I wonder what Jesus’s calm demeanor did for this man as they made the journey to his home. When they arrived, the mourners were there in what I assume was a small, uncarpeted place, their wailing filling and bouncing off the walls, saturating the air with sorrow. It makes me smile to think Jesus told them matter-of-factly, gently, that the girl wasn’t dead, but asleep. There must of been eye rolls accompanying their laughter at this outlandish suggestion.
The miracle that followed was precipitated by something so human, I’m delighted whenever I read it. Surrounded by her parents and a select few of his disciples, Jesus took the girl’s limp, cold hand in His and told her to get up and she did! He helped her up!
Many of you know I climb mountains and I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m a tad clumsy. Though I’ve improved since I started hiking three years ago, for the first little while I spent a lot of time on my butt. I was privileged to hike up Grizzly Peak with my friend Denise one Saturday In 2019. While we were on the peak, we met a lone man. He told us his wife usually comes with him, but she had to work. I don’t think I would hike alone and not just for the obvious safety reasons, but because, for me, it’s a social gathering. I want someone to sweat and celebrate with. He was coming down behind us and so noticed Denise’s adeptness at navigating the terrain.
He reached me and piped up, “Your friend is good!”
I agreed readily, “Yes, she’s a very experienced climber” and then I proceeded to fall, not so gracefully, on my already bruised bumbedere.
I found it so comforting, after taking such a spill, to have Denise arrive, expressing her concern, and offering an outstretched hand to yank me back to my feet.
This moment in Jesus’s life perfectly illustrates why He came. He came to help us up. The Genesis account of Adam and Eve, the serpent and the forbidden fruit, is always referred to as the fall and fall we did, right out of God’s good graces. This pair’s disobedience didn’t just get them booted out of the garden, the forever home where they were meant to live out their days enjoying paradise, but separated them and us from our Creator. The fall would have been irreversible, a fall into the pit of hell and an absence of God for eternity, had it not been for God’s plan to help us up. As it was, Jesus took the fall for our disobedience. He took a dive, really, as 1 John 3:5 tells us he was upright, not fallen, “without sin”. Jesus knew His purpose. He knew the cross was coming and warned his disciples beforehand, which must have been very disconcerting for them. He said in John 10:17-18, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” He willingly took our sin on Himself, dying the spiritual death we were destined for, the penalty for our sin, making way for our reconciliation with God. After three days in the tomb, the Father gave His Son a powerful hand up. Jesus was no victim slain, but the Victor risen from the dead, ascending to sit at the right hand of God, reigning in power and majesty. He came to do the same for us, to help us up, to elevate us, to lift us from the destructiveness of sin and the horrifying finality of death to abundant, eternal life with the Lover of our souls.
Jesus is reaching out to those of you who don’t know Him. Just as He did with the little girl, He wants to restore you to your Father and give you life, but you have take His hand. He’s reaching out to you who’ve stumbled and fallen into that well-worn rut of sin, you who’re wallowing in guilt and shame. He wants to help you up and wash you clean, but you have to take His hand. He’s reaching out to you who’re weary, broken, lost, stuck, and despairing. He wants to help you up, to lift you from the muck, comfort, and heal you, but you have to take His hand. He’s waiting. Don’t delay! Take His Hand! Up you go!
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