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The Strength of Twelve

Week_26_The Strength of Twelve. New Life Gillette Church upon this rock blog

The Strength of Twelve

The prophet Isaiah gives us many messianic prophecies that clearly point to Jesus and His kingdom. Jesus is in charge. Justice flows freely from His throne. He sits in Heaven and mourns for His enemies. He is not afraid of them. They have no power. They cannot be compared to Him, and He cares for them!
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This prophecy caused the Jews to believe the Messiah would be a military or political leader. That’s why they missed Jesus. When Jesus didn’t fight against Rome, the Jews rejected Him. It didn’t matter how many miracles He performed, they couldn’t get past their preconceived notions. However, Christ’s government, His Kingdom, was greater than they could have imagined.
 
Even John the Baptist thought Jesus would use physical power or politics to keep John, the prophesied prophet, out of jail.
When Jesus had finished giving these instructions to his twelve disciples, he went out to teach and preach in towns throughout the region. 2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?
Jesus had demonstrated His sovereignty through His teachings and His miracles, but because Jesus chose not to fight political battles, John began to doubt Him.
 
Note that Jesus had twelve disciples. In Scripture, the number twelve is considered the perfect number because it is a symbol of God’s power and authority. When you see the number twelve in Scripture, it’s showing that God’s governance is perfect. His Kingdom reigns supreme, and His power is unmatched.
 
I’m tempted to sing a song I learned in Sunday School. “He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got Jessica, Seth, and Caleb (we all hoped the teacher would say our name next) in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
 
Luke chapter eight tells the story of Jesus calming a storm. When the storm hit, the disciples doubted Jesus like John the Baptist did. Storms have a way of causing doubt. Pain causes us to question things we would not have otherwise questioned.
The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”
Jesus is in charge. Everyone and everything must obey Him, including evil spirits.
 
Luke 8:26-39 tells a story about a naked, homeless, and demon-possessed man who lived in a tomb. When Jesus talked to the man, the man fell to the ground, and the demon identified himself by the name “legion.”  In other words, there were thousands of demons in this man. The demons made the man incredibly strong, but even they were no match for Jesus. He cast them into a herd of pigs that ran off a cliff and drowned in a lake.
 
How would you feel if you were a farmer, and someone killed all your pigs? I bet you’d be angry, as were the owners of these pigs. They ran to town to tell everyone, and the people were terrified. When they saw that the man had been healed, they begged Jesus to leave. Jesus’ sheer power terrified people. So, Jesus left.
 
This is how many people react to God today. God invites us to join His Kingdom and participate in His power, but some people choose to rule their own weak, temporary kingdom. Rather than allowing God to rule over them, to call the shots in their life, they tell Jesus to get away, and He does.
 
When Jesus left these people, He went to the other side of the lake where a crowd of people gathered to see Him. They had heard about His power and welcomed Him with open arms. While He was there, a religious leader named Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and asked Jesus to heal his twelve-year-old daughter. So, Jesus started walking to Jairus’ house to heal the girl. While they were walking with a huge crowd around them, a woman snuck up behind Jesus to touch Him. She also wanted to be healed because she had a disease that caused her to constantly bleed for…guess how many years…twelve years.
 
The blood flow issue is a picture of sin. I grew up hearing sermons about this story, and preachers always made her sound dignified. They would say, “This woman reached out for God, and we need a generation that will reach out for God. If you seek hard enough, you’ll reach God.” But I don’t think that’s the proper reading of this passage. God is showing us how close He is. He comes to us. This passage clarifies that the woman was the one who was sneaking. Those preachers never talked about how God uses sneaky people. Are you embarrassed? Are you sneaking your way to Jesus? Come as you are. She snuck up and touched the tassels on Jesus’ robe and immediately she was healed.
 
Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. 45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
Jesus didn’t ask who touched Him because He didn’t know. He asked because He wanted her to come out of hiding. He wanted to know her. The lady wasn’t on Jesus’ schedule. He was going to heal the twelve-year-old girl, but He was happy to change His plans for her.
 
Unfortunately, the glee of this moment was interrupted. While they were celebrating, a messenger came and told Jairus that his daughter had died before they could get to her. If only Jesus hadn’t stopped to heal the bleeding woman, then maybe He could have healed the little girl!
But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” 51 When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. 52 The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”
The people began to mock Jesus for claiming that the girl was only asleep, but Jesus was about to demonstrate His power in a way that these people had never seen.
Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” 55 And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up!
Nothing can stand against the power of our God, not storms, demons, illness, or even death. If the storms of life have caused you to doubt God’s plan, remind yourself of His sovereignty.
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