Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday of Trinity 23

 What Jesus Sees

Mark 5:21-24a, 35-43 (ESV) And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” … While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jesus was unwavered by the report of the girl’s death. With great seriousness, He said, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” And the crowd laughed at Him. This was not a playful laugh, but a scornful, mocking laugh. “Who is this joker? This man is crazy. Doesn’t he know a dead body when He sees one?”
But just as Jesus had ignored the messengers who said the girl was dead, Jesus ignores the crowd. You get the impression that He’s angry; the text says that He kicked them out of the house. He ran them out on a rail.
You see, they were laughing at God. They thought they could see better than God can. They were thinking, “We see a dead girl; that means she’s dead.” But in Jesus’ eyes, the girl was truly sleeping; not dead at all. He sees reality. He sees beyond heartbeats and heart monitors, beyond brainwaves and brain death.
Think of it this way. You know what it means when someone says, “You’re dead to me.” That means the person is no longer a part of their life. He is as good as dead. He will not be in the other person’s thoughts at all. When Jesus says, “The child is not dead but asleep,” He is saying, “This girl is alive to Me. In my eyes, she’s only asleep.” And if you’re alive to God, then you are most certainly alive no matter how many doctors pronounce you dead or how deep they bury you.
So Jesus went into the bedroom with the father and mother and a few of His disciples. And when the eyes of Jesus beheld the dead girl, He saw that she was only asleep, that she only needed to be woken up by His Word. So He spoke. “Talitha cumi” which is Aramaic for “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” And immediately she got up and walked around.
What Jesus sees is reality, and what He speaks is reality. The Word of Jesus does what it says, since Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. He is God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God. He is the one who said, “Let there be light” and there was light. He said, “Let the waters bring forth fish and the sky bring forth birds” and the fish swam in swarms and the birds flew in flocks.
The words of God are not like our words. I can stand over a dead body and say, “He’s not dead” or “She’s not dead” and nothing changes. I can say, “Wake up!” and it doesn’t happen. My words only speak what my eyes perceive to be reality. But God’s words speak reality. So when Jesus tells a dead girl, “Wake up,” she wakes up. Astonishing, isn’t it?
Now think about what this means for you. It means that God’s Word spoken to you does what it says. It means that when Jesus cries out from the cross, “It is finished!” then everything necessary for your salvation has been accomplished, your sins are atoned for. Since God’s Word speaks reality, it means that when Jesus says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” then the water poured over you actually washes away your sins and grants you a new, eternal life. It means that Baptism isn’t simple water only, but it’s a washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
So no matter how many people out there pronounce it plain water, no matter how much the devil would like to make you forget about Baptism, no matter how much your sinful eyes can’t see how God could possibly save you through the same old water that you drink every day, Baptism is what God says it is: It is a gracious water of life that clothes you in all the holiness and righteousness of Jesus. If you are baptized, then in the eyes of God, you are robed in the righteousness of Jesus, and that’s really all that matters.
Prayer (LSB 552):
O Christ, who shared our mortal life
    And ended death’s long reign,
Who healed the sick and raised the dead
    And bore our grief and pain:
We know our years on earth are few,
    That death is always near.
Come now to us, O Lord of Life;
    Bring hope that conquers fear!
A ruler proud but bent by grief
    Knelt down before Your feet:
“My precious daughter’s gripped by death!
    Come now and death defeat!”
A multitude had gathered round
    To hear the truth You taught,
But, leaving them, You turned to help
    A father sore distraught.
You pressed through crowds to reach the child
    Whose limbs with death grew cold.
“She is not dead; she only sleeps!”
    The weeping folk You told.
And then You took her hand and called,
    “My child, I bid you rise!”
She rose! And all stood round You, Lord,
    With awed and wond’ring eyes!
Death’s power holds us still in thrall
    And bears us toward the tomb.
Death’s dark’ning cloud hangs like a pall
    That threatens earth with doom.
But You have broken death’s embrace
    And torn away its sting.
Restore to life our mortal race!
    Raise us, O Risen King! Amen.

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