FEAR NOT, BELIEVE ONLY
Ebenezer Chapel, Ossett
N. H. Roe
11 January 1981.
“But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying. Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.” Luke 8.50.
I want to look at these words in the light of their context, especially of the Lord’s dealings with this man Jairus and also with the woman who had the issue of blood. For surely these things speak to us in our day. We were considering this morning Exodus 14.13-14, the words that Moses spoke to Israel when they were greatly afraid and distressed, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.’ Though those events took place many hundreds of years before what is recorded in this chapter, yet they set forth the same blessed and glorious truth. We find that the cases of men, as needy and guilty sinners, do not differ. Though the circumstances of the Lord’s people differ outwardly, yet they all have things they are unable to deal with by themselves. Man is still found a sinner, wholly dependent upon God for every mercy, for every grace and for every favour. We are shown here that it is the same God who appeared for Moses and the children of Israel, who dealt with these cases recorded in this chapter.
The record in the Gospels of the words and the works of Jesus show us not only what Jesus was but what Jesus essentially is, for He is the same yesterday and today and for ever. His power and grace is no less than when He dealt here with the cases recorded by Luke. And He is as able today to deal with those things that concern you and I. O that we might be as Jairus and this woman in these things. Where are they coming with their needs? Why, to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Their cases were very different and their outward circumstances differed. One was a ruler of the synagogue. The other was a poor woman who by reason of her affliction was unclean in the eyes of all in those days, and certainly was forbidden to enter within the courts of the temple. Yet we find that, though their outward circumstances were so different, divine grace was seen at work here, bringing them in their needs and concerns to the feet of the Lord Jesus. And what cannot divine grace accomplish? Why, in this chapter we have the evidence of the power of Jesus, as He speaks to the wind and the sea, and there is a great calm. We have it evident in the deliverance of the man who was possessed with devils which none could control. See the power of the grace of the Lord Jesus in bringing him clothed and in his right mind, seated at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’ll here just touch upon the reaction of the Gadarenes to that event of the Lord casting out those devils and allowing them to go into the herd of swine. The Gadarenes had more concern for material things than for the spiritual good that was done for the one who had been possessed of the devil. They had more concern for the herd of swine and the loss which they received thereby, than for the wondrous work of grace that had been wrought upon that man. And is the reaction of the natural man to the ways and works of the Lord Jesus any different in our own day? No indeed not. They besought Him to depart from them. O the blindness and the hardness of their heart! Yet is it not the same today? Have men time for Jesus Christ? Is He welcome amongst them with His words and His works? No, the cry of the natural heart still is, “we will not have this man to reign over us.” Yet though they request Him to depart, there were those on the other side of the sea that welcomed Him -two there in particular. Here was Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, a man evidently of influence and importance in that place. But were not the rulers of the synagogues, the scribes and pharisees, those who were, in many instances, the most bitter opponents of the Lord Jesus when here upon earth? But behold, says the word, here is one of them falling at the feet of Jesus and worshipping Him and beseeching Him with respect to this little daughter of his that was evidently in a dying condition. What cannot divine grace accomplish! The hardest and the proudest heart the Lord can bring to His feet and He knows how to do it as well, through His sovereign grace. We hear a lot today of men giving their hearts to the Lord, but we want to hear of the work of God in bringing the heart of a poor sinner even to Himself and low at His feet. For, remember, it is the work of God in these things that alone shall stand.
Now in our text, Jesus said to this man – “Fear not; believe only and she shall be made whole.” There is evidently here with Jairus the exercise of faith, for without the reality of faith would he ever have been found coming to the Lord Jesus Christ? What does faith rest upon? what is its ground and foundation? It is the word of God. It is what is revealed concerning Himself and there was surely the evidence of this here with Jairus. His faith was not without infirmities. But it is so with each one of the Lord’s people. There are many infirmities often found with them, but where will they bring them? Why they will bring them here, to the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ not only in the sense of their own need, but in the blessed persuasion that He is the One, the only One that can
meet their case and their need. This was surely evident in Jairus’ coming to the Lord Jesus. But O how that faith of Jairus was put to the test! In spite of the Lord’s willingness to come to his house there were hindrances in the way. The people thronged Him and then there was the case of this woman with the issue of blood. There was so much delay that this message comes “Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the master.” Now it seems a hopeless case, altogether beyond remedy, as men view it. Well might the faith of Jairus sink under such a message and at such a time. But “fear not; believe only.” This case is not beyond the power and ability of Him who speaks to Jairus. Remember that when the Lord says “Fear not; believe only” what was Jairus to believe, what does Jesus call his attention to? Is it not the very sufficiency and the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ to do what was required. Death itself is not beyond His ability to deal with as He Himself so soon demonstrated in the raising of that little girl from the dead.
But let me here notice this important point. We find the faith of Jairus tried indeed but the Lord bringing him still to believe and rest in the Lord’s ability to meet that case. And is that not .seen also in this woman with the issue of blood? We see in that woman the secret workings of faith and then the manifestation of that faith, and the full confession of it as well. We are familiar with this record of her trouble. For years she had had it and went to many physicians but was not better but rather grew worse. One of the other evangelists says that she had spent all that she had in seeking other physicians yet was no better. Yet she was brought to this, to seek Christ, to seek Him secretly, no one knowing what was working in her heart, nor, as she thought, observing her actions. Again in this woman is this truth seen – “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” What brought her to venture upon Christ as she did? True it was the working of grace, but had she not heard of this One, of what He had done, of His power and grace to help and to heal.
I speak to you with your need, with those things that press upon your soul, the very sense of the guilt and burden of sin. Do not overlook this important point. O there is a remedy in the very truth and grace of the Gospel, in the sufficiency of that redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Here is sufficient to meet the case of every needy and guilty sinner, who is brought to seek the Lord Jesus. And this more and more of an encouragement, that though it is not within our power to apply the word, yet while we seek to warn sinners of the error of their ways we can still point to the only blessed remedy for sinners as found in
the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and say even as John did when he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Never lose sight of the fulness and the freeness of the Gospel of Christ. Remember that none who are brought to seek Him shall perish. Venture then on Him, venture wholly, let no other trust intrude. Was it not so with this woman? She not only heard but was brought to act, in seeking Jesus, persuaded of this, that if she might but touch the hem of His garment she would be whole. See how this poor sinner was thus brought to venture on this truth, that Christ was able to save. And what did she find? Was her faith in vain? Was she deceived in venturing to and upon Christ? No, as soon as she touched Him she was made perfectly whole. Not only did she receive according to her faith but much more than she could conceivably have thought. “If I may but touch the hem of His garment, I shall be whole.” In this there was encouragement also for Jairus as he looked on, and the Lord confirms these words “Fear not; believe only.”
There was the secret working of faith in that woman. None knew what she did, but the Lord only. And yet that which was of God could not be hidden. It was brought to the light. There was a manifestation of the same not only to the woman herself, but by the full confession of it, to others as well. The disciples were very surprised when Jesus said to them and to those around Him “Who touched me?” Because the people pressed and thronged Him the disciples were surprised at this question. They said “the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou. Who touched me?” But it was no ordinary touch, not just the pressing of the crowd upon Him. He knew what had been done in the heart of that woman, yet He asked this question, “Who touched me?” To what end? The woman had been immediately healed but He asks this question so that her faith might be manifest to all around, that there, with the very confession of her mouth, she might ascribe to the glory of God, those things that were done in her. And do not forget the important connection there is between believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth, the Lord Jesus. It was with fear and trembling that this woman was brought to fall at His feet and confess before the whole of that assembled multitude the things that had been done in her. But in the very confession of it, she receives the favour and smile of the Lord Jesus. He says “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
Do not overlook the importance of this. If you have been brought, through grace, to venture wholly upon the Lord Jesus
and have known and received in your own souls the favour and blessing of God, as this woman did, do not be slow to confess that which has been wrought in and for you. The Lord says “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Though with fear and trembling that woman told what was done, was not her faith honoured of God? Was it not that which did redound to His glory and to the further comfort of her soul? Those who, under the sense of His love and grace, are brought to confess Him, shall find and prove as this woman did, that the Lord does confirm their faith in those things and does speak comfortably unto them.
“Fear not; believe only, and she shall be made whole.” These are great things, beyond all human comprehension. The daughter was already dead and yet Jesus says to him “Fear not; believe only.” The substance of the faith of which Jesus is speaking is this, that in spite of all that may appear, the sinner rests wholly in Him and His power and ability to do that which He has spoken and promised.
“Sooner all nature shall change
Than one of God’s promises fail.”
Is there a case in all the Scriptures where a poor sinner was brought to trust in Him and to rest upon the word and promise and that word failed them, and what they were brought to hope in God for, did not come to pass? Many of them indeed had insurmountable things put in the way of the fulfilment of it, as appeared to human reason, but they each one proved the substance of this truth “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain:” Our God is that One who is able to make the mountains into plains, the crooked things straight and the rough places plain, to the praise of the glory of His grace.
“Fear not; believe only.” Do these words contain the substance of that other verse – “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today.” It is no easy thing to stand still, to fear not when such things press upon us as were here in the case of Jairus. Remember, he was but a man, of like passions to you and I. But what peace of heart is found as we are brought to rest in the Person and Work and promises of the Lord Jesus. All around may be confusion and trouble, yet the soul that is brought to rest in Him, finds in Jesus a real peace, a peace that arises from the gracious, conscious, sense that He is both able and willing to deal with these things according to His own goodness and grace.
Jesus said unto him “Fear not: believe only.” And when Jesus speaks these words. He gives with them the very grace to fear not and believe. It is no idle word. To illustrate what I mean I refer to the case of Paul when he speaks of that thorn in the flesh , and the distress that it caused him, and how he besought the Lord thrice that it might be taken away. It is recorded there, “And He said unto me. My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” But this is the point “he said unto me” and the stress there, friends, is that not only did He say it once but He was saying it again and again “My grace is sufficient for thee.” As He speaks, the very grace of those things is imparted. Paul knew this, for he could rejoice saying “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me … for when I am weak, then am I strong.” He had proved the word of Christ a gracious reality. So with Jairus here. It enabled him, in spite of the news that he had, to cleave still to Jesus and His ability to do what was required. Was he disappointed? Others may laugh to scorn the words of Jesus, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.” Yet, Peter, James and John and the parents of that child, experienced the gracious ability of the Lord Jesus “Maid, arise.” And so she did.
These things are set before us in the word. They are not idle tales, no they are for the strengthening of the faith of the believing people of God. They are encouragements for us still to venture upon Him. They are exhortations not be forgetful to render unto Him that praise which is His due. Let me remind you of the case of those ten lepers who were healed. There was one, and one only, and he a Samaritan who returned to give thanks to God. Jesus says “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him. Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” “Fear not: believe only.”