Jesus is the Life-Giver.
Remember the bleeding woman whom society had treated ‘dead’ for the last 12 years of her life? Or the leprous and the blind, the widows and the beggars – people who, in view of their predominant socio-cultural setting, did not have any chance at life? Only upon meeting the Life-Giver did they understand what life really was.
But while the Bible is teeming with miracles where Jesus brings significance – life in its truest sense – to a person’s life, it also highlights exceptional miracles where Jesus literally brings people back to life.
Upon deep reflection, we can understand why, of all, Jesus chose these three dead people to show His power over life. Not for the sake of the dead, but for the sake of their living loved ones.
1.THE LIFE GIVER: RESTORER OF DIGNITY
STORY #1: Jairus’ daughter brought back to life: Mark 5:21-42 (chosen verses)
21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him. … 35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” … 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
• Many of us have known this story for quite a long time. But to know the deeper truth behind this, we have to know the stark contrast between the social status of Jairus and Jesus:
As synagogue ruler, he was:
-a man of high stature
-a man of knowledge (or else he would not have been elected a ruler)
-a man of pride, gentleness or humility (which they identified as a ruler’s special qualifications)
As an itinerant healer, he was deemed as:
-threat to the synagogue rulers
-enemy to the Roman empire
•What was so surprising – even shocking – in this first encounter was that Jairus, in his desperate attempt to save his daughter, threw caution to the air. He knelt before Jesus and begged!
•Had Jesus turned down Jairus’ desperate plea, he would have been left with nothing – his daughter … gone. The dignity he had painstakingly worked for all his life, in this sudden frantic move, all gone.
•But he trusted the right man. The Life-Giver. And he was never turned down. His daughter was brought back to life. His dignity, restored.
•What situations in life could have disrobed us of our dignity?
•Isaiah 50:7 – Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.
•Jesus is the Life-Giver, the Restorer of Dignity.
Luke 5:12-14 – Jesus did not only bring the health of good life to this person. He brought him back to society. He restored to him his dignity.
2.THE LIFE GIVER: RESTORER OF JOY
STORY #2: The widow’s son brought back to life: Luke 7:12-15
12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
The Widow, The Mother
In a depressing nutshell, the widow’s life was that of:
Financial difficulty (in a patriarchal society, she had been left with little or no means to provide even for her basic needs);
Disgraced and weak existence (with no one to cover for her, except if she had been left a son).
She was grieving not just the loss of what was left of her dignity, her one and only son.
More so, she was grieving for the loss of her greatest… or maybe her one and only JOY.
•Life’s circumstances may have taken from us a life of JOY:
Death of a loved one?
•Jesus is the Life-Giver, the Restorer of Joy
Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
“It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.” ~ A. B. Simpson
3.THE LIFE GIVER: RESTORER OF FAITH
STORY #3: Lazarus brought back to life: John 11 (chosen verses)
Death of DIGNITY. Death of JOY. Tragedies that render a person dead even when he still has the ability to breathe … But what worse death could there be than what Martha experienced when her beloved brother, Lazarus, died? The death of FAITH.
Take careful notice of these following exchanges:
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
•Martha had, in all accounts, lost faith in Jesus’ power to bring her dear brother back to life.
•She thought that Jesus had not been able to help Lazarus in the direst of time. That Jesus was LATE. And nothing could be done to remedy the tragedy to which Lazarus had succumbed.
•But even then, while Martha was wallowing in her grief of losing her brother, Jesus called out to the dead Lazarus!
•The Life-Giver brought Lazarus back to life. And in doing so, He restored Martha’s faith.
•Because life brings about joy and pain, laughter and sorrows, people lose faith. Saddening fact, yes, but also plain reality.
An unfair trial?
A tragic accident?
A sudden death?
An uncured disease?
•Jesus is the Life-Giver, the Restorer of FAITH.
Hebrews 12:1-2a – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis
More than the bodies of the dead silently screaming for another chance at life, it was the loud call of their loved ones who stopped Jesus, and made Him reach out His hands to bring the dead back to life – not physical death, but the death of dignity, of joy, and worst of all, of faith.
Jesus is the Life-Giver. Period. In whatever He does, He radiates life. He gives life. Simply because that’s what He is – LIFE.