The Touch That Revives

Title: The Touch That Revives

Bible Book: Luke 8 : 41-56

Author: Terry Trivette

Subject: Revival; Touch of God



There is just something unnatural about the death of a child. We know it happens, but we are never comfortable with that fact. Only a parent that has lost a child can understand the devastation, dejection, and disillusionment that come when death snatches the young from our homes.

In Luke chapter eight, we meet a family that came face to face with the harsh reality that death pays little attention to age. The father’s name was Jairus, and while he was a prominent and influential man, none of his status could change the fact that his twelve year-old, little girl was nearing death, and would eventually succumb to its icy grip. In desperation that only a parent can understand, Jairus ran to the Lord Jesus, believing that He alone could rescue his daughter. Though delayed, and seemingly too late, the Lord Jesus came and touched the lifeless body of that child. With that touch came new life.

As we continue looking at some instances where the Lord Jesus physically touched someone, we come to a story that I want us to apply in a very specific way. I want us to view ourselves in the role of Jairus. Then I want us to view his daughter as the church. Just as Jairus’ little girl needed to be revived, I want us to realize the great need that we as members of the church, and the church as a whole have for revival.

Only the power of the Lord Jesus can raise the dead. That truth applies for both dead people, and dead churches. There are three truths that I want you to notice as we follow this burdened father. Notice with me first of all:

I. The Reality that Confronted this Man

None of the gospel writers say exactly what ailment had struck Jairus’ daughter. What we do know is that her condition was grave and serious.

When we meet Jairus we meet a man that is facing the reality that his daughter was about to die. The situation was bleak and getting worse by the minute.

We would like to be positive about the state of the church in our day, but that would be ignorant at best. The reality confronting us today is that the church as a whole has one foot in the grave of spiritual deadness.

Much like Jairus, there is no reason to deny the seriousness of the situation. The church and we as members of the church need a revival.

I want you to notice a couple of things about the reality that confronted Jairus, and how they relate to the reality that now confronts the church. Notice first of all:

A. He saw a clear deterioration

Perhaps the little girl’s sickness had started as something rather minor. Maybe it began with slight fever, or some minor pain.

However minor its beginning, Jairus and his wife quickly saw the condition of their daughter deteriorate. In verse 42, Luke says that the little girl “lay a dying.”

Jairus was no doctor, but he could clearly see that his daughter’s condition was getting increasingly worse. She was wasting away before his very eyes.

In much the same way, you don’t have to be a theologian, or an expert on the church to be able to see that the condition of the church has deteriorated.

The numbers alone indicate the fact that the church as whole is in trouble. In the Southern Baptist Convention alone, 70% of the churches have either plateaued (stopped growing), or are in decline (losing people).[i]

Of those that are still in the church, many of them are there for all the wrong reasons. Chuck Colson tells of a friend of his that began attending a Unitarian church. When Colson confronted him about the heresy of that particular church, the man answered, “But my wife and I love it. We always come away feeling better.”[ii]

When people begin to go to church in order to “feel good” rather than become good, it is an indication of a church that has weakened and wavered from its original calling. While sanctification, sacrifice, and service were the marks of the early church, today’s church is increasingly marked by worldliness, laziness, and deadness. When we look at the church as a whole, we unfortunately have to confess that she has clearly deteriorated. Notice something else we learn from the reality that confronted this man.

Notice not only that he saw a clear deterioration, but notice also further that:

B. He saw a coming death

In Mark 5:23, we find that Jairus told the Lord Jesus that his daughter was “at the point of death.” This father not only recognized that this girl’s health was deteriorating, but he also had the foresight to see that her life was fading. He knew that unless the Lord Jesus intervened, his little girl would die. Death was a stark and real possibility in her case.

I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I don’t want to be foolishly blind either. The condition of many churches, and therefore the church as a whole is declining. The spiritual pulse of God’s people is weakening, and if a revival does not come, we face spiritual death.

In America, 3,500 to 4,000 churches close their doors permanently each year.[iii] Increasingly, churches are dying spiritually and literally. The church in America is in crisis, and it is a crisis that threatens the very life and future of the faith in our country. Like Jairus, we are confronted with a stark reality. We can bury our heads in the sand and say that it does not exist, but that does not make the problem go away. Our precious churches are sick. There are many things that are good and right with them, but the good does not change the fact that they are overall unhealthy, and dangerously so.

So what do we do? Well, notice a second truth we find as we follow Jairus. Notice not only the reality that confronted this man, but notice also:

II. The Request that Consumed this Man

Not content to let his little girl lay there and die, Jairus, a prominent Jewish leader, decided that he was going to go and find the Lord Jesus. He was determined that if his daughter died, it would not be because her daddy had not done everything he could. Verse 41 of our text says, “And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house.”

Jairus’ was not too proud to beg. The severity of the situation forced him to seek the Lord, and beg for His divine intervention.

Jairus’ challenges us. If we can clearly see the dire situation that the church in our nation faces, then our only option is to seek the Lord. Like Jairus, it is too late for man’s solutions. Revival is a work only God can do.

I want you to notice a couple of things about the request that consumed this man. Notice first of all:

A. It was a sincere request

In your imagination, I want you to picture this man of status, and prominence, as he falls down in the dirt at the feet of Jesus Christ. Gone are any vestiges of self-reliance. Gone are any signs of pride. With the sincerity that comes from desperation, this man called on the Lord Jesus.

I venture to say that in most churches, some prayer is offered for the well-being of the church. In most prayer meetings, there is at least an obligatory prayer for God’s blessing and help.

The problem so often is that these prayers are not clothed in true, desperate sincerity. As long as the budget is being met, and everyone is reasonably happy, like the Laodiceans, we see no real need for God to intervene. Half-heartedly we ask for God’s touch, but deep down there is no aching, moaning, pride-abandoning sincerity behind our prayers. Too often, we just want to pay the bills and follow the program.

Jairus got a response from the Lord Jesus. His desperation moved the heart of the Savior. Desperate, humble prayer always gets God’s attention.

As I studied this story with an eye toward revival, my mind kept going to the oft quoted II Chronicles 7:14, where God says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

That verse describes desperate, sincere prayer, and we learn from Jairus, that is the type of prayer that moves God to intervene in our situations.

Notice something else about the request that consumed this man. Notice not only that it was a sincere request, but notice also further that:

B. It was a specific request

It is important to note not only how this man prayed, but also what this man prayed. When you compare the three gospel records of this story, you find that Jairus was very specific in what he wanted the Lord to do.

In our text in verse 41, Luke tells us that he “besought” the Lord “that he would come into his house.”

Matthew adds in his account that Jairus also asked the Lord to “lay [His] hand upon her.” There were two very specific requests that Jairus made of the Lord, and they speak to us of what we need from Him as well.

First of all, we too need Him to come to our house. I mean, we need His presence in our churches. Too many churches have become so concerned with filling the pews, that they have forgotten the importance of filling the people.

So often in our day, as in Revelation chapter 3, the Lord Jesus is outside the doors of our churches, knocking, and longing to come in, but nonetheless outside.

Not only do we, like Jairus, need the Lord to come to our house, but we also need His touch. So much of the activity in churches today is done without any anointing and power. We sing our songs, but we do not truly worship, because we lack His touch. We preach our sermons, but the people leave unchanged, because there is no touch.

May we learn from Jairus, and begin to sincerely and specifically ask the Lord to be present, and to touch our sick and dying churches.

No longer relying on programs, policies, and people, may we say with the songwriter:

“All is vain unless the Spirit,

Of the Holy One comes down,

Brethren, pray, and holy manna,

Will be showered all around”

There is a final truth we see in this story as we follow Jairus. Notice not only that we see the reality that confronted this man, and the request that consumed this man, but notice also thirdly that we see:

III. The Revival that Consoled this Man

While Jesus was trying to make his way to Jairus’ house, tragic news came regarding the little girl. In verse 49, Luke tells us that, “…one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.”

Before Jairus has a chance to respond to this terrible report, the Lord Jesus tells him in verse 50, “Fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole.”

As bad as things may be for the church in our day, the good news is that she is still the Church of Jesus Christ, and as long as He is the Head of His church, there is hope for her to be revived and recovered.

No church is too far gone that she cannot be revived by the touch of the Lord Jesus. The dead church can live again!

Notice a couple of things about this revival that consoled Jairus. Notice first of all:

A. The Lord he saw respond

I love the opening words of verse 5Luke says, “And when [Jesus] came into the house…” He came! Jairus sincerely requested Him to come, and He came!

May God help us to see this truth! If we will sincerely, humbly, and earnestly ask Him, He will come to us! He will enter our assemblies, and grace us with His precious presence!

The Lord responded to Jairus’ prayer, and I believe that He is just as willing to respond today. He stills hears the humble cries of His people!

In verses 51 through 53, Jesus encountered some nay-sayers in the house. Verse 53 says they went as far as to laugh at the Lord.

Churches will always have there share of nay-sayers. There will always be those that do not believe God can or will intervene. With mournful faces, they only moan about the problem, with no faith that it can be changed.

However, there were at least two people that believed. As Jesus entered the place where the lifeless little girl lay, he took with Him her mother and father.

They had called for Him. They believed He could revive their daughter. In much the same way, if just a few of us will call on the Lord and believe, He will respond to our request.

In 1904, the country of Wales experienced a revival that is still studied and discussed today. In a matter of weeks, the entire country was swept up in the movement of God. Church buildings were suddenly filled, and meetings lasted from ten in the morning until midnight. Oswald Smith says that in five weeks, 20,000 people joined the churches across that small country.[iv]

What makes the Welsh revival even more amazing is that it began with one man, Evan Roberts, and a small group of young people.

The lesson is clear. If just a small group of us will call upon the Lord in humility and sincerity, we too can see Him respond in revival.

Notice something else about the revival that consoled Jairus. Notice not only the Lord he saw respond, but notice also further:

B. The life he saw restored

Look again at our text, and notice with me verses 54 and 5It says, “And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”

When they entered the room, they saw a motionless, lifeless corpse. By the time they left they saw a life restored. Jairus saw his once dead daughter revived, and brought back to life.

There was evidence of her new life. First, she sat up. Luke says in verse 55 that, “…she arose straightway…”

When the church is revived, there will be a renewal of spiritual activity. God’s people will once again serve Him, and move in the world around them.

Not only did she sit up, but Luke says that she ate. The Lord Jesus commanded in verse 54 that she be given something to eat. She apparently had an appetite. In much the same way, when revival comes to the church, there will be a renewed appetite for the Word of God. People will no longer settle for sermonettes and motivational talks. They will hunger for the meat of the Word! We pray that the Lord Jesus will touch the church that now languishes near death. We pray that He will restore the life of our churches.


Revival can come. Though the situation looks bleak, and many have already begun to mourn our death, the church can live again. It must begin however, with the people that make up the church. You and I, like Jairus, must desperately seek the Lord. We cannot be satisfied to sit by the bedside and watch our churches die. We must seek the Lord! May we learn from this story, and may we earnestly ask for the touch that revives us.


[i] Comeback Churches; Stetzer, Ed; p. 25

[ii] The Body; Colson, Charles; p. 42

[iii] Comeback Churches; Stetzer, Ed; p. 23

[iv] Heart Cry for Revival; Olford, Stephen; p. 77


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