Falling Asleep – (Luke 8)

Jesus returned from the country of the Gerasenes, and received a warm welcome from the crowd – very different from the send-off he just got. Then a man named Jairus came to Jesus. The  text says that he was a ruler of the synagogue, which probably means that he was in charge of keeping it maintained and arranging services. At any rate, falling at Jesus’ feet, as he did in verse 41, was way out of character for a man in his position. But his 12 year old daughter was dying. And of course, a father would do anything to save his child. And she was his only child.

 

Raising of the Daughter of Jairus

Raising of the Daughter of Jairus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

As Jesus set out for his house, the crowds were thick and “pressed around Him.” There was a woman among them who had a “discharge of blood.” We do not know much about it, except that she had been afflicted with this for 12 years, and had spent all of her money on physicians to try and cure it. But according to Mark 5:22-34, it had become worse instead of better. She had it in her mind that if he could just touch Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. And so she pressed in through the throng, and did so. Jesus called out to find out who had touched Him, but He obviously knew very well who had done so. He wanted her to hear what He had to say; and He wanted the others to hear it as well. He told her that her faith had made her well.

 

Jesus and Jairus were met on the way by people from Jairus’ house, who told him that his daughter was already dead. But Jesus told him to just believe. Mark tells us that Peter, James, and John accompanied him inside when he arrived. Jesus told the weeping relatives that the girl was not dead, but only sleeping. But it was obvious to all present that she had in fact died.

 

Commentators have offered many explanations for why Jesus said that, when He had to have known that she had really died. But the answer is not nearly so complicated as many of them try to make it. There was no deception being attempted. There simply was no finality in her condition. To His way of thinking, the little girl was in fact only sleeping. Paul used this way of thinking to make the point about those who had died when he wrote his letter to the brethren at Thessolonica in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15. In it, he speaks of them as those who had “fallen asleep.” Paul knew exactly what he was saying, just as Jesus did.

 

It seems clear that one of the messages of this account (which occurs in all three synoptic gospels) is about the hope that is ours because the Lord not only has power over disease and demons, but even over death – over which His victory will become complete and very personal before the end of Luke’s gospel.

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

 

/Bob’s boy

 

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

 

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1 Thessalonians 4 – A Life Pleasing to God

This chapter begins with Paul urging the brothers and sisters at Thessalonica to remain pure and to abstain from sexual immorality.  Having been converted from the paganism and idolatry that the city was corrupt with, sexual immorality would have gone hand in hand (as it always had) with such practices, and they would need to be on their guard to keep each other from slipping.  It is believed that Paul was writing the letter from Corinth (the patron “goddess” of which was Venus), where promiscuity abounded.  D. D. Whedon said of social impurity that “heathenism had made sexual immorality trivial, jocular, rather smart, and even religious and right”.  Sounds very similar to the so-called “new morality” of this day and age, does it not?  But the brothers there were strong, and an inspiration to all Macedonians in the region.  They just needed some extra encouragement.

Paul is continuing this admonition against sexual immorality in verse 6 with “…that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter…,” rather than beginning a new thought.  The word translated “wrong” in the ESV is better translated “defraud” and “exploit” in other versions.  The sexual relationship that God intended for a man and his wife, when used otherwise, often hurts someone in the here and now; and the fleeting pleasure is always at the ultimate expense of both parties.

Finally, it is implied, as Paul addresses them, that there had been several deaths of brethren at Thessalonica since he left; and those remaining seemed to be sure that Christ was going to return during their lifetimes.  Their grief for their departed appears to have included the misguided notion that those who have died were going to “miss out” on Christ’s return.  Paul offers some encouragement for them, saying that those who are alive when Christ returns will go with Him after He has gathered those who have “fallen asleep.”

It is Jesus’ victory over death, he reminds in verse 14, that assures us that God will, through Jesus, bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.  This use of the term “asleep” occurs in several passages in Scripture, a few of which include Matthew 27:52, John 11:11, Luke 8:49-56, and 1 Corinthians 15:20.   While some of Paul’s Apocalyptic description of that great and spectacular day is figurative, his assurance of the resurrection of the dead is not.  One of the most beautiful reminders of that fact in Scripture is Jesus’ conversation with Martha in John 11:23-27, before he raises her brother Lazarus from the dead:

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

As Paul says of Jesus’ return to us in 1 Corinthians 15:26, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.