Luke and The Lost
As I read Luke’s rendition of Jesus’ touch of healing on a young girl and a woman who merely reached out in the crowd to touch Him, the number twelve comes to mind. Jairus’ daughter was twelve when she took ill and was dead to this world until Jesus came. The woman, healed by faith, had suffered a hemorrhage for twelve years. Mm. Twelve. What is the meaning of the number twelve. I looked it up for us.
Twelve can be found in 187 places in God’s word. Revelation alone has 22 occurrences of the number. The meaning of 12, which is considered a perfect number, is that it symbolizes God’s power and authority, as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation. It can also symbolize completeness or the nation of Israel as a whole. For example, Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, each of which represented a tribe begun by a prince, for 12 princes total. Ishmael, who was born to Abraham through Hagar, also had twelve princes.
God specified that twelve unleavened cakes of bread be placed every week in the temple with frankincense next to each of the two piles that were to be made. The priests were commanded to change the bread every Sabbath day (Leviticus 24).
Christ called and choose twelve men to bear witness to what he did and to spread the good news of the gospel to the entire world. After he was raised from the dead, Jesus told the eleven disciples (Judas had killed himself) that God had given him ALL power and authority in both earth and heaven (God’s divine authority – Matthew 28:18).
Twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel (144,000 total) will receive salvation during the end time’s Great Tribulation (Revelation 7). A set of 144,000 (12 x 12,000), possibly the same as those in chapter 7, will be taken from earth in order to serve and follow the Lamb of God (Revelation 14:1 – 5). Christ’s bride in Revelation 12, the church, wears a crown containing twelve stars.
New Jerusalem, which is made in heaven and brought to the earth by God himself, contains 12 gates made of pearl which are each manned by an angel. Over each gate will be one of the names of Israel’s twelve tribes. The walls are 144 cubits high (12 multiplied by itself – Revelation 21:16 – 17), with the city itself being 12,000 furlongs square.
The Scripture’s first recording of Jesus’ words occurs when he is twelve years old (Luke 2:42).
The high priest’s breastplate, also called the breast-plate of decision, had twelve stones embedded in it. Each stone represented a tribe of Israel. The Urim and Thummim were part of the High Priest’s breastplate. They were primarily used to consult God regarding important matters (1Samuel 28: 3 – 6, Numbers 27:21 and so on). Both the first century historian Josephus and the Talmud identify the Urim and Thummim with the breastplate stones.
Of all the numerals found in scripture, twelve, along with three, four, seven and ten, are unmistakably used in a symbolic fashion in God’s word.
The number twelve signifies all things of faith and God’s church. Although no one can say with absolute certainty whether there is any deep, spiritual significance regarding the number 12 in the Bible, it does seem to represent God’s kingdom, perfect government and divine authority.
So, there you have it. Twelve is significant in our passage as representative of complete, unrelenting, tenacious faith in our God who nothing, absolutely nothing escapes His notice and care. Wow.
Luke 8, The Message
40-42 On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.
43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”
When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”
46 Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”
47 When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.
48 Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
49 While he was still talking, someone from the leader’s house came up and told him, “Your daughter died. No need now to bother the Teacher.”
50-51 Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right.” Going into the house, he wouldn’t let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s parents.
52-53 Everyone was crying and carrying on over her. Jesus said, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die; she’s sleeping.” They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.
54-56 Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, “My dear child, get up.” She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. “Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.”
What do we learn?
–Twelve is significant to faith.
–Don’t be upset, when our faith is tested, TRUST HIM.
Practice faith by thinking more deeply about faith…
–Can you name at least twelve actions of faith that you experienced this week? This isn’t hard if you stop to think about it.
–What are you trusting God with and leaving it all in His hands?
Dear Heavenly Father,
You sent our thoughts in an unusual direction this morning but it was enlightening and enjoyable. Your thoughts are higher, as declared by the Psalmist, is highly understated! You are God and we are not. Our simple minds cannot contain all that You are and all You are doing in front of us and behind the scenes of our lives. So, we trust You. Our faith is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness indeed! Continue to take us deeper….we trust you…but hold my hand, Abba Father.
In Jesus Name, Amen