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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Luke 8:40-9:17

Skip Heitzig - Luke 8:40-9:17

Skip Heitzig - Luke 8:40-9:17
Skip Heitzig - Luke 8:40-9:17
TOPICS: The Bible from 30.000 Feet, Bible Study, Gospel of Luke, Trust

Father, we are hungry to know more. We're hungry to build upon our faith and to know what it is we know, what it is we believe. No matter how long we have walked with you, Lord, our roots always need to go deeper. And so, Father, we pray that as we gather that since you know our hearts, you know our experiences...some of us are very encouraged about certain things this last week. Some of us are very discouraged. Probably a lot of us have a mixture of both. But you know that, and in knowing that we pray that you might use just some of the stories we read about, some of the words of our Lord, and some of biblical truths to speak to our lives, so that we might grow. Not only that we might grow, but that we might show what we know to other people and help disciple them in truth, in Jesus' name, amen.

One thing we've discovered about Luke is that he was a historian of the first rank. He was a doctor, a physician, and he was somebody who evidently interviewed eyewitnesses, people who had been with Jesus. And he took that research and he compiled it in what is called the gospel of Luke. So Luke tells us about Jesus' birth more than any of the other gospel writers, tells us a little bit about his boyhood, a little bit about his baptism. And now we're into a section that we might call "the blessing of Jesus Christ," his public ministry in Galilee. In chapter 7 and in chapter 8 we're reading a lot about the signs and wonders which he performed showing his sovereignty. So in chapter 7 we saw his sovereignty over sickness when a centurion brought a servant or let Jesus know about his servant who was sick at home.

And Jesus spoke a word and the servant was healed. That story tells us Jesus Christ is sovereign over disease, sickness. In the same chapter Luke describes Jesus being sovereign over death as there's a woman walking down the street with her dead son in a casket, and Jesus touches the casket and raises that son back to life. He's sovereign over sickness, he's sovereign over death, and then also in chapter 7 we see that he's sovereign over sin. For there was a woman who came to Simon the Pharisee's house who was a woman known as a woman of sin. And she wept all over Jesus' feet and dried his feet with her hair after her tears fell. And Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven you." So, he's sovereign over sickness, over death, over sin.

When we get into chapter 8, we also see his sovereignty over the natural world and the supernatural world; over the natural world when he calms the waves on the Sea of Galilee; over the supernatural world when he is on the east side of the Sea of Galilee, encounters a man who has had has demons that have controlled him. So, Jesus Christ is sovereign over all of these areas of life, and that is one of Luke's purposes in writing this section of the blessing of Jesus Christ in his public ministry...miracle after miracle after miracle. Why? To demonstrate that he is God's anointed Messiah according to what Isaiah predicted: that the blind would see, that the ears of the deaf would be opened. And so he fulfills all of those and Luke has that purpose in showing us his miracles.

Now, later on when we get to the book of Acts (Luke is also the author), and he records what Peter said on the Day of Pentecost, and listen to what he said, and you'll understand Luke's purpose in writing this. Peter says, "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, by wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know." He did miracles. You know about it. You saw some of them. You heard about them. This is common news. And all of that proved who he was, and that's one of Luke's purposes in the gospel. Now, a lot of people are puzzled with this whole idea of Jesus' miracles, because they say, "Well, yeah, we read the Bible and it tells us that Jesus did miracles, but we don't see miracles in our lives, at least we don't see the miracles that we read about here."

But then there are those people who are equally puzzled because they hear Christians almost depreciate miracles: "Well, everything's a miracle. The sun coming up in the morning is a miracle. Baby being born is a miracle." That's not a miracle; that happens every day. It's common, natural law written into the fabric of the universe. A miracle is something extraordinary, out of the ordinary. And this is one of the things that puzzled a philosopher from the 1700s, a Scottish philosopher by the name of David Hume, and his writings influenced generations. David Hume said a miracle is said to be an interruption of natural law. However, wrote Hume, by our common observance of daily experience in life, life flows on without any supernatural disruption or supernatural interruption; hence, he concluded, there really are no miracles; the Bible talks about them, but we know from our daily observance without interruption that a corpse doesn't resuscitate.

We know from our daily observation that water cannot displace the weight of an upright human being, hence, people can't really walk on water, etcetera, etcetera. So just by looking at life every day and by knowing natural law, we know from our experience; we might read it in a book but we know from our experience that miracles don't exist. So he just wrote them out of philosophically. Here's basically how a miracle works, and I say basically: God has written natural law into the fabric of the universe, but God is not confined to playing by those rules. He does play by them, but sometimes he decides to step into the creation he makes and get involved differently.

He can take natural law and supersede it by his own law. And we actually see this happen every day. If you and I were to stand at the Albuquerque airport and look at the tarmac and see a giant aircraft, or if we could go to a major international airport and see a 747 sitting there, and we go, "There's just no way this thing weighing as much as it does could get up there in that sky; it's so heavy; the laws of gravity." But take the law of aerodynamics, add 7,000 pounds of thrust to it, and you can take that which natural law says must come down and supersede, interrupt, if you will, natural law by a higher set of law in play. I remember seeing this sort of exemplified when I was single and I lived down in Huntington Beach. And I had a neighbor a few houses down that had a train set.

Now he had a home and the whole basement, it was like a man cave extraordinaire. The entire basement was his space and the entire basement was filled with a train setup. I mean, you walk down there, you are in, you know, Hobbit Land, another world. This HO train set with cities and mountains and villages and stoplights. And it's just like, "Dude, now I'm a little scared just knowing you now." This is; he's just down there playing, with; building a set. So we would stand on the corner and he would show me how it works with the lights and the cars and the train stopping and switching onto a different track and it was fascinating; he obviously put a lot of money into it. But though we're observing it from afar, he is still in control, very much in control.

He set it up, he created it, and he's in control. But every now and then he would actually step into the scene and move something around, move a tree around, move a mountain around, change up a village. Or if a train piece had fallen off the track, he'd pick it up and put it back or move it somewhere else. So that sort of helps me when I think of miracles, that God has designed this universe with all of its natural laws. But when he wants to; to suit his purposes, and certainly in the person of Jesus Christ, as attested to by many eyewitnesses; he steps into the scene and controverts natural law or interrupts natural law with a higher set of laws from time to time. We've been seeing that and we see it again when we get to verse 40 where we pick it up tonight in chapter 8.

"So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And behold, there came a man named Jarius, and he was a ruler of the synagogue." The word "ruler" is the Greek word archón, which is like the supervisor. Basically, the archón of the synagogue was the guy who set up the synagogue service every Sabbath. It was his job to have an order of service and to plan who would read and what Scriptures would be laid out etcetera. That was his job and he was known, he was well known in the community. He had a name in the community, so he had high standing. But notice, "He fell down at Jesus' feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she...she was dying. But as he went, the multitudes thronged him."

Here is a man, an extremist at the end of his rope in a very extreme situation. And I'm guessing this is risky for him to do. He's Jewish. Judaism has not widely accepted Jesus as Messiah. The controversy is building, and official Jewish people like this are not to be found. The question will be asked later on: "Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in him?" And so for him just to come to Jesus and fall down in humility, beg Jesus to come and heal his daughter was risky because of the way the Jews were starting to view Jesus at this point. Having said that, I understand from a human level that when you have exhausted all of your resources, but you hear that something works, that someone could do something that nobody else can do, you'll do anything.

And probably, I'm guessing, risking his reputation, going out on a limb, he finds Jesus. He has a twelve-year-old daughter who's dying. Now, twelve years old in that culture, she was just coming into the prime of her life; that is, she is just blossoming into adulthood. You know, by thirteen or fourteen many of these gals were married off back in those days. They prepared them quite early for marriage and commitment. So she's just coming to the point of adulthood and his whole life is wrapped up in the love of his daughter, and she's dying. But notice that Luke wants you to know that as Jesus is going, he is being thronged; that is, he is being pressed by people all around him. "Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years"... I just...important that you note that, because Luke notes it.

You have a gal who's twelve years old dying, you have another gal who's had a disease for twelve years. So you have a man who is well known and named, Jarius, who's had twelve good years of happiness; and another woman unnamed of low stature and status because of her condition who's suffered miserably for twelve years. Typically the person over here that needs something doesn't really care about this person here who needs something. They don't like to be interrupted. "Lord, come quickly!" Now, you're going watch a classic interruption take place. The crowd is thronging him. He's interrupted by this woman who touches him. That's all she does, is touched him.

And you'll notice in verse 43, "A woman having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all of her livelihood on physicians"...and notice, Luke is the only one who adds this..."and could not be healed by any." He's a doctor. He can sympathize with this. She's spent all of her money on doctors and she's not getting any better. It sounds a lot like modern health care almost, doesn't it? Sorry for the jab. "...came from behind and touched the border of his garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, 'Who touched me?'" This woman, this flow of blood was probably a vaginal hemorrhage, which would render her unclean according to laws of Moses, the Levitical law. She would be an outcast; she is unnamed; she is low repute. She comes touches Jesus.

Now, here's her thinking, I'm guessing: "This guy touches people and they're cured; I bet it works reverse. I'm going to touch the hem of his garment; there must be something awesome or magical about his clothing." I'm even guessing that her faith was imperfect faith, superstitious faith. "If I touch the hem of his garment, I'll be healed." Now the hem of a garment, there were four tassels on the robe of a Jewish male. The four tassels or in Hebrew called tsitsith. Isn't that a funny word in English sounding, tsitsith? These four tassels were something that the Old Testament required the males to have. Remember they were to have on all four corners, four threads that were blue, to remind them that though they're walking through this earth, they're heavenly bound.

"If I touch the hem of his garment, I'll be healed," and she was. "And Jesus said, 'Who touched me?'" Does that sound like an unusual question to you? It did to these guys. In fact, you'll hear in a minute. I mean, who isn't touching him, right? He's being thronged. Everybody's touching him, and Peter will say as much. "When all denied it"...huh, why did they deny it? I'm guessing now that Jesus must have said this in some authoritative kind of a way, you know, to stop and go, "Who touched me?" that nobody's really wants to come clean. "Uh, wasn't me. I didn't touch you." "Who touched me?" Now Peter hears that and he's thinking, "Who touched you? I mean, I don't know, four, five hundred touched you."

"'Master, the multitudes throng and they press you, and you say, "Who touched me?"'But Jesus said, 'Somebody touched me, for I perceive power going from me.' And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared to him in the presence of all the people the reason she touched him and how she was healed immediately." Why was she so reticent to come and say, "It was me"? Because it was an embarrassing condition to have, this flow of blood. Nobody wants to just in public admit, "I have a vaginal hemorrhage. It's me, over here." So she was hoping she could just touch the hem of his garment and she'd be healed and off she goes. But Jesus stops, "Who touched me?" And, finally, she comes and she says, "It was me."

Why does Jesus say this? Because...listen to this carefully...Jesus can distinguish between the tussle of the crowd and the touch of faith. Yeah, everybody's touching you, and tussling, and you're going back and forth, but that's a different touch when somebody says...and Matthew records, by the way. Matthew says, "The woman said to herself, 'I know that if I touch the hem of his garment, I'm going to be healed.'" That's what she thought. Whether she was superstitious or not, one thing I've got to say for her: she set a definite point of contact to release her faith. "I know that when I touch the hem of his garment, I know it's going to happen. Okay, I'm getting close. Here goes. It's gonna happen soon. Here's the hem"...boom! And she released her faith in that moment, and that was simply a trigger for her to do that.

And so Jesus stopped. He recognized that..."Who touched me?" "I perceive power has gone out of me," and she confesses that she was the one who touched and how she had been healed immediately. Okay, freeze frame, now look over at the...let the camera pan over to Jairus. Remember, Jairus said, "I have a twelve-year-old girl. She's going to die. Please come to my house." He's on his way. Jesus gets stopped, thronged by the crowd, somebody touches. He asks a question: "Who touched me?" Jairus is going, "Who cares!? Who touched me? I need you now." How many times have your plans been interrupted? You have it all planned out. You know exactly what God ought to do, when he ought to do it, and if he doesn't do it..."God, I can't believe you didn't follow my plan."

Well, that's why it's called "his plan." That's why he's called sovereign. That's what God gets to do. God gets to let himself be interrupted and he has his own perfect timing. Let's make matters worse, because it does get worse. "And he said to her, 'Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.'" Hear those words, "Daughter"? Only time Jesus ever called somebody that..."Daughter." There's relationship. There's relationship here. That must have made her feel so wonderful..."Daughter." What a beautiful, beautiful...he's got class. "And while he was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue's house, and said to him, 'Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.'" I don't know if you've ever heard those words.

Some of you have heard those words of a loved one, a father, a brother, a mother. I've lost three of my family members and I know how final that sounds: "Your brother is dead." And I know what that does to you emotionally, what that sets in motion, a whole series of emotions. But for a parent to hear, "Your daughter is dead," followed by, "Don't even bother, don't trouble the Master." Now, do you mind, can we just examine that little statement, "Don't trouble the Master"? Do you know what's implicit in that statement? Unbelief. In that statement, "Don't trouble the Master," is this meaning: "Sure, Jesus can cure sick people, but once they're dead, don't bother him anymore. It's too late. It's over. Don't trouble the Master." Have you ever heard those words?

Has Satan ever whispered them to you? "Don't bother going to God with that. Don't trouble him with that, with your little thing. Like, he's running the universe. He's got to worry about ISIS. He's listening to prayers like Billy Graham might be praying right now. But you have this little...I mean, come on. Don't trouble the Master." Don't you dare listen to that. Trouble the Master. It's no trouble anyway. No trouble for him to speak healing to somebody with a cold or somebody with Stage V cancer. Right there. "'Your daughter's dead. Don't trouble the Master.' But when Jesus heard it, he answered, saying, 'Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.'" Notice the juxtaposition between "afraid" and "believe." "Don't be afraid; only believe." You see how they're related?

They are mutually exclusive. Fear and faith are mutually exclusive. You cannot have fear and faith together; one will cancel out the other one. Faith cancels out fear; fear cancels out faith. "Don't be afraid; only believe." And it's in the continual tense. It's in the imperative. It's a command. "Just keep on believing, Jairus. You came here with faith, believing. Don't let that flow of faith be interrupted by these interruptions or by what you just heard. Don't be afraid. Keep it on. Keep on believing. Have that same kind of faith that brought you to stand before me to begin with." "'Your daughter will be made well.' And when he came into the house, he permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John." That's sort of that special close-knit trio of the apostolic band.

It's the first time we see them in the gospel of Luke together in this fashion. "Now all wept and mourned for her; but he said, 'Do not weep; she is not dead, only sleeping.' And they ridiculed him, knowing that she was dead." Was this a misdiagnosis by Jesus? Was she actually sleeping? Or when he said, "She is only sleeping," what did that mean? Was he referring, as some believe, to "soul sleep"? Which is not a biblical doctrine, by the way. As soon as you die, you are still very much aware and alive somewhere. So there is no such thing as soul sleep from a biblical perspective. So when Jesus says, "She's only sleeping," what does that mean? It means he's about to raise her back up. In the Bible the idea of sleep is a description of death, okay?

Lazarus, John, chapter 11, you remember the story. Jesus says, "We're going to Judea. Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, and I must wake him." The disciples said, "Well, if he's asleep, he'll just wake up." And so he had to make it clear to them, John says. He said, "Jesus said, 'Lazarus is dead.'" So there Jesus used a metaphor, picture language, an analogy of sleep to describe somebody who was completely dead, physically dead. Stephen in Acts, chapter 7, when they killed him, "He called," it says, "on God, and said, 'Lord Jesus, don't lay this sin to their charge.' And having said these words," Luke writes, "he fell asleep." He died. In the Old Testament there's that frequent phrase, "they slept with their fathers"; that is, they died and they ended up like their forefathers did.

But why does the Bible use such a way of describing physical death? Well, because dying for a believer is like taking a nap. First of all, it's the appearance of the body. They many times look like they have just fallen asleep, but they're not getting back up. They're not getting back up today or tomorrow or the next day, but they will one day. When I was a kid, my mom used to say, "Skip, it's time for you to take your nap." "Noooo!" My grandson's like that, my granddaughter's sort of like that. It's punishment. "A nap? Ahhh!" The older you get, however, my how things change. "Did you say 'nap'? I get a nap?" You see, a nap is temporary, is it not? A nap connotes there will be an awakening. And death for a believer implies and indeed is followed by an awakening, a resurrection.

Do you know what the word "cemetery" means? A sleeping place, literally, sleeping place. It's aptly named. They're just sleeping. One day every cemetery on earth will be a very noisy place. Daniel 12 says that "Those who are in the dust of the earth shall awake and arise, some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." There is a resurrection coming for every single person. And every single person has unending life, though not eternal life, with Jesus. "She's not dead, she's only sleeping." They laughed him to scorn, because she was dead. He knew that, but he also knew this is very temporary. "Just hold your horses. Stop your wailing. Watch this." "But he put them all outside." Good move. When you have people who are scorning and mocking and negative, just get them out of your life.

Do what you need to do without them. You know, critics will critique and haters will hate...move them outside. Do your business that the Lord's called you to do. Put them outside. And he said, "'little girl, arise.'" "Talitha, cumi," is the translation from the Aramaic according to Mark."'Little girl, arise,'" was the command. "Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And he commanded that she be given something to eat." He's so practical. She just got up from the dead, that's an ordeal in itself, to die, so she's probably hungry. May want to give her a McDavid burger or something. "And her parents were astonished, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened." Why did Jesus raise her from the dead?

Not for her sake, for their sake, to ease the grief of parents, but more than that, once again, to show that he is sovereign over the natural and the supernatural. If I died, and after being dead a while somebody prayed me back to life, I would be upset. If I, like, got up and somebody said, "Skip, wow, it's a miracle! We prayed that you would be resurrected." I would say, "I'm going to haunt you the rest of your life. Do you know where I was just now? I was in the presence of God. Heaven was looking pretty good, and I''s like a call back?" But Jesus did it not for her, but for her parents' and for the crowd's sake, to demonstrate who he was. And then he said, "Don't tell anybody." Again, to our little mind-set it's like, "This is great PR. Dead people alive again, that news is going to spread."

Exactly, and he didn't want the news to spread. It would make it difficult for him. First of all, he'd be invited to every single funeral in the land for the wrong reasons. People would want to follow him for the wrong reasons. It would complicate what he is trying to show the Jewish nation in particular. So, "Keep this quiet," he said. Of course, that'd be very difficult to do. "And then he called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And he said to them, 'Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.'" So, don't pack, don't pack, don't take a whole bunch of money with you."

"'But whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.' So they departed and they went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere." Now this is an apprenticeship. He is preparing them for what is going to happen to them in just a short period of time when Jesus leaves and goes back to heaven with his Father and gives them the commission to preach the gospel and to do these things. So it's a temporary mission of apprenticeship. It's discipleship. So it's interesting that he goes, "Okay, just go." You don't prepare for it.

You know, don't like..."Okay, I gotta have this checklist. I gotta call and make somebody, you know, somebody stay at the tent for a few days while I'm gone and just." No, just go, just go unprepared and watch what God will do, watch what God will do. There is, I've told you this before, a pattern in making disciples. First step is: I do it. Second step is: I do it and you watch. Third step is: I do it and you help. Fourth step is: You do it and I help. Fifth step is: You do it and I watch. Sixth step is: You do it. So these things have been going on, now Jesus just says, "Go. Do it. Do it and watch how God will provide. You don't need a lot of stuff. Just get on the road and go for it." Now, the Lord is banking on something that was very common 2,000 years ago.

I wish it were more common today; that is, whenever you would travel to a new town, you could just bet that somebody's going to invite you into their house and let you stay there. They didn't have Motel 6s or Holiday Inns, and the inns were anything but a holiday back then. And so because they didn't have that kind of infrastructure in towns, they really depended upon hospitality. "So just go into a town and just watch how I will provide. There will be somebody there who will invite you in and that'll be your base of operations for you to preach the gospel and heal the sick. And just, now it's your turn to do it." Now, they're going to come back with glowing reports, according to the Scripture. But then Jesus said, "When you leave and they don't receive you, shake the dust off your feet."

What's that all about? Well, the rabbis, first of all, the rabbis, the Jewish rabbis, the orthodox rabbis believed that the very dust of Gentile lands was defiled, so that before you reenter Israel that you want to get all of the even dust of the Gentile territories off your feet, off your sandals before you go back in. But in shaking the dust off one's feet, it was an overture, a gesture of disassociation and proclamation of judgment. We find this in the book of Acts when Paul and Barnabas, if I'm remembering correctly, Acts 13, they go to Antioch of Pisidia, not the first Antioch in Syria, Antioch of Pisidia, modern-day Turkey. There when they're done, because they were sort of ushered out of town, Paul and Barnabas, it says, "They shook the dust off their feet." It would be common.

A rabbi would know to do this, but probably knowing what Jesus said here caused that response. "So they departed," verse 6, "and they went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere." Now, I don't want you to think that this is how you do missions work. He was training them, discipling them for something later on. So the idea of..."Well, you never have to just plan anything or raise support. You just sort of go out and you trust the Lord," this is temporary. So who you get Luke, chapter 22...listen, I'm reading in advance..."Jesus said to them [his disciples], 'When I send I out without a money bag, knapsack, or sandals, did you lack anything?' And so they said, 'Nothing.'

"Then he said to them, 'But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.'" "You may need to prepare and you may need a suitcase and you might even need protection, because you live in a big, bad world. So, just saying, that was then, this is now. That's how you did it then, but you don't always do it that way." He was training them. He was apprenticing them, discipling them in this. So they did. And in verse 7 of chapter 9, "Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him," all the miracles that Luke has written about came to the ears of Herod the tetrarch. "And he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead."

"J the B is back," that's what somebody said. "And by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. Herod said, 'John, I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?' And so he sought to see him." I confess to you that whenever we read the name Herod, you are in for a confusing explanation. The family was a mess. So let me make it easy. He's called a "tetrarch." A tetrarch means that he was a ruler of a fourth of a part or a fourth of a territory. So his dad, this guy's dad, was Herod the Great. This guy's name here is Herod Antipas the tetrarch or the ruler of a region known has Galilee and Perea, which is on the eastern side of the Jordan. That's what he was in charge of. His headquarters was in Tiberias. Tiberias was the principal city around the Sea of Galilee.

What's interesting about that is that if you've come with us to Israel and we spend the nights in a hotel around the Sea of Galilee, what city do we stay in? Tiberias. We're always staying where Herod the tetrarch was. But we have no record at all, in all of the gospel record, that Jesus ever even set foot once in Tiberias, even though he lived his headquarters around the Sea of Galilee. He was on the northern shore of that lake, but there's no record that he ever went to Tiberias. So Herod hears about this. Now Herod, even though Herod the Great was dead...and by the way, Herod the Great was the guy who killed the babies in Bethlehem, killed two of his sons, killed one of his wives, killed members of the Sanhedrin.

And there was even a saying back then that "it was safer to be one of Herod's pigs than to be his son," because of that behavior. He was loathed and hated by the people, so when he died there was a great rejoicing. By the way, Herod's tomb has been discovered recently out by Bethlehem, and they have reconstructed it with the original archaeological findings in a museum in Jerusalem. So, anyway, one of his sons, this dude, hears about Jesus. He's curious because of what people were saying about him, all of these rumors. "And the apostles, when they had returned, told him all that they that had done. And he took them and he went aside privately to a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida." Now Bethsaida is on the very opposite side of Tiberias. So here, my Bible will be the Sea of Galilee.

Tiberias is down here. Capernaum is up here. Bethsaida is over here. It's a fishing village. They have discovered ruins, in fact, fishing implements in this little village. It's an old ancient town. And so Jesus after being in Gedara with the Gadarenes and the demon-possessed guy and that whole thing, he now moves to a deserted place to hang out and let his disciples get refreshed, a pastor's retreat, if you will, take them aside. But these plans did not go well. I'm sure the disciples are going, "Oh, this is going to be so good, man. That demon-possessed guy creeped me out. I can't wait to just get alone for just a few days with Jesus, alone time, get refreshed. I need to get refreshed." But other people heard where he was going.

It says, verse 11, "But when the multitudes knew it, they followed him," and he said, "Get out of here!" Oh, he doesn't say that. "He received them and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing." Don't you love his style? He planned to do something, but the plans got interrupted. Well, so did Jairus'. And now Jesus' own plans with his disciples get interrupted because of a crowd. And Jesus doesn't say, "No. It's quitting time. It's after five. I can't really...I don't office hours." It's funny, if you go to Israel, and you go Capernaum, which is now an archaeological site, this is what it says on the gate: "Capernaum, the town of Jesus. Open from 8:30 to 6:00 p.m." Well, that might work for the archaeology site, but Jesus did not live with office hours.

He didn't say, "I'm sorry. I can't receive you. I don't want to work overtime. I'm going to go to HR and straighten this out. I..." He received them. He was so flexible. "I know I'm interrupted, and I know you guys would like to hang out, but look at these people. They've come, they need, they're so needy." "And he received them and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who had need of healing." It was a long day. "And when the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to him, 'Send the multitude away that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place.'" "We're in the middle of the sticks out here. We're in the toolies." "But he said to them, 'You give them something to eat.'"

"I can just see him kind of smiling like that too." You know what? You do that. Instead of sending them away to get something to eat, just you guys do it. Remember what discipleship is? I do it. I do it, you watch. I do it, you help. Eventually, you do it. So, it's your turn. I've given you power to heal diseases. Go for it. Your turn. I'll step out of the way and let you feed them." And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.'" This, of all of the miracles that Jesus performed, is the only miracle mentioned in all four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It's that significant of an event. "The feeding of the five thousand," it is typically called. What amazes me is how people feel the necessity to feel sorry for God and come up with an alternate explanation for "poor God."

Instead of making this a miracle, let's have sympathy on God and come up with an easier, more palatable explanation instead of a miracle. I kid you not...there are commentaries who say this: "Well, probably what happened is that everybody that day brought their food. Because if people are traveling, they're going to bring their own food. But they didn't want to bring it out. They were stingy, because if they brought out their sack lunch, then Shlomo would see that you've got, you know, something, and he's going to be jealous. So they're all stingy and holding onto it. But Jesus pulls out his sack lunch, and it's such an example, that everybody pulls out theirs and they have a meal. You gotta help God out. He's just can't do anything unless people bring their sack lunch."

Or one commentator...and some taters are more common than others. But this writer said that probably Jesus and his disciples stored the food in advance. You know, they're buying the guns and the ammo and they're storing food. And they've got a cave going on with all this food in it. And so Jesus was out there, not far from where the food was, and so as he was talking and as people were pressing, he just sort of moved backwards like this toward the mouth of the cave. Finally, he's in front of the cave and the disciples just kind of, you know, slip it under his arm. And he's able to just sort of give it out to them, and really, not a miracle at all." Really? You thought that through?

Isn't it just much easier based on the fact that he raised a widow's son from the dead, that he cured diseases, etcetera, etcetera, that he just made fish and bread appear? It's goes along with the historical account of the life of Jesus. He steps in the scene and moves the train around...big deal. That's what he did. It says, "There were about five thousand men, verse 14."And he said to his disciples, 'Make them to sit down in groups of fifty.' And they did so, made them all sit down. And he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven"'s interesting, you know, typically when we pray, if you're at a restaurant, what do you do when's time to pray? Close your eyes and bow your head. Jesus didn't do that.

He did this, eyes open, looking up, because that would connote to people who were looking at him that he is receiving this bounty, this goodness from God the Father, and he is giving thanks to him. It's a beautiful gesture. And I like this better than this. Don't know really where that came from. I like this. "So Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed it, gave thanks, set it before the multitude. And they all ate and were filled, and"...and, P.S., oh and by the way..."twelve baskets of leftover fragments were taken up by them." Why twelve? Twelve disciples, right? "Not only, you of little faith, will I feed the multitude, I'll give you leftovers for tomorrow. I'll give you each your own little basket of food." "Now unto him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or think."

He does it right. There's leftovers. They get their own basket they're walking away with. This miracle mentioned four times...Matthew, Mark, Luke, and shows me, number one, that Jesus is concerned about our physical well-being. Jesus didn't say, "I know they're hungry, but after all, I'm giving them spiritual food. They can fast and pray. They don't need to focus on themselves." He felt compassionate for them. He thought that meeting their physical needs was important and I just want you to hear that. David said...and I can say this now. I used to be able to say only the first part. I can say this now as a life experience: "I was young and now I am old; and yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor God's people begging bread."

Think about it. If God went to the trouble of sending his Son to shed his blood, to buy you as his son or daughter, doesn't it only make sense if he went to the trouble of purchasing you that he would now provide for you, right? Romans 8, that's Paul's premise: "God, who do not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not then with him graciously give us all things?" So God is concerned about your physical well-being. Tells me something else as well. God can do great things by using little things. "Well, I don't have much. I can't do much. My bank account doesn't have much. I can't put in much." Okay, it's all right, put in a little, just those few fish. That's all we need. But a few fish and a couple loaves equals not much, but a few fish, a few loaves in Jesus' hands equals a sufficient meal for a multitude.

So you take what you have, the little that you have, you say, "Lord, I give it to you. I give me to you. Just breathe, bless, and let me be used for your purpose and glory," and watch what happens. A little bit goes a long way in his kingdom. And they had twelve fragments, or they had twelve baskets full of the fragments leftover. From this point...and they're still in Galilee...they're go to move northward to the very top of the nation to a place called Caesarea Philippi in the very next few verses. It's not mentioned, but Matthew will fill in the rest of information, for as he tells us, they went there. So he's still doing Galilee, right?

And here's what's important, and we'll get to it next time when we're together in Luke, around chapter 9, verse...I'm guessing around verse 51, if memory serves, that's when Jesus goes toward Jerusalem. And so Luke is telling us about his birth and about his boyhood and about his baptism and about his blessing in Galilee, but he's going to turn the corner at the end of this chapter as Jesus moves and heads down with his face steadfastly moving toward the cross, toward Jerusalem, and he will recall and recount that. Let's bow our heads.

Father, we are grateful that we have the opportunity to gather like this week by week and just plow through verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and book by book of what we know as the Bible. The more we do that, the more we become aware of what kind of a God we serve, what kind of a Savior we follow, his style, his methods. And, Father, because we know you like that, and better and better it causes us to love you deeper and deeper. And the more we know you, and the more we love you, the more we can't wait to see you when you come again. There's an excitement, Lord, that fills our hearts as we realize and we're reminded that one day we will see the Savior that we only read about or pray to face-to-face one day, and we're going to be in glory.

And, Father, we're also reminded, because we know there are people on our flock who have lost loved ones, even children, just like you said, "Little girl, arise," you will say that to every child who has died, every person who has died in Christ. There will be resurrection. You will say, "Arise," and after arising there will be a reunion around your throne in glory with those very ones that we desperately miss tonight. But, Father, if we don't know you, and they who loved you and have died and have gone before who are with you, if we don't know you, when we die, we'll never see them again. We'll never see you. We'll never see them. Not that that ought to be the crowning motivation, but it is some motivation that the safest and best place is in following Jesus Christ on this earth. Because as we follow Jesus on this earth, he's going to lead us all the way into heaven. And if we follow you here, we're going to follow you there.

And so, Lord, I would just pray for anybody who's gathered here in this place tonight who isn't sure about their relationship with Christ, who doesn't know that if they were to die that they would be in God's presence, your presence. They're not sure that if they were to die tonight, they would be in heaven. In fact, some of them would say, "I'm quite sure I won't be. I haven't been living a life that's in anyway obedient to him. I've fallen, I've failed, but I want to be received by him again."

So as we close this service, if you're here, if you don't know Jesus yet, though you may be a religious person, a church-going person, you might believe that God exists, but there's never been a personal connection, a personal commitment where you remember some evening, some day where you turn from the old way of living and turned to make Jesus your Lord, your Savior.

Or some of you have wandered away and you need to come back home. If that describes anyone here at all, I want to pray for you. I need to know who I'm praying for, so if that's what your desire is, to come back to Jesus or come to him for the first time, would you raise your hand up in the air just this moment and I'll close and we'll pray. God bless you, yes, ma'am. Anyone else? Raise it up so I can see my left, one, two, I see couple of you right over here to my left. Anyone else? my right. Is God speaking to anyone else? Is he moving in your heart? And just say yes...way in the back in the the balcony, one, two, three...on the floor toward my left. And right up here, and right up here, yes, sir.

Our Father, what a privilege to pray for these with these raised hands, not only a hand that indicates who they are, but Lord, in my cases, like a drowning man or woman saying, "I need God's help. I need his grace. I need his mercy. I need his forgiveness." And we're so grateful that your mercies are new every morning and that your grace is abounding and overflowing. Where sin abounds, grace overflows. So, Lord, I pray that you would do a wonderful work in the life of everyone who's raise that hand. There's a life behind that hand. There's a real person. And I pray, Father that you would give them assurance and you'd plant them in good soil and they would bear forth fruit in days to come, in Jesus' name, amen.

Could I have you all stand? We're closing with a final song. I'm going to ask you if you raised your hand, even if you're in the balcony, I'll let you come down the steps. We'll wait for you. But I want though those of you who raised your hand to get up from where you're standing, find the nearest aisle, stand right up here where I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ. Jesus called people publicly so often, and I want to, in like manner, call you publicly in front of a group of men and women who love you and will applaud for the decision you're making.

If you raised your hand, just find the nearest aisle, just come and stand right up here and I'll lead you in a prayer. That's right. If you're in the balcony, come down the steps. If you're in the back, come down the aisle. Yeah! Yeah! We don't do this to embarrass anyone, we do this because we want an opportunity to celebrate for you, with you, and with the angels in heaven. Awesome. We'll wait just another moment. And thank you for waiting and thank you for praying. Thank you for bringing your friends like this and family members. Every single one of you, God bless you guys.

I want you to know that God loves you. He loves you so much that he sent his Son who was perfect and sinless. He never did anything wrong. He was God in human flesh and he came down this earth to take my sin, my sin, and your sin, to cleanse you by that act, and by that act to extend forgiveness to you, and to give you this do-over and to wash the past away. And as you are coming to him in repentance, you're leaving the past behind, you're coming in faith to Christ. So I'm going to lead you in a prayer and I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me. Ready? Pray this from your heart. Say these words to him. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I know that Jesus died on a cross, that he shed his blood for my sin, and that he rose victorious from the grave. I turn from my past. I turn from my sin. I turn to Jesus as Savior. I want to follow him as Lord. Help me Lord, in Jesus' name, amen.

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