We rightly celebrate Jesus as our savior because Jesus is the dispeller of death.
At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus goes to the synagogue in Capernaum and while there amazes everyone by casting a demon out of a young man (Mark 1:21-8). On another Sabbath at the synagogue, Jesus restores a man’s withered hand. His religious opponents get so angry with him for violating their understanding of God’s will that they immediately leave the synagogue and plot how to murder him (3:1-6).
Later, while Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee, their little boat is overwhelmed by a sudden storm. The disciples cry to their teacher in distress. With a word, he instantly calms the storm 4:35-41).
On the shore opposite Capernaum, Jesus meets a man tormented by a legion of demons. Same thing: calmly speaking a few simple words, Jesus frees the man from them (5:1-20).
Jesus returns to Capernaum. Once ashore, lots of people surround him. Making his way through the crowd, a leader of the local synagogue begs Jesus to come heal his daughter before she dies. He knows Jesus and trusts that, if Jesus simply touches his daughter, she will live. He trusts Jesus with his daughter’s life even though more powerful authorities in the synagogue see Jesus as a mortal threat to their way of living.
Suddenly an unwanted delay occurs. Though constantly jostled by the crowd, Jesus abruptly stops and wants to know who touched him. A woman has. After twelve years and all her money, doctors had proven unable to dispel the power of death that haunted her. Jesus does.
Let us note that Jesus heals this long-suffering woman before even speaking to her. He heals her effortlessly. It requires no long prayers, no emotional intensity, no fixed formulas or set ceremonies. Jesus sends her away in peace.
Meantime, the daughter of Jairus dies. To all appearances, she crosses the absolute limit of help before help arrives. Happily, knowingly, Jesus doesn’t judge by appearances. To Jesus, death as a limit to salvation is of no greater significance than a light sleep. He simply takes the little girl’s hand and tells her to wake up. She does.
We may summarize the Gospel by saying that Jesus Christ is the truth who sets us free to love and so leads us into eternal life. He leads us into life because he is the one who dispels death. Disasters? Demons? Disease? Death itself? Jesus calms, casts out, cures, and cancels. Jesus Savior? Like no other.
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