One of the most beautiful aspects of the gospel of Luke is the numerous, dramatic and graphic pictures of faith that Luke gives us from the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus. Luke gives us these pictures so that the one who is seeking Jesus and who truly desires to follow Jesus can know what saving faith looks like. What words cannot fully express, pictures can, and Luke gives us vivid images of those who surrendered everything and took up their cross and followed Jesus. What does saving faith look like? Come to the gospel of Luke and you will see.
In Luke 8:41-42 we encounter Jairus the synagogue official. The fact that he was a synagogue official could mean he was a scribe or possibly even a Pharisee, but it definitely means that he was steeped in Judaism. But Jairus has a problem that his Judaism cannot solve: his daughter is dying and Jairus needs to find someone who has the power to heal his daughter and snatch her from the jaws of death. When he sees the multitude nearby and knows that Jesus is in the middle of that crowd, Jairus abandons all protocol and all reservations and crashes his way through the crowd to get to Jesus. Then this synagogue official falls down before Jesus in humility and worship and begs Him to come to his house to save his daughter. Jesus consents to help him and off they go to Jairus’ house, “as the multitudes are (still) pressing against Jesus” (Luke 8:42). In these two short verses we see a dramatic picture of the saving faith of Jairus that not only saves his own soul, but also, through Christ’s power and through God’s grace, results in the healing of Jairus’ daughter as she is raised from the dead.
Now notice the remarkable faith that Jairus had. Jairus had a faith that:
. . . disregarded all the religion of his past as irrelevant and useless. Remember that Jairus was a synagogue official and was certainly serious about his Judaism. No doubt he was deeply religious and followed all the traditions and practices of Judaism. But he realized that all these rituals and practices would never help his daughter. He needed someone with power who could do a miracle. And so, in a moment, Jairus abandoned his religious past to pursue Jesus.
. . . believed that Jesus could do the impossible, including giving life to the dead. Jairus had heard about Jesus and possibly seen His miracles. Now in a moment it all clicked: “I need to get to Jesus and cry out to Him, because He has the power to save my daughter. He can do the impossible.”
. . . gave him the courage to decide that he was going to get to Jesus no matter what obstacles stood in his way and no matter what people said or thought. There was no multitude big enough to deter him from getting to Jesus. He would get to Jesus or die trying. And there was no public opinion that mattered enough to prevent him from getting to Jesus. What would his friends and fellow synagogue officials and fellow Jews say about him talking to Jesus? He could not have cared less. Let them say what they will, but he was going to get to Jesus and beg Him to show His power to save.
. . . took definite, radical action based on that faith. In the Bible, faith is only true faith and saving faith when that faith is manifested in ACTION. Jairus was convinced that Jesus was the Christ and that Jesus could save his daughter, and consequently he acted in boldness. A so-called faith that does not result in action is not true faith, for true saving faith moves the person to act in faith.
Do you have that kind of faith? Do you have the kind of faith that disregards your religion of the past, that believes that Jesus can raise from the dead, that will get to Jesus no matter the obstacles, and that is manifested in radical action? This is saving faith. Pray that God would give you this kind of faith.
SDG rmb 9/26/2015