Guidance and Power of the Holy Spirit

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Read Luke 8:40-56

This passage reveals the Spirit of God at work in Jesus.  We need to start by remembering that Jesus never relied on His own deity during His earthly ministry (John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28; 14:10).  With that in mind let’s consider what transpires one day as Jesus is traveling with the disciples.

First, a ruler of the synagogue interrupts Jesus to plead with Him on behalf of his dying daughter.  Apparently Jesus kept walking, making His way through the crowd surrounding Him.  Suddenly one particular person captures the attention of Jesus. It is a woman with an incurable disease.  She eventually works her way through the crowd so that she can touch Him and without saying a word, reaches out and touches the edge of His garment.  Immediately she was healed.

The amazing thing is what happens next. Jesus quickly asks,”Who touched me?”  All those immediately around Jesus denied touching Him.  Eventually Peter speaks up to verbalize what more than likely they were all thinking.  “Master, the crowd is surrounding you and pressing in on you.   Jesus repeats His awareness that Although many may have had physical contact with Him, there was one unique touch that generated a sense of power exuding from Him.  Talk about sensitivity to the working of the Holy Spirit!  Though it may not be as dramatic, when was the last time you sensed the Holy Spirit uniquely working through you?

For me it was being awake at 3:00AM with a prompting to send encouragement to a daughter going through a critical event in her life.  If we are indeed growing in our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, should not such events be more routine?

When the lady realizes that Jesus is insisting on knowing who touched Him, she finally identifies herself.  By the way, isn’t it interesting that Jesus knew that power had been exercised through Him, yet He didn’t know who the person was?

We must not lose sight that Jesus was on His way to a dying girl when the encounter with the woman occurred.  That is brought to our attention in verse 49 when someone from the home of the girl comes to report that it was no longer necessary for the Lord to come since the daughter was now dead.  Jesus reassures that “she will be well” and continues to walk to her home.  He arrives and finds the home filled with mourners lamenting her death.  Jesus tells them to stop weeping because the girl isn’t dead.  She is sleeping.  That announcement generated a response of laughter.  The issue is resolved with two words from Jesus to the daughter, “Child, arise.”  The next verse (55) says, “her spirit returned and she got up at once.”   That sentence alone would generate an entirely different conversation regarding the spirit of the girl.  But for now let’s keep our focus on the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.

Consider this. We started with Jesus on His way to heal a dying girl.  His venture is delayed by the touch of His garment by a lady who had a serious illness for 12 years.  Let me ask you this; which situation is the most urgent?  The lady has lived with her condition for 12 years.  Presumably she could survive for a while longer.  Meanwhile, the girl is on her deathbed.  So which one should have the priority?  What was the criteria that led to time and attention being given to the woman rather than the dying girl?  Certainly urgency is not the answer.  

There is one hint in our text.  Regarding the woman, in verse 48 Jesus addresses her as “ daughter” indicating intimacy.  He then says, “your faith has healed you.”  It wasn’t the touch. It wasn’t His garment.  It was her faith.  In the case of the girl,  Jesus told them in verse 50, “Do not fear, only believe and she will be well.”  It is possible that the reason Jesus invited Peter, James and John to join Him with the parents was to add their faith to be exercised in the absence of belief of the extended family and friends. It is that stage of discipleship that we have labeled as “I do, you help,”  The unbelief of the household is revealed in their response of laughter when Jesus announced she was not dead.  It seems that perhaps the decision to meet the woman’s need first is because of the exercise of believing faith.

So, what about us?  How much faith are we exercising in accomplishing the essentials that we know will lead to disciple making? Are we growing in sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit?  

-Jay Letey