Greg Laurie — The Whole Story
I think everybody likes a good story. The best stories in book form or in movie form are ones that have a clear plot and a character you can relate to. For the story to connect there needs to be conflict and then resolution. If you have a film without any conflict it is not as impacting as one that has it. Ultimately resolution. You find that person you relate to and our hero overcomes his adversity. Our hero vanquishes her foe or whatever. Maybe there is even a surprise ending. Hollywood makes a lot of films. Sometimes they will do a test screening before an audience to get a reaction and on more than one occasion because of the negative reaction of the audience that screened it they will rewrite the end of the film and reshoot it so it will have an ending that people will like.
Someone pointed out in an article I read things that are true in every movie. As I read through this list I thought this is absolutely true. Things that are true in every movie. For instance the ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever look for you there. Right. And you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty. How many films have you seen where the bad guys are coming and our hero is looking for a place to hide. The bad guys break in and the hero is gone. They look around. They leave. He is always in the ventilation system. Always. Looking down. They never think. So I would just walk over... that is not good to say that. I am just in a movie way. You never think that.
Here is another thing that is true of every movie. When you are in a movie in France if it is in Paris every window has a view of the Eiffel tower. No matter where you are in Paris always a view of the Eiffel tower. Here is another one. When anyone goes to the market in a movie and they are leaving with their grocery bag the market you tell me if that is not true. That is movies. And then there is life.
Psalm 90:9 says, "We spend our years as a tale that is already told". That is a biblical way of saying your life is like a book. Your life is like a movie. You may be at the beginning of your story. You may be at the middle of your story. You may be at the end of it. But it is all about you. You are the featured character. You are the star of the film if you will. In this story we are all living called life there are unexpected twists and turns.
Let's read together now. We are going to Matthew 9 starting with verse 18. "While he spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped him, saying, 'my daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.' so Jesus arose and followed him, as did his disciples when suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of his garment. For she said to herself, 'if only I may touch his garment, I will be made well.' but Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, 'be of good cheer, daughter: your faith has made you well.' and the woman was made well from that hour. When Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, he said to them, 'make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.' they ridiculed him. But when the crowd was put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose".
Twelve years. It is a very important number in this story. Twelve years this woman had been in poor health. Twelve years this young girl had lived on this earth. The little girl had 12 years of relative happiness and this sick woman had experienced 12 years of pain, rejection, and tears. In the same afternoon both of their lives were dramatically changed. One of these people was a wealthy leader. The ruler of the synagogue. His name was Jairus. His daughter suddenly fell ill and he sought out Jesus to touch her. He bowed before the Lord pleading with Christ for his help. While Jairus had Jesus in tow and they were headed back to his home. An interruption takes place. It is this woman who has her difficulties. When time is of the essence an interruption is unwelcome. But we need to understand that sometimes those interruptions are divine appointments.
You are on your way somewhere. This is very important. I have got to get there. There is an interruption. Why is this happening? Did you ever stop and think God was in it? Did you ever stop and think that he was wanting to do something for you or through you. You see disappointment is his appointment. We need to understand that God is sovereign which means he is in control and that he will guide the steps of the righteous man and the righteous woman. Here is Jairus. "I have got Jesus. It is all good. We are going to get home. He is going to touch my daughter". This woman interrupts and slows things down.
Now these guys come from his house. "Never mind Jairus. Your daughter is dead. Don't bug Jesus anymore". I love what Jesus did. He looked at Jairus. He said, "Don't be afraid. Only believe". That is awesome. Maybe you are in a situation right now. It is scary. Things are unhinged. Jesus says, "Don't be afraid. Only believe. I am here with you. You are not alone". Then Jairus patiently waits as the Lord deals with this woman. It reminds, as scripture says in Psalm 48:1, that God is a very present help in times of trouble. He is there for you. He is there to touch you. He is there to provide for you. So what does Jairus do? He waits. He is not going to interrupt. He is not going to say anything. Jesus touches this woman and then they get up and go on back to his house. Jairus was a patient man.
Are you a patient person? Sometimes we grow impatient with the Lord. We will say, "Lord when are you going to provide a husband or a wife for me? When are you going to open the door of ministry for me? Lord how long are you going to let that person get away with that sin? Lord when are you going to come back and judge this world that shakes its fist at you"? Then sometimes we will foolishly take things into our own hands and only make them worse. Listen. God does not ask for our understanding of his ways and timing. He asks for our trust. And from Jairus he got it. What about you? God says in Isaiah 55, "My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways. As the heavens are high above the earth, so are my thoughts about your thoughts and my ways above your ways".
Listen to this. His delays are not necessarily his denials. Let me say that again. His delays are not necessarily his denials. Maybe God will say no today. Maybe he will say no tomorrow. But he is going to say yes on Thursday or the day following. You just hang in there and be patient and wait on the Lord. Here they are making their way along. This woman appears. She somehow reasons, "If I can touch the hem of his garment I will be healed". Where did she get that from? Jesus never said that to her. I don't think anybody else did. She didn't even say, "If he touches me I will be healed". She says, "I don't even have to touch his hand or face. If I just touch the edge of that robe he wears". And by the way the Jewish rabbis in that time would have a little bit of blue trim on the bottom of the robe. She thought, "If I could just touch the blue trim I will be healed".
So Jesus is walking along. Everyone is pushing and pulling and making a lot of noise. Dust is everywhere. He is kind of making his way through this crowd. All of a sudden he stops. He says, "Who touched me"? Who touched him? Everyone touched him. Everyone. No it is different. He says, "I perceive that power has gone out of me. Who touched me"? The crowd parts. There is this woman. "Hi. Was that cool"? Jesus didn't want to rebuke her. He wanted to commend her. This was amazing faith. What was her condition? She had a problem where she bled constantly. Some kind of a hemorrhage. For 12 years blood would not stay in her body. The stigma and humiliation of such a thing was second only to leprosy.
When a woman was in that time of the month she was not allowed to go into the temple and worship because she was declared ceremonially unclean. But her problem was this was not that. This was another condition where she just couldn't keep blood in her body. People would see her and say, "Whoa you are not coming into the synagogue. You are unclean. Get out of here. We don't want your kind here". This poor girl spent all of her money on doctors. She has nothing left. Her condition is getting worse. She doesn't even have the comfort of friends in the synagogue which was not only the spiritual but also the social center of Israel. She is isolated. She says, "If I can touch Jesus I know I will be healed".
Sometimes people will say, "I wish Jesus would touch me but I don't feel his touch". Hey be like this woman. Why don't you touch him? Don't just make it about him touching you. You reach out and touch him. Get through the crowd of unbelief and the busyness of our schedules and say, "If I can just touch him I know I will be healed". He always has time for his children. So God changed her. Here is the thing I really love about this. In Mark's Gospel we read these words, "The woman fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, fell down before him and she told him the whole truth". Jesus says, "Who touched me"? "I did". She told him the whole truth. Or another translation puts it this way. "She gave him the whole story".
I love it. That is why I gave that title to my message. The whole story. She laid it out. Do you think Jesus was a good listener? Do you think Jesus was checking Instagram as she talked or texting a friend? "John remember to bring the fish". No. I think Jesus was a very good listener. I think you had his full attention when you talked to him. He took it all in because he cared about her. He was moved. Then he said to her, "Be of good cheer daughter. Your faith has made you well". The Bible says, "She was made well from that hour". She is gloriously healed. That is fantastic. A great outcome for her.
Back to Jairus. He is watching this all happen. "Buddy let's go to your house now". Jesus and Jairus are walking. You hear that music. Back in those days in the first century their funerals were big affairs. A lot of wailing and music. They come into this house. The daughter is dead. It is such a bleak scenario. Jesus makes this announcement. "She is not dead. She is only sleeping". The so-called wailers the mourners turn on him and begin to ridicule him. Do you know what he did? He said, "All y'all get out of here. Get out of here. Every one of you. Take your crummy instruments with you too. Go". Why did he do that? Because when there is an environment of unbelief that can really quench the Holy Spirit. In fact, we read, "Jesus could do no mighty work in his own town of Nazareth because of unbelief". Unbelief is the thief that often robs us of what God wants to do in our lives.
So having cleared the riffraff out of the room Jesus turns his attention to the young girl. By the way, she is already in glory. She is on the other side. He says to her, "Little girl arise". Or another translation, and I love this, "Little lamb". It is like a nickname. "Little lamb arise". Her eyes begin to flutter. She is looking at Jesus. When Jesus says, "Arise" you are arising. I don't care where you are. You are Lazarus in the tomb three days. "Lazarus come forth". You are coming forth man. He brought this girl back. Can you imagine the joy in the heart of Jairus to see his daughter alive again? There are a lot of truths we can learn from this story and we are going to wrap it up now.
1. If you have a need reach out to Jesus. Do you have a need right now? Then reach out to Jesus. Listen to this. If that woman, and for that matter, Jairus had not sought Jesus out their problems most likely would have remained. It was because they sought him humbling themselves and believing they were touched. Do you need his healing touch today for you? Or for a loved one? Pray about it and ask the Lord to intervene. Call out to him. God says in Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me and I will answer you. I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know". Do you need help in a personal crisis, reach out and touch him? Maybe it is not a child but it is a marriage that is dying. Receive the power he will give to you. He will restore it.
2. Your story is not finished yet. Maybe you are at the midway point sort of like job in his story or Joseph in his story. It is not making sense. Listen. Your story is not finished yet. It is still unfolding. You need to wait on the Lord. God always finishes what he begins. It started badly for Jairus and got even worse. But what appeared to be the worst day of his life ended up being the best day of his life. God can turn things around like that. You say, "This is horrible. I think God is not even paying attention". No. He is paying attention. The story is unfolding. Watch the Lord work. Your story is still being told. Jesus intervened and gave her and Jairus a happy ending.
3. If we trust in Christ our stories will all have happy endings. Your story is going to have a happy ending. Some of you are thinking, "Oh Greg you are wrong there. I know people that love Jesus and their story didn't have a happy ending. They died of cancer. They were killed in an automobile accident. Some other thing happened. Where was God then? Where is your happy ending now"? I didn't say there would necessarily be a happy ending on earth. I guarantee when you get to heaven it will be a happy ending. You will live happily ever after. On earth perhaps as well. But that is up to God. But until that day we need to just trust him. Just as job did not know his story or Joseph did not know his story, I have never read the story of Greg. I am in the story but I don't know how it is going to end. But I know there is a script. I know there is a director. I know there is an author and I know there a finisher.
That is true of you too. Would you come to Jesus right now? Maybe you are in need. You see Jairus knew that death was drawing nearer and nearer to his daughter. He felt as though it could occur at any moment. He sought out and found Jesus. That is true of you. Even if Jesus heals you, I hate to break this to you, you will still die. Jairus daughter. I don't know how old she became. She died. The woman with the issue of blood she died. Lazarus who was raised from the dead he died. Because everyone dies. So until that day I am going to seek to glorify God with everything I say and do. When that day comes I am ready. That is the way you live.
Paul said, "To live is Christ and to die is gain". Do you have that hope? Only the person who can say, "To live is Christ" can then say, "To die is gain". Everybody else they don't want to think about it. They don't want to talk about it. They won't even use the d word. When they ahem expired. Well they have passed on. You mean they died. Yeah. "It is appointed unto a man once to die and then comes the judgment". That is what the Bible says. We as Christians we have that covered. We have hope. Listen. Do you have that hope? Your life is passing. Your story is being told. I want your story to have a happy ending. If you believe in Jesus it will.
There might be some of you here who have never actually asked Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your personal Savior and Lord. I want to give you an opportunity to do that as we close now. There might be some others who walked with the Lord at one time but you have gone astray. You have made some bad decisions. You have reaped the consequences of those decisions. It is time for you to recommit to him again. We are going to close in prayer and I am going to give you an opportunity to have your sin forgiven and change your eternal address and have a happy ending ultimately. If you have fallen away to get this sorted out today and recommit your life to Christ. Let's all pray.
Father thank you for your word and Lord Jesus thank you for coming to this earth and living that perfect life and then dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. Now we pray for those that are here, those that are watching, those that are listening. We pray that you will help them to see their need for you. We pray that your Holy Spirit will convict and convince them of their sin and bring them to yourself. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. God bless you guys. Amen.