The text for this lesson is Matthew 9:20–25; Mark 5:21–43.
- Jesus heals our spiritual sickness through His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.
- Law: I sin when I doubt God’s power to heal my body and soul.
- Gospel: Through His Word, Jesus gives me faith to believe that He heals all my illnesses of body and soul. Because His words do what they say, I can trust that I receive forgiveness of sins through His Supper.
In the course of His early ministry in Galilee, Jesus had performed numerous miracles to demonstrate His identity as God and His power over creation, sin, and death: casting out evil spirits and healing those with leprosy and paralysis. So it should come as no surprise that Jesus had gained a following. If not for His teaching about the kingdom of God and forgiveness, people flocked to Jesus for healing.
Jairus was one of those people. His little girl was at the point of death. If there was any hope, it was to be found in this healer from Nazareth. Given that Jairus was a synagogue ruler and, as a consequence, likely a man of means, we can assume that he had tried every other conventional means. No physician of the time could save his daughter. What’s more, Jairus was part of the religious establishment. He had plenty to lose by associating with a carpenter who taught contrary to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Yet, it was his daughter. Circumstances were much the same for the woman suffering from a discharge of blood. In the course of twelve years, it’s likely she had exhausted normal means of healing.
Yet, the woman trusted in the Lord. In faith, she knew that Jesus’ power was greater than some potion, magic spell, or ritual. She could be healed by nothing more than touching His garment.
Not so in every case. Some who came from Jairus’s house shared that his daughter was, by their understanding, beyond help even from Jesus. Sure, Jesus could expel demons and cure the living, but did He have power over death itself?
Those who were convinced that Jesus could not raise Jairus’s daughter from death doubted for the same reason some today doubt the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion—they place their own intellect and understanding over the authority of God’s Word. Many in Jesus’ day were quite ready to accept the carpenter’s son as a great teacher, prophet, miracle worker, or even king! They were less inclined to call Him God, to ascribe to Him power over life and death. Today, many place limitations on Jesus’ work as well. Sure, Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead, but can He be truly present in this wine and wafer? As a consequence of our doubts, we rob ourselves of the security and joy in life that God intends and we place ourselves in spiritual danger.
Jesus took on human flesh, lived without sin, and died on the cross to redeem not merely our soul but also our mind and body. We are sinners in body, mind, and soul. Thus, God had to redeem us to the same extent. Through faith, the sinner’s body, mind, and soul are counted righteous for the sake of Jesus’ sinless body, mind, and soul. All sins of body, mind, and soul are forgiven for the sake of Jesus, who died on the cross. This forgiveness comes to us in Holy Communion, and Christ is truly present because He says so, even when the sinner does not accept this. Receiving Christ’s true body and blood with doubt regarding His presence is spiritually dangerous, for we make a mockery of God’s Word and fail to understand it properly.
God intends that His redemption through Christ in body, mind, and soul would bring the sinner joy and peace in this life and that to come. We can face disease and injury knowing that God has power to heal such things. We can face pain and weakness knowing that Jesus atoned for these in His sinless life in human flesh. We can face old age, senility, and death knowing that in Christ, we will receive glorified bodies and minds for the sake of His sufficient payment on the cross. We receive strength and courage against the challenges of life as we receive His true body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, which forgives sins, fortifies faith, and is a foretaste of the feast to come.