke 8:55).

News of this spread through all that region (Matt 9:26).

The central theme of these two miracles is the outstanding faith, of Jairus, ruler of the synagogue, and of the unnamed Catemenite. Jairus, one of the synagogue rulers, came there and fell at Jesus' feet and pleaded earnestly "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live" (Mark 5:22-23, Luke 8:41)

Jairus recognised that his precious daughter was ill to the point of death. Jairus had an unshakeable faith that Jesus could cure his daughter. The urgent rush to his dying daughter's bedside is impeded by a horrendous crowd, and interrupted by Jesus having to stop and turn around and find the person who "touched" him, draining his healing power.

While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. Why bother the teacher anymore?" Hearing this but ignoring what they had said, Jesus told Jairus the synagogue ruler, "Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed" (Mark 5:35-36, Luke 8:49-50)

Jairus was not disheartened in the face of this bad news from his householders. Jairus chose to maintain his faith in Jesus. Jesus had reassured him. Blessed assurance! "Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." He continued to escort Jesus on the journey home. Running the gauntlet of the paid mourners, professional funeral flute band, the sceptics and the mockers, they enter privately to the dead girl's bedroom, and there Jesus performs the miracle and instantly she gets up. Having restored her to full health, Jesus continues to have compassion for her. He cares for her enough to request that she be fed. Jairus's daughter is healed by Jesus, who had compassion for her, and who recognised the unswerving faith of Jairus. Jairus believed that Jesus could save his precious daughter. Jairus's faith was rewarded. "Just believe, and she will be healed" Jesus promised. And Jesus kept his promise. Do you have faith in the saving grace of Jesus. Are you prepared to entrust your soul to him? It is a decision that will have an eternal impact. Chose correctly and gain eternal life. (Pray that you will not make a hell of a mistake on this one!) The faith of Jairus is one for us to emulate. The compassion of Jesus for the sick is one that we should copy. Read the word of God and feed upon it!

The text for today embodies a second example of faith. I believe the two miracles are recorded together, one within another, like a hamburger, a beef patty within a bun, like a picture within a frame, to emphasise the unity of the theme: two miracles that focus on the supreme faith of the two central figures Jairus, and the Catemenite. (Please, not catamite, which is a sodomite, but catemenite, from catemenia, which relates to monthly menstrual bleeding)

This woman had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she got worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched the edge of his cloak. Immediately, her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

This woman had reached the end of her tether. There was no one on earth that could help her. Many had tried. Many had taken her money. But all failed. All, that is except Jesus. It seemed that Jesus was her last resort. She had not heard about him before. Some one must have told her about the good news of Jesus. She heard and she believed. She did not sit at home with a passive faith. She put her faith in her feet, and went up to Jesus. Her faith was so strong that she believed that just by touching his garment, she would be healed.

At once, Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched me?" "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, "Who touched me?" When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you." But Jesus said, "Someone touched me: I know that power has gone out from me". But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, trembling with fear, she told him the whole truth, why she had touched him, and how she had been instantly healed.

Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." And the woman was healed from that moment.

So, healed indeed, she was, in response to her great faith in the healing power of Jesus. Jesus sensed her touch, and asked her to identify herself. She wanted to hide in the anonymity of the crowd. Perhaps she was plainly shy. Perhaps she was ashamed of her private medical condition. Perhaps she was to embarrassed to make herself known publicly. But Jesus wanted her to identify herself, with the aim of showing us the merit of unswerving faith. The healed woman then was prepared to testify to the events leading up to the miracle and to how Jesus had healed her. Jesus commends her for her faith.

Have you touched Jesus? Have you let him cleanse you, heal you, give you eternal life? Having been healed, are you hiding in the crowd, too shy to testify? Or are you ready to stand up in public, and tell the world how your faith in Jesus has let you be healed?

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). The whole of Hebrews 11 identifies a role call of the faithful, and leads to Hebrews 12:1-2. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set out before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Let us close in prayer.