Based on Luke 8:40-56
The focus of these two healings could be “faith” — and of course, faith in Jesus. The first healing, as Jesus is along the way to Jairus’ daughter is of the woman who had a discharge of blood for 12 years. Jesus heals her, but the Lord points out that the healing was received by faith. She, too, is described as a “daughter,” as Jesus bids her “go in peace.” As Jesus continues on His way, someone comes to tell Him not to bother — Jairus’ daughter is dead. But Jesus answers, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And rather than believe or trust in Jesus, the people laughed at Him. Jesus had the last laugh, so to speak, as He did indeed speak to the girl, commanding, “Child, arise.” And she got up at once.
How can we not notice that Jesus is lifting up the need for faith in these miracles? Obviously, it is by the presence and power of the Lord Jesus that the healings/restoration takes place — but they are received through faith, which we learn in catechism class is the channel through which God’s grace and mercy come to us. Martin Luther described faith in many ways, but once he referred to it as “Letting God be God!” Our faith is not a work, an achievement, an accomplishment — but that by which we receive justification — “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Prayer: Lord, I believe — help thou my unbelief! Amen. (Mark 9:24)
Lenten response: Read Romans 3:21-31, to hear the Good News that we are justified by faith.
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Chron. 14:1–15:19
14:1 (13:23) Abijah passed away and was buried in the City of David. His son Asa replaced him as king. During his reign the land had rest for ten years.
2 (14:1) Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved. 3He removed the pagan altars and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. 4He ordered Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors and to observe his law and commands. 5He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom had rest under his rule.
6He built fortified cities throughout Judah, for the land was at rest and there was no war during those years; the Lord gave him peace. 7He said to the people of Judah: “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates. The land remains ours because we have followed the Lord our God; we have followed him, and he has made us secure on all sides.” So they built the cities and prospered.
8Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, equipped with large shields and spears. He also had 280,000 men from Benjamin who carried small shields and were adept archers; they were all skilled warriors. 9Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots . He arrived at Mareshah, 10and Asa went out to oppose him. They deployed for battle in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11Asa prayed to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army. O Lord, you are our God; don’t let men prevail against you!” 12The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13and Asa and his army chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites were wiped out; they were shattered before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah carried off a huge amount of plunder. 14They defeated all the cities surrounding Gerar, for the Lord caused them to panic. The men of Judah looted all the cities, for they contained a huge amount of goods. 15They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen in charge of the livestock. They carried off many sheep and camels and then returned to Jerusalem.
15:1 God’s Spirit came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2He met Asa and told him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you when you are loyal to him. If you seek him, he will respond to you, but if you reject him, he will reject you. 3For a long time Israel had no true God, or priest to instruct them, or law. 4Because of their distress, they turned back to the Lord God of Israel. They sought him and he responded to them. 5In those days no one could travel safely, for total chaos had overtaken all the people of the surrounding lands. 6One nation was crushed by another, and one city by another, for God caused them to be in great turmoil. 7But as for you, be strong and don’t get discouraged, for your work will be rewarded.”
8When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he was encouraged. He removed the detestable idols from the entire land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had seized in the Ephraimite hill country. He repaired the altar of the Lord in front of the porch of the Lord’s temple.
9He assembled all Judah and Benjamin, as well as the settlers from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had come to live with them. Many people from Israel had come there to live when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11At that time they sacrificed to the Lord some of the plunder they had brought back, including 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep. 12They solemnly agreed to seek the Lord God of their ancestors with their whole heart and being. 13Anyone who would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be executed, whether they were young or old, male or female. 14They swore their allegiance to the Lord, shouting their approval loudly and sounding trumpets and horns. 15All Judah was happy about the oath, because they made the vow with their whole heart. They willingly sought the Lord and he responded to them. He made them secure on every side.
16King Asa also removed Maacah his grandmother from her position as queen mother because she had made a loathsome Asherah pole. Asa cut down her loathsome pole and crushed and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17The high places were not eliminated from Israel, yet Asa was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord throughout his lifetime. 18He brought the holy items that his father and he had made into God’s temple, including the silver, gold, and other articles.
19There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign. (NET Bible)
84:1 For the music director; according to the gittith style; written by the Korahites, a psalm.
How lovely is the place where you live,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
2I desperately want to be
in the courts of the Lord’s temple.
My heart and my entire being shout for joy
to the living God.
3Even the birds find a home there,
and the swallow builds a nest,
where she can protect her young
near your altars, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
my king and my God.
4How blessed are those who live in your temple
and praise you continually! (Selah)
5How blessed are those who find their strength in you,
and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple!
6As they pass through the Baca Valley,
he provides a spring for them.
The rain even covers it with pools of water.
7They are sustained as they travel along;
each one appears before God in Zion.
8O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies,
hear my prayer!
Listen, O God of Jacob! (Selah)
9O God, take notice of our shield!
Show concern for your chosen king!
10Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better
than spending a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather stand at the entrance to the temple of my God
than live in the tents of the wicked.
11For the Lord God is our sovereign protector.
The Lord bestows favor and honor;
he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity.
12O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
how blessed are those who trust in you!(NET Bible)
8:40 Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, because they were all waiting for him. 41Then a man named Jairus, who was a leader of the synagogue, came up. Falling at Jesus’ feet, he pleaded with him to come to his house, 42because he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds pressed around him. 43Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years but could not be healed by anyone. 44She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, and at once the bleeding stopped. 45Then Jesus asked, “Who was it who touched me?” When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are surrounding you and pressing against you!” 46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I know that power has gone out from me.” 47When the woman saw that she could not escape notice, she came trembling and fell down before him. In the presence of all the people, she explained why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed. 48Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
49While he was still speaking, someone from the synagogue leader’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” 50But when Jesus heard this, he told him, “Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51Now when he came to the house, Jesus did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52Now they were all wailing and mourning for her, but he said, “Stop your weeping; she is not dead but asleep!” 53And they began making fun of him, because they knew that she was dead. 54But Jesus gently took her by the hand and said, “Child, get up.” 55Her spirit returned, and she got up immediately. Then he told them to give her something to eat. 56Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Scripture is the primum principium; it is [Luther writes] “in itself the most certain, the most accessible, the most readily understandable (book) which interprets itself and approves, judges, and illumines all (words) of all.” It must “reign as queen.” (18)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.