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ponedeljek, 12. maj 2014

Naučimo se žalovati

Ob začetku nove serije pridig Jona Younga iz Žalostink z naslovom "Bog bolečin in trpljenja" objavljam uvodno razmišljanje z Jonovega bloga (v nadaljevanju).

Vsak od nas se gotovo redno pritožuje ali godrnja čez politiko, gospodarstvo, osebnimi razmerami, nad sodelavci, šefom… in seznam kar raste. Poznane so nam sicer vrstice Svetega pisma, kjer beremo, da godrnjanje ni dobro. Pa saj vemo, da godrnjanje ni po Božjem srcu niti ni koristno, ampak je tako luštno malo pojamrati - saj se tudi psalmisti pogosto pritožujejo in tožijo, mar ne?
Morda pa je kakšna pomembna razlika med pritoževanjem (godrnjanjem) in žalovanjem?

Jon nam bo iz Žalostink, začenši pa s Psalmom 13, spregovoril o t.i. žalovanju, biblijskem načinu izlivanja bolečine, žalosti, prizadetosti, pomanjkanja upanja in tako naprej.  Sledi njegovo kratko uvodno razmišljanje o žalovanju iz Psalma 13 z naslovom Učimo se žalovati.
***

Lament is an integral piece of the Biblical narrative from the life of David to death of Christ. Lament is a very real part of the drama of Scripture, and yet today we seem to have pulled the thread of lament out of the tapestry that is our Christian walk.
Lament gives voice to our humanity. Before turning to Psalm 13 and the structure of Biblical Lament it is important to understand that the structure to a lament is not strictly biblical, or Israelite, it has been found in other cultures. Thus, it is strictly human. That is to say, lament is the acknowledgement of our humanity, our brokenness, and the fact that we are to put those emotions into words, and give them up to God.
The initial 3 components of any lament are: the address, the complaint, and the petition. Just read the first 5 verses of Psalm 13:
Doklej, GOSPOD, me boš vedno pozabljal?
Doklej boš skrival svoje obličje pred mano?
Doklej bom moral dajati nasvete v svoji duši,
nositi bolečino v svojem srcu dan za dnem?
Doklej se bo moj sovražnik povzdigoval nad mano?
Poglej, usliši me, GOSPOD, moj Bog,
razsvetli mi oči, sicer zaspim do smrti, 
sicer bo moj sovražnik rekel: »Premagal sem ga,«
moji nasprotniki se bodo radovali, ker sem omahnil.

As the psalmist gives voice to his plight you can do nothing but begin to empathize: feeling forgotten by God, wrestling with painful thoughts—the sense that God has turned His face from you—and enemies seem to own you…
And you echo the words of the psalmist: “Look on me!” You cry out, “Answer me, my God…” You call out my God because you are His covenant child. You belong to God, and when you are shaken by grief, pain, and loss—when your faith is shaken—you go to Him.
You grieve because you are human. You grieve because Scripture asks it of you. You grieve because God desires that you do. You grieve because Christ did on the cross when He said, “My God my God why have you forsaken me?”
God wants your joys and praise, but he also wants your pain, your sorrows, your grief. God does not want a jubilant cross section of your life. No he wants the whole you—joy and sorrow, pain and praise, grief and jubilation.
But the text does not end in petition, and utter despair. The final two elements of the lament are a confession of trust and a vow of praise:
Jaz pa zaupam v tvojo dobroto,
moje srce se raduje, ker si me rešil.
Peti hočem GOSPODU
ker mi je povrnil dobro.

Here there is a shift. Is the pain gone? No. The storm is still raging in the life of the psalmist, yet in the midst of the storm there is a reassuring presence. Protest and joy, pain and trust may coexist. It was in the midst of the continuing pain that the psalmist realized that he can rejoice. By walking through his grief, by offering up a complaint and a petition to God, the psalmist found himself reassured of who God is and the trust and joy that comes with such reassurance.
It is only when we put words to our grief that we begin to understand our need for such an amazing God in such a broken world. Life is an incredible tapestry of grief and joy, pain and trust that we faithfully give up to God. And just as we are faithful to Him so too is he even more faith to us. He sent Christ. In Christ God experienced our brokenness, our pain and bore our grief. In Christ God was faithful even to the cross. In Christ God suffered the greatest grief and pain so that we do not have to. That is a reality that we can both trust and praise our Father in heaven for.
Avtor: Jon Young
***
Vir: http://wordandworld.com/2013/11/19/learning-to-lament/

sreda, 04. december 2013

How on earth can Samson be a man of faith??



Is Samson really a man of faith?

Have you been enjoying the stories, that we have been reading on Sundays from the Old Testament book of Judges? I have. It has certainly stimulated my thinking about what God was doing at that stage of Israel's history. Let me give you an example, by considering Samson.

In Hebrews 11, as the writer of the book of Hebrews considers the vast number of faithful men and women in Israel and how little space he has to write, he starts to just name faithful people in Israel. So we read in verse 32,

Kaj naj še rečem? Saj bi mi zmanjkalo časa, če bi hotel pripovedovati o Gideónu, Baráku, Samsonu, Jefteju, Davidu, Samuelu in prerokih. (Pismo Hebrejcem 11,32 SSP)

Would you have listed Samson among the faithful in Israel? Does Samson come to mind in your list of great Israelites? Does he rate with Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, King David, Isaiah and so on? Admittedly I am more disturbed by this man. For example, before his birth, his parents are told he will be a Nazirite, a man holy to God and set apart for his purposes (Judges 13). But then he marries a Philistine woman, one of those people God had commanded Israel to remove from the land (Judges 14). He also eats honey from a dead lion, rendering himself unclean in the eyes of the Lord (Judges 14:8-9). In Judges 16, we read he sleeps with foreign prostitutes and surrenders the secret of his strength to a woman who obviously seems to be trying to deceive him.

How can the writer of the Hebrews believe that Samson, who seems more evil than righteous, is a man of faith? And if he is a man of faith, what is God saying to us? What can we learn about God or from God from these chapters in Judges?

Hopefully, as we read these chapters and seek to understand them, we will learn what God has to say to us. For while Samson may appear to be a faithless, arrogant and unfitting Judge for Israel, God has set him apart for a purpose. Despite his apparent sinful ways, he does teach us what it means to be one of God’s people. There is more here than meets the eye.

 

Samson’s Strength (16:1-3)

I will pick up the story mainly in Judges 16, when two women enter Samson’s life. The first woman is a prostitute from Gaza (16:1-3). This first story tells us a few important points we need to know in order to understand the rest of the chapter. Have a look how this part of the story starts:

Samson je šel v Gazo. Tam je videl vlačugo in stopil k njej. 2 Gažánom so rekli: »Samson je prišel semkaj.« Tedaj so ga obkolili in pri mestnih vratih vso noč pazili nanj. Vso noč so prebili mirno, rekoč: »Ob jutranjem svitu ga bomo ubili.« 3 Samson pa je spal do polnoči; opolnoči je vstal, zgrabil krili mestnih vrat in oba podboja ter jih izdrl skupaj s pregrado. Potem si jih je naložil na rame in jih odnesel na vrh gore, ki je nasproti Hebróna. (Sodniki 16,1-3)

This chapter starts with Samson going into Philistine territory to the city of Gaza. There is finds a prostitute and stays with her for the night – that’s right, the chosen one of God, the judge of Israel, sleeps with a prostitute. That may shock us as modern readers, yet the writers of this part of Scripture have no need to gloss over a historical reality. In fact after chapters 14 and 15 we’ve come to expect Samson has chosen to live in disobedience to God and his law.

We’re not told why he chooses to sleep with a prostitute. Certainly, Samson has had some tragic experiences with his Philistine wife. He may still be mourning her loss because she had been killed (Judges 15:6). Samson may still be looking for someone to love. But whatever his reasons, its certainly a poor choice for love.

Anyway, the people of Gaza hear Samson is in town and obviously identify Samson as a threat. In verse 2 they make plans to kill him. However, despite their plans, Samson is shown to have amazing strength and he escapes. He escapes by ripping off the city gates!

Many years ago I had to fix a friend’s modern, electric gate. They were strong, metallic gates which I don’t think I would really be able to lift, let alone tear them off or carry them anywhere. Now imagine the huge, wooden front gates of a protected castle. This is probably closer to the ancient reality than our modern, metallic gates. So Samson tears off the city gates with their posts, then he carries the gate over 50km to Hebron which lies at the top of the mountain range which runs south from Jerusalem.

What are we to learn from these verses? Samson is a very, very strong man. From his past experiences, and with what is about to happen, we might say Samson is also a man looking for love.

Samson and Delilah (16:4-19)

And Samson eventually finds this love in the Valley of Sorek, south-west of Gaza in the middle of the Philistine territory. As we read on, Samson falls in love with a woman who is willing to betray him for a lot of money. And so we read in verse 4:

Po teh dogodkih je vzljubil žensko v dolini Sorék; ime ji je bilo Dalíla. 5 Filistejski knezi so prišli k njej in ji rekli: »Prepričaj ga in poizvedi, v čem je njegova velika moč in s čim bi ga mogli premagati ali ukrotiti. Dali ti bomo sleherni tisoč in sto srebrnikov.« (Sodniki 16,4-5 SSP)

Samson falls in love with another Philistine woman. The Philistine rulers offer her a lot of money to betray Samson. I honestly do not know the conversion price of gold today, but from my random calculations, each ruler was offering her about $5,000. Obviously motivated by this, three times she tries to find out his secret. She says in verse 6, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”. Samson lies to her about being tied up with throngs, new ropes and tying his hair up in a loom. When the trap is set, he merely breaks the bonds which holds him and is ready to face whatever foes she claims to have come for him.

In verse 15, however, Delilah changes her tactic slightly. She asks, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me?” She questions his love for her. We know Samson is a very, very strong man looking for love (16:1-3). And you may remember that Samson’s wife had previously questioned his love for her in order to find the answer to his wedding feast riddle (14:16). We may laugh at Delilah’s question as it’s a very manipulative question, yet I think it highlights something he longs for.

And so, with constant questioning and nagging, Delilah manages to find our his secret. We read in verse 17:

Razodel ji je vse svoje srce in ji rekel: »Britev ni prišla na mojo glavo, kajti Božji nazirec sem od telesa svoje matere. Če bi me ostrigla, bi me moja moč zapustila, oslabel bi in bi postal kakor vsak človek.« (Sodniki 16,17 SSP)

Samson is very aware of his divine commissioning. He knows God has set him apart from birth for a purpose. He knows that his hair must not be cut. However, in his search for love and after a lot of nagging, he has given away the secret of his strength.

When Delilah cuts his hair, in verse 19, his strength leaves him. His strength has left him because, we see in verse 20, “Yahweh had left him”. He has been abandoned by God.

My best friend once struggled with cancer. As he underwent chemotherapy, he lost his hair. As his friend, I agree to shave my head. Admittedly we both looked pretty bad. Yet as far as gaining or losing my strength, shaving my head made no difference. I could still rip the doors off the local castle without trouble and carry them off home! As you may have well guessed, that is completely untrue.

However, for Samson, his hair gave him strength. It’s all rather amusing that such an odd thing as the amount of hair you have determines your strength. But as amusing as it is, it again helps us to see Samson’s strength isn’t just because of his hair. It’s a divinely given strength. And his strength is something that Yahweh takes away when Samson’s hair is taken away.

What is Yahweh doing? (16:21-31)

Why is this the case? Samson is the judge of Israel (15:20). Isn’t he supposed to save Israel, not be caught by their enemies? Why is it that God takes away Samson’s strength? Obviously Samson has stupidly been trapped by a nagging Philistine to give away this secret. He doesn’t really have the cleanest of records either. Yet it doesn’t seem to make sense, why God would allow Samson to be betrayed like this. 

However as we read on, God has a few very good reasons for taking away Samson’s strength. Have a look at verse 21-22:

Filistejci so ga tedaj zgrabili in mu iztaknili oči. Nato so ga odpeljali v Gazo, vklenili v dve bronasti verigi in jim je v ječi gonil mlin. 22 Lasje na njegovi glavi, ki so bili ostriženi, pa so mu začeli spet rasti. (Sodniki 16,21-22 SSP)

Why had God allowed Samson to fall into this trap? There are a few reasons. Firstly, we see that God has a plan. In verse 21, the Philistines overpower Samson, humiliate him by blinding him and keeping him in bronze shackles. Even I could probably break bronze shackles – bronze is a very weak metal, yet it now can hold this broken strong man.

But then, in verse 22, the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. God has a plan.  And as we now hear of Samson’s hair growing back, we know that something big is going to happen. As we read on, we’re told:

 Tedaj so se zbrali filistejski knezi, da bi v veselju darovali svojemu bogu Dagónu veliko klavno daritev. Rekli so: »Naš bog nam je dal v roke Samsona, našega sovražnika.« 24 Ljudstvo ga je videlo in hvalili so svojega boga, kajti rekli so: »Naš bog nam je dal v roke našega sovražnika; njega, ki je pustošil našo deželo in ki nam je pomnožil število pobitih.« (Sodniki 16,23-34 SSP)

God has allowed Samson to be captured because there is a war. There isn’t just a battle between Israel and Philistia over land. There is a divine war – God is at war against Dagon, the Philistine god. In verses 23-24 the Philistines credit their god for capturing Samson. Is Dagon more powerful than Yahweh? Let’s keep that question in the back of our minds as we read on.

Ko so bili tako dobre volje, so rekli: »Pokličite Samsona, da nam bo rajal.« Tedaj so poklicali Samsona iz ječe, da je rajal pred njimi. Postavili so ga med stebrovje, 26 Samson pa je rekel dečku, ki ga je vodil za njegovo roko: »Pusti me, da se dotaknem stebrov, na katerih sloni hiša, in se oprem nanje.« 27 Hiša pa je bila polna mož in žena. Bili so tam tudi vsi filistejski knezi in na strehi je bilo kakih tri tisoč mož in žena, ki so gledali Samsonovo rajanje. 
28 Samson pa je zaklical h GOSPODU in rekel: »Gospod BOG, spomni se me, prosim, in mi samo še tokrat nakloni svojo moč. O Bog, naj se maščujem nad Filistejci vsaj za eno od svojih očes.« 29 In Samson je zgrabil oba središčna stebra, na katerih je slonela hiša, se oprl nanju, na enega s svojo desnico in na drugega s svojo levico. 30 In Samson je rekel: »Naj umre moja duša s Filistejci!« Oprl se je z vso močjo in hiša je padla na kneze in na vse ljudstvo, ki je bilo v njej. Mrtvih, ki jih je usmrtil pri svoji smrti, je bilo več kakor teh, ki jih je usmrtil, dokler je bil še živ. 31 Nato so prišli njegovi bratje in vsa hiša njegovega očeta. Dvignili so ga in odnesli ter ga pokopali med Coro in Eštaólom v grobnico njegovega očeta Manóaha. 
Izraelu je sodil dvajset let. (Sodniki 16,25-31 SSP)

Well as Samson is led to the temple pillars before the Philistines, God is going to show who is ultimately in control. Samson knows it – he prays for Yahweh to return his strength to him in verse 28. He knows his strength is from God and seeks revenge for being humiliated. He does get revenge for he kills all those in the crowded temple.

Yet something bigger is happening. In this event we see God delivering Israel from the Philistine threat as he had planned from the beginning. Let me just remind you of something we were told before Samson’s birth in Judges 13:5:

Na njegovo glavo ne bo prišla britev, kajti deček bo Božji nazirec od materinega telesa. On bo začel reševati Izraela iz rok Filistejcev. (Sodniki 13,5 SSP)
Samson has began the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines. God has appointed Samson to this task as Judges 13:7 says,

kajti deček bo Božji nazirec od materinega telesa do dneva svoje smrti (Sodniki 13,7 SSP)
God is dealing with the Philistine threat. And when God deals with the Philistines by giving Samson the strength to push down those pillars, he is also dealing with their god. In that temple were all the rulers of the Philistines, three thousand people were on the roof, let alone else in that temple, and there was one god – Dagon. When Samson brings down that temple, he not only kills all those people, but God wins ultimate victory by destroying their god Dagon as well.

So what do we learn about faith from Samson?

As you can see, in the Samson story there is a lot more happening than may initially meet the eye. So what are we suppose to learn from this story? There are several things that we can learn about God from this story. Yahweh is victorious over all his enemies. Both the Philistines and their god were destroyed. As we know from the cycle described in Judges 2, it is both the people and their gods which are a constant problem for Israel. God fights for the loyalty of Israel and wins.

And we can see that despite Samson’s sin, God works powerfully through the most unlikely people. Samson is no role model for Israelite godliness or holiness at all. As the whole Samson story unfolds, he does everything that a Nazirite shouldn’t do. 

In fact, in many ways, Samson’s life personifies the whole story of Israel. They were a people chosen by God for a purpose, that is, to be holy (Exodus 19:6). Samson went off after foreign women, as Israel went off after foreign gods. As Samson cried to Yahweh in his time of distress, so too Israel does. And finally, as Samson had to be blinded and given over to the bitter pain of Gaza before he came to terms with his destiny, so too would Israel have to be given over to bitter suffering in exile in Babylon. Samson’s life mirrors Israel’s life.

So is Samson the man of faith that the writer of Hebrews commends to us? For a start, it would seem obvious to say it, but it must be said. Samson’s reckless lifestyle is not a model of working out our faith with fear and trembling (Flp 2,12). Rather his lifestyle and Israel’s continuous failures shows us the reality of sin. Almost everything Samson does is a rejection of God and his holy law. Samson shows us that we will never live up to God’s holy standards.

Yet he does actually show is faith. Faith, as the writer to the Hebrews tells us, is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 RSV). To exercise faith is to refocus your ultimate confidence in unseen realities, especially the God who created the world by his word (Heb 11:2) and who has spoken to us in his Son (Heb 1:2). So this story of Samson shows us God, who is worthy of our trust. He uses the weak and powerless Samson to save his people and conquer the gods of the nations. God is trustworthy.

Furthermore, Samson shows us this faith, when he calls on God for life-giving water (15:18-19) and when he calls on God for strength (16:30). On both these occasions he shows us his awareness that a greater reality stands behind these events. And God grants him his request. Samson throws himself totally on God at these times and finds God is faithful. Samson is a man of faith – he trusts God’s ability to save.

This story also points us powerfully towards the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may have noticed this as you read through the Samson story. Overall we’re given a very powerful picture of a saviour. Here is a figure raised up by Yahweh to save his people. His birth is announced beforehand by an angel. His conception is miraculous. He is rejected by his own people. Its leaders bind him and hand him over to their pagan overlords. HHis saving work is consummated in his death, a death which he brings down Dagon and lays the foundation for deliverance to be more fully manifested in the future.

Funnily enough, in the figure of Samson we are given possibly the most clear picture than anywhere else, of the shape of things to come. Samson is not just an example of faith for us, but he is a forerunner of our greatest Saviour of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so it is no surprise that this is exactly the connection that the writer of Hebrews makes, pointing us to Jesus Christ as the foundation of the faith as expressed by the Old Testament heroes like Samson:

Ker nas torej obdaja tako velik oblak pričevalcev, tudi mi odstranimo vsakršno breme in greh, ki nas zlahka prevzame, ter vztrajno tecimo v tekmi, ki nas čaka. 2 Uprimo oči v Jezusa, začetnika in dopolnitelja vere. On je zaradi veselja, ki ga je čakalo, pretrpel križ, preziral sramoto in sédel na desnico Božjega prestola. (Pismo Hebrejcem 12,1-2 SSP)


sreda, 20. november 2013

Expecting obedience

A few weeks ago I was walking along the Pot for some exercise (yes I do actually exercise!). In the distance I saw a young girl with her hands crossed and back to her parents. She looked about 10-12 years old. Her father was carrying what looked to be a nice bicycle and her mother carried a scooter. Such nice toys indicated that they loved this girl and gave her nice gifts. However they were having a problem with her.

It seemed that the lovely gifts and soothing words were not enough to motivate the child to listen to her parents. As I passed by I clearly heard heard her say (roughly translated as I can't remember the precise words), "No! I do not want to walk back." It seems this girl had gone far enough. I cannot be sure, but I think the father said something like, "Well I cannot bring the car here", which was obviously the case when you're halfway along the western stretch of the Pot.

I didn't dwell too much at the time on this interesting stand-off. I've had enough of my experiences of children who have become tired and stubborn, so that they will no longer listen to me. However a few days later I received some spam email from Twitter. I often get such emails, which tell me about what my "friends" on Facebook and Twitter are saying (this could well be a lesson in how the internet notes everything you say and visit, since I don't use either of these things). In the spam email, I was invited back to Twitter to hear what John Piper was saying.

John Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) and author of many books like Desiring God. In my opinion his books are very worthwhile reading for Christians. I am aware his organisation desiringGod.org offers all John’s talks to download, but I must admit I have probably only listened to a few. He now travels around the world to speak at Christian conferences.

Now the surprising aspect of this spam Twitter email was to see what John Piper was saying. The email had John’s Twitter comment and a link to an article that John had written about parenting. John’s twitter comment was something like: Parents should expect their children’s obedience. Since I had observed this young girl stubbornly refusing to listen to her parents a few days earlier, and of course we experienced such stubbornness in our own home recently, I followed the link.

I was completely shocked!

Here is the link to the article: Parents, Require Obedience of your Children.

I can only say, do not delay in reading and thinking about John’s argument. It is short enough to read over morning tea (and funnily enough, the girl I saw on the Pot is in exactly the same pose as the boy on the picture at the top of the article).

John describes two situations which he observed two children refusing to listen to their parents. However John considers their behaviour from the perspective of the consequences of their actions – one of the children was shot dead. These situations prompted John to consider the biblical material again on the relationship between parenting and obedience. Several of his points are probably more good wisdom (e.g. Point 4) and advice (e.g. Point 8), rather than biblical. Yet all of it is worth considering.

I would hate to suffer the great loss of a child because I was foolish as a parent. Admittedly I am not often considering the consequences of my children's stubbornness and refusal to listen to me. So I commend the article for your reading and consideration. I was personally challenged to ask myself again, can I show my children something of God’s discipline and patience as I raise them to know and trust Jesus Christ.


ponedeljek, 23. september 2013

Domača Naloga

Did Jair have faith?
After an interesting discussion our Monday night Bible Study this week, I was asked to do my homework! I considered this a worthwhile task since the question under consideration was rather important. As we have been working through Luke 4-9, there have been many important themes. One key theme has been ‘faith’.
In the section of Luke 8,19-56, Luke uses a series of stories to speak to the themes of ‘the Lost’, faith and the authority of Jesus. As we discussed during our study, Luke describes the Lost as people who are in some way ‘dead’ and without hope: the disciples who think they’ll drown in the storm, a demon-possessed man who is out of control and living amongst the tombs, a woman who has been continuously bleeding (her life-blood draining away?), and a sick child on the verge of death. In these stories we see that Jesus calls on people to have confidence in him and he commends those who acknowledge his ability to save. On the other hand, those who do not know Jesus and so cannot trust him, respond in fear. And through these stories, Jesus is shown to have authority over nature, demons, disease and even death. And as Luke has shown numerous times throughout his Gospel, it only requires one word for him to exercise his authority and bring things under his control.
So how does the story about Jair and his daughter help develop Luke’s point concerning faith? In our discussion, I suggested that Jair responds to Jesus in fear. However I realise I was in the minority there, if not the only person thinking this. We briefly read Matthew’s account which confirmed many people’s thoughts about the events, who is being addressed in speech, and Jair’s faith. Consequently I’ve gone back to the text to do my homework, to again consider what Luke is teaching about faith.
There are probably several assumptions worth considering before we approach the text. The key concept which I don’t think I managed to communicate clearly was that Luke has used this story in an edited form for his own purposes. We do not know if Teofil had access to Mark, Matthew, or even John’s Gospels. So my assumption in approaching this passage is to consider what Luke is saying, in this broader context of the Lost, faith and understanding Jesus.
So let us again consider this text to see how the story works. Since we started comparing the other accounts of these incidents in the other two Gospels, I have laid out these stories side by side. This will help show us how Luke is using this story, purposefully editing it for his own purposes.

Po Marku 5,21-43
Po Luku 8,40-56
Po Mateju 9,18-26
21 Ko se je Jezus prepeljal s čolnom spet na drugo stran, se je zbrala pri njem velika množica. Bil je pri jezeru. 22 Tedaj je prišel eden od predstojnikov shodnice, Jaír po imenu. Ko ga je zagledal, je padel k njegovim nogam 23 in ga zelo prosil, rekoč: »Z mojo hčerko je zelo hudo. Pridi in položi roke nanjo, da ozdravi in ostane pri življenju!« 24 In odšel je z njim.
40 Ko se je Jezus vrnil, ga je sprejela množica, kajti vsi so ga pričakovali. 41 Tedaj je prišel mož, ki mu je bilo ime Jaír; bil je načelnik shodnice. Padel je k Jezusovim nogam in ga prosil, da bi prišel v njegovo hišo. 42 Imel je namreč edino hčer, staro okoli dvanajst let, in ta je umirala.
18 Medtem ko jim je to govoril, je prišel neki oblastnik. Poklonil se mu je do tal in rekel: »Moja hči je pravkar umrla, vendar pridi, položi roko nanjo in bo živela.« 19 Jezus je vstal in šel za njim, skupaj s svojimi učenci.
Za njim se je odpravila velika množica in pritiskala nanj. 25 V njej je bila tudi žena, ki je že dvanajst let krvavela. 26 Veliko je pretrpela od mnogih zdravnikov in porabila vse svoje premoženje, pa ji ni nič pomagalo, ampak je bilo z njo celo slabše. 27 Slišala je za Jezusa. Med množico se mu je približala od zadaj in se dotaknila njegove obleke. 28 Rekla je namreč: »Tudi če se dotaknem le njegove obleke, bom rešena.« 29 In v hipu se ji je ustavila kri in v telesu je začutila, da je ozdravljena nadloge. 30 Jezus je v sebi zaznal, da je šla moč iz njega. Takoj se je obrnil v množici in rekel: »Kdo se je dotaknil moje obleke?« 31 Njegovi učenci so mu govorili: »Saj vidiš, kako množica pritiska nate, pa praviš: ›Kdo se me je dotaknil?‹« 32 Oziral se je okrog, da bi videl tisto, ki je to storila. 33 Ker je žena vedela, kaj se je z njo zgodilo, je vsa preplašena trepetaje pristopila, se vrgla predenj in mu povedala vso resnico. 34 On pa ji je rekel: »Hči, tvoja vera te je rešila. Pojdi v miru in bodi ozdravljena svoje nadloge!«
Ko je Jezus šel tja, so se množice gnetle ob njem. 43 Neka žena, ki je že dvanajst let krvavela in potrošila za zdravnike vse, kar je imela za življenje, pa je nihče ni mogel ozdraviti, 44 se mu je približala od zadaj. Dotaknila se je roba njegove obleke in takoj nehala krvaveti. 45 Tedaj je Jezus rekel: »Kdo je tisti, ki se me je dotaknil?« Ker so vsi zanikali, je Peter dejal: »Učenik, množice se gnetejo ob tebi in te stiskajo.« 46 Jezus pa je rekel: »Nekdo se me je dotaknil. Opazil sem namreč, da je šla moč od mene.« 47 Ko je žena videla, da ni ostala skrita, je drhte pristopila. Vrgla se je predenj in vpričo vsega ljudstva povedala, zakaj se ga je dotaknila in kako je v trenutku ozdravela. 48 On pa ji je rekel: »Hči, tvoja vera te je rešila. Pojdi v miru!«
20 Tedaj se mu je od zadaj približala žena, ki je dvanajst let krvavela, in se je dotaknila roba njegove obleke. 21 Pri sebi je namreč rekla: »Če se le dotaknem njegove obleke, bom rešena.«  22 Jezus pa se je obrnil, jo pogledal in dejal: »Bodi pogumna, hči, tvoja vera te je rešila.« In žena je bila od tiste ure rešena.
Ko je še govoril, so prišli od predstojnikove hiše in rekli Jaíru: »Tvoja hči je umrla. Kaj še nadleguješ učitelja?«
49 Medtem ko je še govoril, je prišel nekdo od predstojnikovih in rekel: »Tvoja hči je umrla, ne nadleguj več učitelja.«

36 Jezus je slišal od strani, kaj so rekli, in je dejal predstojniku shodnice: »Ne boj se, samó veruj!«
50 Ko je Jezus to slišal, mu je odgovoril: »Ne boj se! Samo veruj in bo rešena.«

37 In nikomur ni dovolil, da bi šel z njim, razen Petru, Jakobu in Janezu, Jakobovemu bratu.
51 Stopil je v hišo in nikomur ni pustil, da bi šel z njim, razen Petru, Janezu in Jakobu ter očetu in materi deklice.

38 Ko so prišli pred predstojnikovo hišo, je videl vrvež in ljudi, ki so jokali in zelo žalovali.
52 Vsi so jokali in žalovali za njo.
23 Ko je Jezus prišel pred oblastnikovo hišo ter videl piskače in razburjeno množico,
39 Vstopil je in jim rekel: »Kaj se razburjate in jokate? Deklica ni umrla, ampak spi.«
On pa je rekel: »Ne jokajte, saj ni umrla, ampak spi!«
24 je govoril: »Umaknite se, saj deklica ni umrla, ampak spi.«
40 In posmehovali so se mu.
53 Posmehovali so se mu, ker so vedeli, da je umrla.
Oni pa so se mu posmehovali.
On pa je vse odslovil in vzel s seboj očeta in mater deklice ter tiste, ki so bili z njim, in stopil tja, kjer je bila deklica.

25 Ko so odstranili množico, je vstopil.
41 Deklico je prijel za roko
54 On pa jo je prijel za roko
Prijel jo je za roko
in ji rekel: »Talíta kum,« kar v prevodu pomeni:


»Deklica, rečem ti, vstani!«
in zaklical: »Deklica, vstani!«

42 Deklica je takoj vstala in hodila; imela je namreč dvanajst let.
55 In njen duh se je vrnil in takoj je vstala.
in je vstala.
Od začudenja so bili vsi iz sebe.


43 On pa jim je strogo naročil, naj tega nihče ne izve,


in je velel, naj ji dajo jesti.
Ukazal je, naj ji dajo jesti.


56 Njeni starši so bili čisto iz sebe.


Naročil pa jim je, naj nikomur ne povedo, kaj se je zgodilo.



26 In glas o tem je šel po vsem tistem kraju.

When comparing the various Gospel accounts, it is widely accepted that Mark’s Gospel is the earliest written. Both Matthew and Luke use Mark’s stories in either an expanded or contracted form. Matthew and Luke draw on other different events as well.
As we look at the passages above, we observe that Matthew’s version of this story is very brief. In fact, Matthew takes these events and places them in a very different historical and theological context, that is Mt 9,1-17 is placed between the healing of the demon possessed man and these events concerning Jair. Luke had used these stories as well, but you’ll find them back in Luke 5. As Matthew tells us, Jesus has not crossed the lake, but rather he is speaking to John the Baptist’s disciples. Matthew placed these events in the middle of a collection of stories which highlight the opposition Jesus is facing. Furthermore, the story starts by stating the girl has already died. Consequently, if we would consider the key theme of Pharisaic opposition in Matthew’s account of the story, we might want to highlight the fact that Jesus touched an unclean woman and a dead girl, because such actions display Jesus’ concern for sinners and unclean, and the radical movement away from Pharisaic oppression. In Luke’s account, we might consider such contact as a point to show that Jesus makes no distinction between who he aids, whether they are clean or unclean, Gentile or Jewish, and so on.
Does Matthew’s version of these events help us understand Jair’s faith? The interruption by the bleeding woman does not really act to delay or create more tension for Jair, since it is already acknowledged that the girl has died. Yet Matthew certainly confirms that there is a crowd present at the house and it is the crowd who laughs at Jesus’ suggestion that she is only sleeping. Therefore, while we can see that Matthew is drawing on the same story, he is using it in a different manner to Luke and so in its context I would suggest that Matthew is making some different points. Therefore, if we take Matthew’s points and compare them to Luke’s narrative, we might start imposing something on Luke’s text which he does not intend.
If we compare Mark and Luke’s account we see they are very similar in length. Certainly Luke has changed numerous details around to serve his own purposes. For example, Luke takes the information about the girl’s age (highlighted in green above), which appears late in Mark’s account (5,42), and places it at the very start of his story (Lk 8,42). This serves to create a more emotional response because such details highlight Jair’s plight.
Likewise, the interruption by the bleeding woman’s story serves to create additional emotional tension, because in Mark and Luke’s accounts there appears to be some hope that Jesus can heal the girl before she dies. The interruption works as a delay in the story, because by the time the bleeding woman is dealt with, the girl has actually died. Yet the interruption also aims to teach us about the key theme of faith, that is, trusting that Jesus has both the authority and ability to rescue people. While I think we can legitimately doubt the authenticity of a leader of the synagogue (because almost all Jewish leaders have rejected Jesus so far In Luke’s Gospel), Jair certainly comes to Jesus in a manner which displays his extreme desire to receive Jesus’ help (Lk 8.41). So in some sense we can say he knows and believes that Jesus can heal his daughter. Consequently, when Jesus and Jair hear the bad news about the death of the daughter, the question arises whether Jair still trusts that Jesus is able to help. This tension is identified by Jesus when he tells Jair not to fear, which we have seen in Luke as being the opposite of faith.
At this point of the story, we start to note a few differences between Luke and Mark’s accounts. Mark continues to be more specific in details, particularly who is being addressed when speaking and who is responding. For example, Mark tell us that Jesus told ‘the leader of the synagogue’, that is Jair, not to fear but believe (5,36), whereas Luke only identifies the person as ‘him’ (8,50). This could in fact be the person from the leader’s home (8,49), since he is the only person mentioned in the immediate context. Yet it seems best in the larger context of this story to assume it is Jair. The fact that Luke is less specific means we really need to consider who the contexts and circumstances of the action, before we attribute the various pronouns to people.
Another difference in these stories is the details regarding Jesus’ movement. Once news has arrived of the daughter’s death (Mk 5,35-36; Lk 8,49-50), Jesus leaves to go to Jair’s house. However Mark records here that he only takes a few disciples with him and then they come to the entrance of the house where there is a crowd (5,37-38). At that point Jesus addresses the crowd, who laughs at Jesus’ comment that the girl is just asleep (5,39-40). The next movement is inside the house where he then raises the girl (and Mark notes the Aramaic words Jesus uses, but Luke doesn’t record).
Luke on the other hand, records the details differently (see highlights in red above). Jesus comes to the house, and then he only gives permission for a few specific disciples (the same disciples who will be chosen to see Jesus transfigured in Lk 9) and the parents to enter with him. Consequently, we assume Luke is then recording details of events inside the house now, whereas Mark specifically addressed the crowd outside the house before entering with the selected disciples and parents. There is no mention of any movement after Jesus’ comment that the girl is sleeping (8,53). Rather Luke goes directly to the proof of Jesus’ comment by taking the girl’s hand and raising her (8,54). My assumption here is that Jesus is immediately showing all those in the room with him that this girl is just sleeping.
So who is the ‘everyone’ crying and then laughing at Jesus’ comments in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 8,52-53)? Since Luke is less specific in identifying people and he is very selective in noting such movement details (that is, who has entered the house), we would assume it is the disciples and her parents who have reacted in tears and laughter. It actually seems that Luke has deliberately removed most references to the crowd. As I read Darrel Bock’s commentary on these verses again, it actually surprises me that Bock says that it is the crowd who laughs. He has assumed, probably by correlating the story with Mark’s account, that there are mourners around the girl. This might well be a correct assumption, but Luke has removed such details about the crowd on purpose. Consequently I did not read this story in Luke’s account assuming there was a crowd already in the house.
Therefore, from a study of Luke’s details as he has chosen to use, and not trying to justify a direct correlation between Mark and Luke’s account, I would say that Luke is telling us that it is the disciples and the parents who respond to Jesus’ comments with laughter. Jair no longer expects Jesus to be able to heal his daughter. Actually, he does not expect that Jesus can raise the dead. Certainly, it is the crowds that make this assumption in Mark’s Gospel, but they are never considered like this in Luke’s Gospel. The disciples and the parents are not praised for their faith like the Centurion (Lk 7,9) and the bleeding woman (8,48). Rather, they witness the miraculous events of the resurrection of the dead girl.
In my mind this highlights the miraculous nature of Jesus’ healing. We see from the bleeding woman that people knew Jesus well enough to accept that he had the authority to heal. Yet his claim that the girl is merely sleeping is met with scepticism (like a seed strangled by weeds?). They could not accept that Jesus had authority of death, even though the disciples had already witnessed this in Nain (Lk 7,11-17). It is not surprising that the disciples are again confused at the Transfiguration (Lk 9,33), even though Jesus has specifically spoken about his identity (9,18-20), his death and resurrection (9,21-22), and the life of faith in the Suffering Servant-King (9,23-27). As I trust we all agree, Luke is telling us that we need to trust Jesus completely, especially because we are all facing death.