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Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

17
Feb

Teacher, Do You Not Care?

storm

Matthew and Luke don’t bear this out in their records, but they do tell us about the disciple’s fear: “Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’” (Mat. 8:25). “And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing…!’” (Luke 8:24).

But Mark uniquely communicates their aggregate anxiety in the form of a question: “But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:38). The NET version translates it, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”

What strikes me about this entire episode is that—put your seat belt on—JESUS INTENTIONALLY LED THE GROUP INTO THE STORM. You might need to read that again because it’s not a misprint.

Yes, the Lord purposely steered this little band of future church leaders into the tempest and then went to the back of the boat to lay down on a cushion for a power nap: “Now when He got into a boat, His disciples FOLLOWED Him” (Mat. 8:23). “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35). “Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.’ (Luke 8:22). That’s right—it was Jesus who led the group on this frightening excursion.

And that’s because He was eventually going to leave the early church in the hands of this weak rabble of Jewish devotees. And one of the ways THEY would learn to trust in Him and lead with such courage was by riding it out on the whitecaps and watching His deliverance. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”

Did Jesus care?! Of course He cared—and that’s why He took them out on the boat trip across Galilee in the first place!

The disciples obviously knew that He had miraculous ability or they never would have awakened Him. They had witnessed His mighty works and knew something of His identity. If they believed that He was impotent to affect change on the circumstances they would have never roused Him from His slumber. You see, they knew that He had power; they just didn’t recognize that He had ALL power—over sickness and disease, over sin, over the grave, over demonic forces, and even over the elements themselves.

Jesus cared so much that He let them learn that important lesson out on the troubled waters of the sea.

Want a mustard seed for today?

If your boat is filling up with water from the monsoon, if the wind looks to collapse your sails and shatter your mast, IT COULD BE that’s exactly where the Lord wants you to be. You see, SOMETIMES Jesus takes you out on the lake and let’s you watch the squall (to the point where you think you’re going to die! Mark 4:38) so that you can learn to lean on and trust in Him!

If you never get scared, how will you ever learn to place your whole-hearted faith in Him (Job 13:15)?! How else can you learn that He really cares (1 Pet. 5:7)?

What really makes me chuckle about his storm story is that one minute the disciples are afraid of the wind and waves, and then the next minute, they’re really afraid of the Man who stopped it all with a sentence. “And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41). What a way to learn and build faith!

Are you afraid? Is your craft about to capsize?

I have a recommendation. Don’t ask Jesus if He cares, because He does. Ask Him and trust Him…to calm the storm…in your heart (Phil. 4:6-7).

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike
4
Feb

Should We Pray for Our Enemies?

praying

QUESTION:  Should we pray for our enemies?

ANSWER: This is an important question. Let’s study the
Scriptures together and see what the Bible says:

Not only should we pray, but we MUST pray for our enemies. Jesus – the ultimate authority (Mat. 28:18; Eph. 1:21; Phil. 2:9; Col. 2:10; 1 Pet. 3:22) said, “Love your
enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Mat. 5:44).

But notice that Jesus said we’re to do MORE than just pray for our enemies. He taught us to LOVE our enemies, BLESS our enemies, and DO GOOD to our enemies.  If they’re hungry, we’re to feed them; if they’re thirsty, we’re to give them a drink (cf. Rom. 12:14-21; Luke 10:25-37).

The Lord did not say that we are obligated to LIKE our enemies. He taught through Paul (John 16:13), “IF IT IS POSSIBLE, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). The noted theologian, Tom T. Hall,
wrote back in 1973:

I love little baby ducks, old pickup trucks
Slow-movin’ trains and rain
I love little country streams, sleep without dreams
Sunday school in May – and hay
And I love you, too
I love leaves in the wind, pictures of my friends
Birds of the world and squirrels
I love coffee in a cup, little fuzzy pups
Old TV shows – and snow
And I love you, too
I love honest, open smiles, kisses from a child
Tomatoes on the vine and onions
I love winners when they cry, losers when they try
Music when it’s good – and life
And I love you, too.

Much of our frustration with Jesus’ command about praying for our enemies may be a result of confusing “loving” and “liking.” It’s been my observation that people tend to, like Tom T., use the word “love” in a very broad and expansive way. They use it to describe their feelings for things like ducks, trucks and tomatoes, but when Jesus said, “love your enemies,” He wasn’t saying that we must have warm and affectionate emotions towards those who hurt and mistreat us. Rather, He was telling us to act in a certain way towards our enemies, regardless of how they behave (Mat. 5:45-48; 1 Cor. 13:4-7).

If we ONLY pray for our enemies, and then hypocritically treat them with unkindness and disdain, our prayers won’t get through the ceiling (Prov. 15:8; 29:9).

Jesus, by example, prayed for His enemies (Luke 23:34).

Jesus did not retaliate against His enemies. He could have summoned more than twelve legions of angels to prevent Calvary (Mat. 26:53), but He didn’t. He could have returned pain for pain against His enemies at the cross (1 Pet. 2:20-23; cf. Mat. 26:67-68; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63-65), but He didn’t.

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike
28
Jan

Did Jesus Have Feelings?

JesusWept

IF HOLLYWOOD TEACHES us anything–which is very, very little, it teaches us not to trust how it portrays any real-life character. Writers, directors, and producers all have their personal say in how an individual is brought to the big screen. “Based on a true story” is the motion picture industries’ way of saying:  “We are using copious amounts of creative license and editorial bias to show you what we’d like you to see about this particular person in history.”

I remember reading years ago about the 13th century Scottish hero, William Wallace, often referred to today as “Brave Heart.” Hollywood gave him a rather extensive facelift. Truth be known, the William Wallace of the silver screen and the William Wallace of history are two radically different entities. They ain’t even second cousins.

But nowhere is Hollywood’s disposition towards real people more evident than in the life of our Lord. Cinema and pop culture has morphed Him into a rather stolid, dull, and largely unemotional being. He’s a disconnected, Vulcan-like therapist for broken and hurting folks. What’s worse is that He is depicted as moving in and among the ancient masses with the energy and enthusiasm, forgive me, of a baked potato. You see, Hollywood wants you to think of the Jesus of history as obtuse at best and dull and out of touch at worst. In other words, He is uncaring and irrelevant.

But friends, the Bible shows the Messiah to be quite different from how He is rendered in modern media.

The Jesus of Scripture is a man of intense passion and feeling:

  • Watch Him overthrow the tables of the moneychangers in the temple in Matthew 21. Did Jesus care about sin, hypocrisy and greed?  Was He ever aroused by transgression and iniquity?

 

  • Watch Him shed tears at Lazarus’ tomb in John 11.  Did Jesus feel deeply at funerals or was he an emotional vegetable?  Did He weep or was he devoid of affection?

 

  • Watch Him interact with the crowds of sick folks in Matthew 14.  The Holy Spirit said Jesus was “moved with compassion.”  Does that sound like He didn’t care and that he was unaffected by pain?

 

  • Listen to Him lift his broken voice on Gethsemane’s hill as He pours out his heart to God in Hebrews 5.  The NKJV describes his laments as “vehement” (NKJV), while the ESV describes them as “loud cries and tears.”  Does this sound like a man who is incapable of sensitivity?

Our Lord was no half-human android. He had heart, He felt strongly, and He was passionate!

Give Hollywood its credit. It knows how to appeal to the carnal and it knows how to make (and lose) LOTS of money.

It just doesn’t know how to deal with the real Son of Man.

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”  Mike
21
Jan

Why Did Jesus Heal on the Sabbath?

download

“Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered” (Luke 6:6).

WHILE INSPIRATION LIMITS many of the details of this occasion, we do know the identity of at least some of those who were present in the assembly.

The scribes and Pharisees were present (Luke 6:7). They had set themselves up as the authorized police of Jesus’ behavior and doctrine.

A man with a withered hand was also present./1 Was this poor fellow essentially planted by the lawyers in order to trap Jesus? There’s no definitive answer to that question, but the evidence forces us to raise a curious eyebrow.

In any case, the religious leaders were obviously anticipating Jesus’ arrival. Their question, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” was not due to any desire to witness a miracle, nor to express compassion for the unfortunate man with the shriveled hand. They only wished to ensnare the Lord in His actions and discredit Him before his peers.

Jesus could see through the façade of his antagonists. They had gotten so caught up in the day of the calendar that they overlooked the identity of the Messiah and the fact that the Son of God literally stood in their midst.

He had performed miracles on other occasions, but all they could see was a breach of their man-made traditions.

I find it fascinating that Jesus knew their ungodly motives and went to the synagogue anyway. And he could have healed the man with the withered hand on any other day of the week, but he chose to express mercy on the Sabbath–this Sabbath.

Milquetoast peacekeepers would have no doubt warned Jesus to quietly avoid the controversy all together.

“Lord, don’t upset these guys–just leave them alone and wait to heal this guy tomorrow. You’ve got enough grief and stress without another fuss with these troublemakers.”

But Jesus didn’t back down. He was confrontational and in their faces. He knew the only way to melt their frozen hearts was to expose their duplicity for all to see.

He hated hypocrisy more than all other sins and therefore chose to “work,” at least as they interpreted it, in order to reveal their true spirit and motives.

He told the man to step forward so that all could watch the drama unfold. He then asked the scribes and Pharisees, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”

As he had done on other occasions, Jesus turned their own question against them–and then Jesus healed. The handicap was removed, the man was whole, and perhaps most telling of all, his opponents were silenced, yet again.

Yes, the Lord knew the scribes and Pharisees were waiting. He knew the twisted question they were going to ask. He knew they would hate Him–(and ultimately kill Hm) for what he would say and do (cf. John 5:18-47).

However, Jesus went in the synagogue, laid bare their stubborn, blinded hearts, turned their own question against them, and healed the man with the withered hand anyway.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath because rabbinic tradition had turned the God-ordained day of rest into a day of incredible burden. Jesus healed on the Sabbath because those who demanded certain behaviors of others failed to carry out and live them themselves.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath because he despised pharisaical insincerity at its very core.

Just a thought, brethren. When error is deliberately taught and practiced by those who claim to know Jesus today, how should we respond?

  • Should we wait and heal on another day?
  • Should we wait until the Sabbath is past?

_______________

1/ The Greek word for “withered” is xeros and means dry. This appendage, for whatever reason, had been deprived of the normal moisture afforded the rest of his body.

15
Jan

What Should I Remember?

Luke 22