Chapter 20.1 Life and Eternal Rest
Autumn of A.D. 27 to spring of 29 (about a year and a half)
Precious Presence, original oil painting on canvas by L. Lovett, size 16 x 20 inches, July 2004
Precious Presence, original oil painting on canvas by L. Lovett, size 16 x 20 inches, July 2004
(CLICK on the image above for a LARGER version)

Healing of Woman Who Touched Christ’s Garment

When Jesus went back across Galilee to the western side the next morning, a large crowd gathered around him on the shore near Capernaum. Jairus, leader of the synagogue, came and fell down before him pleading with the Lord to heal his little daughter Rebekah. “My only child is dying, a little girl twelve years old,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.”

The Savior went with him, and the crowd thronged behind. There was a woman among them who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. Esther had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and had spent everything she had to pay them, but was no better. In fact, she was worse. Esther had heard about Jesus, and thought to herself, “If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed.” She came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed!

Christ realized at once that healing power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

Everyone denied it and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”

But Jesus told him, “No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” He kept on looking around to see if the woman who did it would come forward. He already knew who she was, and only wished to help Esther through public confession of her faith.

The frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done.

He comforted her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. You have been healed.” Esther learned that the power proceeded not from the garment, but from the One who wore it. She learned also that it was not the touch of it, but the faith in the Lord that made her whole.

Raising of Jairus’ Daughter

While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from Jairus’ home with the message, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

Jesus ignored their comments and said to the grief-stricken father, “Do not be afraid. Just trust me, and she will be all right.”

When they arrived at the house, it was filled with weeping, wailing people and funeral music. The Lord wouldn’t let anyone go inside with him except Peter, James, John (his inner circle), and the little girl’s father and mother. Then he said to the mourners, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she is only asleep.”

The crowd laughed at him because they all knew Rebekah had died. The mourners’ conduct had proved themselves unworthy to be witnesses of Christ’s great miracle, so he told all of them to go outside.

Now the utmost need would require the utmost faith of Jairus and his wife. He took them with his three disciples into the room where Rebekah was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, “Get up, little girl!” At that moment her life returned. She immediately stood up and walked around! Then Christ told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were absolutely overwhelmed, and did as they were instructed.

Afterwards Rebekah sat by Jesus and they engaged in joyful conversation. As the little girl thanked him for healing her, she put her hand on his shoulder in childlike innocence, completely at ease with her Lord and Savior. An adult knowledgeable in Jewish tradition would be hindered by such rules as touching a rabbi, but a child has only absolute openness in coming to God.

Later in his ministry when the disciples forbade mothers to bring their little ones to him to be blessed, Christ scolded them, “Let the children come to me. Unless you humble yourselves as a child, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” His followers must learn to receive it with no distinction or intellectual qualification; but only humility, receptiveness, meekness, and simple trust.

The Savior insisted that Jairus and his family not tell anyone what had happened, but the report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside.

Apostles Sent Out Two by Two

Herod Antipas, through his agents in Galilee, had joined forces with the scribes and the chief priests in Jerusalem to oppose Jesus. He was in constant danger now of being imprisoned and silenced as John had been, and he could no longer act alone as teacher and healer. His Passion was getting closer and there was a new urgency to his mission.

He called together his Twelve. The time had come for them, like children leaving home to make lives for themselves, to begin their own ministry in order that word of the Kingdom of God might be spread abroad. “The harvest is great, but the workers are few,” he told them, “so pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields.”

Then he commissioned the apostles and sent them out two by two with these instructions: “Do not take the road to Gentiles lands or any Samaritan town, but only to the lost sheep of Israel. Announce to them that the kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. You received without cost, give without charge.” The apostles were to be given the same miraculous powers which Christ himself possessed.

“Do not take any money with you or carry a traveler’s bag with an extra coat and sandals, or even a walking stick.” They were to avoid even the appearance of being engaged in other business when their whole being should be absorbed in the service of the Lord.

“Do not hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave for the next town. When you are invited into someone’s home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing.

“If a village does not welcome you or listen to you, shake off the dust of that place from your feet as you leave. I assure you, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off on the judgment day than that place will be.” The wrath of the Lord would be resting on it, and the act would symbolize that no accursed thing should cling to them.

Persecution would come to the disciples at a later time after Jesus returned to heaven, and he warned them in advance, “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and beaten in the synagogues. You must stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. This will be your opportunity to tell them about me—yes, to witness to the world. When you are arrested, do not worry about what to say in your defense, because you will be given the right words at the right time. For it will not be you doing the talking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

“A student is not greater than the teacher. A servant is not greater than the master. The student shares the teacher’s fate and the servant shares the master’s fate. But do not be afraid of those who threaten you. Do not be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.

“If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven. Anyone who welcomes you is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”

When Jesus had finished giving these instructions to his disciples, he went off teaching and preaching in towns throughout the country while they were on their mission.

Eternal Rest for John the Baptist

John, still imprisoned in Machaerus, knew the end was at hand, and he was ready to die for his Lord. Even though Herod respected him, knowing that he was a good and holy man, his frequent conversations with the Baptist perplexed the weak superstitious tyrant, and no longer gave John even passing hopes of freedom. Nor would he any longer expect the Messiah to exert power on his behalf. He knew the Anointed One announced a better liberty, triumph, and victory. The baptizer’s work as the Messiah’s forerunner had been accomplished and the weary servant of the Lord longed for his eternal rest. It came suddenly and swiftly.

When Christ returned to Capernaum, John’s disciples brought him the sad news about the Baptist. “We wanted you to know this as soon as possible. During Herod’s birthday feast at Machaerus, he was finally tricked by Herodias into beheading our beloved John. We just finished burying his body in a tomb. Now Antipas, in his crazed mind, told his advisers that you are John the Baptist come back to life again. That is why he thinks you can do such miracles. Now he wants to see you!”

Knowing the future, Jesus replied, “He will see me soon enough.”

Shortly after John’s messengers left, the apostles returned from their ministry tour and told the Teacher all they had done and what they had taught. Now his Great Galilean Ministry was over.

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