Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. ‘Stop wailing,’ Jesus said. ‘She is not dead but asleep.’ (Luke 8:52)
This story is familiar for many of us. Jairus approaches Jesus about his sick daughter, and Jesus agrees to accompany Jairus to his home. On the way, someone meets Jairus from the house to notify hi that his daughter has died. Jesus encourages Jairus to believe, and they continue on their way. When they arrive, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with the girl’s parents, and they approach the girl’s body. Speaking the phrase, “My child, get up!”, Jesus raises her from death. We remember this story because it is so striking to see Jesus’ bring life in the face of death.
But equally striking is Jesus’ exhortation to stop wailing when the girl is dead. Equally shocking is His statement that she is not dead after all but merely asleep, when all the facts say otherwise. We have to ask ourselves some questions. Does Jesus see things others do not see about the girl’s physical condition? Does Jesus see something in the purposes of God that others do not see? Is Jesus speaking a rebuke of some sort about a lack of faith? Is Jesus poking fun at the people who are there?
The last question seems unlikely because Jesus rarely did that sort of thing to people in grief, but directed His piercing critiques to the hypocritical. The third question seems possible, given that faith is a theme throughout this story. The first question seems unlikely because all evidence pointed to the girl’s actual death, and there is no evidence from the text that Jesus had examined her in some way. The second question seems to draw closest to the heart of what is happening here. Jesus sees something that others do not see about what God wants to do in this situation, and that it is connected to the call to faith/believing.
Jesus’ ability to see beyond the natural and into the realm of God’s kingdom purposes with clarity is a gift beyond most of us. We see physical phenomena with natural vision, failing to consider or apprehend the magnitude of the vision of faith related to God’s plans. Jesus’ vision was different.
Lord, give me eyes to see what You have in store, even today. May my eyesight become more like Jesus’ eyesight, for the glory and the fullness of Your kingdom.
In my message this past weekend at Eastbrook Church from Daniel 10:1-12:4, “Faith and the Final Vision,” I shared a chart that I adapted from Sidney Greidanus‘ book Preaching Christ from Daniel. I want to thank Pete Briscoe for recommending the book to me because it has been an invaluable resource, along with many other resources, as I’ve preached through Daniel over the past months. You can download the chart as a PDF in landscape formatting here. However, I’m also inserting it into this blog post in portrait orientation below.
|Head of gold
||Lion with eagles’ wings
|Chest and arms of silver
||Bear with one side higher than the other
||Ram with 2 horns, 1 longer
||King Cyrus (10:1)
Three kings (11:2a)
Fourth king (11:2b)
|Belly and thighs of bronze
||Leopard with 4 wings, 4 heads
||Fast goat with 4 horns
||Warrior king (11:3)
Kingdom divided to four winds (11:4)
|Kings of south (11:5-20)
Kings of north (11:6-20)
|Contemptible one (11:21-35)
|Legs of iron
Feet & toes of iron and clay
|Monster with iron teeth, 10 horns
||63 BC-AD 476
|Stone smashes statue
||God burns the monster
||Little horn destroyed
||The king (11:36-45)
King destroyed (11:45)
Time of anguish (12:1)
|Mountain fills the whole earth
||Kingdom given to son of man and God’s people
||God’s people delivered (12:1)
Resurrection (12:2; 12:13)
The wise exalted
|Kingdom of God
|From Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012), 344.
As we have been journeying through a preaching series on the book of Daniel at Eastbrook Church, “Daniel: Apocalyptic Imagination and Exile Faith,” we have come to some of the most difficult parts of the book to understand in the visions of chapters 7-12. Through these visions, God unveils the reality of what is really going on in the midst of the ordinary history of earth. God is writing a story, even in the midst of the beasts of earth.
Amongst all of this, we might wonder why God gave Daniel these visions, and what their significance is for Daniel and the other exiles of Judah. Let me share three reasons God gives Daniel these visions and why they matter:
- God grants Daniel these visions so that he and the rest of God’s exiled people will be prepared for what is to come. Empires will rise and kingdoms will fall. Kings will rise and kings will fall. The exiled people will ride the waves of this history and it is God’s grace that gives insight into these shifting waves so that the people can be prepared to ride the currents of these waves.
- God also gives Daniel these visions so that the people of God might be encouraged by the reality that God is in charge of human history and there will be an end to suffering and oppression. Many times throughout the second half of the book of Daniel, we hear that God will bring an end to the kingdoms of earth, eventually bringing the fullness of God’s kingdom upon earth. God knows how hard it is to stay encouraged in difficult times, and so God graciously encourages them with the reality that there will be an end.
- God, thirdly, gives these visions to Daniel so that the people of God might be watchful for not only what is happening in human history, but for how God is at work in the midst of human history. God knows how easily we as human lose our perspective and stop watching for Him, and it is God’s grace through these apocalyptic visions to startle His people to attentiveness.
Following on from the previous messages on “God the Father” and “God the Son,” I concluded our vision series on The Trinity with an exploration of the third person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit.
I am a bit of an odd duck in terms of my church background. I had a transforming encounter in my life at the age of 16 that involved profound manifestations of the Holy Spirit while at a Presbyterian summer camp. I was not walking with God before that, but ever-after my life has been changed. I believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit but emphasize preaching of the Word. I call for spiritual formation and character transformation by the Holy Spirit but am missional and believe the Holy Spirit is always calling the church beyond its walls. Because of this, my approach to preaching on the Holy Spirit is a bit unique.
Here is the video and sermon outline of this third message of the Trinity series, “God the Holy Spirit.”
You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.
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The next three weekends at Eastbrook Church we will launch into a new series that charts out our vision and direction for the coming year and beyond entitled “Becoming 7.”
This series is an overview of how we want to move from ‘what’ of our mission – “to proclaim and embody the love of Jesus Christ in the city and in the world” – to the ‘how’ of our big five vision objectives:
- becoming a Revelation 7:9-10 church
- growing in discipleship depth
- growing in mission width
- growing in leadership multiplication
- increasing in overall church engagement
Sometimes we aim to become a “10” but in this series we will talk about why we are aiming for “7” instead.
You can follow along with the series via our web-site, our Vimeo page, our Facebook page, or by downloading the Eastbrook Church app.
This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we kicked-off our ministry year with a vision sermon entitled “Deep – Wide – Multiplied.” This message aimed to focus us in for the year here at Eastbrook around three key movements of the good and happy life with God seen in Psalm 1.
You can connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or listen to the message via our audio podcast here.
What does it look like to live faithfully to God in a confusing world?
This past weekend at Eastbrook Church I explored that question as we continued our series “Turning to God in Troubling Times” from Habakkuk. In my message this weekend, “Faithfulness in a Confusing World,” we worked our way through Habakkuk 2:2-20. Here, God speaks to Habakkuk in response to the prophet’s second prayer of complaint in 1:12-2:1.
You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here.
Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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