Luke 7-8
(Extraordinary Healing and Extraordinary Faith)
October 24th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

Luke 8:52-56 (NRSV)

Summary of Chapters

These two chapters record many incidents of Jesus healing and forgiving people as well as Luke’s version of the calming of the storm and the parable of the four soils.

Within this set of scriptures there are two distinct accounts of Jesus bringing a body back to life. One occurs in chapter 7, when Jesus intercedes during a funeral in order to bring back to life the son of a widow. He also brought back to life the daughter of a synagogue leader. People laughed when he said what he would do, but were astonished afterwards. Jesus then told them not to tell anyone.

Later in chapter 7 Jesus allows a sinful woman to anoint his feet while he is dining with one of the Pharisees. The Pharisee is aghast at this spectacle, so Jesus explains to him the concepts of Grace and gratitude. This woman, who needed a lot of forgiveness, showed great gratitude, while the Pharisee, who considered himself near-perfect showed little gratitude and in fact was a poor host for Jesus.

In these two chapters we also find two extraordinary accounts of faithfulness. One is from a Roman Centurion, a gentile (non-Jew) and a solider of the invaders. He asks Jesus to heal his servant from a distance, because he respected the power of Jesus and did not consider himself worthy of a personal visit:

    He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

    “When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you I have not found such great faith, even in Israel.’ Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

    - Luke 7:9-10 (NIV)

In chapter 8, Luke describes a scene in which a woman seeking healing reaches out and touches Jesus’ cloak without being seen by anyone. Jesus feels the power leaving him and inquires who touched him. The woman comes forward and Jesus tells her that her faith has healed her. The chapter concludes with Jesus resurrecting another child.

Reflection and Application

The incidents in these chapters are a reminder to us not to limit our imagination with regard to the types of miracles that Jesus can perform. Nor should we assume a ceiling on the level of forgiveness that he can provide.

True, he does not intercede in every sickness or disaster. Many people have been sick and never healed and many storms raged without restraint. What’s important to recognize is that he can heal and calm the storm. Moreover, we should encourage each other to remember that our Father in heaven is always willing to provide reconciliation and forgiveness for those who come to him with a contrite heart.

The faith of the Centurion and the woman who touched his cloak are good examples for us. They did not appear to have a shred of doubt that their actions could lead to the desired healing. In the one case, the Centurion had a request not for his own sake, but for the sake of his servant. Maybe there was a selfish interest, but his sincerity is nearly overwhelming. He has so much faith and trust in Jesus that he doesn’t ask if Jesus could heal from this distance, but asks if he would. In the other case, the woman was too humiliated to ask Jesus to touch her, but knew if she touched him that she could receive his healing power.

The woman who washed Jesus feet was apparently an all-star sinner. Maybe there had been times when she thought she was too far gone to ever be able to win God’s forgiveness. But she saw the opportunity with Jesus, washed his feet with the confession of her tears, and showed her humility by drying his feet with her hair.

When we pray, we might want to remember these three witnesses. Ask for anything in God’s name, and he certainly can do it. Reach out to Jesus and he can heal you. Seek forgiveness and it will be granted. God is not going to push us away from the table, but will forgive us, regardless of the depth of our sins, as long as we seek him out the way this woman did - with humility, worship and contrite hearts.

In response to an earlier version of today's study we had heard from Pr. Martin Cisneros on Twitter @OnlineAnointing. On October 24th, 2012 he provided an answer to the question, "what would you say to people who feel they are too far gone for God?" Cisneros said "I'd tell them to read The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott which CONCLUSIVELY answers THAT. "

On October 31st, 2010, the Rev. Sam Schreiner delivered a sermon regarding the woman who washed Jesus feet, as described in Luke 7. Schreiner noted that while the Pharisees sought to separate themselves from sinners, Jesus sought to engage with them. God is more interested in pardoning and restoring relationships then in the law. Schreiner concluded that “Creation declares the glory of God, while forgiveness (as shown here) declares the goodness of God."

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. When was the last time you were sick and in bed?
    2. What healing would you like to pray for today? Ask Jesus right now for the healing for someone else or for yourself and wait patiently and humbly for a response.
    3. What would you say the next time someone tells you they are beyond the forgiveness of God?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in Heaven, we believe you can perform any miracle of healing and have power over death and sin. Help us to accept your gift of grace, give thanks to you, and seek you out for healing.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Sick Children

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Luke 9-10 (Travel Lightly)

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