The Compassionate Christ (Part Two)

Luke 8:40-56

Everyone was crying and mourning for her. But he said, “Stop crying, because she is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, because they knew she was dead. So he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he gave orders that she be given something to eat. Her parents were astounded, but he instructed them to tell no one what had happened (Luke 8:52-56 CSB).

After the healing of the woman, Jairus would have been filled with hope. “Jesus healed this woman that no one else could help. He can heal my daughter!” But then came the sad message that his daughter had died (8:49). What hope could there be?

Third, Jesus encouraged Jairus. When he heard of Jairus’ sorrow, Jesus spoke to him. He knew the grief that would fill Jairus’ heart, so he immediately encouraged him. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15 ESV). Jairus had just witnessed the healing of a woman; now Jesus holds out hope for Jairus’ daughter. She, too, can be healed. Compare Luke 8:48 with 8:50.

He directed Jairus to his only source of help: to faith instead of to fear. God’s way of dealing with fear is to replace it with faith in the living God. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we must not give into fear. God is in control, though people’s emotions and fears are out of control. The ground or basis of Jairus’ faith became the word of Christ, who told him not to fear. Our faith has the best ground for action when it lays hold of the word of God. Read a “Big God chapter” like Isaiah 40 to feed your faith, rather than being glued to endless media reports that breed fear. Yes, I pay attention to what is happening. But I don’t devote my mind and heart to every opinion that rages through the media, including social media.

Fourth, Jesus continued to help Jairus in spite of scornful rebuke. The jeers of the crowds came when he said that there was hope for Jairus’ daughter. Notice how quickly those “mourners” changed from tears to laughter. People change their opinions quickly. One day the whole world is caught up with some idea, fad or thing. The next it lies forgotten in the dust of history. Don’t dig your own grave in the dust of short-lived popular opinion.

Today Christians still have to bear the ridicule of the world. The Christian faith can never be intellectually acceptable to those committed to the presuppositions of unbelief and hatred of God. For true Christianity demands faith in the living, sovereign God. It speaks of the God who gives life to the dead, and there is no scientific way of explaining acts of God like that. True Christianity is supernatural.

By continuing to help Jairus and exposing himself to ridicule, Jesus set up a situation that would make the glory of God shine brighter. It is as if he had said by his words and actions, “I am glad that you are all affirming that the girl is dead. Now you will have to honor God.” How should Jesus act at this point? Should he walk away because of their unbelief? Should he listen to the public opinion polls and say, “Maybe I can’t do this after all”? Should he call down fire from heaven and destroy all the unbelievers? Should he feel bad and sneak away because those people said things that hurt his self-image?

However, the Lord Jesus raised the girl to life by a simple word of divine power. Child, get up! How easy it was for the Lord of life to give life to a girl that all admitted was dead. Resurrection power is at the heart of true Christianity. Always remember this truth!

Jesus cared for the resurrected girl. He showed compassion by not allowing many to be present when he raised her from the dead. He did not make a theatrical spectacle in which all would be staring at her and yelling and screaming. (How would you respond if you witnessed a dead person brought back to life?)

Observe the contrast with the healing of the woman. She had wanted a private healing, but he made sure it is well known. Here the public is close by, but he withdrew to raise the girl in private. The Bible always shows the Lord working in a variety of ways. You cannot tie him down to a ritual or a certain procedure.

He showed compassion for her by telling them to give her food. Mom and dad need not worry about telling others the good news. The crowds would see to that. They needed to care for their daughter and enjoy fellowship with her.

Some lessons:

  • Faith should find great encouragement in the power of the compassionate Christ. Faith knows that he has the ability to help, and should find should in his willingness to help (Hebrews 4:16).
  • A needy person should not hesitate to seek help from Jesus Christ.
  • Follow Christ’s example of compassion. We cannot raise the dead, but we can raise hurting faces. We cannot heal the incurably ill, but we can show kindness to those that are.
  • True Christianity is compassionate, like Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace,

Paradise Regained: Now and Next


1 Corinthians 15:20-28

When Jesus came, he announced that the kingdom of God, God’s saving reign, had arrived (Mark 1:15). As we saw in our last article on Paradise Regained, the power of this kingdom is connected with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead. His resurrection changes everything! What we should think on now is that God’s kingdom is presently active (15:25). “For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet” (cf. Psalm 110:1).

Christ is presently reigning. His reign began through the events of his resurrection and ascension. Listen to Peter’s confident words on Pentecost (Acts 2:29-36 ESV): “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (my emphasis).

Christ’s reign involves an increasing spread of his authority (Isaiah 9:6-7; 42:1-9; 49:5-7; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:8). People from across the globe will come under his gracious authority (Revelation 5:9-10). Jesus Christ will reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. The enemies include the operation of sin or rebellion against God, and the ruin of creation operating through sin, but especially the force of death. Having secured eternal redemption, Jesus the Messiah rules to apply what he has purchased. Notice that Christ is actively putting his enemies under his feet. He does this through the Spirit, who takes the truth that is in Jesus and makes a new humanity under his rule (Ephesians 4:20-5:7).

We have seen the “now”, but we also need to pay careful attention to the “next”. God’s kingdom will surely triumph in this world (15:26-28). All the words of Jesus proclaim this confident expectation. If you’re not sure, I challenge you to read the Four Gospels carefully.

When Paradise was lost when man sinned, sin began to reign in death (cf. Romans 5:12-14, 21). Because of human sin, death has been a great enemy, destroying billions of human lives. Our world is one vast cemetery; a grim memorial park to this terrible foe. Through his crucifixion, our Lord dealt with the problem of sin, and in his resurrection, he dealt with the evil of death. When people come to know the Lord by grace through faith, they enter into the victory of Jesus over sin and death. As Paul says in verse 26, “The last enemy, death, is being destroyed.” Christ’s reign continues until God’s purpose in his Son is fulfilled (15:27-28). God’s plan is to show his great glory in the exaltation of Jesus, the Son of God (cf. Philippians 2:9-11). Obviously, God the Father who designed the plan and sent his Son is not subject to him. But the Son’s great desire is to bring everything subject to God, and his reign pursues that purpose. The final destiny is God glorified and his people enjoying God’s glory forever with him. This is the hope (confident expectation) that all believers share in. In the trials and struggles of life, we can look forward boldly and anticipate the time when Christ’s kingdom is fully extended over a new earth, where we will be forever with God.

Grace and peace, David

The Christian’s Greatest Resource (Part Three)


Ephesians 6:10

Consider the power that God pledges to help us—“his almighty power”. Here is the vitality of our hope. When we seek to obey God, his omnipotence comes to our aid. The power he promises is awesome (Ephesians 1:19-20). By God’s power Christ was raised to life. By God’s power we were raised to life (Ephesians 2:5). You and I are living witnesses to the reality of the Almighty God. We live within the sphere of Christ’s resurrection.

However, we must guide our thoughts about this promise to conform to the Scriptures. We can err in various directions, but let us avoid them all. Do not imagine that resurrection power provides you from an escape from difficulties in this present age. A careful reading of Romans 8:18-39 should be enough to convince you that following Christ does not mean “your best life now” or other such silliness. Yet do not limit God’s power in your thoughts. “We are not… to limit and restrain it in our narrow and shallow thoughts, and to think in this, or in that, the power of God may help or secure us; but to believe that he is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think” (Flavel, Works, Vol. 3, p. 345). Compare Ephesians 3:20. However, understand that God’s power will help you to live godly as a partner with Christ in his mission. And do not bog yourself down with incomplete evaluations. “All things seem to be working contrary to my hope in Christ!” Every believer will struggle with incomplete evaluations, as Abraham did (Romans 4:18-22).

So then, rest and rejoice in God’s power. Act this way in the struggle with remaining sin. We may feel like a whole marine division of the spiritual forces of evil is coming against us and is about to overrun our position. We may feel powerless against the attack. But do we believe in the power of God (Genesis 18:14)? “Though sin be too hard for thee, yet not for him… Set his power to work, by faith and prayer.” (Watson). Recall that God is greater in the face of strong temptation (1 John 4:4).

As we strive to serve God, determine to go forward in his strength (Acts 18:9-11). How many people does God have in the area in which you live? Do you want to give up or go find them? “Oh pastor, we can’t do it!” But God can. “We can’t solve this family problem!” But God can. “I can’t defeat this sin I’m struggling with!” But God can. Some writer in earlier times said, “Assure thyself when thou art at the greatest pinch [that] strength shall come.” Remember Elijah beside the dried up brook (1 Kings 17:7-24). When the water dried up, God made a way. But it didn’t look like it at first, for the widow had very little food. But God supplied. Whew, that was a close call! But then the widow’s son dies anyway. What is God doing? Never had anyone been raised from the dead. But God gave life from the dead. How much strength do you need? How much strength does your local gathering of Christ followers need? God’s almighty power is sufficient. Therefore, let us rely on the Lord!

Grace and peace, David