Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Twenty-Fouth Sunday after Trinity

Jesus heals the ruler's daughter.

The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #  281     The Savior Calls               1:29
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 531            Come ye Disconsolate            1:15

 Faith and Miracles

The Communion Hymn #   157            There Is a Fountain            1:58
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #  511     Jesus Shall Reign                1:80
            [Hymn numbers verified by Arthur Anderson, CPA]

KJV Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

KJV Matthew 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity

O almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son hast promised us forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from eternal death: We pray that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt daily increase our faith in Thy grace through Christ, and establish us in the certain hope that we shall not die, but peacefully sleep, and be raised again on the last day to eternal life and salvation; through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

 Faith and Miracles

Many people believed in Christ because of His teaching and His miracles. When the Christian faith was being established, Jesus and the apostles performed miracles with teaching God’s Word. Each one supported the other.

Because people trusted in Christ’s power and mercy, they were drawn to Him and asked Him to help them in their distress.

The two miracles presented show a feature that can be found in the Gospels. A story begins, is interrupted by a second story, then concludes. The stories relate to each other, as shown in this lesson.

In the first miracle, a ruler of the synagogue asked Jesus in faith to heal his daughter, who was already dead. The position of this man tells us a lot about the spread of Christianity in the early decades after His resurrection.

The ruler of the synagogue was a man of influence, so his faith in Christ certainly spread to others, especially because of this miracle. The next stage, as Jesus predicted in John, was having all Christians thrown out of the synagogues. That was the cross the early Jewish Christians had to bear. They were overjoyed at being witnesses to Christ, since each congregation began around a conversion or a miracle. They loved to tell their fellow Jews about it at the synagogue, which meant the fulfillment of everything they heard all their lives in the Law and Prophets. Their reward was being thrown out of the synagogue and cut off from friends and family.

Jesus began to follow the ruler to visit the daughter. As I have mentioned, each miracle has a slightly different point, so it was important for Jesus to be present this time, because it gave even more force to the miracle.

Along the way is the central miracle in this doublet. A woman with a flow of blood has faith in Jesus that He will heal her. Crowds followed and surrounded Him, and the disciples doubtless formed a ring around Him, to some extent. Simply asking Him for a miracle was daunting.

The flow of blood meant that the woman was ritually unclean for the last 12 years. That alone was a burden, but so was the trial of going to doctors and never getting better. Time and expense had meant nothing, so she was desperate.

Because of her great trust in Christ, she believed that touching His garment was enough to heal her.

Matthew 9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

She trusted in His power and mercy. Jesus, omniscient, knew this as she approached, and even before. She utterly trusted in Him and touched His robe. He gave her the blessings she trusted would come from Him. She was healed at that moment and knew it.

Most people have probably had the experience of being given the right medicine and knowing at once that it was working. The woman might have crept away in the crowd, but Jesus called out to her, “Daughter. Be comforted, for your faith has made you whole again.” And she was healed (made whole) from that hour.

“Made whole” could also be translated “saved.” Your faith has saved you. And she was saved from that hour. In this context, the emphasis upon healing is preferred, but the two meanings are closely related.

She was forgiven her sins and given the blessing of good health again. All her friends and relatives, plus her doctors, knew of her misery for the last 12 years. Every single one had the chance to hear that Jesus healed her, that she believed in Him.

No doubt this miracle was the subject of discussion as the crowd moved toward the home of the synagogue leader. We can see why faith receives a double-emphasis in this doublet (or triptych – a central picture illustrated on each side with pictures related to the main one).

When they arrived at the house, the funeral proceedings had already started. Lenski explained the noise and commotion, since the family was prominent -


Matthew at once takes us to the house where the Jewish mourning is in full blast. Judging from the indications of time in this chapter, it must have been toward dusk, and the child would be buried the next morning. Matthew alone mentions the hired “flute players”; beside them would be found the hired wailing women with hair streaming, beating their breasts and filling the air with loud moans and bursts of sobs. The prominence of the family would call for a goodly number of these hired mourners. Besides there would be present many friends of this important family. The whole house was thus full of noise. Paid mourners were professionals at the business, and the custom of having them in houses of mourning and at funerals dates far back, even beyond the times of Jeremiah (9:17), and is found among Jews and pagans alike. Naturally, Jesus would order these people out and hush them; a deed such as he was about to do called for the decency and the dignity of silence.
24) The word with which Jesus put out the noisy crowd has sometimes been misunderstood as though it implied that the girl had merely lapsed into a coma and appeared to be dead while still holding to life. “Did not die” is taken to deny the death, and “sleepeth” is understood to refer to sleep. But the people who were ordered out of the room knew better; from their loud wailing they turned to scornful laughter at this word of Jesus, sie lachten ihn aus.
[1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 375


The large group of mourners and musicians were ordered out. They laughed at Jesus for saying the girl was not dead, because they knew better from experience. This alone is a good lesson for us all. We may have all the facts and have many decades of experience, but God is not limited by anything we know. The facts and our wisdom go out the window when the efficacious Word of God changes the picture.

And do we imagine that the world goes on, based on natural principles alone, without God’s intervention? People should not expect the tinkling of bells with every miracle and a golden glow around certain heads (It’s a Wonderful Life, Going My Way, The Bells of St. Mary’s). God is constantly ordering the world around us. If not, we would quickly run it into the ground, even with massive recycling efforts.

Secular government and the Christian church provide outward manifestations of God’s order, but He works constantly through His Word and His angels to guide and protect us. Anyone with children should believe in angels, because God clearly preserves them from an infinite number of accidents and follies. Our friend had his little girl wander out into heavy traffic. She was not scared, she said, “Because the cars all swerved around me.” Her logic was irrefutable. How can a child fear a car when it swerves so adroitly?

KJV Matthew 9:25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

He made this miracle private, but it soon became public. He took the little girl by the hand and she arose, alive and healthy again.


Here we again have marked abbreviation. Nothing is said about the five witnesses who were admitted to the death chamber, the word spoken to the girl, the resulting amazement, and other details found in Mark and in Luke. Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 376

KJV Matthew 9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

This miracle is told in the first three Gospels, with the details varying somewhat. In collusion, the same story is told verbatim. When people lie, they contradict each other. In the synoptics, the details vary without contradiction. To get a measure of this difficulty, multiply this story by all the others in two, three, or four Gospels. And yet, they remain in agreement with each other.

Specialists in evidence have never been able to refute the truth of the Gospels. The best anyone can do is to say, “I do not believe this or that…” Indeed, they do not believe. Their eyes are blinded by their own obstinacy, and the more they reject it, the blinder they become.

In this case, the dead girl did not have faith, which illustrates two points in God’s Word. The first is her father’s faith. He asked on her behalf, in faith, and his prayer was answered. Prayer is the fruit of faith in Christ. There can be no prayer until one believes, and that faith is planted in our hearts by the Word of the Gospel.

Secondly, this healing shows that God’s Word acts upon all those who are dead to sin and makes them alive in Him. God does not meet the individual half-way. God does not make a deal with a person, that He will do something and the mortal will complete the transaction or do his part.

God acts upon the person with His Word. In this case, Jesus spoke to the young girl, and His effective Word raised her from the dead, without her will or consent or decision.

Thus all faithful teachers and preachers trust that the Gospel Word will act upon people with His divine power, not needing human gimmicks or adornment. Wherever the Gospel is preached, faith is begun and renewed, sins are forgiven, prodigal sons return, the spiritually dead are raised, and eternal life springs up.


Chrysostom:  "If those who touched the hem of His garment were properly healed, how much more shall we be strengthened if we have Him in us whole?  He will quiet in us the savage law of our members, He will quench the perturbations of the mind, drive out all sicknesses, raise us up from every fall, and, when the power of the enemy has been overcome, He will incite us to true piety and indeed will transform us into His own image."             Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II,  p. 234.                 
"The body of Christ is to the sick a medicine, to pilgrims a way; it strengthens the weak, delights the strong, heals weariness, preserves health. Through it man becomes more gentle under reproof, more patient under labor, more ardent for love, wiser for caution, more ready to obey, more devoted to giving of thanks."            Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II,  p. 234.                  
[Ignatius calls the Eucharist] "a medicine of immortality, an antidote, that we may not die but live in God through Jesus Christ, a cleansing remedy through warding off and driving out evils." Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II,  p. 234.

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