The Miracle Within a Miracle: The Healing of Jairus’ Daughter and the Healing of the Woman with a Hemorrhage
Listen to audio above while following along with the full transcript below (transcript is also available for download in Word by clicking on link: www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)
Matthew chapters 8 & 9 are the miracle chapters, the redemptive miracles of the Savior/King and I believe as I’ve shared with you already, that the key to understanding the miracles is that these miracles are redemptive. That is, they all tell a story. It’s a lot deeper than the physical miracle. The real world is not the physical world, that world that you can see and touch, the corporal world. The real world is spiritual and is invisible. The physical is just a shadow, just a picture, and an object lesson of the real world. Everything in the physical creation was designed to have a spiritual counterpart. We don’t always see what it is but in every case this physical illustrates spiritual. The purpose of the Lord Jesus doing miracles when He was on the earth was to show what He longed to do spiritually for man, created to live forever as we are, human beings created in the image of God to live forever. It’s not really too important if he gets to see for seventy years. It’s really not too important if he gets to walk for seventy years. It’s really not too important if he gets to hear for seventy years. Seventy years, eighty years, a hundred years is so nothing in the existence of the eternal soul. And God was planning, was designing to show eternal things and He used physical things but His heart was always on the eternal.
Man was created to live forever and Jesus wanted to show man how to be healthy in his soul. So, He used over and over again miracles to show how he could be healthy in his body to illustrate soul health. The diseases of the body pictured the diseases of the soul and the healing of the body pictured the healing of the soul. Men and women were blind in soul and men and women were deaf in soul and men and women were crippled in soul and men and women were moral lepers and men and women were dead in spirit. So, He did all of these miracles to illustrate spiritual truth. He wanted man to know all that He could do for their souls. He showed Himself victorious over every realm, every disease, every demon, over death, over nature, over human nature and He was Lord and King with authority over all those areas.
We have looked so far at six of the redemptive miracles. We’ve seen the mighty power of the Lord Jesus six times. We found Him willing to cleanse moral leprosy, to heal our paralysis that we might walk before Him, to heal our fever that we might serve Him, to calm our sea that we might trust Him, to conquer the powers of hell that we might worship Him. Last time we looked at a parentheses, a parentheses between redemptive miracle 6 and redemptive miracle 7. The last four miracles are climactic in nature. It’s almost as if the Lord is saying, “Now, I’ve shown you six times what I can do on the inside but some of you are probably dull and you probably didn’t get it. So, let Me take time and He takes a parentheses. I want you to see this, this and this and then we’ll get on with the miracles.” We looked at that last time; Matthew 9:9-22.
Matthew tells the story of his own conversion, even though he was saved before the Sermon on the Mount; he doesn’t tell us before before the Sermon on the Mount. He waits until he gets in the middle of the miracles and then he says, “Let me tell you about my salvation,” because he is saying, “One of the greatest miracles of all time is the miracle of salvation.” That’s why he put his testimony smack dab in the middle of the miracles. And then he tells about a conversation that the Lord Jesus had with the Pharisees and Jesus said, “The sick need a physician. I come to call sinners.” And He illustrates again that He is the physician of the soul, rather than of the body. And then remember the story of the disciples of John who came with the question, “How come we’re fasting and you are feasting? How come we have to go through all of these austerities while you are having such a ball?” And He gives the illustration that the spiritual life is a miracle life and it’s a wedding and it’s not a patch-up job. The new wine must go in new skins. It’s a miracle. So, after He turns our eyes to Christ to his conversion and he turns our eyes to the spiritual through appointing Himself as the physician of the soul and showing us the great miracle that He changes the skin in order to put in the new wine, He says, “Okay. Let’s get back to miracles.” That brings us to redemptive miracle 7 & 8. Actually, the climactic miracles go all the way through Matthew 9:18-34. We’re not going to have time to deal with all four. The fact is that we won’t even finish 7 & 8 of our redemptive miracles.
As we come to the end of these redemptive miracles, he is bringing the whole spiritual ministry of Christ to a consummation. Let me just mention the four for you and then we’ll pick up the first two of those. First of all, the seventh miracle is the healing of Jairus’ daughter and raising her from the dead; chapter 9:18&19 and chapter 9:23-26. And then the eighth redemptive miracles is the woman with the issue of blood in chapter 9:20-22. You see that this miracle is split up and in the middle of that miracle you have this miracle. And then redemptive miracle #9 is the healing of the blind man, Matthew 9:27-31. Finally, the climactic miracle of all is Matthew 9:32-34, the demon possessed dumb man. I think if you were writing these miracles and I was writing these miracles we wouldn’t end with a dumb man. We’d probably end with the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead and say, “That’s how it all ends. Boy, that’s a climax; bringing someone back from the dead!” But that’s not near the climax as healing the dumb man. I’ll show you why when we get to that.
Follow along as I read these verses beginning at Matthew 9:18, “While He was saying these things to them, behold, came a synagogue official and bowed down before Him saying, ‘My daughter has just died but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.’ And Jesus rose and began to follow him and so did His disciples. And, behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she was saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment I shall be well.’ But Jesus, turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage, your faith has made you well.’ And at once the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd in noisy disorder, He began to say, ‘Depart, for the girl is not dead but is asleep.’ And they were laughing at Him. And when the crowd had been put out He entered and took her by the hand and the girl arose. And this news went out in all that land.” We’ll stop there. That gets the facts before our hearts.
Let me suggest a simple outline of the way I’d like to look at this. First of all, since God, in a unique way by sticking redemptive miracle #8 in the middle of redemptive miracle number 7, has brought those two miracles together, I’d like to study them together. Why are they like that? Why are they together? Then I’d like to look at redemptive miracle #7 in order to get the revelation of Christ and then I’ll take redemptive miracle #8 in order to get the revelation of the Lord Jesus. We won’t have time for redemptive miracles 9 & 10. We’ll not finish this, actually.
Let’s look at redemptive miracles 7 & 8 together. These miracles are recorded three times in your New Testament and every time they are recorded like this; with the seventh miracle broken up and the eighth one right in the middle. It’s found here in Matthew 9 and also found in Mark 5:22-43 and in Luke 8:41-56. Each time the Holy Spirit split redemptive miracle #7 and sandwiched in between redemptive miracle #8. There’s an interruption. And then in verse 23 the miracle is resumed again.
Why does the Lord split that miracle in half? This is the only miracle where He does this; doing a miracle within a miracle. All the others He doesn’t do this. I believe that the arrangement of these miracles is very instructive. We learn a lot about the Lord because of this strange uniting of miracles. Before I give what I consider to be the revelation of the Lord in this miracle, let me try to bring you along with me as we try to enter into the situation; into the event. We learn from another record that this synagogue official, as he is called in verse 18, is named Jairus. He had an only child and she was twelve years old and she was ready to die. Those of us who have children can probably enter into that. He had one child twelve years old ready to die.
When you read Matthew’s record it looks like she was already dead. But if you read the other records.. In Matthew 9:14, “My daughter just died.” But if you read the other records you’ll find out that she was as good as dead but there was still a spark of life left in her. One record says, “She was at the point of death.” When Jairus left home his twelve year old daughter was gasping her last breath. That’s why he left. He didn’t know for sure when he got there whether she was living or dead, so it just poured out of his heart, “My daughter is dead,” even though it was if she was dead but she was still alive.
I wonder if we can feel for this father and enter into his plight. Remember that we know the record. We slap onto it everything we’ve read. He didn’t have a New Testament. It wasn’t written yet. He only had the Old Testament. We know Jesus can raise the dead but up until this point He had never done that. Jairus didn’t know if He could raise the dead or would. There was no record of that. Lazarus hadn’t been raised up yet. The widow’s son hadn’t been raised up yet. Obviously, those who came to life at the crucifixion hadn’t been raised up yet. This was a first. He had given the blind sight and had given the lame legs and He had given the deaf ears and He had shown His sovereignty over the demons of hell and He had shown Himself strong and King over nature but He never yet illustrated His power over the realm of death. So, Jairus as he approached Him, try to enter into that, he didn’t have the scriptures that we have at our disposal. He knew one thing; that he had a twelve year old daughter and she was in critical condition and very close to death. It was very possible that by the time he reached Jesus she would be dead.
Try to enter into the agony of this poor father. When he left his daughter there were only a few sands left in her hour glass. Her time was running out and she was almost dead. It’s hard to try to put yourself in her moccasins, in her shoes. I think if it were me and were my child, I don’t think I would have done what he did, at least as I try to project myself. I think I would have stayed until the end by her side. I would have held her hand and maybe brushed her brow and talked and maybe prayed with her or sung with her, or something. I don’t think I would have left, especially if I were an official like him and had servants all around. We find out he had many. I probably would have said, “Go get Jesus.” I would have sent somebody else to summon the doctor or a nurse or something like that.
I believe Jairus was full of faith. His problem was desperate and I think that’s why he came himself and why he left his daughter’s side. I think he was so firmly persuaded that Jesus could help, that he didn’t trust anyone else with the message. He didn’t say, “Go get Jesus.” He said, “You wait here. I’m going to go get Him,” because he wanted to make sure that message was delivered. Maybe I’m reading that in but try to enter in. The story is written with great urgency. Everything about it seems to say “hurry up” and “quickly”. In a very literal way, time was running out in this situation. The idea of delay when your daughter is ready to die and of being slow or hesitating is inconsistent with the nature of his problem. Jairus’ case was not like the leper or the paralytic, even though they had a lot of problems, they had them for years; day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. In that case, what’s a couple of days? Even if Jesus didn’t show up on Monday, it would be alright if He showed up on Wednesday. The demoniac lived a long time on the hillside among the tombs and in his case it’s the same thing. Sure, he was in bad shape but what’s another couple of hours for him? Even the paralytic who was let down from the tiles in the roof, he could have been healed on Monday, too, or Wednesday or Friday. But Jairus’ case was desperate and there is no tomorrow for him. You’ve got to do this now or never. You can’t even wait until after supper. She’s dying and there’s no delay here. This is an emergency and a now situation.
I looked up the word “emergency” from the standpoint of uninspired Webster and he said, “A sudden need for immediate action”. His second definition is, “action without delay.” His third was, “a crisis emphasizing a life and death nature of a situation. Well, I think that fit. This was an emergency. Try to enter into the sore trial in this father’s heart. Look at verse 19, “And Jesus rose and began to follow him.” If I were desperate and the situation were an emergency, when Jesus healed the leper, at least He said to the leper, “I’m willing. Be thou clean.” When the Centurion came to Jesus for his paralyzed slave, at least Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” When they lowered the paralytic down through the roof through the tile, at least Jesus said, “Take courage, my son, your sins are forgiven.” And even when they were on the stormy sea, Jesus spoke, even though He rebuked them, He spoke. When they said, “Lord, save us; we’re perishing,” he said, “Why are you timid, you men of little faith.” But at least He said something. But when Jairus comes with a desperate need in an emergency situation, life and death, Jesus doesn’t say a word.
When you read Matthew’s record He doesn’t say a word. In Mark’s record He doesn’t say a word. When you read Luke’s record, He doesn’t say a word. He didn’t say yes or no or maybe or wait or go away. He said nothing. That’s great! You’ve got an emergency situation, you run in desperation to the Lord Jesus and He doesn’t say a word. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that He didn’t encourage him. He did. In verse 19 it says, “He rose and followed him.” That’s encouragement. If I went to a doctor’s office and in the presence of all those who were waiting in his waiting room and I announced an emergency situation and the doctor didn’t say anything but began to follow me, that would be a pretty good encouragement and I would say he doesn’t have to say anything as long as he’s coming. But be honest, look at verse 20, “And, behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of His cloak.” You know the rest of the story.
Tell me, parent, and those of you who enter into this as Jairus, father of a dying daughter, would that bother you, if Jesus were on His way to your emergency and stopped for somebody else? Matthew makes it a whole lot quicker than it really was because if you read the other accounts, Mark and Luke, you see the tremendous detail. This woman reaches out and touches Jesus and He stops and He looks around and then He begins querying the audience, “Now, who touched Me?” And then the disciples come and say, “Don’t be silly. Everybody is brushing against you.” And then He explains the difference and finally this woman comes in humiliation and she confesses. That’s delay and that’s, on the level of earth, wasting an awful lot of time. It’s not enough that this woman reaches out but then the Lord Jesus seemingly delays on purpose and strikes up a very boring conversation from the standpoint of Jairus, “Who touched Me?”
If you were there and that was your child, how would you feel and what would you be thinking? What a sore trial for an agonizing father. I think I would, at least in my heart, I might not have the guts to say it, “Hey, lady, I don’t mean to be cruel and I don’t mean to cut down your problem, but can’t you wait just a little while? You’ve had your problem as long as I’ve had my girl; twelve years and she’s ready to die. Can’t you wait another hour or another day? It’s not going to make any difference to you but it’s going to make a whole lot of difference to me. I would feel that way. I might not say it but I might even be angry in my heart and I would feel awfully bad that this woman was interrupting and in my heart I’d say, “Come on, let’s get this thing moving and get the show on the road. I’ve got a problem and I’ve got an emergency. Your case is bad, lady, but mine is desperate and if you don’t mind, get in the back of the line.” I would say that.
If I understand human nature, I have an idea that the Lord was wringing Jairus’ heart that day, intentionally and on purpose bringing him into a furnace and doing a work in his life that he would never forget. I believe this is why the Holy Spirit puts this miracle in the middle of the other one; to call attention to this delay and hesitation. By meditating on this delay there are some wonderful truths of the Lord and wonderful spiritual principles of life. There are many ways to state it. Let me, in order to make it intensely practical, touch on a few. Let me word it this way and say, “No matter how great the emergency seems to you, God is never in a hurry.” Have you found that to be so? No matter how great the emergency seems to you, God is never impatient and God never strives. Or to word it another way, there is no such thing as an emergency with God. When the Lord tarries, it’s for a reason. When He learned that Lazarus was sick and drawing near to death, He tarried there, also. He tarried but He didn’t lose control. He’s never surprised by what we call emergencies.
Hold that a moment. Mark 5:36 has these words, “As soon as Jesus heard the words that were spoken,” that is, your daughter is dead, “He said…” See, God has a clock of His own. He has a schedule but He’s determined to run it on His own clock. His clock is perfect and everything is on time and nothing is delayed and nothing is hindered and nothing is hastened. Seeing Jesus stop on the street to talk to this woman on the way to an emergency may have looked like on the outside that He didn’t really care too much. On the other hand, seeing Him move so quickly at the end of this miracle, as soon as He heard this, there was no delay, to encourage Jairus’ faith, as soon as He heard it He spoke and came like lightening to the rescue.
Seeing these two miracles blended together, there are some spiritual truths that we can draw. Let me give four principles that I get from the blending of these two miracles. I’ve already stated this, there is no such thing as an emergency with God. Please notice that I said “with God”. I’m not saying that there is no such thing as an emergency. Down here it may be an emergency. I’m not suggesting that if your house catches on fire, that you read the Daily News before you dial the fire department. I’m not suggesting that. Or if a loved one is suddenly taken ill, that you don’t call the rescue, “There’s no emergency with God. It’s alright, grandma.” No, no; you call immediately and you get that rescue wagon there. What I’m saying is this; those heart attacks and those strokes and those accidents and those financial burdens, those emergencies don’t come as a surprise at all to God. Before the foundations of the world… See, they come suddenly upon us. We throw our hands up in despair and we scream and say, “Oh, no, look what’s happening. Lord, did You see that?” And God says, “Yes I see that; from the foundation of the earth I’ve seen that.” It’s not an emergency to Him and, therefore, we may rest in Him.
In this connection, because God never hurries and never rushes, may I encourage you to be real careful about those people who try to make you rush in your Christian life and try to make you rush into the will of God. A lot of people come in with these great programs and they say, “We’ve got to move now. This is the hour and it’s a great opportunity and the door is closing fast. Let’s move now. If you call before nine, God still has the time to save money, so we’ve got to move now. If you don’t buy this house now and you don’t buy this camp now and you don’t buy this building now, then that opportunity of Christian service will be gone. Work now and move fast.” Never rush into God’s will. Do you know that verse in Psalm 84:11, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” If you hold back, you are safe. When someone wants to rush, hold back. He’s not going to withhold it from you. No good thing will He withhold. Many who listen by tape are single. May I suggest that you not rush into marriage. Some of you here are single. Don’t you rush into marriage. You hold back because no good thing will He withhold for those who walk uprightly. The servants of the Lord are never pressed over delays. If you missed the building, you didn’t need it.
Another application of “God never hurries” principle, and sometimes it gets a little frustrating because God never hurries dealing with your loved ones. Have you noticed that? He never hurries. You look at it and say, “Lord, this is an emergency. This guy is in bad shape. This girl is in bad shape. This woman is in bad shape. Did you see my neighbor? You’ve got to move now, Lord. It’s an emergency.” He just seems all the time to take his sweet little time about moving. See, He’s dealing with eternal souls and if it takes a little time, it doesn’t bother Him at all. He’s not under the law of time. Our hearts cry out with the Psalmist which makes it scriptural, “Make haste, oh God, to deliver. Make haste to help me, oh God.” “Hurry Up!” But God is not in a hurry. He puts a little seed here and then He waits for the whole harvest to come. Long years and then He puts another seed in and another long waiting period. Meanwhile we’re getting frustrated and we’re praying and crying and longing and living consistently, I trust. See, what looks like a desperation and an emergency to us, God knows the hard case and it’s not an emergency, not with Him. He is always calm and He’s never nervous and He never gets anxious and He never frets.
As you know, the invitation to enter His rest is not a rest that He gives you. It’s the rest He has. You can be as carefree about all of your emergencies as He is. He’s not bothered at all and He’s not nervous and not worried, no matter how severe the emergency is. He is in control and you can enter His rest and have that same Spirit. He patiently, persistently and definitely deals in the lives of our loved ones and He’s in the process of bringing them low and working in their lives the very best methods to bring them to the place where they’ll be open to Him. May I suggest that you relax in God’s dealings with your loved ones? He’s not in a hurry. Don’t get too jealous or angry at those He stops to minister to on the way to your emergency. Jesus was on the way to Jairus’ emergency and He stopped to help others. The temptation is to look at that and say, “He never does anything for me. He helps her and helps him and saves this one and that one and saves his husband and their wife and that kid and never does anything for my family.” He’s probably on the way to your house as He stops to help all those people. God is not in a hurry.
The third application to this; relax concerning God’s own slow dealing in your own life. He’s not in a hurry in your own life, either. Don’t view your growth in Christ as an emergency. You look at your own life sometimes and you say, “Will you do something, God? It seems so slow and nothing is happening. I’m the same toad I was five years ago. Change me and do something. I don’t think like anything is happening.” He’s doing an eternal work in your life and He’s not in a rush. Growth is imperceptible and it’s slow and it’s tedious if it’s of God. Don’t worry about that. The seed grows secretly. Growth is His business.
One time a Christian asked another, “How long will it take me to grow in the Lord?” And He answered, “That depends if you want to be a squash or an oak. Well, if you want to be a squash, it might be a little faster but if you want to be a strong tree it’s going to take time. God is conforming us to His Son and He’s in no hurry. Because He’s not under the law of time, what are years to Him? You’ve got to plod through day by day but not Him. If it takes twenty years for Him to teach you one thing, it’s no big deal. It took eighty years to show Moses one thing. He didn’t learn it right the first time, so he went through the wilderness for forty years and finally he learned it. That’s not wasted. That’s good time. And meantime you are going along for forty years and you finally get there. That’s a long time for us but not for God. What is fifteen, thirty, forty years? Don’t be impatient with God. He’s not in a hurry. There are no emergencies with Him. That’s the first principle.
The second principle that I learned from blending these two miracles is this, that I don’t need a definite word from God. Jairus had no word from God. Verse 19, “He rose and began to follow Him.” Some people get all shook up if they don’t have God’s blueprint all spelled out for them. I don’t need to know what God is doing. It’s enough that God knows what God is doing. You don’t need to know what God is doing. It’s enough to know that He knows. Your understanding of what God is doing doesn’t make it more right. We have friends in Maryland who some years ago lost a little baby. His name was Scotty. God didn’t give a reason to the parents for the loss of that baby. He didn’t say a word and didn’t explain a thing and didn’t give any excuses. He said nothing for He Himself drew near, like He did for Jairus. They entered into a realm they hadn’t never known before; into a silent walk with God, a wonderful union with the Lord. They just silently walked together and had quiet fellowship. It’s been many years since Scotty went to be with the Lord and the Lord still hasn’t said much about it. We can look back and see some wonderful things that sprung out of it.
I think about Bible Study Ministries. I don’t often mention it when I’m teaching. I think of some of the wonderful foundation stones God has used to build this ministry. To my mind one of the most precious stones in the foundation is the death of Scotty Schein. The foundation of our ministry is the death of a little baby. Hundreds of people have turned to the Lord because that baby died. I don’t know if that’s the whole reason. God is silent but He knows and He knows all the reasons. And for Jairus, He didn’t say a word. He just walked with him. He doesn’t have to explain anything. When God allows something in your life, don’t demand an explanation. Just walk with the Lord as Jairus did. If you know God, you don’t have to know why. He knows and that’s enough. God doesn’t have to tell you or me or anybody what He is about and what He’s doing. He knows what is going on and it’s always good. We can rely upon that in those times when He doesn’t say anything. How Jairus’ heart must have thrilled as the Lord Jesus walked with him on the way to his emergency.
The third principle overlaps what we’ve already said but it’s good to emphasize again. Not only is there no such thing as an emergency with God and not only do I need no word from heaven and all I need is His presence but also I can trust His perfect timing in my life. He runs His train on His schedule. We often look at the watch on our own wrist in order to see when God is going to move. They might have looked at their clock as they did in verse 35 of Mark, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher anymore.” That’s the same as to say, “It’s too late now.” God is too late. Too late to prevent death but not to overcome it. What is true that I get out of this is that wonderful Bible truth that the longer God delays and the more obstacles He overcomes, the greater will be His miracle when He finally arrives. The longer He delays and the more compounded the problems, the better the miracle at the end. When God’s clock strikes it always hits and strikes two times. The first gong is maximum glory for Him and the second gong is maximum benefit for us; right on the button and perfect timing. That’s why He said, “My hour had not yet come.” What was the hour? Then it says, “When the hour came that He should be glorified.” That’s the hour, the hour that He gets the glory and we get the benefit. All of His delays in your life and mine are merciful delays and God will not abort the blessing by coming early. He knows the blessing to bring into our lives and He will not miscarry because He loves us too much. He’s on time for what He knows He will do and He’s not on time for what we think He should do. He’s God and He always will be.
There’s another principle I get from the story but it’s not from Matthew’s account. It’s from Mark’s account. When Jesus arrived with Jairus in Mark 5:35, “The news came your daughter has died. Why trouble the Master anymore?” Well, at this point you can expect Jairus’ heart must have sunk like lead to his feet. I don’t know what kind of expectation rose in his breast when Jesus got up to walk to his home and what frustrations came when Jesus delayed along the way but I have an idea that his heart sunk when the news came, “She’s dead. It’s too late. Send Him away.” At this point Jesus was swifter than the lightening in the sky. No more delays. In Mark 5:36 in the NASB it says, “And Jesus overheard what was spoken, said…” or the KJV says, “As soon as Jesus heard those words, ‘She’s dead,’ He turns to Jairus and he speaks for the first time.” He hadn’t spoken before. And now Jairus’ heart is about to die in him and Jesus speaks. As soon as he hears it, He speaks. He gives a word and here is what He said, “Do not be afraid any longer. Only believe.” I tell you. This time He didn’t take His time. This time He wasn’t delaying.
The principle can be stated in these words; God knows my needs and when I need a word, He’ll give it. See, before, Jairus didn’t need a word. It was enough to walk with the Lord in an unbroken union. But as soon as he came to the place where he would have died, as soon as he came to the place that his faith would have failed, then God spoke. He gives the word when we need it and He speaks comfort and peace and invites us back to faith. Only believe. Brothers and sisters in Christ, here is a strange paradox in the Christian life. The more you go on in the Lord, the less He will speak because He wants us to live by faith and to walk in silent union with Him and just to abide in His presence. There is no deeper spirituality than a silent walk with God and just knowing that He is in control. But you know your heart and mine and we are weak and we’re frail and if there is two ways to do it, the right way and the wrong way, you know which way you are going to choose. If you fail and if you get weak and if you need a word, He’ll give it. He deals with us where we are.
In this connection let me say a word about that; it’s getting more popular in our country. It comes from the book of Judges and the expression is “putting out a fleece”. It comes from the story of Gideon the judge and he was uncertain of God’s will and he wanted to make sure. So, he said, “I’m going to put out a fleece.” He took the wool of a sheep and he put it out in the yard and said to the Lord, “This is a sign. I’ll know Your will. If that fleece is covered with dew in the morning, soaking wet, and the ground all around it is dry, then I’ll know that’s your will.” Then the next morning he went out and the wool was soaking wet and the ground was as dry as a bone and he said, “I wonder if that was a coincidence.” So, he said, “I’ll tell you what, Lord, I want to make sure this is Your will. So, we’ll do it again tonight but this time I want the ground wet and I want the fleece as dry as a bone.” The next morning the ground was soaking wet and the fleece was as dry as a bone and Gideon walked away worried. He still didn’t trust in the Lord, notwithstanding the fleece, notwithstanding the sign. Then later on God gave him a dream of a rolling cupcake and it assured his heart. Isn’t that amazing!
Here’s the point. Many have taken that idea about putting out a fleece and have said, “I want to be spiritual and I want to know God’s will. So, I’m going to put out a fleece. That is, it’s a test. That is, I want to know God’s will, so if this certain school accepts me, then I’ll know that it’s God’s will.” Or they say, “If such and such money comes in by such and such a date, then I’ll know that it’s God’s will.” Or they’ll say, “If God sells my house, then I’ll know that it’s His will.” Or, “If God provides the car, then I’ll know it’s His will.” Or a ride or something like that. Or, “If the boss calls me into his office, I know it’s the time to ask for a raise.” Or, they have this sign and that sign and every other sign in order to know the will of God. Does God honor the fleece? The answer is, “Yes.” Those listening by tape are wondering why Pat is laughing, I shook my head no and said, “Yes.” You see, here is the truth of the Bible. God will honor the fleece if you need it. He’ll speak a word if you need it. He’ll give a sign, if you need it. I encourage you, don’t dictate your signs to God. He knows what sign you need. Gideon’s sign didn’t work. He needed a different sign, so God gave him a different sign. But here’s the point. If you need a word from God and you need an experience from God and if you need a gift from God, a feeling, He’ll give it. It’s just His gracious way.
Many put out a fleece and nothing happens. They say, “I’ve been trusting in the Lord and if He does this, this and this, then I’ll know. And He doesn’t do anything for me. He does it for others but He doesn’t do it for me and then they go away disappointed and they feel like He’s not close to me. He does it for others. How come He never talks to me and how come He never makes it rain for me? How come He never does miracles for me?” Now watch. The opposite is true. It doesn’t show your weak when He doesn’t do it for you. It shows you are strong. If you were weak, He would do it but because you don’t need it, He doesn’t give it to you because He’s trying to teach you to walk by faith and he’s trying to teach you to walk silently with Him and to just leave it up to Him. God is in control and is in charge and He knows what He’s going to do. Signs are for the weak and the unbelieving and they aren’t for the child of faith. When we get weak and unbelieving, then you better believe we’ll get weak and unbelieving, then God will rescue us as He rescued Jairus and as soon as he’s ready to fall on his face, the Lord comes and gives a word and raises him up again. It’s the marvelous grace of the Lord.
It’s better, of course, to walk in silence and to never have a subjective proof. Don’t answer this but just think about it. If the Lord never gave you a visible answer to prayer and never showed you one person that was blessed through your life and the Lord never again gave you the sense of His presence, so that you never felt Him close and He never again opened this book and spoke to your heart, would you still love Him and still serve Him and would you still know that you are in close fellowship and union with Him? Or do you have to have all of those signs? He’s calling you to an objective faith. He’s with me whether I feel Him or not; the fact of His presence. I don’t need the sense of His presence. If I never see an answer to prayer, it doesn’t change a thing. He’s answering my prayers. If I never see one person affected by my ministry, so what. He’s using me mightily. I know that; by faith. He’s using you and you don’t need to see it. He only shows those who are weak. He would rather walk with you in silence and have you walk in faith. That’s what He was teaching Jairus. But if you need it, don’t worry about it. He’s gracious. As soon as you need it He’ll speak. He’ll take you along. He’s patient and He’s not in a hurry. It takes twenty years and you need to have all these loose spurs under your spiritual saddle He didn’t clear, He’s a great God. He’ll give you feelings and He’ll give you emotions and He’ll make you cry and He’ll give you gifts and He’ll show you that you can be mightily used and do miracles, if you want to be a baby. If you would rather just walk in silence with Him, that would give Him more pleasure to His heart. That’s what He’s trying to get every Christian to do, to be conformed to the image of Christ.
So much for the blending of the miracles. Let me just state for you the chief principle of each of redemptive miracle #7 and redemptive miracle #8 and we’ll develop it next time. Redemptive miracle #7, Matthew leaves out all the juicy stuff. Mark and Luke are the ones that pick up all the preaching details where you can really get in there and preach. If you take Matthew’s account, you just go la, la, la; except we’re teaching Matthew and we’re not teaching Mark and Luke. So, we’re going to leave out all the juicy details. Why does Matthew only give us what he gives us? Why does he leave out all those other things? He’s emphasizing a certain thing. What is the great principle that he’s emphasizing?
I believe the main point of redemptive miracle #7 can be summarized in these words; to the mighty power of God, it’s as easy for Him to raise the dead as for us to rouse someone who is sleeping. I think that’s His point in this chapter. And then redemptive miracle #8 is verse 22. I think the main point is, “Your faith has made you whole.” Different gospel writers emphasize different things but I think this is Matthew’s emphasis. Let me clarify one thing and then we’ll close. By saying the main thing about redemptive miracle #8 is verse 22, “Your faith has made you whole,” you may get the idea that faith has some kind of power. Some people think that; that the more faith you have, the more sincere your faith, the stronger your faith, the better off you are; the more you can get God to work on your behalf. Well, that’s not the way it’s used here, as we’ll see when we get into it.
I love to illustrate “your faith has made you whole” by contrasting it with the miracle of Jairus. There are those who say, “Everything depends upon your faith; “According to your faith, so it be unto you.” The reason people aren’t healed is that they don’t believe. If they only had faith, they could be healed. And then they say that nobody can believe for you. I can’t believe for you. You’ve got to do it. Your mother can’t believe for you. You’ve got to do it. You can’t believe for me. According to your faith it’s done.